Daily Fantasy: it's not just for the regular season, it's for the playoffs too!
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The Best of the Best
Russell Westbrook - His 14.8 percent total rebound rate and 47.5 percent assist rate from Game 1 were two nice treats, but regression to the mean indicates they're unlikely to happen again. Still, his .500 effective field goal percentage (eFG%) from Game 1 was no fluke and may even increase against Houston's No. 19 regular season defensive eFG% of .502. Don't be surprised if points replace some of the assists and rebounds tonight, rendering Westbrook still one of the best plays on the board.
Tim Duncan - To say the Spurs/Lakers Game 1 was ugly would be a massive understatement: Duncan shot 6 for 15 from the field, and that was the best FG% of any Spurs starter. Considering both of these teams were in the top nine in offensive eFG% during the regular season, I'd say a higher scoring game is in order. And if that is indeed the case, watch for the Spurs' offense to run more through Duncan. His 27.1 percent Game 1 usage rate was in line with his season average, but his 5.8 percent assist rate was about 10 points lower. Potential assists and points make him a great play.
Kevin Durant - I'm placing Durant third on this list today because whether you play him is really platform-dependent. Are you on Draft Kings, where Durant is inexplicably the third-highest cost on the board rather than the highest? I couldn't snatch him up quickly enough. Or are you on StarStreet, where he costs $2,300 more than everyone else? In that case, I might take a pass for the extra cash. His Game 1 stats were right in line with projections, but his variability is low: I'm skeptical he'll give you much below or above our projected 28/8/5.
Top Mid-Range Values
Tony Parker - I don't think calling the Spurs a two man team is too far out of the question at this point. Manu only played 18 minutes in Game 1, and out of the Spurs players to get at least 20 minutes, only Duncan and Parker had a usage rate above 13 percent. Strangely enough, I don't see that changing too much: the Spurs love to run through Duncan, and the weakness in the L.A. defense is at the guard spot with the team's two highest defensive ratings in Nash and Blake manning the show. There's no reason for the Spurs to go away from Parker, and his .381 eFG% is likely to actually increase in Game 2 per his .534 eFG% season average.
Omer Asik - Houston didn't have many advantages in Game 1, but the one they did have was offensive rebounding: the Rockets collected 21.2 percent of available offensive boards while the Thunder could only muster 15.2 percent on their own end. Asik was obviously a big part of both Houston's success and Oklahoma City's failure, finishing with a 10.3 ORB% and a 21.6 DRB%. Especially if given even more time (he played three minutes less than projected), those rebound numbers could make Asik a sneaky strong play at center.
Devin Harris - I couldn't completely ignore the Pacers/Hawks game, could I? Actually, on second thought, don't answer that question. If you have to play somebody from this game, though, Harris is one of your best bets. By virtue of his poor Game 1 numbers, his cost has almost universally gone down. However, that pesky regression to the mean hasn't magically changed overnight: his Game 1 eFG% (down .081), assist rate (down 14.4%), and offensive rating (down 19) are likely to return to normal, even against Indiana's strong defense. Stats are funny that way. His nearly 40 Game 1 minutes played doesn't hurt, either.