Playoff basketball is back, with our first Monday slate in the postseason coming at you, though not in a large sample size. The shallow two-game slate is always interesting because it shrinks your margin for error. This puts an emphasis on hitting on bargain players and making sure your studs come to play. It's also important to keep in mind what's at stake in each game. Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Basketball contest now | Free NBA Yahoo Cup entry
The Cavaliers are looking to rebound from a scare in Game 1, when the Pacers almost made things interesting in a 109-108 loss. Expect a response from King James and Co. at home in Game 2, where they'll want to hold that 2-0 series lead going back to Indiana.
On the flip side, the Spurs dominated the Grizzlies in Game 1, defeating them 111-82, making things look easy in the second half. Similarly, you should expect somewhat of a response from Memphis, but temper those expectations given how strong San Antonio looked. But also keep in mind that the Spurs bench could see a deep run, which would stunt the value of anyone not named Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.
Kyrie Irving, CLE vs. IND ($40): This is a pretty simple pick because there arenít any other guards who have the upside of Irving. You really donít have to play him, but you probably should considering he averaged 25.5 points and 7.0 assists per game in four starts against the Pacers during the regular season. He led Cleveland in field-goals attempts (27) in Game 1, shooting 1-for-9 from downtown, a trend that likely wonít continue in Game 2. If youíre trying to maximize your output for tournaments, thereís no better guard than Irving.
C.J. Miles, IND at CLE ($10): Itíd be nice if you could avoid having to play a shooting guard altogether, but unfortunately youíll have to choose at least one. J.R. Smith comes in as the highest priced two-guard for $11 (yes thatís correct), so Miles will save you a whole dollar. Miles didnít get much playing time in Game 1, but he played well against the Cavs during the regular season, averaging 17 points on 56 percent from distance in four games.
Guard to Avoid
Jeff Teague, IND at CLE ($28): You might as well fade every shooting guard while youíre at it, but among the top point guard choices, Teague is the most underwhelming. Heís scored 20 points just once in his last nine regular-season games and rarely sniffs 40 fantasy points. Irving isnít going to cost that much, plus you have no choice but to go with a bargain at SG, which provides budget flexibility. Mike Conley ($36) is also more appealing than Teague with a higher offensive ceiling.
LeBron James, CLE vs. IND ($58):
If you arenít into being forced to play Irving because heís the clear-cut point guard option, then you must play James as the clear-cut small forward choice. James is the highest-priced player for the two-game slate because he has the highest ceiling. He will have very high ownership percentages, but thatís nothing new. The odds of LeBron posting close to a triple-double with 30 points are high considering he averaged 32.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 8.0 assists in three games against Indiana.
LaMarcus Aldridge, SA vs. MEM ($29):
With Kevin Love
ís production a question mark and Zach Randolph
a non-factor in Game 1 for the Grizzlies, Aldridge is the most logical play at power forward. He led the Spurs in field-goal attempts (18) in Saturdayís blowout win, and he likely would have seen more playing time had the game not gotten out of hand. San Antonio was able to get Memphisí front court in foul trouble primarily by feeding Aldridge, so expect more of the same in Game 2.
Forward to Avoid
Zach Randolph, MEM at SA ($23):
Randolph struggled in Game 1 and never really got into a flow off the bench. The Spurs jumped out to a big third-quarter lead and Z-Bo finished with just six points and three rebounds in 26 minutes. Chances are San Antonio will do a similarly good job limiting Memphis' offense, which doesn't bode well for players not named Conley and Gasol (Marc, that is). With the scarcity at the position, you should look for either the elite power forwards or bargain buys, avoiding Randolph, who is too risky a play.
Marc Gasol, MEM at SA ($28):
Gasol is an absolute steal given his price. The matchup against the Spurs in Game 1 didn't seem to bother him, as Gasol finished with 32 points (11-of-18 from the field), five rebounds and two blocks. He went 3-for-3 from downtown, and was also a perfect 7-of-7 from the charity stripe. The Grizzlies really have no choice but to run their offense through Gasol considering the Spurs' perimeter defenders are too strong, which should lead to plenty of touches again.
Tristan Thompson, CLE vs. IND ($14):
Of the four starting centers, Thompson presents the most bang for your buck. He's virtually a lock for big minutes given how Game 1 went, with the Pacers showing no signs that they'll let up against Cleveland. In 30-plus minutes, Thompson finished with eight points and 13 rebounds for 24.1 fantasy points. Expect Thompson to kill the Pacers on the offensive glass again, leading to put-backs and extra possessions, which would then lead to even more rebounds.
Center to Avoid
Myles Turner, IND at CLE ($24):
Unless you want to go against the grain a bit, there's really no reason to go with Turner on the short slate. He's priced $4 less than Gasol and $5 more than his brother, Pau, both of whom are capable of reaching value. This isn't to say Turner won't have a solid game, but chances are he doesn't have that big performance that will put you over the edge in tournaments. Had it not be for a fortunate four steals in Game 1, Turner's fantasy output would have been lackluster.
The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Benjamin Zweiman plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: Fanduel: packattack521, DraftKings: bzweiman521.