NBA Grind Down: Saturday, May 5th

Welcome to the RotoGrinders NBA Grind Down. In this all-encompassing preview of today’s NBA action, every game will be broken down statistically, with several key elements highlighted in our charts.

Vegas lines are broken down to show projected Implied Team Totals, to give you an idea of who is favored to win, and often more importantly, how many points they’re expected to score. We also provide pace numbers, so you can spot a game that might have a few extra possessions and more opportunities for fantasy points.

We also provide position-by-position matchup rankings for every team, to give you an idea of the players who will be in better situations to succeed. Using Defense versus Position data, every projected starter is listed along with his opponent’s rank in points allowed to players of his position. These color-coded charts will help you spot the best matchups of the night at a glance.

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Legend & FAQ

Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers – 5:00 PM ET

Boston Celtics Philadelphia 76ers
Vegas Total 206.0 Vegas Total 206.0
Vegas Spread 9.0 Vegas Spread -9.0
Implied Team Total 98.5 Implied Team Total 107.5
Pace Projection +/- 2.6 Pace Projection +/- -1.4
Projected Starters Terry Rozier Jaylen Brown Jayson Tatum Al Horford Aron Baynes Projected Starters Ben Simmons J.J. Redick Robert Covington Dario Saric Joel Embiid
Opponent Rank PG SG SF PF C Opponent Rank PG SG SF PF C
DvP 15 15 20 9 8 DvP 1 5 24 2 2
DRPM Rat. 1 25 1 19 2 DRPM Rat. 6 2 3 2 1

Boston Celtics

The Celtics took care of business at home and now travel to Philadelphia with a 2-0 lead. If they can come up with a big win tonight they will take a 3-0 lead and have a great chance to close the series out. It will be a tough game though against a Philadelphia team that has been terrific at home this season. This game has a 206 total and the Celtics come in as nine point road underdogs.

The thing to start with is, how on earth is it 2018 in the NBA playoffs and Terry Rozier costs $8500 and $8800?!?!? I don’t want to ignore what he is doing because he has been incredible, putting up at least 48.25 DraftKings points in his last three games. On FanDuel, where salary is a thing and we must play two point guards I think Rozier is someone that we must play. The position is weak because LeBron and Simmons are both point guards for their teams and are not listed as point guards. So on FanDuel, Rozier is an elite play. DraftKings it’s tougher because I really don’t want to buy it and I think Simmons is a better play today in tournaments. What he has been doing can’t go ignored, I still like him as an elite play, but I think it is much preferred over on FanDuel. Jaylen Brown only played 25 minutes in his return from injury and I will likely stay away from him. The only spot I would consider him is on FanDuel where I must play two shooting guards and he only costs $5200. Marcus Smart is never a fun roster, but I think he is in play on this slate. He feels a lot like JJ Redick. The price is fine, and he should have a solid outing, but I worry about the upside. I understand Smart has a lot of upside but on the road and with a lot of guards soaking up a ton of usage I just don’t see a big Marcus Smart ceiling game happening. He is still a great cash game play though at his current price and position. Again, more of a FanDuel play because the position is so weak.

Jayson Tatum is a solid play that I have some interest in. The Sixers struggle at defending opposing small forwards and I think Tatum is a solid secondary play on both sites. Marcus Morris has a nice price at $5000 which I don’t mind if you want to get some exposure to in tournaments. I won’t list him as a secondary or elite play, but he makes sense as a guy that you can mix and match in your lineups. He has upside at this price if he gets going but again, I do worry that there won’t be enough usage for him to have that massive ceiling game. Last guy that I want to discuss here would be Al Horford. I think Horford is like a lot of these Celtic plays a great play to round out your lineups. A lot of these prices on the Celtics are good and they feel like they have a safe floor with a nice ceiling. They are also playing in a pace up game which is great value for this team. Ultimately, I think the Celtics are the team that have a lot of filler plays that you can plug throughout your lineups and feel confident in.

Notable Injuries None

Boston Celtics Offense

Points Per Game: 104.0 (20 of 30)
Implied Implied Team Total: 98.5 (4 of 4)
Projected Point Differential: -5.5 (3 of 4)

Matchup vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Points Allowed Per Game: 105.3 (11 of 30)
Defensive Efficiency: 102.0 (3 of 30)
Rebounding Differential: + 9.0 (2 of 30)
Pace of Play: 102.2 (4 of 30)

Player FD Salary DK Salary FDRFT Salary FP/Game Playoffs +/- Minutes Playoffs +/- FP/Min True Usage EFF DVP DRPM
Terry Rozier $8,800 $8,500 $16,800 23.9 14.9 25.9 9.9 0.92 20.0% 4 15 1
Jaylen Brown $5,200 $5,500 $11,900 25.2 3.6 30.7 4.1 0.82 18.5% 15 15 25
Jayson Tatum $6,800 $6,600 $13,900 26.0 5.6 30.5 3.6 0.85 17.0% 7 20 1
Al Horford $7,500 $7,500 $13,400 32.1 5.6 31.6 3.1 1.02 17.8% 7 9 19
Aron Baynes $3,700 $3,500 $6,800 15.8 -0.8 18.3 0.6 0.87 14.8% 6 8 2
Marcus Smart $6,300 $5,900 $11,400 24.3 -0.9 29.9 -1.1 0.81 18.3% N/A N/A N/A
Marcus Morris $4,800 $5,000 $9,700 23.2 -2.6 26.7 0.9 0.87 20.3% N/A N/A N/A

Elite Plays – Terry Rozier Marcus Smart and Al Horford

Secondary Plays – Jayson Tatum

Philadelphia 76ers

The Celtics are up 2-0 and head on the road to take on the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers come into this game as nine point home favorites even after Ben Simmons horrific performance the other night. This Sixers team needs to win, or they will be down 3-0. This is pretty much a must win game for the Sixers or they could see themselves going home early.

Joel Embiid has been great in this series and is still too cheap at $9500 and $10000. It’s hard to pass on Embiid at this price especially against a Boston team that can struggle against opposing bigs like Embiid. The only spend up option on this slate is LeBron James and he is certainly in play but if you don’t want to pay that price tag on him, I think you must lock Embiid into all your lineups. Ben Simmons ownership is going to be interesting on this slate. To start things off it’s a two-game slate so his ownership will likely already be high but with a lot of options between $7300-$8500, maybe people completely pass on Simmons? I do think the last game will keep his ownership down enough where he makes a great tournament play over guys like Rozier, Lowry and DeRozan. The price on Simmons is too cheap to not take shots on him in tournaments and I think it is best to go overweight on him in tournaments. I will chalk up last game to just a small bump in the road for Ben Simmons career and expect him to bounce back with a big game tonight.

The other Sixers players are tougher to roster, especially in a pace down game and against a strong defensive team like the Celtics. Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Bellineli have come back to reality and I will still fade them. Dario Saric has an interesting price at $6000 and $6500. I don’t love the matchup for him, but I do think there is still a ton of upside for him. Saric is a safe option at that price with a nice floor and massive ceiling. I like continuing to take shots on Saric in tournaments. Robert Covington is volatile and can have massive games like the last one, where he scored 46.25 fantasy points. The price is right at $5700 but I would rather play Saric for just a little bit more. His ownership will be high already for a volatile player like Covington and if he has a bad game that could give me a huge edge on the field. JJ Redick is kind of expensive too at $5800. I think he is safe option for your cash games, but I do worry about the upside in tournaments. I like Redick enough to make him a secondary play but in tournaments I do worry about his ceiling. Overall, I don’t want to go too overweight on Sixers. This is a pace down game and a tough matchup for this team. I think there are some good plays, but I don’t want to put too many in my lineups. I would rather pick my spots on the guys that I discussed and load up on other teams.

Notable Injuries None

Philadelphia 76ers Offense

Points Per Game: 109.8 (7 of 30)
Implied Implied Team Total: 107.5 (2 of 4)
Projected Point Differential: -2.3 (2 of 4)

Matchup vs. Boston Celtics

Points Allowed Per Game: 100.4 (3 of 30)
Defensive Efficiency: 101.5 (1 of 30)
Rebounding Differential: + 2.9 (3 of 30)
Pace of Play: 98.2 (23 of 30)

Player FD Salary DK Salary FDRFT Salary FP/Game Playoffs +/- Minutes Playoffs +/- FP/Min True Usage EFF DVP DRPM
Ben Simmons $9,500 $8,300 $15,800 42.2 5.2 33.7 4.5 1.25 22.8% 5 1 6
J.J. Redick $5,800 $5,800 $11,500 24.9 2.3 30.2 2.2 0.82 20.2% 2 5 2
Robert Covington $6,500 $5,700 $11,200 28.3 -4.7 31.6 -2.2 0.89 15.2% 5 24 3
Dario Saric $6,500 $6,000 $13,100 27.6 2.9 29.6 0.7 0.93 18.6% 17 2 2
Joel Embiid $10,000 $9,500 $17,400 44.4 1.1 30.3 1.2 1.47 28.2% 2 2 1
Marco Belinelli $4,000 $4,600 $8,900 19.0 5.5 24.3 6.0 0.78 18.9% N/A N/A N/A
Ersan Ilyasova $4,400 $4,500 $8,800 22.8 2.1 25.1 0.9 0.91 16.4% N/A N/A N/A

Elite Plays – Joel Embiid and Dario Saric

Secondary Plays – Ben Simmons and JJ Redick

Toronto Raptors at Cleveland Cavaliers – 8:30 PM ET

Toronto Raptors Cleveland Cavaliers
Vegas Total 216.0 Vegas Total 216.0
Vegas Spread 4.5 Vegas Spread -4.5
Implied Team Total 105.8 Implied Team Total 110.3
Pace Projection +/- 0.5 Pace Projection +/- 0.2
Projected Starters Kyle Lowry DeMar DeRozan OG Anunoby Serge Ibaka Jonas Valanciunas Projected Starters LeBron James Kyle Korver J.R. Smith Kevin Love Tristan Thompson
Opponent Rank PG SG SF PF C Opponent Rank PG SG SF PF C
DvP 21 26 26 13 10 DvP 10 3 4 7 20
DRPM Rat. 21 5 27 15 N/A DRPM Rat. 2 22 4 9 21

Toronto Raptors

The Raptors are down 2-0 and now must head to Cleveland to try and save their season. This is going to be a tough test for the Raptors because it seems all but certain that LeBron is going to win this series and continue his dominance over Toronto.

To be honest I am playing this game like the Cavaliers are going to own the Raptors and they are just going to fold over and become extinct. Maybe I am wrong for doing so but I rarely like to pay for Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan and I don’t think that is going to change now. They are still too expensive for my liking and I think there are just better plays at a similar price. I just feel like I am overpaying for these two and since I think the Cavaliers will dominate. It makes the most sense to just fade Lowry and DeRozan in my lineups.

I do think this is a good game for Fred Vanvleet though because he will likely get run early in the game and should be in the game even if there is a blowout. I still think his price is too cheap as well and is a nice secondary value play. I honestly think fading Jonas Valanciunas is not a bad idea either. I think Horford is much safer at a similar price and has just as much upside as Jonas and on top of that, Toronto needs to change something up and maybe less Valanciunas would be worth exploring. I do worry he could bust because he is a volatile player and I think fading him at his ownership with Horford and Embiid at the position is a good idea. If Jonas has done you well and you want to continue to play him I get it, but I never get Jonas Valaniunas right, so take that for what it’s worth.

Serge Ibaka is cheap and I think they should try and get him more involved. If I’m fading Jonas, then it’s likely because I think Ibaka could see more production and they could use some more small ball lineups. I think Ibaka is worth a secondary play in tournaments, but we have to understand that there is a lot of volatility here, but the upside is massive. That about wraps up Toronto and they will be the team that I have the least amount of exposure to on this slate.

Notable Injuries None

Toronto Raptors Offense

Points Per Game: 111.7 (3 of 30)
Implied Implied Team Total: 105.8 (3 of 4)
Projected Point Differential: -6.0 (4 of 4)

Matchup vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Points Allowed Per Game: 109.9 (26 of 30)
Defensive Efficiency: 109.5 (29 of 30)
Rebounding Differential: -1.8 (11 of 30)
Pace of Play: 100.1 (12 of 30)

Player FD Salary DK Salary FDRFT Salary FP/Game Playoffs +/- Minutes Playoffs +/- FP/Min True Usage EFF DVP DRPM
Kyle Lowry $8,200 $7,700 $15,900 34.9 3.5 32.2 4.4 1.08 21.8% 21 21 21
DeMar DeRozan $8,600 $7,800 $16,300 37.5 1.2 33.9 3.0 1.11 28.5% 20 26 5
OG Anunoby $3,500 $3,200 $6,500 12.1 2.1 20.0 3.1 0.60 10.9% 28 26 27
Serge Ibaka $4,500 $4,700 $9,100 25.3 -4.7 27.5 1.2 0.92 16.9% 23 13 15
Jonas Valanciunas $7,100 $7,300 $12,900 27.1 6.2 22.4 3.6 1.21 19.2% 9 10 N/A
Delon Wright $4,100 $4,000 $7,600 19.2 4.8 20.8 2.8 0.92 17.3% N/A N/A N/A
Fred VanVleet $3,800 $3,900 $7,700 18.9 -9.1 20.0 -7.8 0.94 19.7% N/A N/A N/A
C.J. Miles $3,500 $3,300 $6,100 15.6 -1.4 19.1 2.3 0.82 20.1% N/A N/A N/A

Elite Plays – None

Secondary Plays – Fred Vanvleet and Serge Ibaka (tournaments only)

Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron James continues to dominate Toronto and I expect him to do that again tonight. With the Cavaliers up 2-0 heading home this should be a good chance for the Cavs to win early and get some much-needed rest before the conference finals. The question isn’t will LeBron have a good game tonight, but it’s will LeBron do well enough at this price along with the value plays to make him end up on the winning tournament lineup?? I think on FanDuel where it is easier to construct lineups and you must play two small forwards the answer is yes, even at $14000 lock in LeBron James. On DraftKings at $12100 it becomes more interesting. The reason why is we really don’t love a lot of value on this slate. I think the way to approach Lebron James on DraftKings is simple. If you like your value plays, then plug in Lebron but if you put him in and feel uncomfortable about your value plays then take him out. If you’re making multiple lineups you should want exposure to him but if I was only playing one lineup on each site I would lock him on FanDuel and fade him on DraftKings.

The Cavaliers value plays are not the best, but they are viable on this slate. George Hill, Kyle Korver and J.R. Smith are not exciting to roster but at their prices, they are certainly in play. Jeff Green has stepped up nicely off the bench and played a great role for this team. If they want to keep winning they will need his production off the bench, making him a nice secondary value option. Kevin Love is only $6800 which is way too cheap for him. If you want some cheap exposure to LeBron I don’t hate doing that through Love and hoping that more of the scoring falls on Love’s shoulders rather than LeBron. This game could also get out of hand at home where LeBron cruises through the fourth quarter. The more I think about it, maybe not paying up for him and just getting exposure to him through cheaper options like Love makes more sense. The last player to discuss is Tristan Thompson at $4800. First game of the series he had 30.5 points and the second game he had 4.5. At $4800 he is too volatile for me and I think they will use more Love at the center than Thompson. I will let other people chase Thompson while I fade him instead.

Notable Injuries None

Cleveland Cavaliers Offense

Points Per Game: 110.9 (5 of 30)
Implied Implied Team Total: 110.3 (1 of 4)
Projected Point Differential: -0.7 (1 of 4)

Matchup vs. Toronto Raptors

Points Allowed Per Game: 103.9 (6 of 30)
Defensive Efficiency: 103.4 (5 of 30)
Rebounding Differential: + 1.2 (7 of 30)
Pace of Play: 99.8 (13 of 30)

Player FD Salary DK Salary FDRFT Salary FP/Game Playoffs +/- Minutes Playoffs +/- FP/Min True Usage EFF DVP DRPM
LeBron James $14,000 $12,100 $23,500 54.2 8.0 36.9 5.0 1.47 30.1% 7 10 2
Kyle Korver $4,400 $4,300 $8,100 15.4 0.3 21.6 3.2 0.71 14.2% 5 3 22
J.R. Smith $4,500 $4,400 $8,900 16.5 2.2 28.1 5.1 0.59 12.5% 3 4 4
Kevin Love $7,500 $6,800 $12,200 33.1 -8.7 28.0 4.9 1.18 21.9% 10 7 9
Tristan Thompson $4,000 $4,800 $9,400 15.7 -1.5 20.2 -3.3 0.78 10.8% 10 20 21
George Hill $4,200 $3,700 $7,300 20.0 -5.7 27.0 -5.1 0.74 15.6% N/A N/A N/A
Jeff Green $4,000 $4,200 $8,500 18.3 -3.1 23.4 -1.8 0.78 16.9% N/A N/A N/A

Elite Plays – LeBron James and Kevin Love

Secondary Plays – Jeff Green, George Hill, and J.R. Smith

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