NBA Grind Down: Tuesday, May 15th

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

Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics – 8:30 PM ET

Cleveland Cavaliers Boston Celtics
Vegas Total 203.0 Vegas Total 203.0
Vegas Spread 1.0 Vegas Spread -1.0
Implied Team Total 101.0 Implied Team Total 102.0
Pace Projection +/- -1.4 Pace Projection +/- 0.5
Projected Starters George Hill J.R. Smith LeBron James Kevin Love Tristan Thompson Projected Starters Terry Rozier Jaylen Brown Jayson Tatum Marcus Morris Al Horford
Opponent Rank PG SG SF PF C Opponent Rank PG SG SF PF C
DvP 1 4 24 2 2 DvP 18 26 26 13 10
DRPM Rat. 6 2 3 26 2 DRPM Rat. 22 27 21 14 30

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers have their sets set on a split before heading back to Cleveland for Game 3. They forgot to show up in Game 1, failing to get anything going offensively and eventually losing by 25 points. For most teams, this would be concerning, but as I’ve mentioned a number of times this postseason, I’m not going to rule out any LeBron James-led team until it actually happens. I did side with the Celtics in my pick for the series, but I don’t feel great about picking against the Kings. The Cavaliers come into tonight’s game as 1-point underdogs with an implied total of 101 points.

George Hill logged 28 minutes in Game 1, but could only muster up five fantasy points. He hasn’t played well against Boston all season and he’s really only appealing from a fantasy perspective thanks to his playing time. Given the salary cap restraints, I’ll have some exposure to Hill. An interesting pivot is Jordan Clarkson. He has scored at least 11 fantasy points in three straight games and was very aggressive in the series opener, taking 11 shots in 16 minutes of action. Kyle Korver is expected to come off the bench for Game 2. This should lead to a huge drop in ownership, making Korver an intriguing tournament play. J.R. Smith is going to play a lot of minutes, but that doesn’t always equate to fantasy production. He’s one of the top value plays available tonight, but that says more about the slate than it does about Smith. Jeff Green is also intriguing from a value standpoint. He won’t play as many minutes as Smith, but is only $8,000 on FanDuel and $3,600 on DraftKings.

LeBron couldn’t get anything going in Game 1 — he only made 5-of-16 shots and committed seven turnovers. While this Celtics’ defense is elite, we are talking about the King. Toward the end of the Raptors’ series, he was taking 25+ shots each game. I’m fully expecting a bounce back performance here. On FanDuel, we don’t have much of a choice but to play LeBron in the MVP roster spot and with the value available on DraftKings, he’s close to a must play over there as well. Kevin Love came alive toward the end of the Raptors’ series and has averaged nearly a fantasy point per minute against the Celtics this season. I expect the Cavaliers to get him involved early and often. Salaries aside, he is my second favorite player of the slate. If he draws the start tonight, lock and load Tristan Thompson into your cash game and tournament lineups. He’s shown time and time again that he puts up numbers in the playoffs when given extended minutes.

Notable Injuries


Cleveland Cavaliers Offense

Points Per Game: 110.9 (5 of 30)
Implied Implied Team Total: 101.0 (2 of 2)
Projected Point Differential: -9.9 (2 of 2)

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 FP/Game Playoffs +/- Minutes Playoffs +/- FP/Min True Usage EFF DVP DRPM
George Hill $9,000 $4,000 20.0 -3.9 27.0 -0.9 0.74 15.6% 5 1 6
J.R. Smith $8,000 $4,400 16.5 2.0 28.1 4.2 0.59 12.5% 2 4 2
LeBron James $20,000 $18,000 54.2 9.3 36.9 4.5 1.47 30.1% 5 24 3
Kevin Love $14,000 $12,700 33.1 -2.9 28.0 5.4 1.18 21.9% 17 2 26
Tristan Thompson $7,000 $4,800 15.7 -4.6 20.2 -4.3 0.78 10.8% 2 2 2
Jeff Green $8,000 $3,600 18.3 -2.1 23.4 -1.5 0.78 16.9% N/A N/A N/A
Kyle Korver $7,500 $5,200 15.4 1.8 21.6 4.5 0.71 14.2% N/A N/A N/A
Jordan Clarkson $7,000 $3,100 22.0 -13.0 23.3 -6.6 0.94 24.9% N/A N/A N/A

Elite Plays – LeBron James, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson

Secondary Plays – George Hill, J.R. Smith, Kyle Korver (GPP), Jeff Green, Jordan Clarkson (GPP)

Boston Celtics

The Celtics picked up a huge win in Game 1, but need one more to really take control of the series. Only having to win two of the next five games is much better than having to win three of five with three of those games being played in Cleveland. The story of the series opener was the Celtics’ defense. They forced turnovers and they forced the Cavaliers into shooting contested jump shots. We have to expect a similar game plan tonight. Boston comes into the game as 1-point favorites with an implied total of 102 points.

Terry Rozier has scored less than 30 fantasy points in three straight games, so he should be off the collective DFS radar heading into Game 2. His salary is down to a very playable level on both FanDuel and DraftKings and we’ve seen the type of upside that he can bring to the table. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum were incredible in Game 1, scoring 38 and 32 fantasy points, respectively. They both offer high floors and high ceilings and are elite plays in all formats. I have them with nearly identical projections, so if I’m deciding between the two, I am going to lean toward Brown, who is cheaper on both FanDuel and DraftKings. Marcus Smart is one of the most inconsistent players in the NBA. He’s played well in four of his last five games and may garner some ownership tonight. As always, I don’t mind being underweight on a volatile player like Smart.

Marcus Morris said that he’s the second best in the NBA at defending LeBron James, trailing only Kawhi Leonard. After Game 1, he might think he’s number one on that list. Regardless of whether or not he’ll be able to slow LeBron down, he’s going to draw another start and potentially push for minutes in the mid-30s. His salary has yet to adjust to a starting role, so take advantage of the cheap price point while you still can. Al Horford has an incredibly high floor. He has scored at least 32 fantasy points in every game so far this postseason. For cash games, I prefer him over Kevin Love, who is basically the same price. For tournaments, I would lean to Love given his high ceiling. Aron Baynes has scored at least 23 fantasy points in three of his last four games, but is no longer priced at a discount. Semi Ojeleye is an intriguing play on DraftKings. He basically needs five fantasy points to reach value, which is very possible if he plays 15+ minutes again.

Notable Injuries


Boston Celtics Offense

Points Per Game: 104.0 (20 of 30)
Implied Implied Team Total: 102.0 (1 of 2)
Projected Point Differential: -2.0 (1 of 2)

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 FP/Game Playoffs +/- Minutes Playoffs +/- FP/Min True Usage EFF DVP DRPM
Terry Rozier $12,000 $10,400 23.9 13.4 25.9 11.4 0.92 20.0% 21 18 22
Jaylen Brown $12,500 $10,800 25.2 2.5 30.7 1.3 0.82 18.5% 19 26 27
Jayson Tatum $13,000 $11,400 26.0 6.2 30.5 4.7 0.85 17.0% 28 26 21
Marcus Morris $10,500 $7,100 23.2 -1.9 26.7 1.9 0.87 20.3% 23 13 14
Al Horford $14,000 $12,200 32.1 5.5 31.6 4.2 1.02 17.8% 9 10 30
Marcus Smart $10,000 $8,500 24.3 3.2 29.9 1.3 0.81 18.3% N/A N/A N/A
Aron Baynes $8,000 $6,000 15.8 0.8 18.3 1.7 0.87 14.8% N/A N/A N/A
Semi Ojeleye $6,000 $1,300 6.7 -2.2 15.8 -1.3 0.42 8.0% N/A N/A N/A

Elite Plays – Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris, Terry Rozier (GPP), Al Horford (Cash)

Secondary Plays – Terry Rozier (Cash), Al Horford (Cash), Marcus Smart (GPP), Aron Baynes (GPP), Semi Ojeleye (DK)

About the Author

  • Derek Farnsworth (Notorious)

  • Derek Farnsworth, aka Notorious, is one of the most recognizable names and faces in all of DFS, thanks in large part to the great advice he gives on a daily basis in’s Grind Down for NBA and MLB as well as the First Look column that gives a preview of the day’s games from a DFS perspective. Before joining the RotoGrinders team, Derek received a Masters Degree from the University of Utah. When he’s not busy providing content, he’s dominating the industry as evidenced by his consistent top rankings in multiple sports. Farnsworth provides expert analysis for RotoGrinders Incentives members on a daily basis during the NBA season with daily videos for the Court Report and has also been nominated for five different Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association (FSWA) awards.


    Interview after $100,000 Win

    January 5th, 2012 Daily Fantasy Fix

    February 14th, 2013 Daily Fantasy Fix Interview


  • rsrunningrebels

    • 747

      RG Overall Ranking

    Will Greg Monroe ever see the court again?

    Hes $2000 on DK tonight. Guys are going to heckle me for asking this but Id really like to know.

  • Notorious

    Lead RG Expert & Contributor

    • 54

      RG Overall Ranking

    • Ranked #46

      RG Tiered Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    • 2013 FanDuel WFBBC Finalist

    @rsrunningrebels said...

    Will Greg Monroe ever see the court again?

    Hes $2000 on DK tonight. Guys are going to heckle me for asking this but Id really like to know.

    If you check out the game log, he saw all five of his minutes at the end of the game. Unless there is another blowout, I wouldn’t expect him to crack the rotation.

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