The Cavs-Celtics series returns to Boston on Wednesday, and DraftKings will be presenting a six-spot Showdown contest as per usual. Both of these teams have proven that playing at home makes a difference come playoff time. Cleveland swept both games at the Q, while Boston is still yet to lose at home during the postseason. Now deadlocked at 2-2, the Cavs will be looking to break that trend and pull off a win at the Garden.
A key component to achieving that goal lies with LeBron James (of course), but perhaps the most important factor is his supporting cast. Any Cleveland player not named James or Kevin Love as a go-to fantasy play has proven to be a headache in the postseason, but Tristan Thompson, George Hill and Kyle Korver are now stabilizing in terms of usage, and posting respectable stat lines as a result. In order to field a successful lineup, weíll have to dip into this pool to stay below our salary cap.
On the Celtics side, itís anyoneís guess as to which team will show up. The Cavs arenít known for their defense, but theyíve managed to keep the Celticsí offensive attack at bay. While Jayson Tatum and Al Horford have taken a hit, Terry Rozier has re-emerged as a viable play, with Jaylen Brown showing up as one of the best-risk/reward picks on the slate. Itís almost inconceivable to say, but coming into Game 5 you may actually contend with less risk by giving the Cavs role players a closer look. With a starting five that could be all over the map, the Boston stars are definitely tougher to predict.
As far as the LeBron James question, his sky-high price of $19,500 is well-warranted, but thereís a $7,200 gap between him and the second-costliest player, Kevin Love ($12,300). With that being said, I donít see a way you can replicate what James brings to the table, and previous analysis of the showdown contests in this series has proven that the winning lineups are teams that go with James, the highest-scoring Celtic, and 2-3 Cavs who pop with strong totals. As Iíve noted in previous articles, the best way to maximize profit in Showdown contests is to play the cash games, as there will be ties at the top of the GPP contests.
Iíll now make two selections at each position with the intent of using LeBron James as my anchor.
Jaylen Brown ($11,800): Brown is the ultimate GPP selection on Wednesday, as his explosiveness factor carries some risk, but could reap huge benefits. Iím going to opt for more stable selections in cash games, but Brownís capability to jump-start his team kept them competitive in Game 4. He struggled shooting the ball, but his aggressiveness was nonetheless encouraging, and heís hitting nearly 43% of his threes in the postseason.
Kyle Korver ($4,400): Korver is a popular play, and itís no surprise as he has the ability to post a good number when heís shooting well. Although George Hill ($5,400) has awakened in previous games, I find it difficult to spend an extra $1K for such a volatile play. That extra cash could be a difference-maker for your other slots, and Hillís limited ceiling wonít burn you too much if he outscores Korver.
This spot is a little tough, and as a result I might slide Brown into my lineup as a forward, but it matters little since our slots arenít position-specific. Some of the best selections are guys with dual eligibility at forward and center, so the next two sections will cross over a bit. I find it worth mentioning that while I like Jayson Tatumís chances, $9,400 is a little too steep for me. I think his price will make him a fade for most, which could make him an interesting GPP play. Marcus Morris delivers the opposite effect, as his ownership will skyrocket with a $7,100 price tag. I donít find it too be a particularly worthwhile play.
Kevin Love ($12,300): Love had a mediocre outing in Game 4 but he has the capability to deliver 40 DKFP on any given night. If youíre of the mindset that the rest of the Cavs will falter, then Love has to be your best play, but if you opt for Love and James, youíll have an average of $4,625 left for your remaining four slots. That means youíd have to go with a few lower-tier Cavs anyway. This kind of combination hinges on a rout at the Garden for Cleveland.
Larry Nance, Jr. ($3,300): I think it might finally be time to give some attention to Nance, who proved to have some success inside in Game 4. With Thompson and Love manning the premier unit, Nanceís success hinges on how much opportunity heíll receive, but I think his ownership will end up lower than most. As I mentioned previously, itís a matter of selecting a couple of Cavs in this range Ė Nance could be that guy.
It pains me to say it, but Iím about to highlight two guys that Iíve been down on, but theyíve both managed to show up with decent stat lines in the past couple of games. While I think you can avoid using them in a six-slot contest, they are both reasonable value plays.
Tristan Thompson ($6,000): I know, go figure. The Cavs have found that putting Thompson out there results in more production inside. Perhaps running from the paparazzi has increased his stamina, but coach Tyronn Lue has expressed faith in Thompson and heíll see plenty of minutes on Wednesday.
Aron Baynes ($5,100): Not flashy, but cheap. Ok, so that sounds like an ad for Marshallís or Kohlís, but they do have some nice clothes there. Iím sure Baynes would rather not be compared to an inexpensive shirt on the sale rack, but the Celtics have found him to be a comfortable fit. Thereís no one on the court that shows more hustle than Baynes, and while that doesnít always translate to a big line, he doesnít have to do much to meet value here.