Sunday's NBA slate contains the first pair of conference finals Game 7s since 1979. Cleveland and Boston tip off at 8:30 p.m. EDT, with Golden State and Houston following suit Monday at 9:00 p.m. Read on to see which players are primed to help owners close things out on a high note and which ones should be avoided.
Stephen Curry, GS at HOU ($41): Curry's been a solid play since returning from his knee injury, scoring 41.2 or more fantasy points in eight of 10 subsequent appearances this postseason. There's little reason to expect a downturn from him in this deciding game, especially with defensively proficient point guard Chris Paul's (hamstring) status in question for Houston. In Game 6 with Paul sidelined, Curry exploded for 51.0 fantasy points – his highest total of these playoffs.
Jaylen Brown, BOS vs. CLE ($22): It you exclude his Game 3 clunker, Brown's averaging 34.5 fantasy points in this series. He's also scored more than 33.0 fantasy points in six of nine home appearances this postseason, with a hamstring injury playing a major role in two of the three games that saw him fall short of that mark. All the data on Brown this postseason suggests he's a great value at $22 for this home game.
Guard to Avoid:
Eric Gordon, HOU vs. GS ($24): Gordon struggled in a starting role sans Paul in Game 6, posting just 16.4 fantasy points. While the score-first guard does have two performances over 39.0 fantasy points in this series, he averaged just 17.1 in the other four games. Since Gordon's value comes almost exclusively from putting the ball in the basket with few secondary stats, his floor is much lower than that of other players in this price range.
LeBron James, CLE at BOS ($59): How can you go against LeBron? Even if his team falls in this road Game 7, James will almost certainly fill up the boxscore while playing a major hand in almost every offensive possession while he's on the floor. He's scored 60.0 or more fantasy points in 11 of 17 games this postseason, including 81.7 in Game 6.
P.J. Tucker, HOU vs. GS ($15): Tucker's combination of hustle and shooting has been extremely valuable to Houston this postseason, and he's shown plenty of upside for a $15 player with over 35.0 fantasy points in three of his past seven games. The veteran forward's ability to guard the perimeter and still clean the glass has earned Tucker oodles of playing time in this series, as he's averaging just shy of 38 minutes after logging fewer than 28 per game during the season. With a series average of 8.5 RPG propping up his value, its tough to see owners regretting a Tucker pick at $15.
Forward to Avoid:
Kevin Durant, GS at HOU ($46): Durant's a fantastic player, but the value just isn't there at $46. He's averaging only 2.3 APG in the Western Conference Finals, and Golden State has too many alternative scoring options for KD to live up to his lofty valuation with such low assist totals. As a result, he's yet to score more than 44.2 fantasy points in a game this series and has fallen shy of 40.0 three times. Don't expect Durant to buck that trend in Game 7.
Aron Baynes, BOS vs. CLE ($11): Baynes has been terrific relative to his price at home in this series, averaging 22.2 fantasy points in three such contests while never dipping below 17.7. At just $11, he's a low-risk, high-reward pick at a position with plenty of scarcity at this point, especially since Baynes' struggles guarding on the perimeter will be minimized with Cleveland's Kevin Love (concussion) ruled out.
Larry Nance Jr., CLE at BOS ($15): Nance is another player whose value is boosted by the Love injury, as his 21:34 of playing time in Game 6 was the most Nance had seen since Game 2 of the first round. He took advantage of that extra playing time with 25.9 fantasy points, but Nance had already been trending up previously with at least 21.1 fantasy points in each of the previous three games as well. Between his recent uptick in form and expected increase in playing time, Nance should be a terrific play at $15.
Center to Avoid:
Clint Capela, HOU vs. GS ($32): This highly anticipated Western Conference Finals clash has largely been a battle waged on the perimeter, and that style has minimized Capela's impact. He's averaging only 27.2 fantasy points through the first six games while topping out at 33.8. Just like with Durant, it would be foolish to expect Capela to reverse course in Game 7 given his pedestrian performance in Games 1-6.