(Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports via Reuters/John E. Sokolowski)
PG – Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers @ Boston Celtics
This is a pivotal game for the rookie, who had more turnovers than assists for the first time since December 21 as he totaled 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists with seven turnovers in Philadelphia’s Game 1 loss. Simmons has averaged 18.2 points, 10.0 rebounds and 8.5 assists in this postseason while shooting 50.6 percent, but it also should be noted he has yet to register more than seven assists in any of his five matchups with the Celtics.
Alternate option – Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors vs Cleveland Cavaliers
Lowry had a solid 18 points and ten assists in Toronto’s second-round series opener versus Cleveland but did not get the all-important win. He is shooting 44.4 percent from 3-point range and has averaged 17.3 points and 8.6 assists in the playoffs with a 2.73 assists-to-turnover ratio, so if one values 3-pointers and assists more than Simmons’ all-around game, Lowry is as good alternative.
Low-cost option: Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics vs Philadelphia 76ers
With Jaylen Brown again listed as doubtful for Game 2, Smart should see a healthy share of minutes even if Brown does see limited ones Thursday night. While his shooting percentage was cringe-worthy in Game 1 as he made only three of 12 shots, Smart did finish with nine points and nine assists with three rebounds and one steal.
Shooting guard - Terry Rozier, Boston Celtics vs Philadelphia 76ers
It is unreasonable to expect Rozier to make seven of nine from 3-point range for a second consecutive effort, but it is reasonable to expect he will take at least 15 shots. Much the way the Celtics exploited J. J. Redick defensively through Jayson Tatum, Rozier did the same to Robert Covington in Game 1 as he set a playoff career high with 29 points.
Rozier has hit four or more 3-pointers in four of Boston's eight playoff games and is shooting 43.8 percent (28 for 64) from deep, including a torrid 12 of 21 in the last two games. He has been lethal from the perimeter at home, hitting 56.8 percent (21 for 37) in powering Boston to a 5-0 mark there while averaging 23.4 points and 6.2 assists.
Alternate option: DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors vs Cleveland Cavaliers
Except for missing all four of his 3-point shots, DeRozan turned in a solid all-around game with 22 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three blocks in Toronto's Game 1 loss. There will be more pressure on him to help the Raptors salvage a split of the first two games of this series, and that may mean him utilizing his mid-post game more since he has missed all nine of his long-range attempts in his last three games versus Cleveland.
Low-cost option: Marco Belinelli, Philadelphia 76ers @ Boston Celtics
Belinelli has averaged just 10.7 points in his last three games while shooting two of nine from deep, but he has scored in double figures in all six postseason games for Philadelphia, and the veteran knows he can shoot his way out of a slump after shooting into one. To a man, everyone on the 76ers should shoot better from 3-point range in Game 2, and Belinelli is the most likely of the bunch to have a big effort.
Small forward - LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers @ Toronto Raptors
This is what it has come to when dealing with LeBron James: He declared his performance in Cleveland's Game 1 overtime victory as "probably one of my worst games of the season" and still recorded his 21st career playoff triple-double with 26 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds.
James was irritated he was only 12 of 30 from the field, including three of 15 in the fourth quarter and overtime, but there is no good reason to exclude him from a DFS lineup. He is averaging 33.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.4 assists in the playoffs, and while his 3-point shooting leaves a little to be desired at 31.0 percent, James is still shooting 52.8 percent overall and is unlikely to shoot 40 percent again.
Alternate option: Dario Saric, Philadelphia 76ers @ Boston Celtics
While Saric has missed all nine of his 3-point attempts in the last two games, he might be the best candidate for a bounce-back game on the perimeter since he totaled 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists in Philadelphia's Game 1 loss while making five of 11 shots. Saric did average 18.8 points in their first four playoff games and has averaged 13.8 points and 7.4 rebounds versus Boston this season, so he may be due to make some noise.
Low-cost option: Kyle Korver, Cleveland Cavaliers @ Toronto Raptors
Korver again proved his worth on the perimeter, hitting five 3-pointers and totaling 19 points in Tuesday's Game 1 victory. The veteran swingman is Cleveland's best player coming off screens, and has hit 17 of 39 from deep in Cleveland's last five games while averaging 13.0 points. His willingness to shoot makes him a sneaky play for DFS purposes, perhaps at a utility spot.
Power Forward - Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics vs Philadelphia 76ers
The rookie Celtics swingman is a better fit at power forward versus small forward in terms of lineup flexibility,
Tatum has averaged 19.8 points in his last five games, scoring 20 or more on four occasions. He tormented 76ers counterpart J. J. Redick in Game 1, getting to the rim often while scoring a playoff season high of 28 points. He has averaged 17.0 points in five games versus Philadelphia, shooting 47.5 percent.
Alternate option: Al Horford, Boston Celtics vs Philadelphia 76ers
Horford matched a career high with 26 points on ten-of-12 shooting in Boston's Game 1 victory, but the potential for the 76ers to make adjustments to limit Horford's touches and the space where he gets them is greater than Redick's defensive shortcomings against Tatum, which is why Horford is behind the rookie on this pecking order. The other worry about Horford is potential foul trouble since Boston will need to rotate their frontcourt players in trying to contain 76ers center Joel Embiid.
Low-cost option: Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers @ Toronto Raptors
Thompson did something important for DFS players in Cleveland's Game 1 win; he showed he could have a similar breakthrough performance off the bench as he did in the starting five. The undersized center had 14 points and 12 rebounds, including a whopping nine on the offensive glass in his second straight double-double after being all but forgotten in the first six games of the Cavaliers' series versus Indiana. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to sneak Thompson into a lineup expecting some quality numbers.
Center: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers @ Boston Celtics
There were points in Game 1 where 76ers center Joel Embiid was simply undefendable as he tore apart Celtics counterpart Aron Baynes en route to finishing with playoff career highs of 31 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. After Game 2, it will be clear whether or not the Celtics will simply let Embiid "get his" and try to stop everyone else on the perimeter. If that happens, Embiid will be a must-play in DFS lineups.
Alternate option: Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto Raptors vs Cleveland Cavaliers
Valanciunas has recorded double-doubles in his last three games, highlighted by his first career 20-20 game in Tuesday's Game 1 loss, while averaging 16.3 points and 15.3 rebounds in that stretch. The Raptors are making it a point to get the ball inside to the big man of late as he has attempted 45 shots in the last three games, and as the biggest player on the court for either team, expect Valanciunas to continue bulling his way through the low post.
Low-cost option: Ersan Ilyasova, Philadelphia 76ers @ Boston Celtics
Though Ilyasova has struggled offensively and totaled 15 points in Philadelphia's last two games, he has also totaled 19 rebounds, six assists and three steals in those games. The biggest reason to take a flyer on Ilyasova is his perimeter shooting; it seems unlikely he will go a third straight game without making a 3-pointer as the 76ers make adjustments from Game 1 to Game 2 versus the Celtics.
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