(Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports via Reuters/Chris Nicoll)
Point guard: Chris Paul, Houston Rockets vs Utah Jazz
You know who really, really wants to get to the Western Conference finals for the first time in his otherwise storied NBA career?
He is coming off a big game in which he totaled 27 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in Houston’s Game 4 victory and has this opportunity to get this huge albatross off his career reputation and is not taking anything for granted after his Los Angeles Clippers blew a 3-1 lead to the Rockets in 2015.
His relatively low cost considering the money that will be spent trying to shoehorn Anthony Davis and/or Kevin Durant into your lineup plus a motivated point guard means Paul should be a good fit.
Alternate option: Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz @ Houston Rockets
With both Ricky Rubio and Dante Exum ruled out for Game 5, the Jazz rookie guard could conceivably play 40-plus minutes while being spelled in short bursts by Alec Burks. The increased responsibility of running the offense and trying to contain James Harden on defense have worn on Mitchell, but the added offensive burden also means added shots and an opportunity to have a potential 30-point, ten-assist night if it breaks properly, and he costs roughly the same as Paul.
Low-cost option: Quinn Cook, Golden State Warriors vs New Orleans Pelicans
The choice of Cook at the point guard position is because Rockets guard Eric Gordon is better utilized as a low-cost option at shooting guard or utility player. Cook made a solid contribution off the bench in Game 4 with 12 points on five-of-eight shooting while making a pair of 3-pointers. Considering the Warriors have won 14 straight postseason games, Cook could see extended minutes if this game gets out of hand.
Shooting guard - Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors vs New Orleans Pelicans
This a low-cost and high-risk yet potential high-reward play because this space thinks Klay Thompson is due for a breakout game to help the Warriors finish off the Pelicans. Thompson has gone 18 for 55 from the field in the last three games, including six for 26 from 3-point range.
In the four home games this postseason before going four for 20 in Golden State's Game 2 win over the Pelicans, however, Thompson shot 57.1 percent overall and made 15 of 28 from beyond the arc while averaging 27.3 points. At the very least, Thompson's low cost makes him a great utility pick.
Alternate option: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors vs New Orleans Pelicans
But if you want more of a sure thing that comes with a slightly more expensive price tag that does not break the bank, then Curry is your guy. He has averaged 23.3 points in three games since returning from a sprained MCL, and with Green serving as the hub of the offense, Curry is taking on more of a scorer's role since he has more steals (seven) than assists (six).
Low-cost option: Joe Ingles, Utah Jazz @ Houston Rockets
Ingles likely will be the second scoring option for the Jazz in Game 5, and he already has had two good games in Houston, totaling 42 points, nine rebounds and seven assists while shooting 66.7 percent overall (16 for 24) and from 3-point range (eight for 12). The Aussie has scored in double figures in eight of the Jazz's ten postseason games, and he should make it nine for 11 regardless of the outcome.
Small forward - Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors vs New Orleans Pelicans
In this edition of DFS, Warriors All-Star forward Kevin Durant is a very cost effective selection at small forward given the lack of options behind him. Durant has scored at least 22 points in every playoff game thus far and averaged 28.4 overall. Yes, the 3-point shooting has lacked at 28.1 percent, but since Durant is also totaling 8.1 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game, that can be forgiven.
And of the five players in Golden State's fearsome "Death" lineup, Durant is the most likely of the bunch to go on a personal scoring tear to pile up numbers.
Alternate option: E'Twaun Moore, New Orleans Pelicans @ Golden State Warriors
The least heralded of New Orleans' starting five, Moore has scored in double figures in five straight games, averaging 15.2 points while shooting 50.8 percent. It is also possible to slot Ingles here, but if you leave him at shooting guard, Moore is a far better option than Jazz supersub Jae Crowder.
Low-cost option: P. J. Tucker, Houston Rockets vs Utah Jazz
This is little more than a hunch play while scraping around the bottom of the barrel at this position, but Tucker did have 15 points and hit five of seven from 3-point range in Houston's first-round closeout win over Minnesota. He also has averaged 11.0 points and 6.2 rebounds in his last five games while shooting 13 of 25 from beyond the arc, so it's not unreasonable to think Tucker may make a contribution here.
Power forward - Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans @ Golden State Warriors
Even if Anthony Davis is wearing down, he will still give DFS players at least 20 points and ten rebounds, which means he is still the player to best build around on this day. Davis has averaged 29.6 points and 13.0 rebounds while recording double-doubles in all eight of the Pelicans' playoff games and even coming off a poor shooting effort last time out, Davis should be good to go.
In the six games following a sub-40 percent shooting night in the regular season, Davis has averaged 30.3 points, 12.2 rebounds and 2.7 steals while shooting 49.6 percent and hitting nine of 18 from beyond the arc.
Alternate option: Nikola Mirotic, New Orleans Pelicans vs Golden State Warriors
Mirotic is a feast-or-famine pick as a fallback to Davis, and the hope is his play from Games 2 and 3 of this series show up Tuesday compared to his play for Games 1 and 4. In the middle two games against Golden State, Mirotic totaled 34 points and 22 rebounds while making six of 13 from 3-point range and 13 of 28 overall. In the other two games, he totaled 16 points and 19 rebounds while making just four of 16 shots.
Low-cost option: Kevon Looney, Golden State Warriors vs New Orleans Pelicans
With the Warriors opting for a small-ball approach against the Pelicans, Looney has been a key member of the frontcourt rotation and has delivered over the last three games, averaging 7.0 points and 5.3 rebounds in just under 22 minutes per game. Like Cook, Looney has the chance to get extra minutes if the Warriors turn this into a laugher.
Center - Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors vs New Orleans Pelicans
For a frontcourt player shooting only 40.9 percent, Warriors center Draymond Green is still a must-play in DFS given his low cost in relation to his all-around numbers. He has averaged 13.8 points, 11.3 rebounds, 10.3 assists. 2.0 steals and 1.5 blocks in this series while taking less than ten shots per game. Green had 17 points, 19 rebounds and seven assists in Golden State's first-round closeout win over San Antonio and has averaged 14.8 points, 11.2 rebounds and 9.4 assists in their five postseason wins in 2017/18.
Alternate option: Clint Capela, Houston Rockets vs Utah Jazz
Capela is quietly producing solid numbers in the playoffs, averaging 15.4 points and 13.0 rebounds while shooting 63.6 percent from the field, but the wrinkle in him being a good second-choice option is his 2.6 blocks per game. Capela has swatted ten shots in Houston's last two games and has 13 in this series. He also has shot 50 percent or better in all nine games, making Capela a safe pick to produce in the pivot.
Low-cost option: Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz @ Houston Rockets
Since Jazz center Rudy Gobert is too expensive to qualify as a low-cost option, Favors is the pick here in hopes a couple of days of treatment to his sprained ankle has him feeling better. The injury limited him to 15 minutes off the bench Sunday, but with the Jazz needing every available body, Favors likely will get a few more minutes and possibly regain his starting spot over Crowder.
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