(Brian Spurlock, USA TODAY Sports)
There are three games in the NBA playoffs tonight, and the upper-level players are rather cut and dried.
Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden delivered 44 FantasyScore points in Game 1, and Cleveland Cavaliers small forward LeBron James posted 41.5. Both are must-plays. Washington Wizards point guard John Wall managed 31.5 fantasy points on a night that he shot just 27.7% from the floor. He, too, is a high-end player to target. Our focus is on the next tiers.
F Terrence Jones, Rockets vs. Mavericks
$5,400 salary | 10.8% of cap
Jones posted 19 points, nine boards and six assists in his efficient Game 1 for a cool 41.3 fantasy points. He presents matchup problems for a team that was among the worst at defending the four the last 10 games. Jones has nightly 40-point potential on FantasyScore at a midrange price.
C Tyson Chandler, Mavericks at Rockets
$5,200 salary | 10.4% of cap
Of Tuesday's centers, Chandler was the only player to touch 30 fantasy points in the last game with 11 points and 18 boards. He's averaging 15.2 rebounds per game over the last five, and he scored at least 36 fantasy points in four of the five. Chandler is the team's best option to clean the boards as PF Dirk Nowitzki has corralled eight boards in a game twice in the last 10.
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G Bradley Beal, Wizards at Raptors
$4,700 salary | 9.4% of cap
Beal appears to finally be healthy in what has been a season dogged by injuries. He posted 16 points, nine boards and six assists in Game 1 and has been hovering around 30 points on FantasyScore in his last eight games played. Toronto has been decent at defending two-guards the last 10, but Beal's uptick is worth the midrange price.
F Paul Pierce, Wizards at Raptors
$3,200 salary | 6.4% of cap
"The Truth" revealed himself once the playoffs opened with 20 points in Game 1. He was assertive on offense in his biggest scoring performance since Feb. 24. The team leans on him, because he's the one with the deepest playoff experience. He's one of the best gambles to make on a low-level player.
G Kyle Lowry, Raptors vs. Wizards
$6,300 salary | 12.6% of cap
Lowry was just 2-for-10 from the floor in Game 1 and finished with seven points, eight boards and four assists before fouling out. Lowry struggled with his stroke after missing a couple of weeks with a back injury by shooting 34.4% from the floor in four April tilts. He's always a threat to drop 40 fantasy points, but the odds are against it while struggling with his shot.
G Rajon Rondo, Mavericks at Rockets
$6,100 salary | 12.2% of cap
Rondo posted 15 points and five assists in Game 1 for a meager 22 fantasy points. That has been par for the course of late as he has been held under 30 fantasy points in seven of his last nine games. We need to see more before using 12.2% of the cap on him.
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