Evan Turner (FDuel: $3,500): When the playoffs arrive, it becomes more and more difficult to identify value plays because teams’ rotations shrink and bench players become less valuable. Evan Turner finds himself in a spot where he can really help us build quality lines. Moe Harkless has been inactive for the last 9 games and will still be inactive today. This has thrust Turner into the starting rotation. While Turner’s usage dips when playing with the starters, his overall fantasy production increases, evident mostly in his defensive upside through steals and blocks. In the nine games without Harkless, Turner has scored double figures five times, including a game against New Orleans in which he totaled 14/6/2 and far exceeded value. We project Turner to be on the floor for around 35 minutes today. At nearly minimum salary, Turner allows us the freedom to choose which upper-tier players we want to use.
Jusuf Nurkic (FDraft: $12,300 DK: $6,600): We project Portland and New Orleans to be a very fast-paced game, so you shouldn’t be surprised that we like stacking either team or both teams. Jusuf Nurkic is underpriced on DraftKings and FantasyDraft. He’s not a *bad* play on FanDuel, but his salary is much more appropriate on that platform. Nurkic tends to play better against bigger centers. He has monster games this year against Anthony Davis, Clint Capela, DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard. Over the last eight games, Nurkic has shown improved rebounding, pulling in .03 more rebounds per possession, which equates to about 2 extra rebounds per game when you apply it to his projected minutes. These extra rebounds give him extra cushion for the double-double bonus. He will be guarding Anthony Davis, which gives him extra block and steal upside because Davis will use a lot of possessions offensively.
DeMar DeRozan (FDraft: $14,000 DK: $7,600 FDuel: $7,000): Our final Must-Have of this Day 1 of NBA Playoffs is the sharpshooter from Toronto. DeMar DeRozan is very much a spotty player, but the spots he chooses to shine are almost always when he gets into a duel with an opposing shooter. We have really enjoyed watching Bradley Beal and DeRozan duke it out over the years. DDR has the potential to get hot and score 40 real life points in any game. DeRozan has averaged 34 minutes per game this season but we expect him to be closer to the 37-39 range today. Those extra minutes for a star player like DeRozan could be an extra 4 to 8 fantasy points.