Wizards-Raptors (Game 1)
The dreaded Game One for the Raptors. They have not won the first game of a series since 2001. And this is their fifth straight season in the playoffs. They were the best team in the East this season, but this is no cakewalk. The Wizards have two All-Stars who can give Toronto all they can handle.
Build You Team Around
John Wall ($8,500): Wall was over 59 fantasy points in his last two games of the season. A knee injury cost him over two months, but he looked just fine in the last week. He didn’t play against the Raptors this season. We know Wall can raise his game in the playoffs. In 13 playoff games last season, he was over 40 fantasy points in 12 of them. If he’s healthy and playing up to his usual level, he’s the best player in this series.
DeMar DeRozan ($7,600): In four games against the Wizards this season, DeRozan was over 40 fantasy points in three of those contests. He changed his game to fit the new Raptors system this season and it led to Lowry being the more consistent fantasy option. But when the game slows down in the playoffs, DeRozan’s ability to hit tough shots are needed. Of the two Toronto All-Stars, he’s the more likely guy to go off.
Bradley Beal ($7,000): Beal was over 40 fantasy points in three of four games against Toronto in the regular season, but with Wall out of the lineup, that’s a bit misleading. Beal was hit-and-miss once Wall returned to the lineup, but there is no doubting his ability as the second option next to Wall.
Kyle Lowry ($7,300): Given that he didn’t have to go up against Wall during the regular season, Lowry was disappointing. He was under 30 fantasy points in three of the four games. We know the struggles of Lowry in the postseason. Is this the year they right the ship? Until it’s proven, it’s tough to trust him.
Risky But Rewardable
Serge Ibaka ($5,100): Ibaka saw his hot streak snapped in the last game of the season. That’s worrisome heading into the playoffs. He’s a streaky player and if the performance against Miami carries over, he’s going to be dead money on your team. But here’s the thing with Ibaka, while Toronto doesn’t have a ton of playoff success, Ibaka does. He’s been to the Finals. He’s been to multiple Conference Finals. He’s won a Game 1.
Otto Porter Jr. ($6,100): He went through practice on Friday and given that it’s the playoffs, he’ll likely give it a go. But be weary of the injury. He was great against the Raptors this season, going over 30 fantasy points in three of four games. But Wall being in the lineup takes away from his value and the injury issue is a real concern.
The Big Men
Markieff Morris ($5,200): Morris was over 25 fantasy points in his last two games against the Raptors. He’s likely to play 30-plus minutes and could see more opportunities if Porter Jr. is ruled out.
Marcin Gortat ($4,800): Gortat averaged 28.9 fantasy points in the four games during the regular season. The pick-and-roll with Wall is Washington’s best play and he gets spoon-fed plenty of buckets. He faired well against Valanciunas during the regular season without Wall, which bodes well for his value in Game 1.
Jonas Valanciunas ($5,500): Valanciunas wasn’t much of a factor against Washington this season. But Wall is more comfortable playing with Marcin Gortat and if Gortat sees more minutes, Valanciunas will see more minutes. He can be a paint scoring and rebounding monster when he wants to be.
Washington: If Porter Jr. is unable to play, Kelly Oubre Jr. ($4,900) becomes more valuable. That said, he did not play well against Toronto this season. Tomas Satoransky ($4,400) was good in his two starts against the Raptors. But if he’s not out there with Bradley Beal, that could be trouble against the Toronto bench. If you’re feeling frisky, you can always grab Ty Lawson ($2,500).
Toronto: The best bench in the league is led by Fred VanVleet ($4,500). He’s listed as questionable, so check his status before making any decisions. He was great against Washington this season, averaging 23.3 fantasy points in three games. He can take advantage of Washington’s poor bench. Pascal Siakam ($3,900) ended the season well, but didn’t play particularly great against Washington. The same goes for Jakob Poeltl ($3,800). Delon Wright ($4,200) will benefit if VanVleet is ruled out. Norman Powell ($3,100), OG Anunoby ($3,200) and C.J. Miles ($3,500) are all low cost options without much reward.
Wall and Beal are your safest bets. There is a lot of pressure on Toronto and how they respond to that pressure is anyone’s guess. There’s a chance they come out and make a statement. There’s also a chance they come out and lay another egg. If VanVleet plays, I’m confident in him leading the bench unit against the Wizards second-unit. Otherwise for Toronto, based on their playoff history and the way they finished the season, you’re risking things.