FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: NBA Finals Game 2
In a traditional FanDuel NBA lineup, you have a $60,000 salary cap to roster nine players. The salary cap is the same in the single-game setup, but the lineup requirements are different.
You select five players of any position. One of your players will be your MVP, whose FanDuel points are multiplied by two. You also choose a STAR player (whose production is multiplied by 1.5) and a PRO (multiplied by 1.2). Two UTIL players round out the roster, and they don't receive a multiplier for their production.
This makes the five players you select essential in more than one way; you need to focus on slotting in the best plays in the multiplier slots rather than just nailing the best overall plays of the game.
We got largely what was expected in a low-scoring Game 1, and we'll just need to tidy up a couple of items on the injury report by Sunday night to prep for Game 2.
It's not live quite yet, but I'll be watching the status of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who went to the locker room with a leg injury during Game 1. Denver won comfortably, so you'd have to wonder if they'd try resting him if there was any seriousness to the issue.
As for the Miami Heat, they didn't have any injury disruptions, but there's still one piece of drama. Tyler Herro (broken hand) could potentially return for Sunday's game in Denver, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
At The Top
Taking just 12 shots, Nikola Jokic ($17,500) still totaled 64.0 FanDuel points in what felt like a quiet effort. It'll be a mammoth upset any night in this series he's not the optimal MVP. The challengers remain the same in Game 2, though.
Miami has to be pretty thrilled to have just lost by 11 while getting a terrible effort from Jimmy Butler ($15,500), and increased production from him is the first step to competing in this one. Butler shot just 42.9% from the field and didn't get to the free-throw line with a usage rate (17.2%) that was miles behind his playoff one (28.3%) so far. You absolutely should expect a better night at the median.
Now, Jamal Murray ($15,000) continues to produce more and has a better shot to unseat Jokic than advertised. He added 10 assists and 6 boards to 26 points, which weren't a surprise on a team-best 27.5% usage rate. If it wasn't for Jokic's lethal efficiency, he'd be my process' top MVP candidate for the favored Nuggets by a mile.
Some might throw Bam Adebayo ($14,000) in this category after a stellar Game 1, but despite the playoff-high in points (26), he still finished third in FanDuel scoring behind Jokic and Murray. Butler should be more aggressive, so while Adebayo's open shots appear to be part of Denver's plan, the chances of him unseating all three challengers with a better effort than Thursday are slim-to-none.
In The Middle
For the fourth time in five games, Michael Porter Jr. ($12,000) hauled in double-digit boards, which has given him a bit of a floor as his usage has plummeted to 16.3% in the playoffs. It was 18.5% in Game 1, and especially as Erik Spoelstra tinkers with a plan for Jokic and Murray, I want to continue to buy MPJ's production. He went 2-for-11 from deep and should normally fare much better.
Aaron Gordon ($10,500) got off to a roaring start, but he produced just 9.4 FanDuel points in the final three periods of Thursday's game. He's still projecting to go under the radar in a full-time role, but the problem is that Jokic vacuums in a bulk of the paint points and rebounds he used to score in the regular season. He's best as a multiplier candidate in a risky tournament lineup fading "The Joker".
The middle got dicey in Game 1 -- only further inviting a stars-and-scrubs build for most lineups. The clock struck midnight on Caleb Martin ($10,000), who scored just 3 points in 24 minutes. Given Gordon's success with him on the floor, I don't see a major role for him moving forward like he held against Boston.
The opposite is true for Gabe Vincent ($9,500), who was the lone starter to succeed from three for Miami. He canned 5 of his 10 attempts from out there. Vincent has logged at least 31 minutes in six of his past seven games that didn't involve an injury, so he's really solidified his spot as Miami's point guard.
At The Bottom
I think there's an angle for Bruce Brown ($9,000) despite things not looking great.
Even with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($8,000) making an excursion to the locker room, Brown played just 20 minutes. He really suffered from Murray's hefty total of minutes (44) and is left to compete with KCP for the last spot. If KCP were to rest, he'd be the highest-drafted player on FanDuel for Game 2.
Caldwell-Pope, around the injury, did Caldwell-Pope things. He needed 36 minutes to post 12.6 FanDuel points, but averaging 23.6 FanDuel points per 36 in the playoffs, that game wasn't an anomaly as much as the low end of a realistic range of outcomes. Tread carefully around this chalk all series.
Vincent, Adebayo, and Butler are fairly set in stone for the Heat, but the entire rotation around them is fluid. Kyle Lowry ($8,500) outpaced all others with 26 minutes in Game 1 and played well, adding 11 points, 5 assists, and 5 boards in that time. It's hard not to lean on the veteran here.
Max Strus ($7,500) wasn't short on opportunity, missing all nine of his three-point attempts before being benched in 21 minutes. Duncan Robinson ($6,500) went 1-for-5 (20.0%) from deep and didn't fare much better.
Length and athleticism should be the adjustment for Miami moving forward, accomplished in two ways to me. Expect more Haywood Highsmith ($7,000) after he dropped 18 points in 23 minutes and closed the game, and Kevin Love ($6,000) could re-enter the starting lineup in place of Martin. Cody Zeller logged just eight minutes after greatly struggling with Jokic.
Oh, and FanDuel is ahead of us with Tyler Herro ($8,000). His salary has been bumped ahead of a possible return, but it's high enough that I'm willing to wait until the minutes would be significant enough to matter.