FanDuel NBA: Thursday Value Plays

FanDuel NBA: Thursday Value Plays

This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.

We're down to just a single-game slate Thursday, as the Heat and Celtics face off in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference finals series. If Miami's thrilling 117-114 overtime victory in Game 1 is a harbinger of the quality of what we'll be seeing between these two teams, we're in for a treat from both a real-world and DFS perspective.

With just one game on the ledger, we're dealing with FanDuel's single-game contest rosters, which are comprised as follows:

  • MVP (Garners points at 2x the normal rate)
  • STAR (Garners points at 1.5x the normal rate)
  • PRO (Garners points at 1.2x the normal rate)
  • Two Utility spots (Garner points at normal rate)

With the pricing also being different than in conventional FanDuel contests on multi-game slates and top players inevitably headed for heavy rostering, there are definitely strategic elements particular to single-game rosters. Finding key value plays for the two utility spots is undoubtedly important, as it enables you to fill out the multiplier spots with some of the top projected producers.

We'll proceed to examine the key injuries for the day below and will also break down the positional outlook, before reviewing possible chalk plays and some of the value plays that could help you round out your lineups with a couple of superstars.

Before delving into the slate, a reminder that FanDuel has reverted to its previous format of NOT dropping the lowest scoring in lineups after a one-year experiment with that feature. Therefore, it will be important to be prudent with each selection, as each player's total will count toward your final score.

Without further ado, let's dive into Thursday's single-game slate!

Slate Overview

Miami Heat at Boston Celtics (Projected total: 208.5 points): 

The two teams needed five quarters to total 231 points in Tuesday's Game 1, although the Heat had little trouble draining buckets from all over the court while posting a 47.1 percent success rate from the floor, including 44.4 percent from three-point range. However, Boston went through a similar phase with the Raptors in the semifinal round but were able to tighten up their defense each time, and they ultimately held Toronto to 100 points or less in five of the contests. Following their fourth-quarter and partial overtime collapse in Game 1, coach Brad Stevens' squad may be primed to tighten things up considerably Thursday.

Positional Breakdown

FanDuel single-game rosters don't have traditional positions that match those on a starting five, so we'll instead break down some candidates for the top three multiplier positions instead: 

MVP (2x): There are two prime candidates for this spot, one from each squad. On the Heat side, Jimmy Butler brings just the right profile, as he's able to stuff the stat sheet and is averaging 21.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.1 steals across 36.1 minutes over 10 playoff games. One of the most encouraging aspects of his performances is how he's been able to maintain a hot hand throughout that span – he's shooting 48.0 percent overall, including an outstanding 52.4 percent from three-point range. For the Celtics, Jayson Tatum has been Boston's most consistent fantasy producer throughout the playoff run. The 2017 first-round pick is averaging 25.7 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.0 steal across 39.9 minutes in 12 playoff games, eclipsing 50 non-multiplier FD points in half of those contests.

STAR (1.5x): The Heat's Goran Dragic and the Celtics' Jaylen Brown are strong considerations for this 1.5x multiplier. Dragic racked up 45.4 base (non-multiplier) FD points in Game 1, and he's exceeded 30 FD points on three other occasions during the 10 postseason games he's played thus far. For the Celtics, Brown has endured a couple of clunkers thus far in the playoffs, but he's still averaging 20.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals across 39.1 minutes over 12 postseason games. Brown is also averaging a robust 16.9 shot attempts per playoff game and has logged over 40 minutes in three straight, and in four of the last six. The Heat's Bam Adebayo can also be considered here, although he may have a tad more risk attached.

PRO (1.2x): There are several strong complementary options on either side that could be good fits for this category. Jae Crowder, Adebayo and even Tyler Herro fit the bill for the Heat, with Herro notably contributing a near triple-double off the bench Tuesday in a performance that netted 36.7 FD non-multiplier points. On the Celtics' end, after a dreadful Game 1 performance against the 76ers back in the first round, Smart has shot 37.2 percent from three-point range and averaged 15.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.1 steals. Then, Kemba Walker is also a candidate if you have tolerance for his inconsistent shooting. The veteran point guard has an abysmal 28.3 percent success rate from the floor over the last three games, but he's still averaging a solid 19.6 points, 5.3 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.0 steal in 12 playoff games, eclipsing 40 non-multiplier FD points on three occasions.

Injury Situations to Monitor

NOTE: Injury reporting is especially fluid in the NBA, where the status of multiple players can change during the course of a day. Therefore, although the following serves as a foundation for the latest injury report as of the time the article is written (usually late morning Eastern time), check back throughout the course of the day with RotoWire for the latest news regarding the status of all players on that night's slate. 

Gordon Hayward (ankle) 

Hayward is considered doubtful for Game 2, although he has been practicing in recent days. The Celtics are reportedly planning for a possible Hayward return later in the series. 

Other injuries to monitor: 

Javonte Green, BOS (knee) - DOUBTFUL

Chris Silva (pelvis)- OUT 

Elite Players

The three highest-priced players on the slate are Jayson Tatum ($16K), Bam Adebayo ($15K) and Jimmy Butler ($14.5K), and all have proven capable providing elite numbers on multiple occasions during the postseason. However, of the three, Adebayo may have the most variance, as he was under 20 FD points two games ago versus the Bucks over 30 minutes, and he also had one sub-30-FD-point game against the Pacers in the first round. The usage for Tatum and Butler seems a lot more locked in, making them both worth the hefty investment.

Expected Chalk

With only one game on the ledger, the trio listed in the prior section should be even more popular than usual. Additionally, important complementary pieces already mentioned earlier such as Dragic, Brown, Walker, Smart and Jae Crowder should also be heavily rostered.

Key Values

Note: On a multi-game slate, I typically try to highlight players that would be considered under-the-radar plays in this section. Naturally, with such a limited player pool, there will be very few low-rostered players that are likely to also be viable from a DFS perspective, so I'll instead focus on two of the best candidates to provide a strong return relative to salary for the two Utility spots in single-game lineups:

Jae Crowder, MIA vs. BOS ($9,500)

Crowder's price makes him a solid bargain, considering he's scored over 30 FD points in three of his past five games alone and scored 29.3 and 29.5 in the other two contests in that span. The veteran wing has had the hot hand from distance during the postseason as well, draining 41.7 percent of his attempts from behind the arc while averaging 13.7 points against the tough defenses of the Pacers, Bucks, and now, the Celtics. With a locked-in role of at least 30 minutes, Crowder should have more than enough time again Thursday to have a solid chance at offering a strong return on the four-figure salary.

Tyler Herro, MIA vs. BOS ($9,500) 

As mentioned earlier, Herro came just an assist short of a triple-double in Game 1, and he's scored 25.1 to Tuesday's 36.7 FD points in eight of 10 postseason games. The rookie sharpshooter is draining 40.0 percent of his 6.0 three-point attempts per playoff contest as well, and despite his bench role, he's logged at least 29 minutes and as many as 40 in each of those games. With his ability to also provide solid production in rebounds and assists, Herro could pay off nicely at just a four-figure salary.

Other value plays to consider: Brad Wanamaker, BOS ($8,500); Duncan Robinson, MIA ($8,000); Kelly Olynyk ($7,000)

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Juan Carlos Blanco plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: jcblanco22, FanDuel: jc_blanco22, DraftPot: jc_blanco22, FantasyDraft: jc_blanco22, OwnThePlay: jcblanco22.
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Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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