FanDuel NBA: Saturday Value Plays

FanDuel NBA: Saturday Value Plays

This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.

We have another single-game slate Saturday, as the Heat and Celtics face off in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference finals series. With Boston finding itself with its back firmly against the wall and Miami seemingly never out of any contest, the stage could be set for another wire-to-wire battle between two strong defensive squads that also each have a solid allotment of fantasy producers.

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 Saturday's single-game slate!

Slate Overview

Miami Heat at Boston Celtics (Projected total: 206.0 points): 

The Celtics once again demonstrated their ability to subdue the Heat for extended stretches in Game 2, only to fall apart when it mattered most. However, the two squads only combined for 107 points after needing overtime to get up to 231 in Game 1. Miami took a big step back shooting-wise Thursday, draining just 44.4 percent of its shots, including 32.6 percent from distance. In turn, Boston stepped its game up in that department with a 50.0 percent success rate overall, but their only slightly better 35.7 percent shooting from behind the arc also capped their scoring.

It's worth noting that when the Celts were in a somewhat similar position as they are now as losers of back-to-back games in the semifinal round versus the Raptors, they responded with adjustments that enabled them to hold Toronto to under 100 points in two of the next three games. Whether they can repeat a similar feat against a Heat team that has been able to seemingly score on them down low at will at times remains to be seen, but the quality of both teams' defenses does lend credence to the notion this total is realistic.

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): Despite both having what could be termed down games by their standards Thursday, Jimmy Butler and Jayson Tatum still shape up as excellent candidates for this 2x spot. Tatum's usage was considerably down in Game 2, but he still shot 50.0 percent, so a boost back to his prior level of involvement throughout the postseason run could quickly vault him right back into one of the top fantasy producers of the slate. Meanwhile, Butler still enjoyed a strong showing in Game 2 with 14 points and four steals among his contributions, but he was just 4-for-11 from the field and had his lowest rebound tally (four) of the last five games. As with Tatum, he still carries plenty of multi-category upside, having scored 48.4 or more FD non-multiplier points on four occasions this postseason already. Bam Adebayo, who's tormented the Celtics with his pick-and-roll game in each of the first two games, is also a consideration in this spot.

STAR (1.5x): The Heat's Goran Dragic has shot a blistering 55.3 percent on an average of 19 field-goal attempts per contest over the first two games of the series, so he certainly is worthy of considering for the 1.5x multiplier. The fact he won't contribute anything remarkable elsewhere on most nights – he's averaging a serviceable but unspectacular 4.6 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game in the postseason – keeps him from the kind of upside that would typically warrant a 2x slot. The Celtics' Jaylen Brown, who's shot 50.0 percent in the first two games of the series and 48.4 percent overall in the five games since his dreadful 4-for-18 showing in Game 4 of the semifinal round against the Raptors, is also essentially up there with Dragic for this spot. So, too, is Kemba Walker, although his shooting fluctuations (28.3 percent success rate from the floor in three games prior to Game 2) certainly give him more of an element of risk.

PRO (1.2x): There are several strong complementary options on either side that could be good fits for this category. Jae Crowder, Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro could fit the bill for the Heat. On the Celtics end, Marcus Smart may be the ideal candidate, as he's shooting a solid 45.2 percent over the first two games of the series but has averaged just 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists, which are well below his numbers in some earlier playoff games. Reportedly the most distraught of a shell-shocked Boston squad following the second consecutive double-digit blown lead in Game 2, Smart may come out highly motivated Saturday and benefit nicely from the 1.2x multiplier. Walker can also slot into this spot if you slide another player into your STAR position.

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 BOS (ankle) 

Hayward has been upgraded to questionable for Game 3 after putting in several recent practices. The veteran wing's availability, if it does come to fruition, would be a boost to the Celtics on both ends of the floor.

Romeo Langford, BOS (hip)

Langford, who was apparently in coach Brad Stevens' rotation plans in Game 2 before exiting early with an adductor injury, will not be available for Game 3. 

Other injuries to monitor: 

Javonte Green, BOS (knee)- PROBABLE 

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.K), with the latter notably having seen a $500 price drop from Game 1 despite posting a solid 34.3 FD non-multiplier points in that contest. Adebayo posted his second consecutive tally of more than 40 FD points in Game 2, while Tatum notably saw a drop from Game 1's mammoth 66.3 FD-point tally after logging his fewest shot attempts (12) of the playoffs thus far.

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 came through as a recommended value play Thursday despite a ragged shooting night, as his 4-for-12 tally from the floor was partly offset by three of those buckets coming from distance and a trio of steals, leading to 27.8 FD points. That tally was actually his lowest since Game 1 of the semifinal round series against the Bucks, snapping a six-game streak of at least 29 FD points for the veteran wing. Given he's a virtual lock for minutes in the low 30s at minimum and his price remains unchanged, he's once again under consideration.

Duncan Robinson, MIA vs. BOS ($8,000) 

Robinson delivered 29.4 FD points across 32 minutes in Thursday's win, taking all 12 of his attempts from three-point range and draining half of them. The second-year sharpshooter repeatedly came to a dead stop and hoisted up successful shots from downtown, and with 7.3 three-point attempts (out of 8.0 attempts overall) per game in the playoffs, it's likely a safe bet Robinson will continue similarly aggressive. There's certainly risk attached to Robinson – if he's having an off night, he won't offer too much in other categories and could end up with a sub-20-FD-point total – but his very affordable price accounts for the volatility.

Other value plays to consider: Marcus Smart, BOS ($9,500)

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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