FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Bucks at Nets (6/19/21)
In a traditional FanDuel NBA lineup, you have a $60,000 salary cap to roster nine players. In the single-game setup, the salary cap is the same, 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 select 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 to their production.
This makes the five players you select important in more than one way, as 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. Read this piece by Brandon Gdula for some excellent in-depth analysis on how to attack a single-game slate in NBA DFS.
The two best words in sports -- Game 7. The Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets have traded crushing blows back and forth for six games in a rollercoaster series, and it all comes to a head Saturday night as the first of two Eastern Conference Finals tickets will be punched.
FanDuel Sportsbook expects a close affair in what has been a close series, with Brooklyn just a 1.0-point favorite on their home floor. The oddsmakers are also expecting a slower pace with such high stakes attached to each possession, with the total posted at just 215.0 for a clash between two of the top-12 regular season teams in terms of pace.
Injuries and What-Ifs
The Nets' injury situation has been the talk of the series, as they were missing James Harden for all but one minute of the first four contests, but Harden has since returned without limitations in Games 5 and 6. It is now Kyrie Irving who is out for Brooklyn, as Irving has already been ruled out for Game 7.
With Jeff Green returned, both teams are at full possible rotational health except for Irving. Rotations are thin with everything at stake. In Game 6, the only reserves to play more than 10 minutes were Landry Shamet for Brooklyn and Pat Connaughton for Milwaukee, both of whom played 22 minutes.
At The Top
Kevin Durant ($16,500): It is tough to argue against Kevin Durant at MVP. Durant has a team-high 38.6% usage in the past two games, and the next highest Brooklyn player who has seen at least 20 minutes is at 16.9%. That made KD's three-assist performance in Game 6 somewhat surprising, but it was a game in which he still scored 32 points. The argument against with Durant may be fatigue, but in a winner-take-all contest, KD should empty the tank as the clear leader of the Nets.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($16,000): Over the past two contests, Milwaukee has had a much more even distribution of their offensive hierarchy. The Greek Freak averaged 1.63 FanDuel points per minute with a 32.6% usage rate in the regular season but has slipped to just 1.34 FanDuel points per minute on 31.1% usage in their past two games. Antetokounmpo is viable at MVP, and with just a $500 jump to Durant, Giannis is a pivot off KD in the MVP slot.
Khris Middleton ($13,500): Middleton, not Giannis, might be the Bucks' star to pair with Durant. Middleton was on fire from the field in Game 6 at 68.8% shooting, and his peripheral usage is getting better, as well. His 26.6% usage is not near as far behind Antetokounmpo's as usual. The bizarre element of his fantasy production in this series has been the 8.5 rebounds per game that have resulted in three double-doubles, but another heavy workload may inflate that total again, as Middleton is one of several Bucks' starters projected for more than 40 minutes by numberFire.
James Harden ($13,000): It is beyond encouraging for Harden's fantasy potential that he is at 42.0 minutes per game since returning. The problem, however, is that Harden is clearly not at 100% given just a 16.9% usage and 9.5 shots per game over the last two. That largely means he is spending a bulk of time watching Kevin Durant play basketball. Only the Nets' training staff truly knows what Harden brings to the table, but in tournaments, this salary has dipped awfully low for someone who averaged 1.63 FanDuel points per minute with Kyrie Irving off the floor this season.
In The Middle
Jrue Holiday ($12,000): Holiday paid off in a STAR or PRO spot in Game 6, as at only $12,500, he dropped in 49.1 FanDuel points. This salary decrease has far more to do with the fluidity of the salary pool with Durant rising like cryptocurrency, but it does technically slide Milwaukee's star point guard into the mid-range. He is the clear bronze medal in usage (25.6%) and FanDuel points per minute (1.09) for the Bucks, and there is no reason for his role to decrease in this one. His home might be in the perfect lineup in the STAR or PRO spot again.
Brook Lopez ($10,500): In the regular season, the fear of using Lopez was his playing time, but those concerns have not been fully alleviated despite Lopez playing 29 or more minutes in each of the past five contests. Lopez was hot and cold in Game 6, averaging 0.94 FanDuel points per minute in a solid first half, and mostly sitting on the pine in the second half, with just a 4.3% usage and 0.40 FanDuel points per minute rate in that time. Lopez has scored in double figures four times in this series and had double-digit rebounds in two games but will try to put both together for the first time in Game 7.
Jeff Green ($9,500): Green has totally engulfed Bruce Brown Jr.'s role, with Brown playing just 18 minutes the past two contests and serving as a total non-factor. The projection for his scoring production should be somewhere between his disappointing five points in Game 6 and his sensational 27 points in Game 5. numberFire has Green pegged for 14.2 points and 25.7 FanDuel points, which makes him very appealing at this salary. If you're is looking for a reason to fade him in tournaments, Green should be tremendously popular for someone with just a 15.6% usage.
Joe Harris ($8,500): When Tony Snell would laugh at your per-minute production, that is a bad place to be as an NBA shooting guard. Harris has played at least 34 minutes in every game in this series besides the Game 2 blowout, but his total FanDuel points in the series so far (88.1) is actually still considerably less than Durant's Game 5 total (96.4). Harris is a sniper, so he is certainly capable of scoring more than 20 real-life points if he gets going from deep. But at this point, he may not be in the gameplan given a 12.7% usage rate and only 30.9% shooting from beyond the arc in this series.
At The Bottom
Pat Connaughton ($8,000): Connaughton is the one flier on the Milwaukee bench who seems worth the risk. He saw 22 minutes in Game 6 but failed to score, and that's not unusual for Connaughton, who is now averaging just 0.45 FanDuel points per minute in his past two games. He is used nearly exclusively for his situational defense, so he is never going to have gigantic upside amidst a 9.8% usage rate, but the downturn in Game 6 could create some game-theory leverage for a guy who is on the court enough to accumulate steals, blocks, and other peripheral stats.
P.J. Tucker ($7,500): Tucker posted just a 5.8% usage rate and 0.43 FanDuel points per minute in the regular season when the stars actually shared the ball, so his upside is nearly nonexistent for a player averaging 29.5 minutes per game this series. The one facet that creates upside for Tucker is on the offensive glass, where he has averaged the most offensive rebounds per 36 minutes (2.52) on the team in the past three games. Brooklyn has been vulnerable in that area all season, giving up the second-most offensive boards in the league before now playing much smaller without DeAndre Jordan.
Landry Shamet ($7,500): Like Connaughton, Shamet is the only Nets' reserve who is anything more than a blindfolded dice roll. Shamet did play 22 minutes last time out but has held just an 11.2% usage rate the last two contests as a stopgap to get the Brooklyn regular starters some rest. There is always potential that Brooklyn chooses to play small -- in which case Shamet likely gets the nod over Blake Griffin. Given a choice between the Tucker and Shamet, Tucker should see far more court time to run into a couple more rebounds.
-- Kevin Durant's usage rate of 38.6% is nearly 20 percentage points above the next highest Nets player the past two games (James Harden; 19.6%)
-- Giannis Antetokounmpo's FanDuel points per minute is only 1.34 the past two contests, down considerably from the 1.63 FanDuel point per minute mark that paced the NBA this year.
-- James Harden averaged 1.63 FanDuel points per minute this season without Kyrie Irving and is the fourth highest-salaried player on this slate.
-- Jeff Green has absorbed Bruce Brown's role, with Brown limited to just 18 minutes the past two games.
-- P.J. Tucker is Milwaukee's best offensive rebounder per 36 minutes and is projected to see 35.1 minutes against Brooklyn, a team that gave up the second-most offensive rebounds during the regular season.
Austin Swaim is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austin Swaim also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username ASwaim3. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.