FanDuel Single-Game Basketball Helper: Celtics at Heat (9/19/20)

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.

Celtics at Heat Overview

The shock of the NBA postseason has been the upstart Miami Heat, who are now 10-1 in the playoffs and sit just two wins away from their first NBA Finals appearance since 2014. Rumors of shouting and emotion from the Boston Celtics' locker room is understood, as this Game 3 is likely a must-win for them given that no team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit in an NBA Conference Finals series.

This has been a close series throughout, and with urgency certainly on the Boston side, their placement as a 3.0-point favorite on FanDuel Sportsbook makes sense. These two teams also continue to be slower, physical squads, as neither was ranked in the top half in pace this season, and so the 206.0-point total is accordingly low.

Injuries and What-Ifs

Andre Iguodala sat the entire second half of Thursday's contest due to back spasms, but he is probable for Saturday's game. Iguodala has been incredibly limited in this series regardless, as the former NBA Finals MVP is only seeing 11 minutes per game for Miami in the first two games. It is possible Iguodala could have returned last game, and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra just decided to shrink the rotation, as Kendrick Nunn also saw no second-half action.

For Boston, their rotation has been short since losing Gordon Hayward in the first round, but they may be welcoming the former NBA All-Star back soon. Hayward has been upgraded to questionable with his ankle injury after being ruled out in each of the first two games, and his presence would be a huge boost for the Celtics, who likely would just plug in Hayward into the minutes of Grant Williams, Semi Ojeleye, and other Boston pieces currently averaging fewer than 10 minutes per game in this series.

Player Breakdowns

At The Top

Jayson Tatum ($16,000): If a Boston resurgence is coming, it is likely on the back of their young superstar, Tatum. Tatum leads Boston's qualifying players in this series with a clip of 1.18 FanDuel points per minute, and Tatum has by far the highest ceiling on the Celtics given that he has scored more than 55 FanDuel points five times in the postseason thus far. Only one other player has done it once (Jaylen Brown in Game 6 against the Toronto Raptors).

Bam Adebayo ($15,000): This is a strange single-game slate for NBA, as usually there are only a maximum of three options that could lead in overall points at MVP, but there are six legitimate picks who could potentially do so tonight. At 1.16 FanDuel points per minute, Adebayo is likely Miami's top option to do so and second overall to Tatum in the game. Bam's 14 shots per game is up by four shots over his averages against the Milwaukee Bucks in the previous round, so the young big man is being more aggressive offensively, as well.

Jimmy Butler ($14,000): From a narrative perspective, "Jimmy Buckets" could always take over in usage during the fourth quarter for Miami in a tight game, but Brad Stevens has taken Miami's star out of the series thus far, as Butler has not scored more than 20 points or 40 FanDuel points in either game. His popularity will likely be lower for the multiplier spots on FanDuel as a result of that, however, making him an intriguing tournament MVP choice.

Kemba Walker ($12,000): Miami has elected not to "box-and-one" Kemba Walker, which is probably wise as to avoid giving wide open jump shots to Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum (looking at you, Nick Nurse). As a result, Walker, not Tatum, leads Boston in usage at 30.7% in the series. This makes him an enticing option given that Walker is just the fifth-most expensive guy in the player pool but has the ball in his hands the most on the favored side. He is likely best inside either the STAR or PRO section of a cash lineup.

In The Middle

Goran Dragic ($11,000): Dragic is the final option who could lead the game in overall FanDuel points, as he scored 45.4 FanDuel points in Game 1, but he is certainly a longshot to do so. Still, as Stevens has taken away Butler, Dragic leads Miami in usage at 27.3% in this series thus far. Dragic has shot a red-hot 55.3% from the field in this series, as well.

Tyler Herro ($10,000): If there is a terrifying statistic for Celtics fans, it is that the Heat won Game 2 despite Tyler Herro going just 1-for-8 from three-point land. Herro has bizarrely averaged 10 rebounds and 7 assists in the series thus far to make up for his cold shooting, which has made him a solid rotation component at this point -- up to 36 minutes per game against Boston.

Marcus Smart ($9,500): Even if Hayward plays, Boston's bench is not deep enough to see a reduction in minutes for Smart. What may be reduced, however, is the 23.5% usage rate for Smart thus far in the series. Still, he is the most affordable option guaranteed to see at least 30 minutes on Saturday, which makes him a solid "fourth" in a cash lineup. He and Jae Crowder ($9,500) are interchangeable based on usage, role, and an identical salary.

At The Bottom

Daniel Theis ($8,000): Theis scored more than 20 FanDuel points in six of seven games against the Raptors, but he has caught the defense of Adebayo. Still, at a rate of 0.18 rebounds per minute in the series and seeing an average of 33 minutes per game thus far, the German remains a threat for a double-double. If any of Boston's starters dip below 30 minutes with Hayward returning, it would likely be Theis.

Duncan Robinson ($8,000): The role for Duncan Robinson has been hot and cold, which makes him a tournament-only play. In three of his last five games, Robinson has seen 30 or more minutes, but he failed to see 20 minutes in the other two. Robinson is not good defensively, so his upside and playing time relies solely on his shot, and given that he shot just 27.5% from deep against the Bucks as well as just 28.6% in Game 1, there are more reliable options than the Heat's sharpshooter.

Gordon Hayward ($7,000): The man that makes the slate is the former Butler star. Any report of an exact minutes limit would be crucial information on this single-game slate, but my personal inclination is that Hayward likely does not return to a small, insignificant role and is likely close to 100%. This salary is far too low for Hayward in any decent-sized role given that he averaged 1.02 FanDuel points per minute during the regular season. If Hayward is announced active in a timely fashion, using him in cash is not off the table.

Key Takeaways

-- Volatility at the top of the slate is high, as six different players could lead this game in FanDuel points. Those six players all have a game above 40 FanDuel points over their last 10 outings as well as at least one game below 40 FanDuel points.

-- Tyler Herro is seeing 36 minutes per game despite shooting poorly, adding in incredible rebounding and assist numbers in that time as the Celtics continue to deny Jimmy Butler offensively.

-- Gordon Hayward's availability likely does not reduce minutes for Boston regulars, but it will likely take away from the Celtics' peripheral options.

-- Daniel Theis and Duncan Robinson have both exceeded 30 minutes in the series, and even with poor overall production, their playing time appears to be fairly stable as rotations continue to shrink.

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.