FanDuel Daily Fantasy Helper: NBA Finals Game 1
If you're new to daily fantasy basketball -- maybe you started your DFS journey during the MLB or NFL seasons, or maybe basketball is your sport and this will be your first year giving it a shot -- you're in for a treat. The NBA scene changes on a week-to-week, day-to-day, and -- depending on injury news -- even a minute-to-minute basis, making every slate a unique one that requires an ever-changing approach -- and that's especially the case now.
With so much changing so quickly, we're here with plenty of tools to help you out. We have daily projections, a matchup heat map, a lineup optimizer, and a bunch of other great resources to help give you an edge.
Daily fantasy NBA is very reliant on opportunity, so you'll need to make sure that you're up-to-date with key injuries. Our projections update up until tip-off to reflect current news, we have player news updates, and the FanDuel Scout app will send push notifications for pressing updates regarding your players.
We'll also be coming at you with this primer every day, breaking down a few of the day's top plays at each position.
Anthony Davis ($14,500), LeBron James ($15,500), Jimmy Butler ($14,000), and Bam Adebayo ($13,500) -- those are the four players with a ceiling projection greater than 50 FanDuel points. The next closest player is well below 40.0, so we'll focus on those four, for now.
I'd have a really hard time passing on LeBron in Game 1 of the Finals. In 49 career Finals games, James averages 28.2 points, 10 rebounds, 7.7 assists, and 2.7 steals plus blocks -- including turnovers, that comes out to an average of 55.9 FanDuel points per game. Just nuts. In this postseason, LeBron has had seven games with at least 62.4 FanDuel points, as well as three more with 52.5-plus. That means he's had at least 52.5 in two-thirds of his playoff outings this season. Constructing your lineup without James in your MVP spot is a risky ploy.
Of course, you can just as easily go with LeBron's running-mate, Anthony Davis. Davis has not topped 53.0 FanDuel points in any of his last nine games, though he did have two performances with more than 60.0 in the first round against the Portland Trail Blazers. Guarding big men has been one of Miami's few "weaknesses" in the bubble. They've surrendered 94.1 FanDuel points per game to opposing power forwards and centers in the bubble, which is 11.0 more than the Lakers have allowed.
On that note, this matchup has the potential to be tough on Adebayo. The Lakers have consistently been stingy to opposing frontcourts. Nikola Jokic was able to break through against their interior wall once in the Conference Finals (60.7 points in Game 2), though even he averaged just 38.0 FanDuel points in the other four contests. Bam had outputs of 59.7 and 57.3 in two of the six games against the Boston Celtics, though this matchup is far more brutal.
Butler hasn't exceeded 44.3 FanDuel points in any of his last eight. Our model has Butler as the worst value of the four studs. He has dropped 51.6 and 53.8 FanDuel points in two of his three Game 1s this postseason, so that's just something to keep in mind.
Rostering Goran Dragic ($10,500) in one of the top three spots is an interesting way to differentiate a lineup. Dragic has had four games with at least 40.7 FanDuel points this postseason, and point guard is the position the Lakers have allowed the most fantasy points to in the bubble.
If we're going to roster the studs, we're going to have to spend down at some of the utility spots -- there are a few options to focus on.
Alex Caruso ($7,000) has averaged 24.1 minutes per contest this postseason, and he's had six efforts with at least 22.4 FanDuel points. He's a good filler.
At just $500 more, Andre Iguodala ($7,500) could return value as well. Iguodala played 27.3, 19.5, and 27.6 minutes in the final three games against Boston, and he has plenty of experience facing LeBron in the Finals. As an added bonus, he's not likely to be highly-rostered.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($8,500) comes in under $9.0K despite the fact that he's seeing a bunch of minutes. KCP has seen at least 25.1 minutes in 13 of the 15 postseason contests. He's posted 20-plus fantasy points just four times in those 15 contests, so his floor is low.
Jae Crowder ($9,500) is seeing big minutes for Miami, and he's had 27.8 or more FanDuel points in 8 of his last 10. You can save $500 by pivoting to Duncan Robinson ($9,000), though his floor/ceiling combo is much lower.
Tyler Herro ($11,000) has totaled 34.8 or more FanDuel points in four of his last seven contests, though I prefer Dragic at a $500 discount.
Finally, Dwight Howard ($8,000) recorded 26.6, 29.7, and 23.8 fantasy points in three of the five games against Denver, though he managed just 18.6 combined in the other two games. At his salary, he's purely a dart throw.