FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Suns at Clippers (6/26/21)

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.

Suns-Clippers Overview

If you are counting out the Los Angeles Clippers just for being down 2-0 in a series, the 2021 postseason has not taught you an important lesson yet. Los Angeles bounced back Thursday with a monstrous win over the Phoenix Suns in a game many expected Phoenix to dominate considering their lead in the series and the return of Chris Paul.

Game 4 takes place Saturday night, and despite the Clippers' strong performance in Game 3, Phoenix is a 1.0-point favorite on FanDuel Sportsbook. The total for the game has been set at 218.0, which is 5.0 points north of the average 213.0 total in this series thus far. Two of the three games so far would have hit the under at a total of 218, and Phoenix's pace has dropped to 93.67 in this series from their cumulative playoff mark of 95.92.

Injuries and What-Ifs

The Clippers would have loved a "what if" on Kawhi Leonard in this spot, but their star forward is already out of Game 4 with the knee injury that may very well end his season. Marcus Morris is also a game-time decision for Los Angeles due to his knee injury, which has limited him to just 23.3 minutes per game in the series.

Phoenix may dodge a bullet on the injury report on the other side, however. Game 2 hero Cameron Payne left Thursday's contest and did not return, but Payne is probable for Game 4, which should be a boon for the Suns.

Player Breakdowns

At The Top

Paul George ($15,000): What makes George the standout MVP option on this slate is not just his 54.0 FanDuel-point performance on Thursday, but more importantly, how terribly inefficient it was. George shot just 34.6% from the field -- and 27.3% from deep -- but still dropped 27 real-world points. George is now far and away the top option on both squads in both usage (35.0%) and FanDuel points per minute (1.20), and he may still not be as popular at MVP as he deserves to be because of his inefficiency and his poor Game 2 (39.2 FanDuel points). But Game 2 appeared to just be a blip, and George is averaging a strong 7.2 rebounds per game in the series.

Chris Paul ($14,000): Paul's much-anticipated return from health protocols did not go nearly as planned. Paul occupied a 25.9% usage rate and posted 1.09 FanDuel points per minute, so he was far from poor individually across his 39 minutes, but the effect of the usage drop drained the per-minute production of his teammates. He may be overlooked as a result of just a middling performance (or a potential rebound performance by others) but this salary -- and a potential STAR spot -- is justified for someone who averaged 1.43 FanDuel points per minute against the Denver Nuggets and may have needed a night to knock off some rust.

Devin Booker ($14,000): The fork in the road on this single-game slate is Devin Booker. Booker dropped 70.1 FanDuel points in a triple-double in Game 1 but has scuffled since the start of Game 2, and it could be a variety of factors why since they all happened within the same sample. The addition of Patrick Beverley to the starting lineup in Game 2 may have had an impact, and so could the broken nose Booker suffered as a result of Beverley in Game 2. Paul also returned for Game 3, and that had to have played a role, too, given Booker's usage decrease of 2.1 percentage points and his drop of 0.14 FanDuel points per minute when sharing the floor with Paul in the regular season. Making the crucial decision to slot in Booker in a multiplier spot or fade him altogether could decide one's fate in tournaments.

Deandre Ayton ($13,000): Although not quite the impact he had in Game 2, Ayton has easily been the most consistent star in the series. He has dropped at least 32.0 FanDuel points in all three games, and it comes as no surprise given his 18.9% usage in the series, which is slightly increased from his regular season mark of 18.3%. Ayton has succeeded regardless of the presence of Ivica Zubac, so the Suns' center should flirt with a double-double again. numberFire's projection of 34.6 FanDuel points includes a double-double.

In The Middle

Reggie Jackson ($12,000): The unlikeliest hero as "Robin" to George's "Batman" has been Reggie Jackson, who continues to just shoot the lights out. Jackson is currently matching only 2017 Stephen Curry in terms of volume and efficiency shooting this postseason, averaging at least three deep attempts per game with a 65% true shooting percentage. Of course, that means his fantasy production is likely to decline if his scoring does, but especially considering his salary neighbors, Jackson's 25.2% usage seems to be a significant bargain at this salary. That makes him a strong candidate in a multiplier spot once again.

Ivica Zubac ($11,500): Zubac won tournaments Thursday with his 15-point, 16-rebound performance in Game 3, but from a fantasy perspective, his minutes are far more encouraging. Zubac has now played 32 and 34 minutes in consecutive games, and that appears to be Ty Lue's adjustment to cover Ayton following Game 1. Any center averaging 12.6 rebounds per 36 minutes would be viable, but Zubac's 15.0% usage also tells us he is doing much more than standing around offensively, as well.

Mikal Bridges ($11,000): Bridges' Game 3 story was the most perplexing development to an individual player. Bridges was scaled back to just 26 minutes with no rumors of injury, his usual strong defense on an inefficient Paul George, and 62.5% shooting from the field -- and this was with Jae Crowder fouling out of the contest early. There is no realistic path that sees Bridges losing playing time in this series to Cameron Johnson, given both have the same set of weaknesses and inexperience, but the return of Cameron Payne -- especially with the Clippers rolling out plenty of three-guard sets -- could send Bridges to the bench in additional spots if Suns coach Monty Williams is so inclined.

Jae Crowder ($9,500): When Crowder fouled out of Game 3 after just 29 minutes, it felt like the unofficial end for Phoenix's chances. Still, the slight nod in expectation at the identical salary would favor Crowder over Terance Mann in this spot. Crowder was on his way to his fifth straight contest of more than 32 minutes if he got to finish the game, and while his 0.55 FanDuel points per minute has been dreadful so far, it is tied exclusively to his 31.0% shooting in the series. Crowder has attempted double-digit shots four times in the playoffs, and he shot 56% from the field against Denver, which means his upside is still there if he starts to hit shots.

At The Bottom

Patrick Beverley ($9,000): Beverley has been the largest benefactor of Marcus Morris's knee injury, as he moved into the starting lineup and played 27 minutes in back-to-back games. Booker's poor shooting likely means Beverley continues as his primary defender, as well, so he is the option below $9,000 who is viable for the Clippers. He is averaging just 0.69 FanDuel points per minute and a terrible 9.6% usage rate for someone with so little rebound equity, so personally, I think there are better options, but Beverley's 34.8 FanDuel-point outing against the Utah Jazz indicates a ceiling is there for tournaments.

Cameron Johnson ($8,500): With Crowder fouling out of Game 3, Johnson saw extended run, but he's shooting 73.2% for the series (and 60.0% from deep), which isn't going to last. Monty Williams might be wise to use the three-and-D wing more often than Johnson's 24 minutes in the first two games of the series. Johnson's total minutes load in the series (26.0 per game) is the highest among players below $9,000, which will likely make him the most popular option in this area. But his role in incredibly defined for cash games and enables a stack of George and a Phoenix guard.

Luke Kennard ($7,500): Even with big shots in each of the first three games, Kennard is mostly a punt and pray. In this series, 0.53 of Kennard's 0.70 FanDuel points per minute has come from scoring, so if his shot is not falling, he is at risk for a minutes total as low as the eight he played in Game 1. Relative to his salary neighbors -- many of whom saw fewer than 10 minutes in Game 3-- Kennard certainly has the highest prospects in this salary tier, but the top-shelf options are not defined enough to make going down to Kennard's salary a worthwhile endeavor.

Key Takeaways

-- Paul George is without close competition across both rosters in usage and FanDuel points per minute in his heightened role without Kawhi Leonard.

-- Devin Booker is shooting 27.0% from the field since the start of Game 2, which is when Patrick Beverley entered the starting lineup and broke Booker's nose.

-- Deandre Ayton has eclipsed 30.0 FanDuel points in five of his last seven games.

-- Ivica Zubac and Patrick Beverley have both seen at least 27 minutes per game since entering the starting lineup to start Game 2. Nicolas Batum, who was moved out of the starting five, has not exceeded 15 minutes per game in that span despite averaging 32.5 minutes per game against Utah.

-- Mikal Bridges saw only 26 minutes in Game 3 despite good shooting, great defense, and Jae Crowder fouling out early.

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.