This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We're set for a single-game slate Tuesday night as the Bucks and Nets are back in New York for Game 5 of an Eastern Conference semifinal-round series that's knotted at two games apiece. After the Nets pulled a quick two-game sweep at Barclays Center to open the series, the Bucks bounced back to take Games 3 and 4 on their home floor and now face a significantly short-handed Brooklyn squad.
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 multi-game slates and top players inevitably headed for heavy rostering, finding value plays for the two utility spots is undoubtedly key.
Milwaukee Bucks at Brooklyn Nets (Projected total: 218.5 points):
The first four games of the series have finished with totals of 222, 211, 169 and 203 points, so this total is an interesting one to say the least, especially with both James Harden and Kyrie Irving confirmed out for Brooklyn. At least one team has scored under 100 points in each of the last three games of the series, and that's been with the Nets fielding a healthier squad than they'll have Tuesday. Brooklyn won four of five games this season without Irving and Harden available and Durant averaged just 34 points per game in those contests, but whether this total is reached or exceeded will mostly depend on how much support KD gets from his teammates.
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): Kevin Durant ($15,500) and Giannis Antetokounmpo ($15,000) are the clear top candidates for this spot with Harden and Irving out of the equation. Durant sports a 34.6 percent usage rate and averages 58.1 FD points per 36 minutes with his two fellow stars off the floor this season, and he's already averaged 53.5 FD points per game over the first four contests of the series. Meanwhile, Antetokounmpo is averaging 47.5 FD points per game thus far against the Nets while shooting 54.2 percent and putting up a diversified line of 29.8 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.0 block.
STAR (1.5x): Whichever of the two mega-stars mentioned above doesn't make your MVP spot is naturally the prime candidate here, but a case could also reasonably be made for Khris Middleton ($13,000), who bounced back from two poor shooting efforts at the start of the series to tally 51.5 and 44.8 FD points in Games 3 and 4. Middleton was much more efficient the last two contests, draining 47.5 percent of his attempts, including 42.9 percent from three-point range, while also falling just shy of averaging a double-double with 27.0 points and 9.5 rebounds.
PRO (1.2x): Middleton is the prime candidate for this spot, but two other possibilities are teammates Jrue Holiday ($12,500) and Brook Lopez ($11,500). Holiday has averaged a modest 26.9 FD points across the first four games of the series, but his averages of 13.3 points, 5.8 assists and 5.0 rebounds speak to the type of diversified production he could offer in a multiplier spot. He's also a markedly better shooter than his 39.0 percent success rate from the floor thus far against the Nets would imply, as he drained a career-best 50.3 percent of his attempts, including 39.2 percent from behind the arc, during the regular season. Lopez's offensive involvement fluctuates, but he's still averaging 28.4 FD points during the first four games of the series and always has the potential to record multiple blocks and boost his value in that fashion.
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.
James Harden, BKN (hamstring)/ Status: OUT
Kyrie Irving, BKN (ankle)/ Status: OUT
In addition to contributing to what should be a substantial usage boost for Durant, Irving's absence should lead to extra run for Tyler Johnson and James.
The two highest-salaried players on the slate are KD and Giannis. As already detailed in the Positional Breakdown section, each player has produced multiple elite FD-point tallies during the series, and each should see very heavy usage Tuesday.
With only one game on the ledger, Durant's and Antetokounmpo's roster rates should be through the roof, while the likes of Middleton, Holiday, Lopez and Joe Harris should also be very popular based on their roles and/or prior production in the series.
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:
Bruce Brown, BKN vs. MIL ($11,000)
Brown may be rostered less often than he otherwise would be after a Game 4 clunker during which he produced just 13.2 FD points over 21 minutes. However, Brown came into that contest averaging 27.7 FD points across 28.3 minutes over the first three games against Milwaukee, and he averages 34.7 FD points per 36 minutes with Harden and Irving off the floor this season. He's also shooting 49.2 percent since the start of the postseason and notched a double-double in Game 3 of the current series, putting him in play as a value option on a night when the Nets will certainly need him to be more aggressive than usual.
Joe Harris, BKN vs. MIL ($9,500)
Speaking of aggressive, Harris has at times produced some stellar numbers when cutting loose from distance, and Game 5 may afford him just the right environment for that type of performance. The sharpshooter has averaged 29.3 FD points per 36 minutes without Irving and Harden on the floor this season, averaging 3.4 made threes per contest along the way. Harris is coming off three straight sub-par outings – he's scored just 9.3 to 16.2 FD points while shooting an abysmal 29.0 percent, including just 30.0 percent from distance. Nevertheless, he did put up 26.4 in Game 1, and as he's proved this season and postseason, he has a ceiling north of 40 FD points if he gets hot.