This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
With just one playoff game on the schedule Wednesday, FanDuel's biggest contest will once again have some alternate rules and regulations. Rosters will consist of an MVP, who scores 1.5 times his points, while there will also be a spot for a guard, forward/center and two utility players. In addition, salaries will be quite different as well, with the top option being upwards of $18,500. With a slightly different format available, let's take a look at who are the best candidates to roster Wednesday.
James Harden, HOU ($18,000): I'll preface this paragraph by saying I think it's also a strong move to fade Harden entirely because his price is absurdly high. If you do so, my second player listed here, Donovan Mitchell, should be slotted in as the MVP. That would also likely allow owners to slot in Chris Paul at the guard spot. However, I do think Harden will be the highest scorer overall on Wednesday, so it would feel wrong not to include him as an MVP candidate. Harden had 41 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and one steal across 37 minutes in Game 1, which was good enough for 61.1 FanDuel points. That number becomes even higher when you take into consideration the 1.5x multiplier for your lineup's MVP. There are a couple of cheaper forwards that I listed below that should make Harden's salary doable, so it's certainly possible to create a strong lineup with him.
Donovan Mitchell, UTA ($15,000): Mitchell struggled a bit in Game 1, finishing with just 28.1 FanDuel points. That was his worst showing in the playoffs thus far, with his next lowest score coming in Game 2 against the Thunder with 37.2 FanDuel points. That said, the Jazz really need Mitchell to step up and take control of this game like he did for much of the series vs. the Thunder, so I have no doubt a bounce-back performance is in order. The Jazz also seem likely to be without Ricky Rubio (hamstring), so Mitchell is going to have be a playmaker and will likely be the primarily ball-handler for much of the game. As a result, go ahead and fire him up as an MVP option in lineups.
Chris Paul, HOU ($14,000): Paul will likely be tough to fit in your lineup if you end up going with James Harden as an MVP, but he's still a strong play if you can fit him in. The guard position is severely lacking in high-upside plays, so I'm going to do everything I can to fill this slot with the Rockets guard. Paul did, however, have a tough Game 1, posting just 35.8 FanDuel points. That said, he has 50-point potential on any given night, which is especially intriguing for a one-game slate that is extremely thin on guards.
Eric Gordon, HOU ($9,000): Gordon is about as low as I would go at the guard position for Wednesday's slate. He had just 18.6 FanDuel points in Game 1, but did see 31 minutes and should see a hefty workload once again in Game 2. That sort of playing time always results in plenty of upside for a player, so the risk doesn't seem to be too great. Gordon is admittedly a bit of a one-trick pony and will need to be hitting shots in order to reach value at his price.
Jae Crowder, UTA ($8,500): The forward spot is where you'll find some value plays, which will allow you to pay up for guys like James Harden and Donovan Mitchell. Crowder, specifically, had a very strong outing in Game 1, going off for 21 points, five rebounds, one assist and two steals, which was good enough for 32.5 FanDuel points. He's certainly been an inconsistent option throughout the playoffs thus far, but at this price, he's worth a look in order to fit some higher-priced options in elsewhere.
Trevor Ariza, HOU ($8,500): Ariza, like Crowder, is priced at a very cheap $8,500, though he's going to see a full starter's workload, which is where the intrigue comes in. He logged a meager 11.6 FanDuel points in Game 1, but did see 33 minutes, so the playing time is there and Ariza simply needs to get hot in order to become a very strong play. In the Rockets first-round series versus the Timberwolves, Ariza had at least 24 FanDuel points in three of five games.
Clint Capela, HOU ($13,500): If you plan on playing a center, Capela is far and away the top option here. The problem is his hefty salary, which is going to make it tough to fit in the other two candidates I mentioned above in the MVP section. Still, if you're dead set on having a center in your lineup, Capela is the guy to go with. He posted 36.9 FanDuel points in Game 1 and throughout the entire playoffs, boasts an average of 40.4. The upside is there and Capela continues to be a near lock for a double-double on a night-to-night basis.