This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
This marks one of my final articles of the season and I'm so happy that we got back to basketball and everything went smoothly. It's been a great season to get to this point and I want to thank all of you for reading throughout the year. We're finally in the NBA Finals after a season that's gone on for nearly a year and it'll be fascinating to see who's crowned in about a week. Without further ado, let's go ahead and talk about this critical Game 2.
Miami Heat vs. Los Angeles Lakers: LA enters as a 9.5-point favorite, with the total sitting at 217. This spread has gone up 2.5 points since all of Miami's injuries.
Game 1 was an ugly outing, with Los Angeles winning in dominating fashion. The 116-98 scoreline isn't even indicative of how lopsided it was, with the Lakers leading by 32 points at times in the third quarter. Where they really dominated the Heat was through the boards, outrebounding Miami 54-36. That's what size can give you and it appears the Heat are outmatched in this department - and many others.
These teams played twice during the regular season, with the Lakers prevailing in both outings.
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): There are really only two options here and you know who they are. It's Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Both averaged over 50 FD points per game in the regular season and have nearly matched their regular season averages during the playoffs. Davis appears to be the one with the better matchup having collected 34 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three blocks in Game 1. That's all you can hope for from your MVP and it's scary to think he's regularly doing that and gets to face a Miami team without their center.
STAR (1.5x): If we like AD for that MVP slot, you know where we're going here. LeBron James is simply the best player of our generation and it's amazing how special he is in games like this. In 51 career NBA Finals games, James is averaging 28.2 points, 10.1 rebounds, 7.8 assists, 1.7 steals and 0.9 blocks per game. That's obviously absurd and he looked just as solid in Game 1 by finishing with 25 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists. Just use these two at these spots and build from there.
PRO (1.2x): You can't go wrong with Jimmy Butler here, but it's going to be hard to fit him in with so much salary being taken up by James and Davis. He's still worth trying to squeeze in though, as he'll likely handle the ball for Miami with Goran Dragic likely missing this game. That and playing 40-plus minutes is a recipe for success. Other guys worth considering here include Rajon Rondo, Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn. Both Herro and Nunn could play much bigger roles with Dragic sidelined and Rondo has been regularly dropping 25-plus FD points in every game since his return.
UTIL: You can go a lot of directions with this slot. Nunn represents the best value and likely starts in place of Dragic. He provided 27 FanDuel points in Game 1 across only 19 minutes of play and was one of the NBA's best rookies before all the other Miami players broke out. Other great values include Jae Crowder, Andre Iguodala, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kelly Olynyk.
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 day with RotoWire for the latest news regarding the status of all players on that night's slate.
Goran Dragic (MIA)
Dragic suffered a torn plantar fascia injury in Game 1. That means it's unlikely he'll play here and likely won't be very effective even if he does. That may force either Tyler Herro or Kendrick Nunn into the starting lineup.
Bam Adebayo (MIA)
Adebayo suffered a shoulder injury in Game 1. He enters this matchup with a doubtful tag and it seems unlikely he'll play. Look for Kelly Olynyk to play a much bigger role if Adebayo is ruled out.
Dion Waiters (LAL)
Waiters is questionable with a groin issue but hasn't been part of the rotation anyway. He'll get his ring either way.
We already discussed the exploits of LeBron James and Anthony Davis earlier on, as these two are the elite player on any slate. Even more so here, simply because they're looking at more usage and minutes in the NBA Finals. Don't forget about Miami's best player though, with Jimmy Butler running things for them. The only issue with that is the fact you probably can't squeeze all three of these guys into your lineup, leaving you just $8K per player with those three. In any case, there's a ton of value, so that might be the optimal strategy.
It's pretty obvious James and Davis will be in every lineup, and rightfully so. That means you need to find some value and that's going to lead to Kendrick Nunn, Jae Crowder, Alex Caruso and Tyler Herro to be in plenty of lineups. If Kelly Olynyk starts for Bam, look for him to be rostered everywhere. Nunn is the best bet to be in most lineups.
Jae Crowder, MIA ($9,500)
Crowder was one of many players who did nothing for Miami in Game 1, but that's certainly not the norm. The reason I like him is due to his sky-high floor. Before that ugly blowout, Crowder produced at least 28 FD points in eight of his previous 10 games while averaging 28.2 fantasy points during that span. It's really no surprise when you see his 34 minutes played, making him a good bet to reach 40 minutes in this critical Game 2. All of that is hard to find from someone below $10K.
Kendrick Nunn, MIA ($6,500)
If Dragic is out, Nunn comes in as the best play on the board. The one issue is that he'll be in everyone's lineup, but also should be. Dunn actually dropped 27 FanDuel points across 19 minutes in Game 1 after filling in for the injured Dragic. That's on par with what we saw earlier in the season, when he averaged 27 fantasy points per game across 31.3 minutes in his first 28 games. Many of those were ones Dragic missed and it's clear Nunn will fill most of his minutes. That makes this $6,500 price tag crazy, making him the free square of the day.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, LAL ($8,500)
If you read my Denver-Los Angeles articles, you definitely profited from this recommendation. Let me start things off by asking a question: Who plays the third-most minutes on the Lakers? Yes, it's KCP. The wingman is averaging about 30 minutes a game and that alone makes him a good value at this dirt-cheap salary. He's also been solid in those minutes, scoring at least 19 FanDuel points in five of his last six games. That's all you can ask for from an $8,500 player.