This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We will tackle Game 2 of the Nuggets-Suns series through FanDuel's single-game offering today. Although we will touch on basic strategy for FanDuel's format, read my recent article for more in-depth analysis in building single-game contests.
Once we have a viable single-game torment to compare, we'll use it to analyze the best path forward, but for now, we will look at the top performers from Game 1 and go from there.
Nikola Jokic, DEN ($15,000) - 48.3 FFP
Chris Paul, PHO ($13,500) - 46.2 FDFP
Mikal Bridges, PHO ($11,500) - 44.5 FDFP
Devin Booker, PHO ($14,500) - 35.8 FDFP
Deandre Ayton, PHO ($12,500) - 34 FDFP
The biggest surprise from Game 1 was Chris Paul's performance. Whatever the training staff is doing to keep Paul's shoulder injury in check, it's working. With Paul playing at a high level, the Suns look more like the team we expected to see in the season's final stage. You could say that Phoenix lucked out by avoiding Anthony Davis in the first round, but with Paul guiding the tempo, the Suns showed their resilience against an arguably better opponent after a slow start to the game. Although I wouldn't exactly call him a surprise, Mikal Bridges kept his excellent postseason rolling. His injection of highlight reel-worthy plays played a crucial role in the Game 1 win.
Based on these facts alone, the players above are worthy of multiplier bids, but if you want to get unique and take down a tournament, the best way to approach the slate multipliers may be to focus on players who underperformed in Game 1. Nikola Jokic, Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker fit that bill nicely. At $15,000, Jokic is a big spend-up, but the 2x multiplier is a powerful tool that should be used for the presumptive MVP. Between Bridges and Paul, I expect Bridges to continue his steady play, but the Nuggets were caught flat-footed with Paul and will likely make some adjustments to contain him this time around. I'm thus compelled to make Jokic (2x) and Bridges (1.5x) the first two players to slot in, with a variable of Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton to choose from at the 1.2 multiplier. Michael Porter's ($12,000) back injury is concerning enough that he won't make it onto the multiplier and may be too expensive to get into the utility spots as well.
Based on our multiplier picks, we are left with a range of $9,500 - $10,500 per player to fill out the remaining two utility positions. Fortunately, we have many different ways to go here, thanks to a balanced Denver offense. In MME builds, you will discover several combinations of budget players that can fit the bill.
Porter's back issue thrusts these two players to the forefront. I've already expressed in previous columns how I like Green's opportunity in this series, but Millsap's veteran presence is also making waves in the Nuggets' frontcourt. The only drawback for these two players is that their reduced price doesn't change the landscape of available players for the final utility spot.
Torrey Craig, PHO ($7,000)
Certain combinations allow us to get Jokic, Booker, Bridges and Paul into one lineup by slotting in a final utility player at $7,500 or lower. Green can't help you in that build, but Millsap and Craig certainly can. Craig is in a mini-revenge narrative after playing for the Nuggets last season, and his increased knowledge of Denver's defensive scheme created some plum opportunities for him in Game 1. He mounted an impressive 24.5 FDFP effort in the win and saw extended use with the second unit. The Millsap/Craig question depends much on what we hear from Denver about Michael Porter's status. If Porter sees a regular allotment of minutes and can play through the injury, I'd be more inclined to head in Craig's direction.
UNIQUE UTILITY BUILDS
There are always unique paths to take in single-game contests. I think the most interesting contrarian plays involve fading a prominent player to make room for a less-obvious multiplier candidate. For example, let's assume that your projections indicate an off game for Paul, Bridges or Ayton. Subbing in JaMychal Green for one of them will still allow for the non-subbed player as well as candidates in the $12k range like Aaron Gordon ($10,500), Facundo Campazzo ($9,500) and Monte Morris ($11,000). At $9,500, I like Campazzo's chances the best, as his upside performance (30.8 FDFP) in Game 1 is the kind of value we look for when filling out the utility spots. To go even more contrarian, slotting Campazzo or Green in the 1.2 multiplier isn't a bad call either.