This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
As we brace for a pivotal Game 6 in the Eastern Conference Finals, question marks remain for Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) and Trae Young (foot). Antetokounmpo is doubtful to play, while Young may have a slightly better chance of seeing the floor with a questionable tag. The injury scenarios make any prognostication a shaky maneuver, but we'll do our best to tackle the single-game format with avenues that include and exclude Young. For an in-depth look at various single-game strategies, read my recent article on the subject.
First, let's look at a winning lineup from one of the more popular Game 5 GPP contests.
2x Khris Middleton 123.2
1.5x Brook Lopez 86.1
1.2x Jrue Holiday 63.24
UTIL Lou Williams 23.5
UTIL Bobby Portis 45.1
If your lineup didn't include Lopez and Portis, you were likely locked out of a cash in most formats. This was easily Lopez's most impressive showing in the playoffs and perhaps the entire season. While we expected increased usage from Lopez and Portis in the backcourt, the totals for the two big men vastly outpaced their projections. The night definitely belonged to the Bucks, as the Hawks were never able to recover from a horrific first quarter. The series swings back to Atlanta for the potential elimination game, and a fast start for the Hawks is essential if they hope to survive for a Game 7. If Trae Young can make a return, their fortunes increase exponentially.
Khris Middleton, MIL ($15,000)
Trae Young, ATL ($15,500) - if active
Jrue Holiday, MIL ($14,500)
Brook Lopez, MIL ($10,500)
Bogdan Bogdanovic, ATL ($13,500) - upgrade with Young absence
Bobby Portis, MIL ($9,000)
Nailing the multipliers needs solid information about Young, so if you are playing tonight, be prepared for a pivot in either direction. If you go with the assumption of Young being active and rostering him in a multiplier, be prepared to swap to Bogdanovic and upgrade a position in the UTIL brackets. Conversely, if you eliminate him from your initial build, be prepared to sacrifice a costly multiplier and make some UTIL concessions.
Another explosive night from Young and Portis is certainly a possibility, and they both have merit in the multipliers due to their favorable pricing. Portis is so cheap that he is more likely to find himself in many UTIL builds due to the order in which the public values the multipliers. You have to consider him in the 1.2x spot because he may notch one of the higher scores of the evening.
When considering a replacement for Young in the multipliers, it may be tough to get away from the Bucks. Middleton is a lock, and Holiday is also a nightly consideration. Lou Williams ($11,000) is a cheaper way to go, but running with Bogdanovic is the safer option despite the elevated price tag. However, you're in for a disappointment if you hope to get your desired combo in the multipliers. $7,500 is about as low as you can go on this slate, so depending on nights from Portis and/or Lopez will probably be necessary for an optimal build. This outcome is especially true if Young is active. If Young doesn't play, we can add Bogdanovic into the mix as a third multiplier, and though it's painful to do, Holiday would be the likely casualty.
Because of the variables involved, Young, Portis, Bogdan and Lopez all have utility potential.
Cam Reddish, ATL ($10,000)
Danilo Gallinari, ATL ($8,500)
P.J. Tucker, MIL ($8,000)
Pat Connaughton, MIL ($7,500)
I found myself moving to Reddish and Gallinari often after a Middleton/Young/Lopez/Portis build. They become more necessary with Holiday instead of Young because we cannot stack one team in this format. None of these four utility candidates are inspiring, but they are unfortunately necessary to maximize multiplier value. You're going to find Lopez and Portis in these spots with a good bit of frequency as well, and one of the UTIL spots will have one of them in a majority of my builds today.
Once again, endorsing a risky play like Thanasis Antetokounmpo ($6,500) is only slightly worthwhile with a Young absence because you can then afford a build that involves Middleton, Holiday, Bogdanovic and Lopez/Portis. With Young in, the decrease to Thanasis doesn't do much for you.
Unique builds will also have a good bit of the yet-to-be-mentioned Clint Capela ($12,000). He took a beating in the paint during Game 5, and recency bias will make him unpopular, but he has a ceiling that can easily get to 40-plus FDFP. The big man should see an uptick at home. Kevin Huerter ($12,500) also has a bit of value, but like Capela, this is an Atlanta player that you'll likely add to avoid the prohibited Milwaukee stack in a Young absence.
As previously noted, we will see a lot of Middleton/Holiday/Portis/Lopez/______ builds today, but let's dig a little deeper into this build with Young in mind as a replacement for Holiday. Both Williams and Reddish qualify as good options to fill that void in a Young absence. It's a bit tougher if Young is in because P.J Tucker or Pat Connaughton can't make the build due to the stack restrictions. If I had to choose in a Middleton/Young/Portis/Lopez build, I would probably opt for Danilo Gallinari or Williams to round out the grouping more often in the hope of some minute limitations for Young.
Finally, the most obvious deviation available is moving Middleton off of the ever-popular 2x multiplier. I would be willing to switch to Young or Holiday for this spot, but you will likely be behind the field if you leave Middleton off entirely. I don't see many avenues where Middleton is out of the multiplier, but it's a handy diversification move if you are in MME mode today.