This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Basketball series.
This might sound like hyperbole, but this is the most important basketball game of the year! We have Phoenix playing host to Milwaukee in Game 5 of the NBA Finals in a 2-2 series. That means the winner of this game is just one win away from an NBA championship and the percentages show just how valuable this matchup is. In fact, 83 percent of teams who have won Game 5 of a 2-2 series have won that series. That's quite the swing, and it'll have all hands on deck for this imperative matchup. There's a lot to discuss, though, so let's break it down!
Devin Booker, PHX vs. MIL ($33)
What if I told you that Devin Booker is $2 away from being the fifth-highest-priced player on this slate? Yes, that sounds just as crazy to me as it does to you, with Book clearly being the second-best player in this series. That makes him quite the discount, and it's even more difficult to understand after he dropped a 42-spot in Game 4. That's pretty much the guy we've seen throughout the playoffs, with Booker scoring at least 39 Yahoo points in five of his last six games. As long as he gets the 20-30 shots and 40-45 minutes we anticipate, DB is the easiest play on the board at just $33.
Chris Paul, PHX vs. MIL ($32)
CP3 just had one of the worst games of his career in Game 4, and you better believe he'll be ready to bounce back here. Before that rare dud, Paul had at least 31 Y! points in every game dating back to Game 1 of the Denver series, generating a 46-point average in that span. That's a truly remarkable 11-game stretch from a $32 player, and it makes it hard to understand why he remains so affordable. In any case, we expect CP3 to play 40 minutes, take 20 shots and handle the ball on every possession, making him an easy choice in this price range.
Guard to Avoid
Jrue Holiday, MIL vs. PHX ($32)
Jrue is one of my favorite players in the NBA, but his shot is absolutely busted right now. You can see that by the fact that he's taking practice shots after every whistle, but he's still missing those anyway! The former UCLA guard went just 4-of-20 from the field in that Game 4 victory, giving him a 33 percent field goal percentage and 27 percent three-point percentage in this series. Those numbers make Ben Simmons look like Ray Allen, and it's clear that Holiday can't get out of his own head. He has still been producing from a fantasy perspective, but his ceiling is limited when his shot is that broken, especially when Booker and Paul are in the same price range.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL at PHX ($57)
We mentioned that Booker is the easiest play on the board, but we spoke too soon. Giannis should be locked into every lineup, guaranteeing DFS players 50-60 fantasy points. We're talking about a guy who averaged 54.3 Y! points per game in the regular season, which is actually below his playoff averages. He's been playing his best ball in this series, too, scoring at least 68 Yahoo points in each of the last three games. You simply can't fade that sort of production on a single-game slate, locking Giannis into the Megastar slot in every lineup out there.
Pat Connaughton, MIL at PHX ($11)
Since we've used so many expensive players, we have to ride someone cheap. Connaughton is the best option of the bunch, playing a ton of minutes off the bench. He's actually taken most of Brook Lopez's minutes, with PC playing at least 28 minutes in five straight fixtures. It's certainly not empty playing time either, with Connaughton scoring at least 19 Yahoo points in four of those. That's all you can ask for from an $11 player, and it's clear that his minutes and production are both trending in the right direction with each game being more important than the previous one.
Forward to Avoid
Khris Middleton, MIL at PHX ($38)
Talk about a risky fade! There are six guys above $30 on this slate, and you have to fade at least two of them. Middleton will be one of them for us because he's struggled to play at a $38 level for the last three weeks. While he was the slate-breaker in Game 4 with that 58-point masterpiece, he actually had 40 or fewer fantasy points in six of his previous nine games. You need at least 40 fantasy points from a $38 player to provide value, and it's terrifying that he's missed it at a 67 percent rate in that nine-game stretch. It's his shooting that's really letting him down, with KM shooting 42 percent from the field and 30 percent from long range in that span. It might feel risky to fade this guy after that Game 4, but if he struggles, you're way ahead of the field with how many DFS players will be using him in their lineups.
Deandre Ayton, PHX vs. MIL ($30)
There are only two centers worth considering on this one-game slate, and one of them is miles ahead of the other. Ayton is certainly that guy, developing into one of the most dangerous centers around in these playoffs. Despite scoring just six raw points in Game 4, DA still dropped 41 Yahoo points. Gems like that have become common for Ayton, with the big man averaging 42.6 Y! points per game across his last nine outings. That's a truly absurd total from a $30 player, and it clearly makes him the premium option at this position.
Center to Avoid
Brook Lopez, MIL at PHX ($20)
Lopez is a solid play, but he's going to be tough to fit in with guys like Booker, Giannis, and Ayton swallowing so much of our salary. What really scares us about Bro-Lo is his limited floor, surpassing 30 fantasy points just twice in his last 17 games played. One of those actually came with Antetokounmpo sidelined, which is scary since he hasn't cracked 16 Y! points in the last two outings. That's a good indicator of how much his stock is falling right now, with Bro-Lo playing just 40 combined minutes in that span too. That means Giannis is playing a lot of center minutes, and it's really limiting what Lopez can provide.