This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
Monday's two-game slate begins at 7:30 p.m. EDT with the Celtics and Bucks tangling again in Milwaukee, followed by the Grizzlies playing on the road again versus the Warriors.
MIL (-1) vs. BOS O/U: 212.5
GSW (-10) vs. MEM O/U: 225
The Warriors and Grizzlies obviously beat the over in Game 3, and I think this is the spot in which you will find the most firepower. You'll see the Giannis Antetokounmpo endorsement below, but fading him in favor of a concentration of players in the second game may yield a more favorable result.
MEM Ja Morant (knee) - DOUBTFUL
Morant's absence is about the worst thing that can happen for the Grizzlies right now as they risk going down 3-1 in the series. Fortunately for Memphis, they have Dillon Brooks back in the lineup, but they will face a monumental task replacing Morant's output. We are going to address Memphis' concerns with endorsements later in the article.
MIL Khris Middleton (knee) - OUT
The team elected to move Bobby Portis ($5,700) to the bench in the last game, using Grayson Allen ($4,300) as the starter in a hybrid lineup. The result wasn't great for either player as they both had their worst playoff performances to date. Allen failed to score and Portis was in single digits for the first time since Game 2 of the first round versus Chicago. The low production is likely unsustainable, and as long as Middleton is out, I still believe in Portis' ability to put up a decent number.
GSW Gary Payton (elbow) - OUT
The elbow fracture may spell the end of the road for Payton this season, and as we've previously mentioned, Jordan Poole ($7,200) should see his already immense value trend even higher. Jonathan Kuminga ($4,200) will also be a key cog for the Warriors.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,300) is the only active player above $10k on Monday's slate, and it's very tempting to push the Lock button and crunch all of my lineups around him. As previously stated, my only hesitation is a desire to give a lot of exposure to the other game. His 42/12/8 masterpiece in Game 3 surprisingly did little to raise his salary, and it's still well below where it began in this series ($11,800). The team has had its share of struggles without Middleton, but it's Giannis who is deftly picking up the slack.
Even though Jayson Tatum ($9,900) looked like a shell of himself in Game 3, it's still prudent to give him some exposure, although Jaylen Brown ($8,900) is coming off a 27-point effort, which makes him a more palatable Celtic heading into Game 4. If the salary needle had moved for Tatum significantly after his 10-point showing, he would be a lot more appealing.
We would be remiss if we didn't fill out the bottom of this section with Stephen Curry ($9,400) and Jrue Holiday ($8,600). We mentioned Portis and Allen's struggles in Game 3, and it was Holiday who came through big for the Bucks as a second scoring option with 25 points on the night. Although the Warriors' offensive engine is massive with Curry at the helm, the $800 differential between the two players is substantial, and it may be enough to lower my Curry exposure a bit and give a little more to Holiday for salary relief.
EXPECTED CHALK AND OTHER TARGETS
What did I tell you about Al Horford ($7,400) in Saturday's article? If you followed me and played him, you may very well have cashed as I did in the majority of my lineups. Of course, his salary moved up after his 22/16/5 tour de force, and we can say with confidence that he can't sustain that kind of production. I'm mostly mentioning him at the top to horn-toot a bit, and he's no longer as viable with the salary boost. His popularity will also skyrocket, so he's now a borderline add.
Jaren Jackson, MEM ($6,900) @ GSW
The drama around Morant's injury may be a bit overblown because the Grizzlies went 20-4 without Morant this season. Their 152-point massacre of the Thunder comes to mind as a game in which the Ja-less Grizzlies looked their best, and many questioned if they were actually better without him. Game 4 will be the ultimate test of that theory, and Jackson will be a key element in deciding that question. His numbers have sunk a bit since his huge 33/10 performance in Game 1, but his salary has also followed suit. It's nowhere near the eminently affordable $6,100 it was to begin the series, but without Morant, his usage and points will climb back towards that Game 1 level.
Almost everyone of note had a huge Game 3, so it stands to reason that we'd give a hearty endorsement to the Golden State starters. Wiggins has 31 FDFP and Thompson eclipsed 34 FDFP in the blowout win. Expect the trend to continue here as both players should sport value-beating numbers. Draymond Green ($6,300) didn't make the list today.
Also consider: Marcus Smart, BOS ($6,000) @ MIL
Rather than listing these players individually, we are going to tackle the Morant question head-on with this trio. To begin, Jones has historically drawn the start in Morant's place, so he could emerge as one of the best values on the slate. For Jones to be worthwhile, he'll need to excel as a facilitator, so his assist numbers will be key to his success. That isn't the case with Bane and Melton. Bane finally sprung back to life with 16 points after two awful games against the Warriors, and if any player needs to wake up, it's him in this spot. Bane's usage without Morant is a little higher than Melton's and exponentially higher than Jones', so if anyone is going to pop it should be Bane in the starting lineup. I rank the guards Bane, Jones, and Melton third, although there's merit to utilizing any of them tonight. However, when you look at the usage changes and other metrics, they pale in comparison to...
Dillon Brooks, MEM ($5,000) @ GSW
The justification for Brooks' suspension is debatable, but you can bet that the Warriors will be keen to mix it up with him. They'd be wise to not let emotion get the best of them, however. Brooks actually leads the team in usage adjustment without Morant on the floor, and his salary is about as sweet a number as you could ask for in the player pool. As we said previously about the Grizzlies sans Morant, Brooks can take over a game when he has the opportunity. The team went 19-7 without Brooks during his extended absence from January to early March. which is slightly worse than their record without Morant. In Morant's recent nine-game absence, Brooks averaged 20.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists, but the averages are somewhat deceptive, as a few mediocre games brought them down. That span was peppered with several FDFP totals in the mid-30's and included one game above 40. The conclusion? Play Brooks.
Brook Lopez, MIL ($5,300) vs. BOS
Lopez is coming off his first double-double of the playoffs, so that gives you a picture of his output recently. He's far from a favorite at this position, as I think Steven Adams ($4,000) might be more intriguing, but with elites like Giannis, Tatum, Jackson and Curry enjoying multi-positional eligibility, I think there is merit to going cheap at the center position. In fact, let's just round out the center conversation with Robert Williams ($5,400), who managed 37 FDFP despite Horford's standout game. Adams' lack of mobility against the quick Warriors worries me, but Williams and Lopez are good options if you elect to take this approach.
PUNT OF THE NIGHT: Jarrett Culver ($3,500), MEM @ GSW
If the Grizzlies are down, you probably won't see much of Culver, but he posted a season-high 32 minutes and 14 points in Game 3. A lot of that can be attributed to garbage time as he closed out the game, but the depth chart should shift a bit due to Morant's absence, and that performance may give him a bit more run.