This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
Two elimination games are on tap for the Conference Semifinals, with both Dallas and Philadelphia fighting with their backs against the wall at home.
PHI (-2) vs. MIA O/U: 207
PHO (-1.5) @ DAL O/U: 212
Neither of these matchups has been overly productive from a fantasy perspective, so these meager O/U predictions make sense. Game 6 is a different animal, however. The Suns and Sixers are up against it, and we've seen the ability of both teams to generate huge numbers this season. Between the two squads, I believe the Suns have the best chance to even the series, so I'm targeting inspired performances on that roster.
PHI Joel Embiid (face) - QUESTIONABLE
Although he's listed as questionable, Embiid is expected to play as the Sixers face elimination.
MIAMI QUESTIONABLE TAGS
While Kyle Lowry (hamstring) will remain out, the numerous questionable tags on Miami's roster are phantoms. The popularity of Tyler Herro, Max Strus, P.J. Tucker, Gabe Vincent and Max Strus may dip slightly, but they are all expected to play.
Only Luka Doncic ($11,700) and Jimmy Butler ($10,500) surpass 10k in salary on Thursday's slate. No matter how many crunches I processed, I couldn't get Butler in any of them unless I forced an exposure percentage for him. On the other hand, Doncic's floor is a little more reasonable despite dipping below 50 FDFPs twice in this series. While it's foolish to use the word "fade" with either of these elites, I think you can win contests without them.
The first question to face is your usage at center. Fortunately, for us, the additional PF eligibility in place for the playoffs still applies to Joel Embiid ($9,800), Bam Adebayo ($7,800) and Deandre Ayton ($6,900). I can't justify adding Embiid at this salary despite the elimination spot, simply because Adebayo and Ayton sit at extremely appealing numbers. The $2,000 differential between Embiid and Bam is so vast, that it seems highly unlikely that the increase would pay off more than the point difference between the two players. Adebayo and Ayton are both quality additions.
The Suns will need inspired performances from Devin Booker ($9,300) and Chris Paul ($8,200). Paul's salary has dipped by $1,900 over the course of this series, and I finally think he's at a salary point where it's worthwhile to consider him again. His scoring production has been non-existent over the past two games, but you have to expect the veteran to play inspired ball in this spot. However, Booker has been more reliable against the Mavericks, and he's the perfect cash game anchor despite the lofty salary.
Also consider: James Harden, PHI ($8,900) vs. MIA
EXPECTED CHALK AND OTHER TARGETS
Tyrese Maxey, PHI ($6,500) vs. MIA
Maxey's hiccup in Game 5 was a bit surprising but not too much of a shock considering Philly's overall performance. Maxey crushed this salary's value in the first three games of the series, and if you trust the idea of a resurgent game by the Sixers, Maxey is a sound play. All he needs is a little more shot volume, similar to his 22 shot attempts in Game 1 of this series.
Jalen Brunson, DAL ($6,200) vs. PHO
The $500 salary drop is somewhat surprising, and it only highlights Brunson's value as an upside candidate. He only needs a bit more than 30 FDFPs to eclipse 5x value, and he's exceeded that number three times in this series. The Suns will be at their best defensively, but as usual, they'll be focused on stopping Doncic, allowing Brunson more open looks at the basket.
Mikal Bridges, PHO ($6,000) @ DAL
It's doubtful the Suns would have made it this far without Bridges, who has played inspired ball throughout the playoffs. His numbers don't jump off the page, and his playoff numbers are a far cry from some of his huge stat lines late in the season, but at 6k, he doesn't have to do much. I like him more as a GPP play, but the upside could be there as the Suns try to dig out of a hole.
Also consider: Tyler Herro, MIA ($5,700) @ PHI
Dorian Finney-Smith, DAL ($5,200) vs. PHO
DFS has been DFS gold at points during the playoffs, highlighted by Game 4 against the Suns where he couldn't miss from downtown. Finney-Smith's success is tied to his success beyond the arc, as he doesn't rebound enough to salvage a poor shooting night. If he can put together a night where his defensive play and shooting stroke are synced up, the team won't hesitate to keep him on the floor for max minutes.
Reggie Bullock, DAL($4,600) vs. PHO
His lackluster performances over the past two games have resulted in a significant salary drop for Bullock, so it's a good time to use him while his popularity is low. I wouldn't try to stack him with Brunson, but I wouldn't mind him with Doncic or Maxi Kleber ($4,500), who also has value at this low salary.
As has often been the case in this series, an unlikely value will pop out of nowhere, and it's hard to identify who it might be. P.J. Tucker ($4,500) could very well be the guy in Miami if the game gets out of hand. The same could be true for Jae Crowder ($5,100), who brings clutch playoff experience to the table. The small player pool requires that you take some risks, especially in tournament formats, so scour the 4-5k range and mix and match some of these bargains with your more obvious elite selections.