This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
The Heat and Celtics are deadlocked at 1-1 as the series moves to Boston for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. In this article, we'll take a look at the Game 2 results and discuss a more refined approach for playing FanDuel's single-game format.
For FanDuel single-game contests, participants are given five positions to fill. While two of them are normal (UTIL) spots, the remaining three allow for a multiplier to be given to the selected player. There are three tiers:
MVP - 2x
PRO - 1.2x
The common mistake made in this format is a lack of emphasis on the 2x player value and the over-valuing of the 1.2x multiplier. In reality, adding .2x to a player is not that significant, while picking the wrong 2x player will likely kill your chances of cashing. You can survive most misses at 1.2x and even 1.5x, but getting the 2x spot correctly is essential.
Unlike other sites, the salaries are not weighed according to the slot selected. All of FanDuel's salaries are static, meaning that no matter where you put a player, their value remains the same. This eliminates the challenges of CPTN format games where you must consider the overall value of the multiplied value as you fill a slew of utility spots. Instead, FanDuel's single-game contests are mostly about picking the top three scorers and rounding out the roster with two value utility players.
Below is the winning Game 2 lineup from one of FanDuel's most popular contests.
MVP: Marcus Smart 127.6
STAR: Jimmy Butler 61.5
PRO: Jayson Tatum: 48.6
UTIL: Gabe Vincent: 20.1
UTIL: Grant Williams: 26.8
Our Game 2 endorsements had a lot going for them, as we correctly predicted the best two utility picks in Williams and Vincent and favored the Tatum/Butler combo as well. Although we mentioned Smart's impact, our exposure to him wasn't as high as Robert Williams for the final multiplier position, and those who put him in the MVP position made the right call.
Teams playing against Boston on the road have faced a hostile environment all season, and I'm of the opinion that our build will be very Celtic-focused his evening. We can't stack Boston due to the contest's rules, but I'll be focused on giving exposure to our Boston elites when possible.
Jayson Tatum ($15,000) - MVP
Jimmy Butler ($15,500) - STAR, MVP
Jaylen Brown ($14,000) - STAR
Bam Adebayo ($12,000) - PRO
Kyle Lowry (GTD) ($10,000) - STAR, PRO
Marcus Smart ($13,000) - STAR, PRO
Al Horford ($12,000) - PRO
Robert Williams ($11,500) - PRO
Two situations stand out as question marks and difference-makers for Saturday's slate. First, the condition of Kyle Lowry is a major wrinkle to consider. We will have to wait and see if Lowry will take the floor, and if he makes it, my exposure to Butler (which is already adjusted down for this game) will drive down even further. The second question is Al Horford and his efficacy compared to Robert Williams. Right now, the veteran is $500 more expensive than his counterpart, so at first glance, it appears that Williams is the slightly better value. However, their fantasy totals were virtually identical, and Horford played five more minutes than Williams. If anything, we can surmise that Horford is trending up upon his return and Williams may be headed in the other direction. At the very least, we can cling to this theory from a GPP perspective and give more exposure to Horford in the PRO multiplier spot.
My MVP for tonight is Tatum by a mile. I like the play at home for the All-Star, and the potential return of Lowry would downgrade Butler. In 50 lineups, I would put the MVP split at 66 percent Tatum, 25 percent Butler and nine percent of other contrarian selections. I will still buy into the Taum/Butler combo, but not with the same frequency as I did in Game 2.
Tonight also signals a boost for Jaylen Brown, who I think is worthy of a return to our rosters in the home scenario.
There are also two outlier candidates to consider for the multiplier, although their salaries may be too cost-prohibitive. Marcus Smart broke the slate in Game 2, and although I don't doubt his impact, his viability holds the same concerns we had about Butler in Game 2, which is inflated popularity. Sometimes, the best way to get ahead is to fade the top performer from the previous game to avoid going with the field, and I believe that could be the case for Smart tonight. At $12,500, Bam Adebayo will be a guy that most people will overlook, and his graph hasn't shown many spikes in recent games, but he could sneak into the pro spot for a couple of lineups.
Depending on our multiplier bundles, we're looking at average salaries ranging between $7,750 and $10,500. The major variable is tonight's viability for Butler, and fading him gives you a lot more flexibility.
Grant Williams ($9,500)
Max Strus ($9,000)
P.J. Tucker (GTD) ($7,500)
Derrick White ($8.500)
The potential return of Kyle Lowry severely impairs Vincent's value, but if Lowry sits again, I have no problem going back to the well with Vincent, who would once again start at point guard. Most feel that Lowry will be back, however. His lower salary puts him into the mix as a UTIL candidate. the other major question mark involves P.J Tucker, who had to exit Game 2 with a knee bruise. At $7,500, his insertion is crucial to an elite-loaded multiplier bundle.
Although Vincent falls off with a Lowry return, I still hold steady on the Game 2 endorsement of Grant Williams as a top utility pick. He is a bit costly at $9,500 and posts a varying point differential game-by-game, but the home intangible still keeps him in the running.
The big question is whether or not you want to try your luck at fading Butler. If you do, players like Lowry and Grant Williams become much more viable. If Lowry is out, you'll be able to go lower with Vincent and possibly fit Butler back in. A mix-and-match between Horford and Williams is probably wisest for the Brooklyn frontcourt, and adding a little bit of Smart in place of Brown is also wise. A Tatum/Brown/Smart/Lowry/Tucker build is a nice way to go if Lowry plays, and if he is out, Vincent will allow for more exposure to Grant Williams or Max Strus as the other utility candidate. When in doubt, lean Boston's way.