This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
The Miami Heat hit the record books in Game 4, but not the kind of achievement you want to write home about. The Heat's starting five netted only 18 points, the worst result for a starting lineup since 1970. It's a testament to Boston's smothering defense. Can Miami win another game? Can we trust anyone on the Heat roster for a single-game contest? The rules dictate that we must field players from both teams, so we aren't left with much choice.
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, all while staying under the salary cap.
We usually take a look at a winning lineup from Game 4 here, but since I was unable to spread any games for Game 4, we don't have optimal lineup data to display. Suffice it to say, it was a banner day for a Boston layout, and if you managed to find your way to Victor Oladipo, you found your way to the only Heat player worth rostering.
As far as injuries go for Game 5, Miami continues to load their injury report with players who end up playing, although Tyler Herro (groin) did not take the floor and remains the most likely Heat player to miss. Oladipo's play might convince the Heat to rest Lowry, but it's doubtful that any Heat player will sit. They need all hands on deck. Boston's injury situation is a bit muddy, but the team is optimistic that Marcus Smart (ankle) can return to action after missing Game 4. Robert Williams (knee) is also on the injury report, and although we can put a little more trust in Boston's injury reporting, it seems likely that Williams will play through his knee injury.
Jayson Tatum ($15,500) - MVP, STAR
Jaylen Brown ($14,000) - STAR, PRO
Jimmy Butler ($15,000) - PRO
Marcus Smart ($12,500) - STAR, PRO (if he plays)
Al Horford ($12,000) - MVP, STAR, PRO
Robert Williams ($11,000) - STAR, PRO
If Smart misses, Derrick White ($9,000) - STAR, PRO
I've listed the candidates in order of preference, but the injury ramifications will almost certainly cause my optimal picks to juggle White's 13/8/6 line in Game 4 that helped plug the hole left by Smart. Even though Payton Pritchard ($7,500) outscored White, I like the ancillary numbers for White over Pritchard's shot dependency. Both players receive a massive downgrade if Smart takes the floor.
It seems impossible to think that leaving Tatum out of your roster would yield a favorable result. He seems to be the de facto MVP choice for the series, and even if you don't hit him right, you're still able to min-cash with him in the 2x multiplier. Outstanding play from Robert Williams and Al Horford renders Jaylen Brown a little less relevant tonight. I wish his salary was a tad lower, as both Horford and Williams are tough to beat at a $2,000-$3,000 discount.
We also have to field the toughest question of the night: can we trust a Miami player in a multiplier spot? It's difficult to imagine another bad result from Butler tonight, and there's no doubt that his rostership will hold a much lower percentage, but placing him in some lineups will allow for uniqueness where you need it. If Herro misses again, I see a path for Victor Oladipo ($8,000) to possibly sneak in as a multiplier. At one time, Oladipo was one of the premier hybrid guards in the NBA when he was a Pacer, and we are starting to see glimpses of that potential in this series.
Max Strus ($9,500)
P.J. Tucker ($8,000)
Gabe Vincent ($7,500) - if Lowry sits
Grant Williams ($8,000)
There is a utility path for Oladipo as well, and you can consider White or Pritchard in the event of a Smart absence. If Smart plays, his $12,500 tag might be too much for consideration in the utility position, but it's marginally doable if you use Horford in one of the multiplier slots. Let's keep in mind that save Tatum, the Celtics did not play exceptional ball on offense in Game 4. The key to victory was their ability to tamp down their turnover numbers, which they cut from 23 to nine between Games 3 and 4. Robert Williams' return also shut down Bam Adebayo's ($13,000) production, and his lofty tag is only worthwhile if Williams happens to sit. I mention these factors to give credence to picks like Strus and Tucker. They scored 17 and 16 points respectively in Game 3, and their contribution is bound to be more significant than White/Pritchard or Grant Williams if Smart participates.
Smart will be a DFS difference-maker tonight. His defensive prowess will curtail Miami's talent, although players like Butler and Adebayo have nowhere to go but up after the Game 4 debacle. Robert Williams will be the key to keeping Adebayo out of our lineups, and I believe the Heat will once again look to Oladipo for inspiration if things get tough again. A stack of Tatum/Horford/Williams in the multiplier might seem a little frontcourt-heavy, but it'll allow for playing Smart at $12k if available. You can swap out Horford and Willams and slot Smart in the multiplier and either big men in a utility position as well. If Smart misses, I am fine with a Miami stack of Oladipo/Strus in the utility slots.