This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
The Celtics saved their season in South Florida in Game 4, putting together their best all-around performance of the season by far to send the series back to Boston. With a bit of momentum and a potential key injury absence for the Heat, there could be a wire-to-wire affair in the offing for Game 5, one that sees each team's biggest stars play especially heavy minutes.
With just one game on the ledger, we're dealing with FanDuel's single-game contest rosters, which are comprised as follows:
- MVP- (Garners points at 2x the normal rate)
- STAR- (Garners points at 1.5x the normal rate)
- PRO- (Garners points at 1.2x the normal rate)
- Two Utility spots- (Garner points at normal rate)
With salaries also being different than in conventional FanDuel contests on multi-game slates and top players inevitably headed for heavy rostering, there are definitely strategic elements particular to single-game lineups. Finding key value plays for the two utility spots is undoubtedly key, as it enables you to fill out the multiplier spots with some of the top projected producers.
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The Celtics are listed as 8-point home favorites going into Thursday's Game 5 clash, despite the fact they dropped the first two games of the series to Miami at TD Garden and have lost five playoff games overall there.
The projected total of 215.5 points implies the expectation of a defense-centric contest right along the lines of Games 2 and 4, which finished with 216 and 215 points, respectively.
Injury Situations to Monitor
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Gabe Vincent, MIA (ankle): Out
Vincent suffered his ankle injury in the aftermath of a fourth-quarter shot attempt in Game 4, and although he was able to briefly return to the game, he will not suit up Thursday, which likely means Kyle Lowry will receive the starting nod at point guard.
Other notable injuries
Tyler Herro, MIA (hand): OUT
The two highest-salaried players on the slate are Jayson Tatum ($17,500) and Jimmy Butler ($17,000). Both are excellent candidates for the MVP spot, and whichever doesn't make the cut in your lineup is naturally very viable for the STAR spot.
Tatum had averaged 57.3 FD points in the seven games prior to his Game 3 clunker, so his resurgence Tuesday, which included 60.7 FD points on the strength of a 33-point, 11-rebound double-double across 42 minutes. With another elimination game on tap, Tatum should once again have a massive role that could yield another ceiling game.
Butler has now shot just 41.2 percent over his last two games after draining 50.0 percent of his shots in the first pair of contests during the series, but he still got to 29 points and 51.3 FD points with the help of 12 visits to the free-throw line Tuesday. He has three tallies greater than 50 FD points in the first four games overall and is likely to put up over 20 shot attempts again in Game 5.
With only one game on the ledger, the likes of Bam Adebayo ($15,000), Jaylen Brown ($13,500) and Marcus Smart, BOS ($12,000) should also be very popular. All three players make for very viable options for the STAR or PRO spots.
Adebayo had a second straight sub-par fantasy performance in Game 4, but this time, it wasn't the byproduct of Miami enjoying an especially lopsided advantage. The big man mustered only 15 FD points across 35 minutes, but he still should remain very popular on the one-game slate, especially considering he averaged 46 FD points in the prior two games at TD Garden.
Brown bounced back from his two-game slump to produce 32.8 FD points in 37 minutes during Game 4. Brown still shot under 50.0 percent (7-for-16), but he should nevertheless find himself in plenty of lineups Thursday with the Celtics facing a second straight elimination scenario.
Smart has been at 28.6 FD points or more in three of the first four games of the series, and even though he's drained just 35.5 percent of his shots thus far against the Heat, he should continue logging a very high roster rate.
The following players make for strong candidates for the Utility spots:
Derrick White, BOS ($10,000)
White's insertion into the starting five over the last two games has been a success, as he's averaging 28.6 FD points across 26.5 minutes while shooting a blistering 46.2 percent from three-point range. The defensive-minded guard supplemented his production nicely in Game 4 with a pair of steals and blocks apiece, and Miami is allowing 48.8 percent shooting on the road this postseason, brightening White's prospects during what should be another starting assignment.
Caleb Martin, MIA ($9,500)
Martin has seen his salary drop and is coming off another solid effort in Game 4, providing 23.3 FD points and continuing his red-hot shooting with a 6-for-9 effort from the field. Martin has found the net on an elite 63.8 percent of his attempts during the series, and he eclipsed 30 FD points in each of the first three games. Martin is averaging a robust 33 minutes per game over the first four contests, so he should have a very good chance of once again delivering a strong return on investment with the Heat aiming to close out the series once again.
ALSO CONSIDER: Kyle Lowry, MIA ($9,000); Grant Williams, BOS ($8,500)