This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
I was genuinely surprised to see another NBA game as Miami extended the NBA Finals to at least one more outing. This marks Game 6 of the series, with LA now up 3-2. It's been a series of pristine performances from the superstar players and it's amazing to watch these elite clubs go at it with so much on the line. With that in mind, let's talk about this imperative Game 6!
Miami Heat vs. Los Angeles Lakers: This is easily the closest spread of this series thus far. We have the Lakers entering this matchup as a 5-point favorite, 2.5 lower than Game 5. The total sits at 217, with overs cashing in three of the last four.
Game 5 was probably the best of the series with Miami pulling out a 111-108 victory. There were seven ties and 16 lead changes, with many coming in the final minutes. The key for the Heat was their ball movement having recording 26 assists to 13 turnovers while the Lakers managed 21 assists to 15 turnovers.
FanDuel single-game rosters don't have traditional positions that match those on a starting five, so we'll instead break down some candidates for the top three multiplier positions instead:
MVP (2x): With Anthony Davis struggling, there's really only two guys for this slot. That happens to be LeBron James and Jimmy Butler. While it's hard to fade Butler the way he's playing right now, it's even more difficult to fade James. I say that because he's scored at least 47 FanDuel points in eight-straight games and averaging 59.3 fantasy points over that span. That's on par with what he regularly does in the Finals and is impossible to fade in such a big spot with so much experience in his back pocket.
STAR (1.5x): It's impracticable to fade James and Butler in these two spots the way they are performing. Butler has been especially good by averaging 30.5 points, 10.3 rebounds, 11.5 assists and 2.8 steals over his last four contests. That's easily the best week of his career and it's led to a 54-point floor and a 68-point average. A lot of that has to do with Butler taking over point guard in the absence of Goran Dragic, making him and James interchangeable at these two spots.
PRO (1.2x): This is where things get really tough. You could use Anthony Davis and his 45-point floor at this PRO slot, but that leaves you with less than $8K per player for the final two spots. That's why I prefer to go with a guy like Tyler Herro, Rajon Rondo or Bam Adebayo. All offer a 50-point upside and it makes lineup building so much easier with more salary left over.
UTIL: There's a lot of guys we can consider here. With a limited salary, we need to focus on players below $10K. That includes Rajon Rondo, Jae Crowder, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Dwight Howard Andre Iguodala and Kendrick Nunn. Rondo and Crowder represent the best options, but Nunn would probably be the top value if Dragic ends up sitting.
Injury Situations to Monitor
NOTE: Injury reporting is especially fluid in the NBA, where the status of multiple players can change during the course of a day. Therefore, although the following serves as a foundation for the latest injury report as of the time the article is written (usually late morning Eastern time), check back throughout the course of the day with RotoWire for the latest news regarding the status of all players on that night's slate.
Goran Dragic (MIA)
Dragic suffered a torn plantar fascia in Game 1. He hasn't played since, but he does enter this matchup with a questionable tag. Dragic has slowly been improving, but it doesn't seem likely he'll return for this series. Even if he does, look for him to be limited or even hobbled.
Dion Waiters (LAL)
Waiters is questionable with a groin issue, but hasn't been part of the rotation anyway.
Elite Players/Expected Chalk
We have been combining these sections for the NBA Finals because the elite players are the chalk. We've seen LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Jimmy Butler universally owned in pretty much every lineup, with all three above 70 percent in nearly every game this series - with Butler and James both over 90 percent in back-to-back matchups. In terms of cheaper chalk, Jae Crowder and Kendrick Nunn have been used a lot with their expanded roles. Dwight Howard was also included in a lot of lineups with his place in the starting lineup, and that could be the case again here.
Andre Iguodala, MIA ($7,500)
While Iguodala is a shell of the player he used to be, he's still a major piece to this team in a game like this. His veteran presence has led to averaging 15 FanDuel points per game across 23 minutes over his last eight fixtures. That's really all you can ask for from someone below $8K and we could see Iguodala play 30 minutes in this elimination outing. He and the next value play make for great complements to expensive guys like James and Butler, so let's discuss yet another veteran.
Dwight Howard, LAL ($7,000)
Howard was a huge disappointment in Game 5, but I love him at this salary if he gets a start again tonight. While he likely won't play more than 20 minutes, we're still talking about a fantasy point-per-minute producer. That was certainly the case in the regular season, with Dwight averaging 19.6 FanDuel points per game across 18.4 minutes of action. If Howard can provide that rate and play the 18.3 minutes we've seen over the last seven games, then he could drop 20 FD points and make him one of the best values at just $7K.