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FanDuel NBA: Sunday Value Plays

Joel Bartilotta

Joel has 15 years of Fantasy experience, and can recall riding a young Daunte Culpepper to a championship in the 2003-04 season in his inaugural fantasy year. He covers NBA, NFL, daily fantasy, EPL, MLB, and CBB for RotoWire.

Single-game slates have become one of the most fascinating aspects of using FanDuel, as it allows us to play DFS in the Finals. While LeBron James is playing at a historical level, we're going to do something crazy by fading him. The two main reasons for that is the game script and his price. Game 2 really worries me because it has a Golden State blowout written all over it. Not only are the Warriors a 13-point favorite, but it's also going to be hard for the Cavaliers to regroup after that collapse in Game 1. That along with this $22,000 price tag makes King James a hard sell. I did everything I could to fit in James, but it was just way too difficult considering you only had $9,500 apiece for the four remaining players. To further that point, Kevin Love and Draymond Green are $23,000 combined and it's simply unreasonable to expect James to outscore those two despite the fact that they're nearly the same price. You'd need at least 60 fantasy points from James to provide an average value at this price and it seems silly not to use Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry at $6,000 and $7,000 less, respectively.

MVP (2X):

Kevin Durant, GS vs. CLE ($16,000): Durant is the first piece of our Golden State stack, as he thrives in this matchup. Since joining the Warriors two years ago, Durant has played the Cavaliers 10 times, averaging 57 FanDuel points per game. It's no surprise when considering his role, as Durant is averaging 40 minutes and 22 shots per game in his six Finals appearances against Cleveland. The simple fact that Cleveland can't defend Durant is a huge part of that, considering they allowed the third-most fantasy points in the league to opposing small forwards in the regular season.

STAR (1.5X):

Stephen Curry, GS vs. CLE ($15,000): Curry is actually the best play according to the RotoWire lineup optimizer, as he has a 3.56 value on this price tag. That means RotoWire projects Curry to score 53.4 FanDuel points, which is an extremely good value for a $15,000 player. He's shown a high floor in these playoffs too, scoring at least 41 fantasy points in 10 of his last 12 games. He's been even better than that recently, scoring at least 48 FanDuel points in four-straight outings. The matchup against Cleveland plays a huge part in that too, considering they allowed the second-most fantasy points in the league to opposing point guards in the regular season.

PRO (1.2X):

Draymond Green, GS vs. CLE ($13,000): This is the most shocking price on this slate, as Green destroyed this price tag in the Game 1 win. His 59 fantasy points in that win are enough incentive to use him, but the fact that he's destroyed the Cavaliers throughout his career is even more reason. In fact, Green is averaging 12.0 points, 13.0 rebounds, 9.7 assists. 2.3 steals and 1.7 blocks in three games against Cleveland this season. That's nearly 55 fantasy points per game, which is more indicative of a $16,000 player. It's no surprise when considering the matchup, as Cleveland allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing power forwards in the regular season. What adds to the intrigue of using Curry, Green and Durant is the fact that Klay Thompson (ankle) is nicked up, which should lay more responsibility on those three.


J.R. Smith, CLE at GS ($6,500): Smith is one of the laughing stocks of the social media world after his terrible gaffe in Game 1, but he's one of the more intriguing values at $6,500. The main reason for that is his role, as he's played at least 38 minutes in three-straight games. That's easily the highest minute total from a player south of five-figures and he's averaging close to 35 minutes per game in the four Finals matchups against the Warriors the last four years. The minutes haven't quite matched the fantasy production, but the fact that he's averaging 10 shots a game in the last four Finals indicates that he's capable of dropping a huge game any time he gets hot. His 40 fantasy points in the two most recent games may indicate that he's climbing out of his slump too, considering a 20-point fantasy game is all we can ask for from a $6,500 player. The fact that Thompson is nicked up only adds to Smith's value, as that makes Smith's job much easier on both ends of the floor.

George Hill, CLE at GS ($9,500): Hill is in a similar boat as Smith, as he's too cheap with his expanded role. The Cavs starting point guard played at least 28 minutes in every playoff game and he's also averaging 34 minutes a game in his last five outings. Hill's shown some flashes in that span too, averaging 21 FanDuel points per game in his last six outings. The 20 and 21 fantasy point averages from Smith and Hill may not seem like much, but it's much easier to swallow knowing you get to use the three primary Warriors in a game where they're heavily favored. Fading James means that we need other Cavaliers to step up and it's easy to assume that will be Hill and Smith considering their huge minute totals.

Official Lineup:

MVP: Kevin Durant ($16,000)
STAR: Stephen Curry ($15,000)
PRO: Draymond Green ($13,000)
UTIL: J.R. Smith ($6,500)
UTIL: George Hill ($9,500)

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The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Joel Bartilotta plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Joelbartilotta DraftKings: Joelbartilotta Yahoo: Joelbartilotta.