This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
The Lakers are one win away from an NBA Championship. If they're able to pull it off, that will mark LeBron James' fourth title and Anthony Davis's first. It's been a fun journey until this point and fans are ecstatic a champion will be crowned after so much uncertainty two months ago. There's still at least one game to be played though, so let's go ahead and get into it!
Miami Heat vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Los Angeles enters this matchup as a 7.5-point favorite. The total sits at 216.5, after an easy under cashed in Game 4. The spread on Tuesday was actually decided on a prayer by Tyler Herro and it's clear the oddsmakers are on point with their numbers.
Game 4 was technically the closest game of the series so far, as the only one decided by a single-digit margin. LA was able to prevail, despite the fact there were nine ties and nine lead changes with no team ever attaining a double-digit advantage. With all that said, the Lakers held the lead for the final 20 minutes of play and showed some serious grit as the better team.
These teams have now played six times this season, with Los Angeles winning five of six.
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): Man, this is tough. It's pretty obvious we need to use either LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Jimmy Butler for at least two these first three slots. All three have been ridiculous and it's tough to know where to place each one. The guy I'm going to go with at MVP is LeBron. The superstar small forward is surely motivated to get his fourth ring and should be playing his best basketball here. That's certainly been the case recently, with King James scoring at least 47 FanDuel points in seven straight while averaging just under 60 fantasy points over that span.
STAR (1.5x): Davis or Butler? We're going to go ahead with Butler because of his stellar form. Not only has he scored at least 54 FD points in three-straight but is also averaging over 65 fantasy points during that stretch. It's clear Butler loves running the show with Goran Dragic nicked up and should be ready to play 45 minutes here in an elimination contest.
PRO (1.2x): That leaves Davis for this slot. While he probably offers the highest upside of the Big Three, he's been struggling a bit recently. Struggling is subjective though, as we're still talking about someone who's averaging nearly 50 FanDuel points in this series. Foul trouble has slightly slowed down Davis, but he's also a great bet for any three of these slots.
UTIL: If you want to fade one of these guys, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro make for great options. Both Heat players boast the ability to go off, but you simply can't use those three studs and fit one of these two into the same lineup. Players you can use with Butler, James and Davis include Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso and some minimum-valued duds. You have to ask yourself if you're willing to punt one of those slots to get in the three stars, but that's a really tough debate. Fading one of the studs and using guys like Rajon Rondo and Jae Crowder might be the most optimal strategy.
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. 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 does enter this matchup with a questionable tag. It'll be hard for him to move with that injury even if he's ready, making Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro better options.
Bam Adebayo (MIA)
Adebayo suffered a shoulder injury in Game 1 and missed the next two contests. He was finally able to suit up in Game 4, but didn't play well despite seeing 33 minutes. Look for Bam to log 35-40 minutes here and keep Kelly Olynyk on the bench.
Dion Waiters (LAL)
Waiters is questionable with a groin issue, but hasn't been part of the rotation anyway.
Elite Players/Expected Chalk
Much like the first four games of this series, these two sections are completely intertwined. The reason for that is because the three aforementioned studs garner so much usage. LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Jimmy Butler have been far and away the three best players in this series and it's really tough to fade any of them. People surely know that when you look at how much they've been used considering all three being in over 80 percent of the lineups the last slate. That's pretty much where lineup building is at, with these three being the mega-chalk. In terms of cheaper chalk, Kendrick Nunn could be used a lot of lineups if Goran Dragic is ruled out and Kyle Kuzma might be frequently selected due to his unbelievably cheap salary.
Rajon Rondo, LAL ($9,500)
We're going right back to the well with Rondo. It's clear he's the Lakers third-best player at this point and he's still way too cheap below $10K. What's really impressive is his floor, having scored at least 16 FanDuel points in all 14 games since returning from injury. Rondo is also averaging 26.4 fantasy points across 25 minutes of action, showing just how solid he can be in limited minutes. One has to believe Rondo is looking at 30 minutes here, making him one of today's top values.
Jae Crowder, MIA ($9,000)
Speaking of minutes, Crowder is a beast in this category. We're talking about someone who's averaging 34 minutes a game in this series and providing nice fantasy value. Not only has Crowder reached 20 FanDuel points in 16 of his last 18 outings, but he's also averaging 26 FD points per game over that span. Totals like that are hard to find from someone valued so reasonably, making Crowder an excellent value pick.
Kyle Kuzma, LAL ($7,500)
While I don't really like to use Kuzma for DFS, this salary is silly. We're still talking about a guy who can drop 30 when he's going right and it's not like he's been terrible in this series. Most guys below $8K barely get off of the bench, but Kuz still ranks third on the team in usage averaging 17 FD points per game across 23 minutes of action in the postseason. That's all you can hope for from a $7,500 player and he makes a great complement to James, Davis and Butler.
If this is my last article, thanks for reading throughout the season!