This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
The Jazz and the 76ers will attempt to go up 3-1 on their opponents in Monday's two-game offering. The Hawks won the first matchup against Philly, but Embiid and company have rattled off two wins to take the series lead. Meanwhile, the Clippers showed renewed life and avoided a sweep by making an impressive showing at home with a 132-105 win over Utah.
Due to the small size of the slate, we will look at every position on FanDuel and identify the best options for each spot.
PHI @ ATL (+3.5) O/U: 225
UTA @ LAC (-5) O/U: 224
The position only offers five viable plays at the position, which is limited due to the uncertainty surrounding Mike Conley (hamstring). Even if he plays, he's likely to be on a minutes restriction.
Trae Young, ATL ($9,700) vs. PHI
It makes sense to spend up at point guard tonight, and you risk falling behind the field if you don't give Young a serious look. He suffered a significant regression in Game 3, but has continued to average close to 47 FDFP over eight playoff appearances while producing over 50 FDFP three times over the same span.
Ben Simmons, PHI ($8,400) @ ATL
Simmons is a nice $1,300 discount over Young, and I have no problem stacking the two elite point guards with frequency. I'm slightly less excited about Simmons due to his lackluster showings against Atlanta, but he showed similar upside to Young versus the Wizards with numbers popping above 50. Simmons isn't even my favorite Sixer tonight, but he has to be considered due to the small pool at the position.
Reggie Jackson, LAC ($5,500) vs. UTA
I'll gladly take the $300 drop from Jordan Clarkson ($5,800) here. The stat lines for these two guards have been mirror images, but I'll take Jackson as the starter and the player with momentum as they play another home game. Jackson's salary is low because he tends to disappear in Tyronn Lue's rotation at times, but I expect him to run the show effectively again with the Clippers in a must-win situation.
We're faced with some tough choices at shooting guard. Diversifying our spread with Young and Jackson at point guard still gives us an average of $6,400 per player, so we still can grab the top two plays here with an eye toward value at other positions.
Paul George, LAC ($9,200) vs. UTA
George emerges as my favorite pick at the position. Although there's no question in Kawhi Leonard's ($11,200) ability to transform this series, George is less expensive and demonstrates a remarkable floor relative to his salary. Leonard is costly, so much that you'll only realize value with a signature game out of Kawhi. And overall, it seems like George is a better fit against Utah's defense.
Donovan Mitchell, UTA ($9,700) @ LAC
Of course, you can't omit Mitchell as an option. Going with both players at the top, the Young/Jackson/George/Mitchell method will only leave $5,120 per player to work with, but it's still my preferred path so far. After experiencing an uptick in every contest during the playoffs, Mitchell suffered a bit of regression over the last two against the Clippers, rendering his salary less appealing. If I were to veer off the build mentioned above, he'd probably be my first person to fade because his FP-per-dollar rate has been too high of late.
Seth Curry, PHI ($5,500) @ ATL
I honestly wrestled with the final endorsement at shooting guard because I think Bogdan Bogdanovic ($6,700) is still favorably valued as a bonafide scoring threat for Atlanta, and Joe Ingles ($5,600) has enjoyed an excellent series against the Clippers thus far. That being said, I like where Curry's minute usage is at over the past couple of games, and he's posted double-digit shot volume in seven out of eight during the playoffs. The upside is there with an increased assist number and a dialed-in three-point shot. If we find room, I would consider a pivot to Bogdanovic, but only if we don't sacrifice too much at other positions.
The pool at small forward is small, and I'm about to make it smaller by removing Kawhi from my recommended picks.
Nicolas Batum, LAC ($5,700) vs. UTA
The Clippers went with a small-ball approach against the Jazz in Game 3 by opting for Batum over Ivica Zubac in the starting lineup. If it isn't broke, don't fix it. After a 31 FDFP game in Game 1, Zubac has been ineffective with two tepid performances, while Batum has excelled. His rebound count isn't where you'd like it to be, but his shooting has been on point. Over three outings against Utah, Batum's put up an average of 4.3 threes and is converting them at a rate of 61.5 percent.
Bojan Bogdanovic, UTA ($5,400) @ LAC
Unlike Ingles and Clarkson, Bogdanovic's production works independently from Mike Conley, but he's pitched in with Conley-like numbers in his absence. He disappointed in Game 3, but it's hard to ignore the Utah starter as he's averaged 34.6 minutes during the postseason and is a nightly three-point threat. Bogdanovic's 1-for-5 performance from long range last time out was the reason for the downtick, but I expect the sharpshooter's average to inch back up in that category.
Danilo Gallinari, ATL ($5,300) vs. PHI
With De'Andre Hunter (knee) still on the mend, I like Gallinari's chances in Game 4. He tends to be shot-dependent, but he can go a long way toward stabilizing his stat line by replicating his nine-rebound effort from Game 2. Although Gallinari is my third-favorite option at the position, he could be the lowest-rostered shooting guard of the trio, making him a sensible contrarian play.
POWER FORWARD AND CENTER
We're faced with a quandary at power forward with only four viable options. We've already pushed ourselves into a spot where we have to make concessions at center unless we leave Young or George out of the equation. My next top pick here makes things even more difficult. Because of the correlation between my eventual center selection and power forward choices, I'm threading my centers in with the PF options.
Tobias Harris, PHI ($8,600) @ ATL
Relative to his salary, there may not be a better choice on the slate than Harris as he continues to show up with superlative stat lines even with Joel Embiid's return. Embiid is questionable, but is expected to play and that may give some cause to look elsewhere. However, over eight playoff games, Harris has averaged 23.6 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists. He remains my favorite Philly player this series, but as the second option opens up possibilities that may be hard to ignore.
John Collins, ATL ($6,600) vs. PHI
Going with Collins instead of Embiid opens up a higher tier at center, but the problem is that it only gives us Clint Capela ($7,300). This stinks from a correlation standpoint, but I don't mind rostering both of them. With Harris, you are locked into a choice between Dwight Howard ($4,200) and Ivica Zubac ($4,600) unless you downgrade Young, George or another elite option. Collins manages to help you quite a bit by allowing for a better big man, so it becomes a matter of estimating what you lose by fading Harris and what you gain by getting Capela over someone like Howard. If we look strictly at FP averages, you get a 7-8 FDFP dropoff from Harris with Collins, but the gap between Capela and the rest of the field is massive with a 19 FDFP gap between him and the likes of Zubac or Howard.
Marcus Morris, LAC ($5,100) vs. UTA
Of course, none of this is possible without making a budget choice at the second PF slot, and I'm still going back to the well with Morris despite a lukewarm Game 3. I think the resurgent play of Nicolas Batum has compromised Morris's value somewhat, and it's a correlation problem I'm forced to deal with in this particular build. Still, this isn't an 11-game slate with the luxury of avoiding every tight spot. I may mix and match Gallinari and Batum with Morris in my build, but I think he's necessary to make everything fit.
Joel Embiid ($11,200) and Rudy Gobert ($8,700) are fine options, but a bit too expensive and they just don't fit into plans. I'm unwilling to give up the potential value with Young and George in the hopes of a slate-breaking number from either center.