This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
MIL (-4.5) vs. BKN, O/U: 217.5
Even with James Harden injured, the Bucks looked dead and buried after dropping the first two games of the series without much of a fight. Unfortunately for the Nets, Kyrie Irving suffered an ankle injury Sunday and will join Harden on the sidelines for a pivotal Game 5 tonight. Now the talk has shifted to whether or not the Nets can even stay competitive in the absence of their two star guards. For DFS purposes, first make a decision as to how you think the game will go, and then build lineups that fit that scenario. The popularity of Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo will be sky high and that will lead to similar lineups across the board. From a game theory perspective, it's the perfect opportunity to fade one of them if you're willing to take on the risk. If not, you'll have to get creative in order to be unique.
Injuries to Monitor
James Harden (hamstring): OUT
Harden will miss his fourth consecutive game due to the hamstring injury that he aggravated in Game 1. Bruce Brown will continue to start in his place.
Kyrie Irving (ankle): OUT
Irving sprained his ankle in the second quarter of Sunday's game and has been ruled out for tonight. It's unclear who will start in his absence but Mike James, Tyler Johnson and Chris Chiozza are candidates to see expanded roles.
Kevin Durant ($12,000)
Despite shooting 9-25 from the field and just 1-8 from three-point range, Durant put up a 28/13/5 line in Game 4 on his way to 55.25 DK points. He's attempted at least 25 shots in three of four games against the Bucks and I think it's reasonable to expect 30 shot attempts in the absence of Harden and Irving. Durant will have to carry the Nets if they stand any chance of winning and if the game stays competitive, he could go for 70-plus fantasy points in this spot.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,800)
Much has said been said about the shooting woes of Giannis. He's shooting just 19 percent from three and 38 percent from the line for the series. None of this really matters when it comes to his floor, as we've seen him put up at least 53 fantasy points in the three competitive games of the series, but he has yet to top 57 DK points. The poor shooting percentages definitely make a ceiling game a lot less likely and that's something to consider when deciding whether or not to roster Giannis in the captain spot. We had become accustomed to him spiking games of 70-plus fantasy points with relative frequency, but they've been few and far between of late. Of course he's basically a lock in these single-game showdowns, but his shooting might be reason enough to get off one of the chalkier captains.
There aren't many better spots than KD in a home playoff game without Harden and Irving in the lineup. As I mentioned above, he should take upwards of 30 shots tonight and has considerable ceiling potential if the Nets can stay competitive. I'd expect his roster rate to hover around 95 percent. There seems to be only one way that he doesn't end up on the winning lineup and that's if the Nets get blown out early. If you're even considering a potential fade, make sure the lineup fits that scenario.
Khris Middleton ($9,800)
Middleton's improved play has been a big reason why the Bucks have evened the series. He followed up a massive 56.75 DK points in Game 3 with 44 fantasy points in Sunday's Game 4. He's played 40-plus minutes in consecutive games and makes for a good option in the captain spot.
Brook Lopez ($7,600)
Lopez has seen mid-30s minutes and grabbed double-digit rebounds in back-to-back games. He blocks shots and shoots threes as well. That versatility has made him a consistent fantasy performer this postseason and though we haven't seen ceiling upside yet, it does exist if he gets hot from the outside. His salary and specifically that range could see him go somewhat overlooked.
Mike James ($4,800)
Simply put, James is a risky play who has considerable upside. Without Harden and Irving, the Nets need one of their guards to step up from a scoring and play-making perspective. He should see 20 or more minutes off the bench and have the ball in his hands quite a bit. If he ends up starting, he'd become one of the better plays on the slate and his popularity would reflect that.
Jeff Green ($4,000)
Green returned from a six-game absence due to a foot injury and played 27 minutes Sunday. His salary is very low, and that makes him one of the better value plays on the slate. There is a chance he's back in the starting lineup and if that's the case, he'd be popular and rightfully so.
Nicolas Claxton ($2,400)
If you plan on captaining Durant or Giannis, rostering a player from this salary range is likely necessary, and you could do worse than Claxton. The Nets have been playing him around 15 minutes per night, mostly to help contain Giannis as he does a better job than most. He's scored at least 12 fantasy points in five consecutive games.