Fantasy Basketball 2021: Daily Fantasy Lineup Tips for Sunday's NBA Playoffs
Nikola Jokic did all he could to put the Denver Nuggets in a winning position in their Game 3 loss to the Phoenix Suns.
The NBA Most Valuable Player should play with more desperation in Sunday's Game 4 with his team's season on the line.
Jokic should be one of the first options for FanDuel's two-game slate daily fantasy basketball contest Sunday. He carries the highest salary of any player from the Nuggets, Suns, Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks, but he should be well worth the high price.
The $60,000 in salary available for the nine positions should allow you to pair Jokic with another star. Regardless of the top-tier names on your roster, you need to find some value plays.
There are a handful of players listed at $5,000 or lower who could provide enough value around Sunday's stars to put you in the prize-winning positions.
Build Around Nikola Jokic
Jokic attempted to turn around the Denver-Phoenix series with one of the best playoff performances of his career.
The MVP put up 32 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists on his way to 72 FanDuel points. That was the second time this postseason Jokic eclipsed the 70-point mark in FanDuel contests.
If Jokic plays with the same motivation as Game 3, he has a strong chance to be the highest-scoring player on Sunday's slate.
The potential of a 60-70-point game should make Jokic the first choice on your DFS roster over Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
None of the three stars in the Brooklyn-Milwaukee series reached the peak Jokic has in terms of DFS points, and you could be at a slight disadvantage without the center in your lineup.
The most affordable pairing with Jokic at the helm features Irving, who has a $9,200 salary and will not max out your budget.
Irving had at least 35 FanDuel points in each of his past five games and he went over 48 on two occasions in that stretch.
A Jokic-Irving combination allows you to have an average salary of $5,600 for the other seven positions. With a handful of deep value plays below that average, you could also fit in a third high-volume player.
There is even one scenario that gets you Devin Booker and Khris Middleton alongside Jokic and Irving, but you may be punting on one roster spot.
Look to Roster Either Devin Booker or Khris Middleton
Booker and Middleton are the two best options below the players with the top-tier salaries.
Middleton sits at $8,200 at small forward, while Booker is listed at $7,900 at shooting guard.
In the Jokic-Irving pairing, both can be used with only a single player in the nine-man lineup carrying a salary lower than $4,000.
Booker is Phoenix's leading scorer in the series at 22.3 points per game, and he has easily cleared 30 FanDuel points throughout the playoffs.
The Phoenix guard could be the better option than Middleton because he has been more consistent in the first two rounds.
Middleton came alive in Game 3 with 35 points, but he had 30 total points in Games 1 and 2 in Brooklyn. Middleton's low production in Game 2 led to 22.5 FanDuel points, a number he easily doubled in Game 3.
Outside of Middleton and Durant, there are not many quality small forwards available, so we would not blame you for paying up for the two players and looking at value elsewhere.
At shooting guard, Bruce Brown, Will Barton, Austin Rivers and Landry Shamet are all available at reasonable salaries, and you can fit them in alongside Middleton, Durant or any other combination of top players. That could turn you away from Booker and in Middleton's direction.
Feel Comfortable with One Player at $4,000 or Lower
Typically, there is not much value in DFS basketball at $4,000 or lower, but there are some options worth considering for Sunday.
The presence of so many top-tier stars could leave you with less than $4,500 or $5,000 for your final roster spot.
The low-salary players will not be your highest scorers, but they could do enough to support your lineup and potentially give you an edge if they possess a low roster percentage.
Torrey Craig ($3,800) might be the most intriguing member of the group since he posted a pair of performances with 20 or more FanDuel points against Denver.
If you think Phoenix will blow out Denver, Cameron Johnson ($3,700) is worth a glance at small forward. He had 13 FanDuel points in Game 2 and 3 and had a playoff high of 22.8 FanDuel points in Game 6 against the Los Angeles Lakers.
P.J. Tucker ($3,700) makes the most sense from the Brooklyn-Milwaukee game since he has been in the Bucks starting lineup.
Tucker has not yet delivered a decent point total, but he could be worth the risk because of his time on the court compared to others with lower salaries.