Fantasy Basketball 2021: Daily Fantasy Lineup Tips for Tuesday's NBA Playoffs
The Kyrie Irving injury news throws a new wrinkle into how you approach the Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks from a daily fantasy basketball perspective.
Kevin Durant feels like a must-start player in FanDuel's single-game contest for Tuesday's Game 5 because he is the lone healthy superstar on the Nets roster.
Durant will receive more defensive focus from the Bucks, but he still has the potential to easily put up 30 points and keep Brooklyn ahead on its home court.
The roster build for the five-man lineup gets more interesting after Durant since each healthy member of the Brooklyn squad carries a salary of $11,000 or lower.
The low salaries allow you to comfortably fit in one or two of Brooklyn' starters or rotational pieces with Durant and one of Milwaukee's two star players.
Which role players you add to the final three roster spots will determine your position in the money-winning spots since Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton should all have high roster percentages.
Use Kevin Durant as First Lineup Selection
Sometimes the first part of a DFS strategy is that easy.
Durant is expected to take a high volume of shots and he has been Brooklyn's top scorer in the series with a healthy Irving on the floor.
Durant needs help from Blake Griffin, Jeff Green, Bruce Brown and others to defeat the Bucks, but he should do plenty on his own to keep the Nets competitive.
At $15,500, Durant carries the highest salary of any player in Tuesday's contest. He is well worth that number since he scored at least 28 points in all four games of the series.
The 32-year-old feels like a lock to score 30 points with Irving not on the floor. He attempted 20 more field goals in the series with Irving on the hardwood.
Milwaukee's defensive approach could dictate the first quarter, but even if it limits Durant's scoring in the opening 12 minutes, he is not expected to remain dormant for the entire game.
Durant should be seriously considered for the MVP (2x) role and the Star (1.5x) role at minimum because he could earn the highest total of FanDuel points.
Do Not Be Afraid to Take Khris Middleton over Giannis Antetokounmpo
Middleton's performance over the last two games warrants consideration to take him over Antetokounmpo in a DFS lineup.
He came alive in Game 3 with 35 points and 15 rebounds and could be in a freer offensive role with Irving's defensive prowess taken off the court.
Middleton delivered eight assists to go along with his 19 points and four rebounds in Game 4, and he could be destined for a 20-point outing at minimum in Game 5.
At $13,000, the 29-year-old has a salary that is $2,000 lower than Antetokounmpo, which allows you to add three high-quality role players around him and Durant.
A Durant-Middleton combination gives you $31,500 in available salary for the final three roster positions and could also allow you to land Jrue Holiday as a No. 3 option.
With Landry Shamet at $8,000 and a larger role expected for him in Irving's absence, you can add him as a fifth option with Durant, Middleton and Holiday.
You could also go with Bruce Brown or Blake Griffin as a No. 3 option to afford three members of Brooklyn's supporting cast, or you can keep that salary open for Brook Lopez or P.J. Tucker to add a rebounding edge to your roster.
Look at Jeff Green for Value
You could make the case for a handful of Brooklyn players to take up Irving's workload.
Brown and Griffin have been in the starting lineup, while Shamet and Mike James could see increased roles in the backcourt off the bench.
All of those players are solid options, but Jeff Green could be the best choice as a value play for your DFS lineup.
In the 2020 postseason, the 34-year-old produced seven double-digit games for the Houston Rockets. He had a pair of 22-point outings in the first-round series with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Green should have a chance to reach double figures in Game 5. He attempted at least four field goals in each of his three appearances this postseason. He added five rebounds to his eight points in Game 4 and could easily eclipse those totals with more playing time on Tuesday.
He comes with a $9,000 salary, so you should be able to place him comfortably into any lineup structure.
If you go the Durant-Middleton route, Green could be added alongside Lopez and Brown, or Brown and Griffin to take advantage of some potentially high rebounding numbers.
Another way to fit in Green is to add him to a Durant-Middleton pairing with Joe Harris and Jrue Holiday in the five-man squad.
With Irving out, the Nets should rely on Green's playoff experience, and if he knocks down a handful of shots, he could be well worth the value play.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.
Statistics obtained from Basketball Reference.