NBA DFS Picks: FanDuel Lineup Plays and Strategy for Tuesday, May 21

NBA DFS Picks: FanDuel Lineup Plays and Strategy for Tuesday, May 21

This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.

After a pair of highly noteworthy Game 7 upsets, we're set for the start of the conference finals Tuesday with Game 1 of the Pacers-Celtics series. Boston, which has a significant rest advantage, is a double-digit favorite, even with Kristaps Porzingis still sidelined with his calf strain. 

With only one matchup, we're dealing with FanDuel's single-game contest rosters comprised as follows: 

MVP- (Garners points at 2x the normal rate)

STAR- (Garners points at 1.5x the normal rate)

PRO- (Garners points at 1.2x the normal rate)

Two Utility spots- (Garner points at normal rate) 

With salaries also being different than in conventional FanDuel contests on multi-game slates and top players inevitably headed for heavy rostering, there are definitely strategic elements particular to single-game lineups. Finding key value plays for the two utility spots is undoubtedly key, as it enables you to fill out the multiplier spots with some of the top projected producers. 

Slate Overview

For the latest spreads and over-unders, visit RotoWire's NBA Odds page. There, you can also find player props, futures, picks articles and sportsbook bonus codes.

Listed spreads/totals are from FanDuel Sportsbook and current as of Tuesday, May 21 @12:00 a.m. ET:    

Indiana Pacers at Boston Celtics (-10) (O/U: 220.5)

As previously alluded to, the Celtics' projected advantage is particularly expansive, especially for a conference finals matchup. Boston took three of five regular-season meetings from Indiana, with its victories coming by 51, 17 and five points. Meanwhile, Indiana's victories were by 10 and two points. 

The projected totals for the five matchups were 259, 234, 219, 266 and 253, so in that context, the current figure of 222 points is arguably a bit on the low side. However, given how well both teams' defenses played in their respective semifinal-round series, the figure could potentially prove to be very precise, if not even a bit elevated.

Injury Situations to Monitor  

For all the latest updates, visit RotoWire's NBA Injury News page and our comprehensive NBA Injury Report.

Kristaps Porzingis, BOS (calf): OUT

Porzingis' ongoing absence should keep Al Horford in the starting five Tuesday night.

Other notable injuries:

Xavier Tillman, BOS (personal): QUESTIONABLE

Elite Players

The two highest-salaried players on the slate are Jayson Tatum ($16,000) and Tyrese Haliburton ($14,500).

Tatum wrapped up the semifinal round in stellar fashion, averaging 30.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 2.3 steals and 59.6 FD points per contest. Key to that outstanding production was significantly improved shooting, as Tatum had drained only 40.7 percent of his attempts over the first seven games of the postseason prior to that stretch. Tatum's body of work against Indiana in the regular season supports the notion he could stay hot Tuesday, considering he put up 32.5 points (on 57.8 percent shooting, including 48.6 percent from distance), 11.0 rebounds and 5.8 assists per contest over four games.

Haliburton picked his scoring back up in Game 7 against the Knicks, shooting a blistering 58.8 percent on his way to a 26-point performance. Haliburton exceeded 40 FD points on four occasions in the semi-final round overall, but he also had three sub-35-FD-point tallies. He therefore carries a bit more volatility than ideal for a player of his salary, but he did have one regular-season performance of 60.5 FD points versus the Celtics on the strength of a 26-point, 13-assist, 10-rebound triple-double.

Expected Chalk

With only one matchup, the likes of Jaylen Brown ($13,500), Pascal Siakam ($13,000) and Myles Turner ($12,500) should also be very popular. All three make for great options in the STAR or PRO slots.

Brown has averaged 35.6 FD points over the Celtics' 10 postseason games thus far, shooting 55.4 percent overall. Indiana has allowed 47.0 percent shooting, including 40.8 percent from behind the arc, to small forwards during the playoffs, and Brown averaged 28.4 points per contest on 60.6 percent shooting in his five regular-season contests versus the Pacers.

Siakam is averaging 38.7 FD points in the postseason while shooting 53.7 percent, a sample that includes 62.6- and 59.6-FD-point efforts. The big man averaged 21.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game in five meetings with the Celtics during the regular season, although he shot a miserable 17.6 percent from three-point range.

Turner has been one of the safest cash game plays of the postseason, averaging 34.5 FD points per contest while shooting 50.9 percent, including 45.1 percent from three-point range. The big man is also averaging an impressive 1.8 blocks per contest in the postseason, and with the center position such a shallow one on a small slate, he should be highly popular. 

Key Values 

The following players make for strong candidates for the Utility spots:  

Derrick White, BOS ($11,500) 

I wouldn't go as far as saying White is a much better tournament than cash game option, but there has been a bit of volatility to his production. The defensive wizard saw a scoring downturn in Games 2-4 against the Cavaliers, but he still averaged a solid 28.6 FD points per game for the series and shot 39.0 percent from three-point range. White has shot 48.5 percent, including 43.5 percent from distance, over 10 postseason games overall, and he put up a solid 16.0 points, 5.0 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in five games versus Indiana during the regular season. The Pacers are also surrendering 39.8 percent shooting from behind the arc and 1.1 steals per contest to two-guards during the playoffs, furthering White's case.

Jrue Holiday, BOS ($11,000)

Holiday's profile isn't too unlike White's, with his defensive prowess a more reliable part of his game than his offensive production. The 33-year-old does have six games of more than 25 FD points thus far in Boston's 10-game postseason, but he's shooting a middling 44.0 percent and has scored in single digits on four occasions. Nevertheless, Holiday is still averaging 27.3 FD points per postseason game and is shooting 38.6 percent from three-point range, and he drained 52.9 percent of his shots, including 47.8 percent from distance, in five regular-season meetings against the Pacers.

Andrew Nembhard, IND ($10,000)

Nembhard helped finish off the Knicks in the last round by averaging 34.1 FD points in Games 6 and 7 on the strength of 17.5 points (on 63.6 percent shooting, including 66.7 percent from behind the arc), 6.0 assists and 5.5 rebounds per contest. That offense was generated on just 11 field-goal and two free-throw attempts per game, so if Nembhard's efficiency takes a hit, it could lead to a downturn. Nevertheless, the second-year wing is averaging a respectable 24.4 FD points per game during the postseason and shooting 57.0 percent as well, so he's certainly worthy of consideration in larger-field tournaments despite the unenviable matchup against what should be a hefty dose of Derrick White's defense. 

ALSO CONSIDER: Al Horford, BOS ($10,500); T.J. McConnell, IND ($9,500)

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Juan Carlos Blanco plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: jcblanco22, FanDuel: jc_blanco22, DraftPot: jc_blanco22, FantasyDraft: jc_blanco22, OwnThePlay: jcblanco22.
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Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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