This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
FanDuel's top contest for this quarterfinal-semifinal combo slate is a $200,000 guarantee with a $9 entry, with 50k going to first. We have a very early 1:00 p.m. EDT tip-off, so get your lineups in before it's too late.
Even though the Heat upended the top seed in the East, they enter Game 1 against the Knicks as five-point underdogs. In many ways, New York presents a stiffer challenge for in that the club is healthy and deep across the board, and Miami ended the regular season with a 1-3 record against them. And the loss of Tyler Herro (hand) will be felt much more in the semifinal.
The Warriors-Kings matchup offers a much higher projected total, and we should weigh our lineups accordingly. Though I still have faith in the Warriors' array of talent, you have to hand it to the Kings as they also offer their share of targets this evening.
NYK Julius Randle (ankle) - QUESTIONABLE
Randle hasn't been particularly productive in the playoffs, but value would open up in the form of Obi Toppin ($4,400) if absent.
After crunching the numbers, Stephen Curry ($9,600) and Domantas Sabonis ($9,200) were prevalent in several builds. In fact, almost every iteration included Curry's involvement with an occasional pivot to De'Aaron Fox ($10,200). Jimmy Butler is noticeably absent, due in large part to a higher salary that was justified in big games against the Bucks, but his regular-season results against the Knicks are a bit suspect.
If you go low enough, you should be able to give Jalen Brunson ($8,700) and Bam Adebayo ($8,000) consideration as a third elite. Brunson beat 5x value in two of three games against the Heat during the regular season. Adebayo's record isn't as strong, but New York may enter the game without Randle to yield a thinner frontcourt for the Miami big man to attack.
EXPECTED CHALK AND VALUE PLAYS
WARRIORS SUPPORTING CAST @ SAC
Golden State has been awful on the road. Still, I think playoff experience and the ability to show up in big matchups will tip the scales for the Warriors tonight, and there are many selections to consider. The team will need Klay Thompson ($6,700) to find his stroke again, but Andrew Wiggins ($7,500) and Draymond Green ($7,800) will emerge as the steadiest option. I think Kevon Looney is a bit too expensive, but Jordan Poole ($6,000) has been able to beat 5x value consistently in this series, and will almost always find his way into a three-player Warriors stack.
RJ Barrett, NYK ($6,500) vs. MIA
The combination of an efficient series against Cleveland and regular-season success against the Heat makes Barrett a viable option. I'd like him a lot more if his salary were a couple hundred lower, he was rock-solid and consistent against the Cavs, though he had some negative blips against Miami but enjoyed one of his best games of the season against the Heat with 41 FDFPs. Most of Barrett's upside performances have come against quality opponents, so he should continue to come up big when it counts.
Kyle Lowry, MIA ($4,700) @ NYK
As we delve deeper into the player pool, budget selections could make or break your lineups. Lowry's usage spiked noticeably against the Bucks. And though his production is tied to Gabe Vincent's numbers, this salary is tough to fade. The veteran still has plenty of gas left in the tank and his ability to shoot from long-range makes him one of the better upside selections at this level. It's a tough area to nail down, as you could just as easily justify an upside game from Kevin Huerter ($4,800), but I believe the numbers trend more toward Lowry. If you don't believe n Lowry, you'll end up seeing a lot of Vincent as you construct at the guard position.
Immanuel Quickley, NYK ($4,400) vs. MIA
Quickley is an interesting pick. He started to drop more shots toward the end of the quarterfinals, and a look at his portfolio against Miami reveals some encouraging results. Even though none of the four games offer some of Quickley's top regular-season totals, two of them come in above his FDFP average and the most recent matchup yielded 40 fantasy points. He also offers dual eligibility, so you can find multiple ways to get him involved.
Max Strus, MIA ($4,200) @ NYK
I think Caleb Martin ($5,600) could outdo Strus, but there should be a slimmer salary differential between two players who are so closely correlated. In other words, the two will rarely come up with identical numbers, and one will outperform the other. Strus' low salary puts more weight on his end of the seesaw, as we will need someone at his salary level if we plan on spending up at the top of the pool.