FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Jazz at Clippers (6/12/21)
In a traditional FanDuel NBA lineup, you have a $60,000 salary cap to roster nine players. In the single-game setup, the salary cap is the same, but the lineup requirements are different.
You select five players of any position. One of your players will be your MVP, whose FanDuel points are multiplied by two. You also select a STAR player (whose production is multiplied by 1.5) and a PRO (multiplied by 1.2). Two UTIL players round out the roster, and they don't receive a multiplier to their production.
This makes the five players you select important in more than one way, as you need to focus on slotting in the best plays in the multiplier slots rather than just nailing the best overall plays of the game. Read this piece by Brandon Gdula for some excellent in-depth analysis on how to attack a single-game slate in NBA DFS.
The Los Angeles Clippers entered this year on many championship radars, but they are in trouble as this series heads back to Los Angeles. The Utah Jazz have a 2-0 lead after taking care of business in Salt Lake City. The Clippers have relevant experience being down 2-0, as they were behind the Dallas Mavericks the same margin before ultimately winning the series.
FanDuel Sportsbook is expecting a moderate pace with a total of 222.5. They also like Los Angeles' chances to get back in the series, as the Clippers are 4.5-point favorites to defend homecourt. The Jazz were just the 16th-fastest paced team in the NBA in the regular season, with the Clippers in 28th. The first two games of the series averaged a total of 225.5.
Injuries and What-Ifs
For a single playoff game, there is a notable injury to monitor. Mike Conley has missed the first two games of the series for the Jazz, and it has boosted the roles for Jordan Clarkson and Joe Ingles as a result. If Conley returns, it likely is on some sort of restriction, but Conley is officially questionable for Game 3 with his hamstring injury -- the identical status that saw him miss the first two.
The Clippers' injury report is clean of players not already ruled out for the season, but their rotation is in flux. Nicolas Batum was bumped from the starting lineup in favor of Ivica Zubac in Game 2, but both Zubac and DeMarcus Cousins failed to surpass 15 minutes played as Los Angeles still prefers to stay small. Patrick Beverley was busier, playing 21 minutes instead of just 6 in Game 1.
At The Top
Donovan Mitchell ($15,000): Obviously, Mitchell's status at the top of the player pool is entirely dependent on the status of Conley. With Conley on the floor in the Memphis Grizzlies series, Mitchell's usage was still a solid 35.7%, but it has ballooned to 42.1% in the first two contests without Conley. Mitchell has posted 1.40 FanDuel points per minute in the entire postseason, which is tops among all players on this slate. The popularity coming off his his 45-point and 37-point performances to start the series should be fairly large, but shifting him to a STAR or PRO spot in tournaments is an interesting way to differentiate.
Kawhi Leonard ($14,500): This likely is not a surprise given the first two outcomes, but Leonard and Paul George are terribly scuffling,and badly need a turnaround Saturday to save their season. Leonard may decide to take over again in Game 3, as Leonard dropped from a 27.6% usage rate in the Dallas series to just 25.6% in the first two games of this series. Kawhi also posted more than 20 shots three times in the Dallas series but has yet to take that many shots versus the Jazz. When factoring in salary, popularity, and his 45.9 FanDuel point projection for Game 3, Leonard is my favorite MVP choice.
Paul George ($14,000): You cannot knock George's confidence, at least. George has powered his way to 23.5 points per game on 17.5 shots per game through an inefficient 42.3% shooting effort to start the series. That's unfortunately not new for George, but playing such heavy minutes with 27.5% usage rate -- tops among Los Angeles starters -- makes him a factor for a multiplier spot. There is always reason to lend token higher-ceiling exposure to George in his role hoping for a duplication of his 28-point, 12-rebound performance in Game 2 against Dallas.
Rudy Gobert ($13,500): While he will rarely have the offensive role to offer an elite ceiling, Gobert's work on the glass this series makes him a viable start at another multiplier spot. It makes practical sense that the Clippers, struggling to find consistent center play, have ceded 32 rebounds in two games to Gobert. There was some concern about the Jazz's ability to use Gobert in this series with LA playing small so well, but the Utah rotation is so short sans Conley at the moment that Gobert is likely to post another 30-minute game. numberFire projects Gobert close to the "Big 3" on this slate, pegging him to score 40.2 FanDuel points.
In The Middle
Royce O'Neale ($11,000): Even with a significantly lesser role, O'Neale's 41 minutes in Game 2 tell the tale that he is much more crucial to the Utah rotation than Jordan Clarkson's 27 minutes. O'Neale has ceded time to Clarkson this season, but no one saw more regular season minutes (1,362) alongside Donovan Mitchell than O'Neale did, and it is because his wing defense on Leonard and George becomes the priority with Mitchell doing just fine to conduct the Utah offense. O'Neale has yet to reach double-digit real-world scoring despite doing so three times in the Memphis series, so some regression scoring the ball might be due, as well.
Bojan Bogdanovic ($10,500): O'Neale and Clarkson are a debate between production and minutes, and Bogdanovic at a lower salary is a happy medium of both. Bogdanovic has scored at least 16 points and played at least 38 minutes in each game, and his 16.1% usage is third among Utah starters. Bogdanovic was once considered a defensive liability that relegated him to a bench option. But his improved defense has actually become essential for the Jazz, and that factors into projecting him for similar minutes even if Conley were to return.
Reggie Jackson ($10,000): Jackson's 29-point Game 2 on a team-high 19 shots was badly needed with Leonard and George struggling. His 24.3% usage and 0.89 FanDuel points per minute are far and away in excess of his salary and hierarchy behind Clarkson and Batum, but his ceiling game will surely lead to elevated popularity. Mixing and matching the same combination of multipliers with both Jackson and Marcus Morris is a nice way to build in tournaments to capture the right combination with whichever Clippers' complimentary starter may go off again.
Joe Ingles ($9,500): This salary for Ingles is a no-brainer if Conley were to miss Game 3. Ingles has started each of the two first games at point guard and played at least 32 minutes. His spike in production from Game 1 to Game 2 is directly linked to the difference in his three-point shooting (12.5% in Game 1 and 57.1% in Game 2), but his happy medium is likely between the two. Ingles will be tremendously popular, so using him in tournaments might mean elevating him to the PRO spot when trying to differentiate.
At The Bottom
Derrick Favors ($7,500): I want to be very clear -- I would not use Derrick Favors in any format. Discussing Favors and his 12 minutes is essential to understand this slate, because he actually led Utah in time on the court outside their top six options. Favors did not score or secure a rebound, and somehow, he still has the most positive outlook from a fantasy perspective of any Jazz reserve (assuming Conley sits) not named Jordan Clarkson. Staying with a balanced build to avoid this area may be the best call of all.
DeMarcus Cousins ($7,000): Cousins is really the one stab below $8,000 who could potentially be worth it. In the limited minutes he has seen, he actually leads the Clippers in both usage (33.0%) and FanDuel points per minute (1.41) in that span. He posted six points and four rebounds in Game 2, but he has just been unplayable on a larger scale in the series with 5 fouls in 15 minutes. If he gets scorching hot and the Clippers play him in excess of 20 minutes, he could be a tournament-winning play, but the more likely outcome is a low-volume effort due to his defensive struggles.
Patrick Beverley ($7,000): The back half of the Los Angeles rotation has been a carousel, and with LA struggling to stop Donovan Mitchell, Beverley's defensive expertise was called upon in Game 2. Beverley did slow down Mitchell in the second half and played 21 minutes in total. The issue with using Beverley is that his offensive upside is so limited with just a 14.9% usage rate and 0.80 FanDuel points per minute for the entire 2020-21 season.
-- Donovan Mitchell has seen a 6.4 percentage-point usage increase in this series without Mike Conley versus the Memphis series in which Conley played.
-- Kawhi Leonard's usage has dropped 2.0 percentage points from LA's last series, and Leonard has yet to shoot the ball more than 20 times despite doing so in three of seven games against Dallas.
-- The Clippers' struggles to find a consistent center have paid off for Rudy Gobert, who is averaging 16.7 rebounds per 36 minutes in the series.
-- No one has played more minutes this season alongside Mitchell than Royce O'Neale.
-- Reggie Jackson has the highest usage and FanDuel points per minute mark of any player below $10,000 but is coming off a 29-point game that will likely increase his popularity.
Austin Swaim is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austin Swaim also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username ASwaim3. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.