FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Helper: NBA Finals Game 1 (7/6/21)

The NBA scene changes on a week-to-week, day-to-day, and -- depending on injury news -- even a minute-to-minute basis, making every slate a unique one that requires an ever-changing approach.

With so much changing so quickly, we're here with plenty of tools to help you out. We have daily projections, a matchup heat map, a lineup optimizer, and a bunch of other great resources to help give you an edge.

Daily fantasy NBA is very reliant on opportunity, so you'll need to make sure that you're up-to-date with key injuries and COVID-19 situations. Our projections update up until tip-off to reflect current news and we also have player news updates.

We'll also be coming at you with this primer every day, breaking down a few of the day's top plays at each position.

Let's take a look at who you should target for the first game of the Finals matchup between the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns, which tips off at 9:00 PM Eastern.

All injury updates are via the NBA's official injury report or numberFire's player news.

Read this piece by Brandon Gdula for some excellent in-depth analysis on how to attack a single-game slate in NBA DFS.

MVP Considerations

Jrue Holiday ($13,000) - As of writing, Giannis Antetokounmpo remains doubtful to suit up for Game 1 of the Finals, which means we should be all over Holiday and Khris Middleton. During the regular season, both players saw massive bumps in volume and production with the two-time MVP off the court. According to RotoGrinders, Holiday's usage rate jumped by 7.4 percentage bumps and he averaged an additional 0.22 FanDuel points per minute sans Antetokounmpo. In the final two games of the series against the Atlanta Hawks, Jrue dropped 52.7 and 63.3 fantasy points, respectively. numberFire's algorithm projects the 31-year-old to be the top scorer on the slate, edging his teammate (Middleton) by 1.1 fantasy points.

Khris Middleton ($14,500) - Per RotoGrinders, Middleton a bigger bump in usage -- 7.6 percentage points -- without Giannis on the court, though his 0.19 FanDuel-point-per-minute increase in that split was slightly less than Holiday's 0.22. Khash recorded 61.6 and 49.3 fantasy points in Games 5 and 6 versus the Hawks, which means that he's now eclipsed 49 in five of his last eight efforts, including in three of his last four on the road.

Devin Booker ($13,500) - Booker has been far more volatile than his backcourt mate Chris Paul this postseason, though his upside, coupled with the $1,500 we'd save in salary, makes him my preferred play. The 22-year-old All-Star has surpassed 40 FanDuel points in 7 of his 16 outings this postseason, including outputs of 47.9, 51.4, 53.2, 64.7, and 70.1. For what it's worth, the 51.4-point performance came in the playoff opener against the Los Angeles Lakers, while he racked up the 70.1 in the Conference Finals opener versus the Los Angeles Clippers. Our algorithm projects him to be a better point-per-dollar play than both CP3 and Deandre Ayton.

Other Players to Consider: Chris Paul ($15,000), Deandre Ayton ($12,500)

Utility Considerations

Bobby Portis ($9,500) - Of all the players in this match, Portis is numberFire's top-projected point-per-dollar play tonight. Our model has the big man dropping 35.2 FanDuel points tonight, and there is plenty of basis to that optimistic projection. Prior to the Greek Freak injuring his knee in the third quarter of Game 4, Portis had topped out at 18.9 minutes in any game this postseason, and that includes three being a 'DNP-CD' three times against the Brooklyn Nets. However, in the two games with Giannis inactive, Portis saw 35.7 and 32.4 minutes, respectively, which resulted in fantasy outputs of 45.1 and 25.8. It wouldn't be unfair to expect something in the middle of those two tonight.

Mikal Bridges ($9,000) - During the regular season, Milwaukee was among the 10 most stingy teams to four out of the five positions, with the lone exception being small forward. According to FantasyPros, the Deer ceded the second-most real-life points, the sixth-most rebounds, the fifth-most made threes, the fifth-most blocks, and the third-most fantasy points to the position in 2020-21. Now, Bridges underwhelmed in Games 5 and 6 against the Clippers, but he's had a solid postseason otherwise. In that 11 games prior, the 24-year-old had averaged 26.9 FanDuel points, including six performances with 27.2-plus.

Other Utility Options: Brook Lopez ($11,500), Jae Crowder ($10,500), Pat Connaughton ($8,000), P.J. Tucker ($7,500)