Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks gives us NBA DFS for the first time since Thursday. Sunday’s slate locks at 8:00 p.m. ET.
If you are unfamiliar with single-game/showdown slates, check out Matt LaMarca’s primers for DraftKings and FanDuel before building rosters.
After losing the first two games of the series, Milwaukee looks to avoid a 3-0 hole at home. Give credit where credit is due, the Bucks only lost by 10 Game 2 as opposed to 13 like in Game 1.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has played like a two-time MVP, averaging 31 points, 14.5 rebounds, four assists, two blocks, and 1.5 steals in the series. For as good as Giannis was, the offense regressed from three-point range. Their free throw shooting also kept the game out of reach, making three more than Phoenix despite having nine more attempts.
The only other injury concern comes from Sun G/F Torrey Craig. He left Game 2 in the second half due to a knee injury and did not return. Fortunately, he is listed as probable for Game 3.
The Bucks are four-point favorites at home. The over/under for Game 3 is 222 points.
Antetokounmpo has shown that his hyperextended knee is a serious concern for re-injury, especially when taking contact getting to the hoop. There have been multiple occasions where Antetokounmpo has been visibly grimacing or reaching for his knee. Antetokounmpo is the most expensive player on FanDuel and DraftKings and remains atop our NBA Model projections. He is one of two players with a projected Usage Rate over 30 percent and has at least an 80% Bargain Rating on both platforms.
Chris Paul and Devin Booker are priced directly below Antetokounmpo with each priced second on one platform. Paul projects and ranks higher on DraftKings while Booker projects for under one point less than Paul on FanDuel, but is $1,000 cheaper. The Suns duo is contributing in four of five categories nightly and are capable of carrying the offense. It all depends on which Jrue Holiday guards.
Holiday slowed Paul enough but that left Booker freer to fire his normal load of shots. Paul does not need to score in a larger volume because he is one of the best point guards to play the game and also is above average at rebounding. He was limited to one free throw attempt Game 2 and a return to the line could doom the Bucks. Holiday improved offensively with a different defensive assignment. He is priced as the sixth-most expensive player on DraftKings but projects as the fourth-best fantasy producer. The former Pelican is the top-rated player on FanDuel.
Khris Middleton was the elite-priced flop of Game 2. The positive for him is his improved shooting in home games. The wing shot six percent better from the field and 9.5 percent better from three at home. His salary dropped on both sites and remains high risk-high reward DFS option with Mikal Bridges guarding him.
Deandre Ayton did not come close to matching his Game 1 explosion offensively, but he did contribute in all five categories to maintain his 40-plus point average in the Finals. The Suns only won one quarter Game 2 and must have Ayton shooting at or above 40 percent to win at least one of the next two games in Milwaukee. Ayton rates well on DraftKings as the lowest elite option and by having a projected point total similar to everyone not named Antetokounmpo.
Brook Lopez took a step back and did not contribute to Milwaukee’s 3-point barrage. Game 2 marked the sixth time in eight games where he did not play 30-plus minutes. He is more appealing on DraftKings at $6,600. Lopez has been priced over $7,000 six times in the 2021 playoffs. It may not seem like a lot but Brook averaged 1.7 fewer fantasy points and shot worse at home.
Every game that Mikal Bridges shoots double-digit field goal attempts, he scores in double digits. Not an in-depth stat but important considering he takes on tough defensive assignments. He shut down Middleton in Game 2 and scored his postseason best 27 points. Bridges also took nine three-point attempts and went 8 for 8 from the free throw line. Bridges is the second-rated player on FanDuel and only saw his salary go up $500. Another 27-point effort is not likely but he found a working formula and offers secondary scoring that the Suns were not consistently getting in the Western Conference Finals.
Bobby Portis being priced at $10,500 on FanDuel is egregious. You were not playing him after he was essentially removed from the Bucks playing rotation, and there is no reason to consider him in Game 3.
It was good to see Jae Crowder make shots and contribute defensively. Antetokounmpo’s knee will keep him from being aggressive on defense, allowing Crowder to collect rebounds and reach his low-total double-double ceiling.
If Torrey Craig does not play, Cameron Johnson stands to get the biggest boost according to Suns Head Coach Monty Williams. Johnson is averaging 19 minutes per game so far this series and has made two 3-pointers in each game.
Values & Punts
Jeff Teague ($1,800 on DraftKings, $6,500 on FanDuel): The vet jumped rookie Bryn Forbes in minutes played but did little with them. Teague has value as a ball-handling guard, something the Bucks desperately need with Holiday struggling this series. A double-digit fantasy point performance could make Teague one of the better plays with roster construction in mind.
Pat Connaughton ($3,800 on DraftKings, $8,000 on FanDuel): He closed out Game 2 with P.J. Tucker struggling to find a place on both ends of the court. His salary dropped another $200 on DraftKings despite his second-best fantasy output over the past month.
P.J. Tucker ($4,200 on DraftKings, $7,500 on FanDuel): Tucker has been asked to guard Devin Booker and has had issues. His defensive struggles have not taken away much from his offensive game but his salary keeps dropping. That makes him one of the few cheaper options that can score 20-plus fantasy points. He still rates below Connaughton among the cheaper Bucks options but his role in a small rotation is secure.
Torrey Craig ($1,000 on DraftKings, $7,000 on FanDuel): The probably tag for Craig is good news. He hit two of his three three-point attempts in seven minutes prior to leaving the game. Craig projects for just over 12 minutes of playing time, and if he can score 10 points and contribute a few rebounds, will be a massive value.
Abel Nader ($1,000 on DraftKings, $6,000 on FanDuel): Nader gets mentioned because Monty Williams mentioned him as a benefactor of Craig’s injury. Nader should only get consideration if Craig is ruled out.