Sunday features Game 6 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers starting at 7:30 p.m. ET.

If you’re unfamiliar with the single-game format, check out my primers on DraftKings or FanDuel before building your lineups.


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Studs

The formula for this series has not changed: The Lakers will rely on their dynamic duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, while the Heat need Jimmy Butler to continue to carry a massive workload.

Let’s start with the Lakers. LeBron is coming off one of his best Finals performances, which is something considering that this is his 10th Finals appearance. He finished with 40 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists in Game 5, and he even added in three steals and six 3-pointers for good measure. Overall, he finished with 75.25 DraftKings points, which made him an amazing value even at such a high price tag.

LeBron probably isn’t looking at another 75 DraftKings points today, but there’s no reason to expect a huge decline. He is quite simply the safest investment in fantasy basketball, and he’s scored at least 51.5 DraftKings points in seven of his past eight games. He’s been in the optimal DraftKings lineup in each of the first five games of this series. Don’t expect that to change today.

Davis has a bit more downside at his current salary, but he was also fantastic in Game 5. He finished with 61.0 DraftKings points, thanks to 28 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, three steals, and three blocks.

That said, Bam Adebayo being back in the lineup diminishes his appeal slightly. Adebayo was one of the best defenders in the league this season — he ranked second in ESPN’s Defensive Real Plus/Minus — and he’s limited Davis to just 42.9% shooting while serving as his primary defender. That is markedly better than the rest of the Heat defenders have done against Davis in this series.

Davis, obviously, is still capable of succeeding in this matchup, and the Lakers will do things to get him mismatches against some different defenders in this contest. Still, he’s a clear No. 3 option among the studs on today’s slate.

Butler has been asked to do everything for the Heat recently, and he hasn’t disappointed. He finished with a 40-point triple-double in Game 3 and followed that up with a 35-point triple-double in Game 5. He scored at least 82.0 DraftKings points in both of those contests, and he’s scored at least 56.0 DraftKings points in four straight games.

Butler also played a ridiculous 47.2 minutes in Game 5, meaning he sat on the bench for a total of 48 seconds. He was clearly gassed by the end of that contest, but the Heat really don’t have the luxury of easing up on him on today’s slate. He’s currently projected for 45.2 minutes in our NBA Models, which is the top mark on the slate.

All three of these players are close to must-plays, so the question shifts to the best way to fit them in your lineup. It’s nearly impossible to play all three if you go with one at the Captain spot. Butler is the cheapest Captain at $17,100, and pairing him with LeBron and AD leaves you with an average of approximately $2,800 for your final three lineup spots. There simply isn’t enough value available to make that a viable strategy.

The optimal lineup in Game 5 had Andre Iguodala at Captain, and while his 21.0 DraftKings points in that slot don’t jump off the page, it was enough to get all three studs into the utility spots. You need to go a similar route today unless you’re willing to pass on one of James, Butler, or Davis.

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Midrange

Adebayo is priced in a weird tier today. He’s not nearly as expensive as the true stud options, but he’s still pretty darn expensive. You could make the case that he’s a strong contrarian option — he should garner very little ownership — and he’s coming off nearly 38 minutes in Game 5. He could see even more playing time today as he gets further removed from his injury, and he seems poised for some positive regression after struggling in each of his past two games.

Still, I’m not sure I actually have the courage to go there. He owns a far lower ceiling and Plus/Minus projections than the true stud options in our NBA Models, so he doesn’t provide nearly the same value or upside. It seems like a fine idea to ignore him today.

Tyler Herro is another tough option to get behind at his current salary. He has plenty of ability on the offensive end, but the Heat played him for just 30.6 minutes in their last contest. They went with a more defensive-minded lineup in that game — outside of the red-hot Duncan Robinson — and it will be tough for him to return value if that’s the case again today.

Speaking of Robinson, he’s gone 10-of-19 from 3-point range over his last two games, and he’s scored at least 27.75 DraftKings points in each of his past three contests. Robinson is a great shooter, but fading players who have been priced up after elite shooting performances is typically a solid strategy. He’s also tougher to fit in your lineup today, so I’m fine with fading him and hoping he doesn’t burn me from deep.

I’d rather target Jae Crowder if I was looking at a Heat player in this price range. He actually played more minutes than Robinson in Game 5 and is capable of contributing in more categories across the board. He’s shot just 25% from 3-point range over his past three games, but he arguably has a higher ceiling than Robinson if his jump shot starts falling.

Rajon Rondo is priced in this range on the Lakers’ side, and he’s a high-risk, high-reward option. His minutes have been all over the place recently, but he’s one of the best producers outside of the stud trio on a per-minute basis. If you’re looking to go with a contrarian build, Rondo has a lot of upside at his salary.

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Values & Punts

These are the players who typically decide showdown contests. It may not feel comfortable to roster someone who isn’t projected for a ton of minutes, but history suggests it’s the easiest way to find yourself at the top of the leaderboard. These plays typically command lower ownership than the mid-tier players, so they allow you to differentiate your lineup without sacrificing the high-end stud production.

That said, this price range has gotten more expensive recently, which is another reason it’s so hard to advocate for playing one of the “big three” in the Captain spot on DraftKings. Unless you’re willing to go super cheap and take a zero — which might not be the worst idea in the world — it’s going to be tough to find viable options to round out a top-heavy lineup.

Let’s break down some of the top options in this range, rapid-fire style:

  • Kendrick Nunn: $5,400 on DraftKings, $8,000 on FanDuel — Nunn was in the optimal DraftKings lineup for Game 5 and was one of just seven Miami players to see the court in that contest. He’s been priced up a bit, but he should still see a solid handful of minutes if Dragic is unable to suit up.
  • Andre Iguodala: $4,000 on DraftKings, $7,500 on FanDuel — Iggy has also been priced up after Game 5 thanks to 14.0 DraftKings points over 19.8 minutes. He’s much less appealing at this current price tag but still has a path to fantasy relevance.
  • Alex Caruso: $3,800 on DraftKings, $7,500 on FanDuel — Caruso has not been very good from a fantasy perspective recently, but he’s still seeing plenty of court time. He’s been a solid player on a points-per-minute basis this season, so he could have a better performance in Game 6.
  • Markieff Morris: $3,000 on DraftKings, $8,000 on FanDuel — Morris burned a lot of people in Game 5, finishing with an almost impossible -0.25 DraftKings points over 22.6 minutes, but he stands out as the clear top option in this price range. Playing Morris at Captain allows you to jam in the three studs and still leaves an average of $4850 for your remaining two lineup spots. That’s a very appealing strategy on today’s slate.