This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
With a 2-0 lead in the series, the Lakers aim for a sweep while time is running out for the Heat to find a solution. Two big injuries are currently in flux, leaving both Miami's and our ability to build an optimal lineup in limbo. Let's give it a go!
MIA vs. LAL (-9.5) O/U: 220
Injuries to Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic wreaked havoc on a fairly static scheme for Showdown contests in Game 2. In the wake of Adebayo's absence, Kelly Olynyk stepped into his role and was the winning Captain in GPP contests. While it looks like Dragic will miss another game, Adebayo's status is far less certain and his availability may not be known until the final shootaround. We're going to work on the assumption Adebayo will play, but in reality his absence will work a lot better for us due to Olynyk's value-beating ability in the CPTN slot. Rather than dig deep into single-game strategy, check out my article about beating these unique contests here.
FINDING THE VALUE
Decimals decided winning GPP lineups, and the minuscule edge came down to the value spots on a night where many nailed the Olynyk/James/Davis/Butler combo.
Dwight Howard, LAL (CPTN $5,400, UTIL $3,600)
Howard remains a mainstay in most winning lineups due to his significant increase in playing time this series. He was expected to pop against Miami's depleted interior, but only managed 14 DKFP in Game 2. Instead, the output at the position was spread out among other players, thus diluting Howard's potential. He can still save you a great deal of money at the UTIL spot. You can only contemplate Howard for a CPTN designation if Adebayo is in. If he's out, Kelly Olynyk ($4,800) is a lock for your CPTN spot.
Kendrick Nunn, MIA (CPTN $6,800, UTIL $4,400)
After spending an expensive and somewhat confounding time in the doghouse, the Heat had no choice but to bring out Nunn in Goran Dragic's absence. Why a team would choose to bench one of the league's top rookies is still a bit of a mystery, but he'll see 25-30 minutes on the floor Sunday if Dragic misses as expected. Nunn's ability to drain the three makes him a contrarian alternative for CPTN, and a less popular play over Tyler Herro (CPTN $12,600, UTIL $8,400).
I am linking these three players despite the huge price differences. Rondo is probably the most volatile player on this slate, and in Game 2 was in the winning lineup for several GPPs. His resurgence will inevitably hurt Caruso, but interestingly enough KCP thrived in Game 2 alongside Rondo. You get a big discount out of Caruso, and you have to consider him if Adebayo ends up playing because your CPTN can't be Olynyk. You can only take a risk on Rondo's upside if the CPTN is in Olynyk's price range. Adebayo's presence could make me think about KCP's $6,900 CPTN cost as a real possibility.
For two straight games, LeBron James (CPTN $19,500, UTIL $13,000) and Anthony Davis (CPTN $18,300, UTIL $12,200) were necessary to win. Nothing changes for Game 3, but the biggest question mark once again centers around Adebayo. With a lack of value options to get the kind of advantage Olynyk enjoyed, Davis was the CPTN in the top GPP lineups. If Adebayo is back, a James or Davis CPTN designation immediately comes back into play. To fit one of them at CPTN, you'll need a guy like Caruso. But if you keep them in UTIL positions, a UTIL stack that includes more Lakers like KCP, Howard and Rondo are possible.
The additional wildcard for Sunday is Jimmy Butler (CPTN $14,700, UTIL $9,800). He's a regular usage beast, but had to shoulder an even heavier load without Bam in the lineup. Even if the big man returns, the Heat were simply a better team with Butler more involved in the offense and that's a trend that should continue in Game 3. There are basically two ways to incorporate Butler, James and Davis in your builds. You either have to go extremely low in the remaining spots, or you have to find a guy at CPTN similar to Olynyk's value - or Olynyk himself if Adebayo is out. If you want to have one of these three in the CPTN spot, you'll need to bring in options like Andre Iguodala ($3,000). And to be honest, I'd rather not. On the other hand, sticking in someone like KCP or Nunn as CPTN starts to look a lot more interesting as it will allow us plenty of room for all three and the ability to throw in someone like Dwight Howard in for good measure.
In conclusion, I recommend reserving your entries early and then filling them in at the last possible minute. All your builds depend on Adebayo's status and the assurance that Dragic is out.