When LeBron James missed his first 10 shots of Game 3 against the Atlanta Hawks there had to be at least a few fantasy GM’s shaking their heads wondering what was wrong with the NBA’s biggest superstar and whether or not both he and the Cleveland Cavaliers could recover.
Then LeBron turned his game on a dime and wound up finishing with a game-high 37 points, 18 rebounds, 13 assists and three steals to help Cleveland pull out a 114-111 win and help eliminate any fantasy GM that didn’t have him in daily fantasy leagues from making any money. LeBron will be a must-start for Game 4 so it shouldn’t be a surprise that we have him in our lineup once again. Here is a look at our optimal fantasy lineup for Tuesday’s DraftKings NBA Daily Fantasy Leagues.
PG: Jeff Teague, Atlanta
The question for an Atlanta team that finds itself in an 0-3 hole with nearly zero chance of coming back is who will show up for Game 4 and will they go down fighting. Jeff Teague has been their most consistent player throughout these playoffs that is still healthy heading in to what could be their final game of the year so we will plug him in hoping that he can bring his very best in an elimination game as the best player available at his position by a long shot.
SG: JR Smith, Cleveland
Kyle Korver’s terrible play this postseason combined with Smith breaking through as arguably Cleveland’s most important player next to LeBron as long as Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving are out has actually increased Smith’s salary to the point where he is now the most expensive shooting guard on the board in this series. The reality is that he still deserves every dollar so we have no problem plugging him in for this spot ahead of Korver and Iman Shumpert even though he is no longer a value bargain play.
SF: LeBron James, Cleveland
LeBron’s statistics from Game 3 and more importantly the fact that he was able to put up those numbers after missing his first 10 shots of the game reinforce the reality that he is a must-start in every single fantasy league that features this series regardless of how high his salary climbs. If you want to win, begin building your lineup by plugging in LeBron as a must-start fantasy asset.
PF: Paul Millsap, Atlanta
Millsap was good enough in Game 3 that we feel comfortable going back to him here in a must-win game for the Hawks. The hope is that the 22 points, nine rebounds, one steal and one 3-point shot will serve as the absolute bottom line for what we can expect from him in Game 4 on Tuesday night.
C: Timofey Mozgov, Cleveland
Mozgov found himself back in the Cavaliers’ starting lineup for Game 3 and while he ended up playing only 22 minutes he still managed to score nine points with five rebounds and a block. Mozgov could get more playing time in Game 4 especially if it is a blowout either way so we feel comfortable going with him in this spot instead of Al Horford at a much more expensive price that would leave us cash strapped to fill out the other positions we have left on the board.
G: Kent Bazemore, Atlanta
Bazemore got the start in place of the injured Kover for Game 3 and he rewarded the fantasy GM’s that took a chance on him as easily the best value bargain play on the board for Sunday night. Bazemore scored 14 points with seven rebounds, three assists, three steals, a block and two 3-point shots and he could very well be the closest thing to a must-start besides LeBron with a salary of just $3.5K for Tuesday night’s must-win Game 4.
F: Tristan Thompson, Cleveland
Thompson is somewhat overpriced at this point but he had 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks in Game 3 and considering his playing time and potential to put up strong numbers again in Game 4 it makes sense to go with him at the extra forward position with just enough money left over to find a decent value play at the FLEX position.
FLEX: Mike Scott, Atlanta
Scott isn’t the ideal fantasy play but Thompson represents a much better fantasy value than his replacement and that leaves just enough money left over to grab a decent forward off the bench for Atlanta. Scott registered eight points, nine rebounds, two assists and a steal in Game 3 on Sunday and if he can even match those fantasy stat totals for Tuesday night he will be a strong bargain play here.