The 2021 NBA Finals began Tuesday night, and the Phoenix Suns got off to a strong start in the series, defeating the Milwaukee Bucks 118-105. In the world of DFS, Game 1 also meant another featured DraftKings Championship Series Millionaire contest, with a $2.25M prize pool and a $1M top prize. It was an extremely close contest with a handful of similar lineups grouped near the top of the standings, but ultimately Chris Paul was good enough to wind up as the winning choice at captain. The full contest can be found here.
The DraftKings Championship Series is the king of competitions, minting 100 millionaires in the 2021-22 season. For more info on the series and all of the events, visit our DraftKings Championship Series Information page.
$2.25M Fantasy Bball Millionaire
Tuesday night’s tournament was an unusual one with the smallest of margins separating the top few lineups. The winning score of 256.50 was held by 119 lineups, while an additional 321 lineups came up just short with 256.38 points. Following that, there were another 220 lineups that also barely missed out with a score of 256.25. The differences between these lineups were subtle, but most notably, Khris Middleton edged out Devin Booker — 43.75 to 43.5 — which helped create this strange set of circumstances. Here’s a look at those three lineups:
For the 119 winners who split the top prize, there will be an additional tiebreaker contest for the ticket to the DraftKings Championship Series Tournament of Champions.
Previewing Game 2
The strangest part about Game 1 from a DFS perspective was the ownership on Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,400), who was rostered in just 35.5% of lineups, and 10% in the captain spot. Antetokounmpo has routinely been 90+% throughout the playoffs with usually about a third of that coming at captain, but the uncertain health situation leading up to Game 1 created an unusual scenario. The ownership is likely to be substantially higher for Game 2, and the slate dynamics are going to be a lot different as a result.
There are a couple of other key reasons why the Game 2 Showdown slate might look a bit different from Game 1. Cameron Johnson ($6,000) is now twice as expensive as he was for Game 1, so the field’s go-to value play is no longer a value play. Fitting in star players will be more difficult as a result, but Johnson actually isn’t the only reason that this will be true. One of the other semi-popular cheap players for Game 1 was Dario Saric, who suffered a knee injury early in the game and has since been diagnosed with a torn ACL. Saric being out of the lineup should create a few minutes of playing time for Frank Kaminsky ($1,000), but the Suns seem far less comfortable giving Kaminsky those minutes and probably will just opt to lean more heavily on Deandre Ayton ($9,200). That’s basically what they did in Game 1 anyway.
The premier value option for Game 2 is now most likely going to be Bobby Portis ($3,200), who had his price cut substantially from the $6,800 tag that he had in Game 1. Portis benefited greatly with Antetokounmpo out of the lineup, and has been relegated to more of a reserve role when the Bucks are heathy, but he’s still enough of a rotation piece at this point that he’ll be a popular pick with the reduced salary. Whether Portis winds up being overly chalky or not, it’ll be interesting to see how DFS players attempt to maneuver a scenario where there are a few great players on each team, but not a lot of obvious ways to fit them into lineups together.
Tournament of Champions Tiebreaker
As mentioned above, a tiebreaker contest was held for Game 2 for the 119 participants who tied for first place in Game 1. This contest produced a sole winner and an entry to the DraftKings Championship Series Tournament of Champions, as “JoshiQ” earned his way to the event with a score of 269.25. The strong showing from Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,400) was an obvious factor in his success, but more notably, he was able to take first place by an overwhelming 13-point margin in large part due to the 40.25 fantasy points that Mikal Bridges ($6,800) scored. Bridges was just 4.2% owned, and wound up being arguably the biggest difference maker of the Game 2 slate. Here’s a look at the lineup:
For more info on the series and all of the events, visit our DraftKings Championship Series Information page.
Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $1M Finals Shootaround Special [$200K to 1st] (MIL vs PHO)
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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.
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