This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Basketball series.
This could very well be my last article of the NBA season. It's been an amazing run up to this point, and I want to thank all of you for reading and commenting throughout the year. That means we're in the midst of the NBA Finals with Phoenix up 2-0 heading back to Milwaukee. This game is imperative for the Bucks because no team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit in the NBA Playoffs. There's a lot to discuss, so let's go ahead and get into it.
Chris Paul, PHX at MIL ($34)
If you don't think CP3 is hungry to grab his first NBA title, you really haven't been paying attention. He's been a consummate professional throughout his 16-year career, but he's enjoying one of the best postseasons of his career. In fact, Paul has produced at least 31 Yahoo points in 10 straight games averaging 25.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 9.3 assists and 1.5 steals over that stretch. That equates to nearly 50 Y! points per game, the highest total from anyone outside of Giannis. That makes him an easy pick at just $34, and you better believe the Suns also want to get Paul Finals MVP honors.
Jrue Holiday, MIL vs. PHX ($32)
Holiday's shooting stroke has been ugly for a few weeks, but he's still providing elite fantasy production. Despite shooting 40 percent from the field over his last 11 fixtures, Jrue is averaging 19.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 8.8 assists and 1.7 steals. That has led to 43.3 fantasy points per game while scoring at least 35 Y! points in 10 of those 11 outings. That's not an easy floor to find from a $32 player, and it's scary to think how good Holiday could be if he gets those shooting percentages back up to normal levels.
Guard to Avoid
Cameron Payne, PHX at MIL ($13)
Payne was a revelation in the Western Conference Finals when Paul was nicked up, but it's not the same with CP3 healthy. Since Paul returned five games ago, Payne has failed to crack 13 fantasy points in four while generating a 12-point average. There are minimum-salaried players on this slate with similar upsides, and it's simply not worth it with Devin Booker and Paul stealing so many minutes and touches in this series.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL vs. PHX ($55)
If you're not using Giannis on a one-game slate, you should find a different hobby. The simple fact is you need to lock these guaranteed 50-60 Yahoo! points into your megastar slot and then build your lineup from there. We're talking about someone who's scored at least 48 Y! points in 10 straight healthy games while providing 57 Yahoo points across 40 minutes a night. That's amazing production from anyone, and it's simply impossible to fade Giannis with this being the only game on the slate. Not to mention, this is a must-win game with the Bucks down 0-2, making him hungrier than ever.
Mikal Bridges, PHX at MIL ($19)
Bridges is a defense-first player, and a matchup with the fast-paced Bucks is a recipe for success. Milwaukee was actually Top-3 in pace during the regular season, giving Bridges more opportunities than ever. The lengthy wing has 58.7 combined Y! points in the first two this series while logging 38 minutes in the Game 2 victory. That's hard to overlook from a sub-$20 player, making Bridges one of the best pairings with expensive players like Giannis and CP3.
Forward to Avoid
Khris Middleton, MIL vs. PHX ($37)
It would be easy to sit here and write up recommendations for all the expensive players, but knowing who to fade is just as important as knowing who to use. The reason we're going to avoid Middleton is that we want to use players like Giannis, CP3, and Booker. If we're going for those three, it's impossible to get Khris into your build. He's definitely the toughest to trust as he's failed to crack 41 Yahoo points in five of the last six games Giannis has suited up while scoring 36 or fewer in four of those. That's not bad, but it won't get it done from a $37 player. Middleton's jumper has been busted at home in that stretch shooting 39 percent from the field and 18 percent from three-point range. That could be a matter of pressure in front of the home crowd, and there's no more pressure than a must-win Game 3 in the NBA Finals.
Deandre Ayton, PHX at MIL ($30)
Ayton received a lot of consideration as a Draft bust just a few months back, but a lot of those critics are eating their words now. The big man has been a monster since the beginning of the Clippers series by averaging 17.4 points, 14 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.5 blocks per contest. That's a 43-point average across an eight-game stretch and proves Ayton is of the NBA's most dominant centers. The pace and lack of center production from Milwaukee make him even more intriguing while also dropping at least 39 fantasy points this series despite taking 10 shots or fewer in both.
Center to Avoid
Brook Lopez, MIL vs. PHX ($21)
There are really only two centers on this slate worth talking about, and we have to believe Ayton is the easy choice over Lopez. The valuation definitely dictates that, but we stand by it even with Bro-Lo being $9 less. What's worrisome is that Lopez has scored 26 or fewer fantasy points in six of his last eight games, with one of those being a game that Giannis sat. That means Lopez is not a major part of this offense right now, which is even more concerning with his lack of rebounding. Having to face a top-5 Phoenix defense certainly doesn't help either, and it makes him an easy fade with Bridges also being a better value option.