3 NBA FanDuel Tournament Plays to Target on 10/24/19
"One cannot be betrayed if one has no people."
- Kobayashi (in The Usual Suspects)
When it's time to start building DFS tournament lineups, especially for NBA tournaments, the fundamental choice to make is whether or not to buy into the chalk plays of the slate. More than any other sport, the popular plays in NBA are popular for a reason. Where we often get into trouble in tournaments, however, is when we begin to blindly trust a slate's chalk.
This regular piece will focus on tournaments looking through the lens of the projected chalk plays - the usual suspects - of that night's games. The Usual DFSuspects, if you will. In an attempt to understand the context of the slate, we will also uncover a Keyzer Soze of the night - a play that looks helpful on the surface but is not what he appears as we dig deeper.
Let's look at plays for each position on Thursday's FanDuel main slate.
Stephen Curry ($10,300) - There should be tremendous interest tonight on the Houston Rockets' new-look backcourt, which should suppress ownership on the one-man show that the Golden State Warriors are about to unveil tonight with Stephen Curry. At a price tag more than $1,000 lower than James Harden, Curry owners are likely to get higher usage in an ultra-competitive game environment.
Player vs. team stats can be incredibly noisy and misunderstood, but there is something about Curry and the matchup with Patrick Beverley and the Clippers that brings out his best. In his career against the Clippers, Curry's ranks in various offensive metrics are off the charts: true shooting percentage (1st), offensive rating (3rd), field goal percentage (4th), and three point percentage (5th). In his last seven games against Los Angeles (all WITH Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson), Curry is averaging 42.5 FanDuel points. Without those high-usage players on the roster, my expectation is he beats that number tonight.
Kawhi Leonard ($9,800) - As we saw on Tuesday night, Kawhi Leonard will play the role of alpha and primary option, at least until Paul George is back from shoulder injury. With a night off since his last start, we shouldn't expect to see decreased minutes, but on the court, Kawhi should certainly be getting a break with his defensive assignment.
Kawhi is projected to match up with the Warriors new small forward starter Glenn Robinson III. Kevin Durant he is not. In fact, Robinson's offensive rating last season of 102.3 was tied with the likes of Carmelo Anthony and Justin Holiday. It's a significant downgrade for the Warriors and a defensive matchup that should allow Leonard to continue to see extraordinary usage on the offensive end. On Tuesday, Leonard's usage was 40.8%, higher than any player so far in the young season. Until he has to share the rock with George in the weeks to come, look for Kawhi to continue rolling.
Andre Drummond ($10,300) - If you roster anyone from this non-national TV game, you will automatically differentiate your lineups in tournaments. So much ownership will presumably flock to the Rockets new tandem, the Greek Freak, and an unleashed Stephen Curry, that owners won't have the salary cap space to get up to an Andre Drummond.
Fresh off of a slate-breaking 81.6 FanDuel points (32 points, 23 rebounds, 4 blocks) on Wednesday, the Drummond smash tour should continue rolling along against the Atlanta Hawks. Last season the Hawks had the fastest pace in the league accompanied by the third-worst defensive rating. Having done little to upgrade their roster defensively, the Hawks should offer little in the way of resistance to Drummond. With no Blake Griffin in the picture, Drummond inhaled over 36% of his team's available defensive rebounds in his 40 minutes on the floor and demanded over 28% usage.
Keyser Soze of the Night
Clint Capela ($8,400) - Playing in the game with far and away the highest implied total on the night, I would normally jump on the chance to roster the springy Clint Capela. But this matchup and the new team context could spell a little bit of trouble for the big man.
First, Brook Lopez ranked second among all centers with at least 20 minutes per game with a 103.4 defensive rating. Lopez is a tall, big body who can muscle up with Capela defensively and move him out of his comfortable position. Second, Lopez shot 6.3 three pointers per game and only averaged 4.9 rebounds per game despite being seven feet tall. Capela is going to be forced to chase him all around the court on Thursday night, reducing his opportunities for his most valuable contributions - rebounds, blocks, and high-percentage shots.
It has yet to be seen how this new Rockets team will run, but one thing is for sure, Capela no longer has a monopoly in the paint. Russell Westbrook was third among all guards last year in field goal attempts per game inside of five feet (7.8). Russ likes to finish around the basket where Harden would frequently find Capela lurking for easy buckets. Only time will tell if Capela is able to earn the amount of easy shots he took the past two seasons.