5 FanDuel Tournament Plays to Target on 10/30/19
"One cannot be betrayed if one has no people."
- Kobayashi (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 player 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 Wednesday's FanDuel main slate.
De'Aaron Fox ($8,100) - The theme of tonight is living in the mid-range. There are any number of high-priced stars and value plays on Wednesday's slate, so building in the mid-range should be quite contrarian.
Tonight, Fox certainly fits that build. Due to an extremely uneven four games to start the season (two games under 18 FanDuel points, two games over 37), Fox's salary has not reached the heights it should over the next couple months. Owners should reap the benefits now.
Fox enters the game against the Hornets with the fifth-highest usage among point guards on the slate -- a very healthy 27% -- and matches up against a team with the third-worst defensive rating among all NBA teams (115.5).
Perhaps because of the roller coaster start to the season, or perhaps because of the hip injury that hampered him over the weekend, managers are hesitant to roll with Fox. He was less than 3% owned on Monday night. With Buddy Hield's shot not falling the last two games, look for Fox to try and assert himself in this game, running the show for a team with an implied total over 115 points.
D'Angelo Russell ($8,400) - Russell broke out against the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night with an outstanding 24-point, 7-rebound, 8-assist performance against a slew of Pelicans backups. Brought in to fill the Klay Thompson-sized hole in their lineup this season, Russell played the perfect compliment to Stephen Curry for the first time. Hopefully, the Golden State Warriors have discovered a Russell and Curry formula that works. The Phoenix Suns are an ideal defensive matchup to continue exploiting it.
Despite a massive 116.75-point implied team total, the Warriors are only five-point favorites at home against the Suns, with oddsmakers thinking this one stays relatively close. Whether it does or not, Russell should be heavily involved -- his usage jumped from 22% in his first two games of the season to 28% on Monday.
Jonathan Isaac ($6,500) DFS players will likely be turned off by this game with a slate-low 209.0 total, but there are one or two hidden gems that we can uncover in what will assuredly be low-owned plays. At only $6,500, Isaac helps provide tremendous savings to be able to pay up at point guard and center while still offering some of the strongest point-per-dollar upside on the slate.
Despite a usage rate of only 16%, Isaac has the third-highest fantasy points per minute (1.18) of any small forward on the slate. Much like Russell, he also broke out in his last game, putting up 46.4 FanDuel points against a tough Toronto Raptors team in a season-high 33 minutes.
On Wednesday, he matches up against a New York Knicks team that has allowed the second-most points (23.67), ninth-most rebounds (9.47), seventh-most assists (4.41), and ninth-most three-pointers made (2.52) to his position. If given the minutes, Isaac is in a great spot to repeat his previous strong showing.
P.J. Tucker ($5,600) - When a low usage player like Tucker (11.8% -- third-lowest among all power forwards on the slate) has a relatively high fantasy points per game average (30.9 -- 11th out of 22 power forwards), something does not compute. Tucker, however, is not your normal power forward. His high per-game average can be attributed to contributions across the board, including points, three-pointers, rebounds, blocks and steals. Those defensive stats don't show up in usage rate, so Tucker will always be an underrated asset.
Normally thought of as a player with a safe cash game floor because of his minutes (a career-high 36 minutes per game this year), at $5,600 Tucker is displaying 6x tournament upside at low ownership.
Myles Turner ($7,400) - The Brooklyn Nets are on the slate, so it's time to smash the lock button on their opposing center. At 39 minutes per night, Turner is blowing away his career average of 28.2, leading to an early-season 33 FanDuel points per night.
One interesting bit of information I found in my research revolves around Turner at the three-point line. Turner is taking 4.7 three-pointers per game (and making 2.3!), both more than double his career average. Brooklyn allows a league high 6.4 three-pointers made per game to the center position through the first week, something Turner might look to take advantage of, especially if DeAndre Jordan draws another start.
With all of the attention at center likely to be directed towards the Towns-Embiid-Drummond big three or punting all the way down to Dewayne Dedmon or Robert Williams, the mid-range is likely to see extremely low ownership on Wednesday, making Turner and other $7,000-$8,000 plays appealing in tournaments.
Keyser Soze of the Night
Domantas Sabonis ($8,400) - As mentioned above, Turner is the preferred frontcourt player for the Indiana Pacers in this game. For as bad as Jarrett Allen has been in defending his opposing centers, Taurean Prince has been that good in his short tenure with the Nets. Sabonis has started with two incredibly strong games in his first three and is finally starting and playing minutes in the mid-30s. But Prince and the Nets have allowed the third-fewest FanDuel points per game to power forwards, including only 16.4 actual points per game. Expect Sabonis to cool down tonight.