5 NBA FanDuel Tournament Plays to Target on 11/6/19
"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 by 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 find the best pivots and contrarian plays to help rosters stand out from the pack.
Let's look at plays for each position on Wednesday's FanDuel main slate.
Kyle Lowry ($8,700) - I love Lowry tonight as a spend-down option from the popular and expensive quartet of point guards: Luka Doncic, Russell Westbrook, Trae Young, and Malcolm Brogdon. It seems as though James Harden, Louis Williams, and the center position are necessary spends tonight, so saving on a point guard in a terrific matchup is a way to make that roster construction work.
Lowry faces the Sacramento Kings, who allow 26 points, 6 rebounds, and 9 assists per game to point guards, the fifth-worst team in the league. Despite not being an elite usage player (23% -- 11th highest among point guards tonight), Lowry averages the most minutes and fifth-most FanDuel points per game at the position tonight. Both Buddy Hield and De'Aaron Fox rank in the bottom-20 among qualified guards in terms of defensive rating on the season, so Lowry and the Toronto Raptors should be able to have their way north of the border tonight.
Bradley Beal ($8,900) - As mentioned above, Harden and Williams are likely to be extremely popular tonight, so why not pivot to a shooting guard with a 33% usage rate, 43 fantasy points per game, and who received a $700 price drop after a mediocre showing in his last game.
Beal alone is basically the Washington offense. Isaiah Thomas has played well and has been inserted into the starting role, but his usage dropped from 35.6% in his last game with the second unit to 20.5% in his first game as a starter. In this role, Thomas should continue to defer to Beal, and that should resume tonight with a tough defender in Brogdon at point guard opposite Thomas. Boxscore watchers might jump ship from Beal after his past two games as he heads out on the road, but it's a perfect opportunity to get one of the league's highest-impact players at a discount and minuscule ownership.
Small forward tonight is a bunch of...
— meh (@bannelaaa) November 6, 2019
Khris Middleton ($7,400) gets a break not having to face Kawhi Leanord, and is one of only two small forwards averaging over one fantasy point per minute (barely). T.J. Warren ($6,800) is coming off a monster game Tuesday, but on the season is averaging less than 28 FanDuel points per game, even after last night's 50-point explosion. His usage rate is also on the decline with Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis, and Jeremy Lamb taking so many shots. Glenn Robinson III ($4,800) seems like the value play of the night at the position against the Houston Rockets, who definitely are on the side that believes defense doesn't matter, but he will be very chalky.
My recommendation tonight is to build your lineup, and just see what player you like that fits your build with the salary you have remaining. There is no one more expensive than Middleton, and there are 10 options between $4,800-$6,800, so making this a last piece seems to make sense.
Jabari Parker ($7,100) - Well, cheap Jabari Parker was fun while it lasted. Parker gets a 48% price hike from Tuesday to Wednesday as news comes out that John Collins will miss 25 games. The price increase, however, provides an opportunity for tournament players to jump on the Parker bandwagon while the cash game players bailout.
As we have seen time and time again this season, the Chicago Bulls are downright awful against opposing frontcourts, especially power forwards. They allow the second-most FanDuel points at the position, including 27 points and 14 rebounds per game. Parker's role was already solidified before the promotion into the starting lineup; his 23.2% usage rate (including 23.7% last night) is higher than that of Sabonis, Julius Randle, and Jaren Jackson Jr., among others. I expect his looks to be more high-value as he begins to share more of the court with Trae Young and the starting unit. Throw in the revenge game factor and this sets up as a tremendous environment for Parker.
Andre Drummond ($11,400) - Who is really going to want to play the most expensive center on the slate, when they finally get the opportunity to roster a cheaper Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns again after their respective two-game suspensions? Tournament players should jump on this opportunity and watch Drummond destroy a hapless New York Knicks frontline as he continues to gobble up usage and rebounds without Blake Griffin in his way.
Both Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson rank in the bottom half of the league for center defensive rating, and the Knicks as a team rank 21st in the league. In one of the more amazing statistics in the early season, in his first eight games, Drummond has five outings of at least 20 rebounds and is averaging 19.4 on the season. If you think about that for a minute, Drummond is averaging more than 23 fantasy points per game before he does anything else. Throw in career-highs in points at 21.3 and blocks per game (2.5), and you have a player that simply can not be ignored as long as he gets to run free without Griffin.