3 NBA FanDuel Tournament Plays to Target on 11/14/19
"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 examine the contrarian plays away from the night's chalk.
Let's look at plays for each position on Thursday's FanDuel main slate.
Devin Booker ($9,200) - After an uncharacteristically slow start to the season, Booker has now ascended to the top of the shooting guard charts for offensive efficiency. No two guard playing more than 25 minutes per game can top Booker's 117.4 offensive efficiency rating.
Paying up for shooting guard is not likely in the cards when there are so many strong point guard options as well as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic on the slate, but I am looking to differentiate by playing Booker in a matchup against the Atlanta Hawks, who give up the fourth most FanDuel points to shooting guards this year. Only a handful of players on this slate can top Booker's 28.5% usage rate, and with a strong implied total of 117, the Phoenix Suns figure to put points on the board early and often.
Paul George ($9,400) - With no idea what to expect from PG after a long layoff and with him probably limited to no more than 30 minutes, this is the very definition of a tournament dart throw. But with Kawhi Leonard out after logging more than 40 minutes last night, George should immediately be asked to carry the offensive load.
Lest we forget, this was a player who averaged a 29.5% usage rate last season while sharing the court with Russell Westbrook. There will be no Westbrooks or Leonards on the floor tonight, so fatigue and conservative minutes are the only things that can stop PG13. The New Orleans Pelicans provide a nice bit of symmetry to welcome George back to the lineup. The Pelicans are third worst in defensive efficiency but also play at the third fastest pace in the league.
Aron Baynes ($6,500) - What kind of world do we live in where Aron Baynes cost $6,500? Just over two weeks ago, he was $3,500! Well, since that time, he has averaged 33.8 FanDuel points per game over eight contests and now has the best offensive efficiency rating among all centers with at least 20 minutes per game. Look it up right here if you don't believe me.
He gets to unleash his newly discovered offensive skills against the Hawks, a team allowing the seventh most FanDuel points to the position this year. In his more than 24 minutes per game this campaign, Baynes is posting career highs in usage, effective field goal percentage and assist ratio, and he has the lowest turnover ratio of his eight seasons. This is what a breakout looks like, and Baynes is finally receiving the opportunity that eluded him with the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs.