5 NBA FanDuel Tournament Plays to Target on 11/20/19
"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.
Trae Young ($9,700) - Not long ago, I wrote a piece predicting Young would struggle against a slow-paced, elite Denver Nuggets defense on the road. I proclaimed if he could excel in an environment that challenging, he would from that point forward be matchup-proof. All he did in that game was throw down one the best games of his young career with 42 points, 11 assists, and 4 rebounds.
Now that I have learned my lesson, I no longer look at the Milwaukee Bucks on the schedule and immediately think "tough spot" for a player like Young. I have learned that usage and talent trumps matchup, and Young is overflowing with both. Surprisingly, the Eric Bledsoe/George Hill defense hasn't been as stout this season, allowing the seventh-most FanDuel points to the position.
DeMar DeRozan ($8,000) - Three words: Bradley Beal defense. Only D'Angelo Russell ranks worse than Beal among guards who have played at least 10 games this season. The Washington Wizards rank second-worst in team defensive rating and sixth in pace, and this game has the highest implied total of the night. There really is no justification for fading these teams and specifically this player.
Will Barton ($6,700) - Looking at small forward tonight, your best choices seem to be pay up for Giannis Antetokounmpo or just drop way down. Coming off his worst game of the season against the Memphis Grizzlies, I'm targeting Barton, who was averaging more than 36 FanDuel points and 35 minutes per night before playing a flat note in Memphis.
When I am considering rostering anyone on the Denver Nuggets, I am looking first to see what kind of pace bump the Nuggets have in their matchup. Ranked last in pace, Denver only scores 98.25 points per 100 possessions. It doesn't get much better than a matchup with the Houston Rockets, who rank third in pace and more than seven points per 100 possessions higher than Denver.
Bam Adebayo ($8,100) - With some of our more reliable high-end power forward options questionable for tonight (Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Love), Adebayo looks to be the best choice for a spend-up option Wednesday. Fortunately, his play has justified the price tag in recent weeks.
Bam is averaging 43.7 FanDuel points in his last five contests, including 43.5 FanDuel points on 16 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 assists against the same Cleveland Cavaliers team he will see tonight. In this matchup, however, he will see no resistance from Tristan Thompson (out for rest), and Love is questionable with back problems. The Cavaliers are only ranked 20th in rebound rate and 24th in FanDuel points allowed with Thompson and Love on the floor.
If those two were to both miss tonight's game, it is hard to fathom the type of havoc Adebayo could wreak on this game.
Clint Capela ($9,300) - Since the year 2000, there have been three players who have streaks of at least 20 rebounds per game for at least four straight games. Two of those, strangely, have been this season, and Capela's last four games are one of the streaks. He will look to make it five tonight against the Denver Nuggets in a projected high-scoring, low-spread game.
Capela has been playing like a man on fire lately, putting to rest the narrative that Russell Westbrook on the team would reduce Capela's rebounding and around the rim scoring opportunities. He also has 18 blocks in his last five games, as he has shot up to seventh among all centers in block percentage this season.
The Nuggets allow the most actual points and 11th-most rebounds to the center position this season, but even if Capela doesn't have an elite scoring game, he can still reach 50 FanDuel points on the strength of his defensive stats.
Keyser Soze of the Night
Nikola Vucevic ($8,500) - Playing on a team ranked 29th in pace against an opponent (the Toronto Raptors) that ranks sixth-best against centers on the season (Marc Gasol has the fifth-best center defensive rating)? No thanks. This matchup has only a 207 total and the Orlando Magic travel all the way to Toronto in this one.