3 NBA FanDuel Tournament Plays to Target on 11/27/19
"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 Wednesday's gigantic FanDuel main slate.
Trae Young ($9,600) - Currently the largest underdogs on the Wednesday slate, the Atlanta Hawks will have their work cut out for them if they hope to keep the game competitive as they travel to play at the Milwaukee Bucks. If there is any chance of the Hawks keeping the game close, Young will be the reason.
Coming into the game, Young has the highest usage rate of all point guards on the slate and recently put up a healthy 46 FanDuel points in 33 minutes against the Bucks. Milwaukee's reputation as a stout defensive team is well-founded (they rank fifth in defensive rating this season), but there is one position that has caused them problems. The Bucks rank in the top half of the league in FanDuel points allowed to all other positions except point guard. They are fifth-worst at defending the point, including allowing over 26 points per game and 3.4 three-pointers per game (second-most in the league).
Coming off of two impressive performances of 50-plus FanDuel points, Young clearly has the ability to 5x his value, even in a less than ideal game environment.
Anthony Davis ($11,100) - A quick scan around the DFS industry this morning shows me that there is heavy promotion on LeBron James today and clearly with good reason. The New Orleans Pelicans are currently piecing together their guard and wing rotation with wrapping paper and Scotch tape, so they have no clear and present answer to King James.
But the same can be said for the matchup with Davis, so he becomes a clear pivot at $100 less. With Derrick Favors and Jahlil Okafor battling their own injuries, some combination of Jaxson Hayes, Kenrich Williams and the injured bigs will be tasked to slow down The Brow tonight. Before even considering the revenge game narrative, we can point to the massive pace bump (18 spots) the Los Angeles Lakers get tonight, as well as a massive 230.5 implied game total with a tight six-point spread for reasons to stack up this game.
Brook Lopez ($6,000) - Staring down a matchup against either Alex Len or Damian Jones and a bottom-10 Atlanta Hawks defense against centers, Lopez should have the opportunity to excel in what he does best tonight -- hit jumpers, grab a few rebounds, and block a ton of shots.
While it can be a fluky, come-and-go stat, Lopez has been one of the truly elite shot blockers in the game this year. Among all players with at least 20 minutes per game, Lopez's block percentage ranks fourth, ahead of known swatters like Clint Capela, Andre Drummond, and Anthony Davis. And while he has been excellent all year, Lopez has been providing another level of rim protection his last six games, averaging 3.67 blocks per game.
If we can get close to his average of 27 minutes per game tonight, Lopez should have no problem reaching strong value at a a bargain price, allowing flexibility for other studs in your lineup.
Keyser Soze of the Night
Julius Randle ($7,000) - Once again the beloved New York Knickerbockers are projected to score less than 100 points in an NBA game in 2019. Just to frame that a little bit, the Indiana Pacers had 104 points through three quarters in their game on Monday.
Traveling to play the Toronto Raptors on the road, Randle and company will have to deal with the league's sixth-best defense -- not an ideal scenario for the Knicks who already rank 27th in pace. Pascal Siakam is proving again to be an elite defender, ranking in the top-15 of all forwards with at least 10 games played this year. Even with a massive $1,000 price decrease off his last several games, I don't see a path to Randle reaching the value needed on tonight's supersized slate.