3 NBA FanDuel Tournament Plays to Target on 12/2/19
"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 Monday's FanDuel main slate.
Buddy Hield ($7,000) - The clear chalk build on tonight's slate will be a stars and scrubs approach. With an abormally large amount of value available for a six-game slate, it is going to be quite tempting to jam in several studs surrounded by your preferred value plays. That being the case, the clear tournament pivot is to build in the mid-range. In that context, Hield is a key target.
Already averaging over 30 FanDuel points per game on the season, that number has increased to 35 points per game with De'Aaron Fox on the shelf with injury. In fact, he's averaged over 41 FanDuel points per game in his last three contest against the Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets, and Boston Celtics -- all ranked in the top-six in defensive rating this season. On Monday, the matchup gets much easier against Zach LaVine, whose defense ranks in the bottom 25% of all guards.
Averaging the most fantasy points per game at the position tonight, Sabonis should have little resistance towards at least matching his 41 FanDuel points per game on the season. The Grizzlies allow the eighth-most points to the power forward position on the year and could be without Jonas Valanciunas and Brandon Clarke this evening. That leaves sole responsibility for defense on Jaren Jackson Jr., who ranks eighth-worst in defensive rating among all qualified forwards.
Aron Baynes ($6,200) - Baynes is not going to pop in any projection models as a strong value play as his salary is now almost $3,000 higher than where it was to start the season But the price hike has been warranted. You may not realize it, but Baynes is averaging a healthy 21.4% usage rate on the season, as well as a stellar 1.21 fantasy points per minute, a number that is identical to Sabonis, for example.
If he can receive the 26-28 minutes tonight he has seen recently -- as opposed to the 16-18 minutes he will occasionally log due to foul trouble or ineffectiveness -- he should smash in a matchup against the Charlotte Hornets, who allow almost 61 FanDuel points per game to the center position (third-worst in the league).
Keyser Soze of the Night
Rudy Gobert ($8,400) - The Utah Jazz may get a taste of their own medicine tonight as they travel to the Philadelphia 76ers to face a team that is on the upswing in defensive efficiency (now ranked fourth) and downswing in pace (down to 20th-fastest). Both of these marks now best Utah, and Gobert might just have the toughest challenge of anyone in the Jazz lineup.
Joel Embiid now has the best defensive rating among all players at all positions who have played at least 25 minutes per game. While Gobert presents a defensive challenge of his own, Embiid has been the primary contributor to Philadelphia allowing only 47 FanDuel points per game to centers, the fifth-best in the league. On his own, Gobert has scored under 40 FanDuel points per game over his last three and just hasn't looked the same since returning from an ankle injury. All signs point down for Gobert tonight.