3 NBA FanDuel Tournament Plays to Target on 12/4/19
"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 FanDuel main slate.
Zach LaVine ($8,500) - Lavine is officially on one of his heaters right now for the Chicago Bulls. Over the past five games he's averaged over 45 FanDuel points per game, while only once playing under 30 minutes per night. Fortunately, that should continue tonight in an underrated matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies, squaring off two teams in the top-12 in pace and bottom-half in defensive rating.
More specifically, the Grizzlies allow the fourth-most FanDuel points to the shooting guard position as Dillon Brooks is averaging the lowest defensive rating of his young career. Lost in the hype of several high-profile matchups tonight, the Bulls have the fourth-highest implied total on the evening and are projected to receive the largest bump in points from their season average.
Joe Harris ($5,900) - Taking advantage of the opportunity with Kyrie Irving out with injury, Harris has scored more than 30 FanDuel points and played at least 28 minutes in five of his last six games, yet still hasn't crossed the $6,000 price threshold.
Tonight, he matches up against the Atlanta Hawks, who give up the most FanDuel points in the league to the small forward spot and rank 25th defensively as a team. With both Irving and Caris LeVert off the floor this season, Harris sees a 2.6% usage bump, as he and Spencer Dinwiddie are asked to carry the bulk of the offensive load. For a cheap plug and play who provides a floor of 25 points, Harris should have no issue approaching 5x in this matchup.
Andre Drummond ($10,000) - With Karl-Anthony Towns priced at only $600 more, it's going to be a tough sell to push Drummond over him, but there are signs this could be an opportunistic matchup for the Detroit Pistons' center.
The Milwaukee Bucks may be the number one team in defensive rating on the season, but they are just middle of the pack (11th) in terms of allowing FanDuel points to centers. They allow the fourth-most rebounds to the position (more than 17 per game) and rank 27th in the league in offensive rebound percentage, meaning ALL of the rebounds should be available for Drummond.
Brook Lopez also is dealing with a back injury and could be limited, which is significant since he ranks fourth among qualified centers in defensive rating. In what screams out low-ownership tournament play, Drummond should provide an adequate pivot off of the massive Towns ownership projections.
Keyser Soze of the Night
Kristaps Porzingis ($8,100) - After letting down many DFS players last night (although the five blocks weren't bad), things don't seem to get any easier for the Unicorn in a sneaky tough matchup with the Minnesota Timberwolves. In what presumably will be a high-scoring contest, we can count on stars like Luka Doncic, Towns, and Andrew Wiggins to excel, but Porzingis gets the unenviable matchup against Robert Covington, who has led Minnesota to the sixth-toughest defense on which to score FanDuel points.
In the last two weeks, as Doncic has ascended to heights we have never seen for a player his age, Porzingis has been the one making the sacrifice on offense. His fantasy points per game have dropped from 36 to 34, and he has seen less than 25% usage in five of his last seven games. From November 14 through November 24, he never had a game score below 10.7 -- since that time, he has not had a score higher than 9.3 across four games. There are plenty of pieces to plug into your roster from this game, but Porzingis would be the last one on my list.