3 NBA FanDuel Tournament Plays to Target on 12/6/19
"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 Friday's FanDuel main slate.
Kemba Walker ($8,100) - Do the Denver Nuggets have three guards in the top ten in defensive rating this season? Yes, they do. Does Kemba Walker care? No, he does not. Walker has been tearing through the league since returning from his scary neck injury, and he has entered elite territory with 29% usage rate and over 1.2 fantasy points per minute, leading an offense that is now rated 10th-best in the entire league.
With Damian Lillard and Spencer Dinwiddie in great spots tonight, many will be turned off by the low 205-point implied total of this contest, likely leaving Walker as a low-owned pivot option. But he owns the third-best offensive rating among all point guards with at least 25 minutes per game this year and has shown he can overcome the toughest matchups possible -- most recently by scoring 50-plus fantasy points against the Miami Heat.
Jarrett Allen ($7,300) - We have to take what we are given on the slate tonight, so even though I wish Allen was listed in his natural center position, I will instead give him one of my power forward spots in many of my lineups.
Whether it's power forward or center, the Charlotte Hornets have struggled against all big men all year. They are top five in FanDuel points allowed to both positions and continue to rank in the bottom five in the league in rebound percentage. Allen is on a mini-tear at the moment, averaging 42 FanDuel points per game, coinciding with the fact that he is finally getting 28 to 31 minutes per night. The Hornets don't have a large, lumbering center like the Nets' DeAndre Jordan on their roster, so deploying Allen for 30 minutes tonight seems like the optimal plan for Brooklyn.
Wendell Carter Jr. ($8,000) - There is a lot of discussion in NBA DFS circles that the Chicago Bulls, Charlotte Hornets, and Washington Wizards are the holy trinity of center matchups. These three teams allow at least 60 FanDuel points per game to the center position, but not far behind are the Golden State Warriors, who allow the sixth-most points to the position, including the sixth-most rebounds per game and third-most blocks per game.
Carter, like Allen, is now getting the minutes he deserves. He has received at least 30 minutes of court time in seven of his last eight games and has averaged a double-double with over one block per game in that span. He got a hefty price increase due to this matchup and his recent production -- this is his highest price of the season -- but that should serve to lower Carter's ownership in a game in which he will likely be overshadowed by Zach LaVine in his own elite matchup.
Keyser Soze of the Night
Tristan Thompson ($7,400) - With Kevin Love questionable for tonight's game against the Orlando Magic with an illness, more of the offensive and rebounding load may fall on Thompson. Against a stout frontcourt defense in a slow game, this still may not correlate to significant fantasy points.
Thompson has been in a funk for about a month now. He has scored more than 36 FanDuel points only once since November 8, and while the rebounding numbers continue to be there, his contributions in points and blocks have been nowhere near what they were the first three weeks of the season.
Against the Magic, there is no clear path to a ceiling performance or even reaching 5x value. This game projects to be the slowest in pace on the slate as both teams rank in the bottom eight in tempo this year. Also, the Magic allow the fourth-fewest FanDuel points to the center position this season.