3 NBA FanDuel Tournament Plays to Target on 12/11/19
"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 dig into lower-owned leverage to gain an advantage in tournaments.
Let's look at plays for Wednesday's FanDuel main slate.
Devin Booker ($8,700) - At only 71% of the price of James Harden ($12,200) on Wednesday, I feel extremely confident Booker will be able to deliver much more than 71% of Harden's production in a matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies. In an underrated game on tonight's slate that is overshadowed by New Orleans Pelicans/Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Clippers/Toronto Raptors, and Charlotte Hornets/Brooklyn Nets (from a fantasy standpoint), the Phoenix Suns come into tonight with the third-highest projected total and pace on the night.
Booker benefits from both teams continuing to run uptempo offenses, ranking seventh and eighth in the league in pace, compounded by the fact that the Grizzlies have really been struggling with opposing shooting guards. Memphis allows the fourth-most FanDuel points per game to the position (44.43), and Booker's recent play shows us that he could easily surpass that number himself. Booker's last three games have also been against teams in the top-10 in pace, and he averaged 53 points per game in those contests.
Alec Burks ($6,400) - The Golden State Warriors rotation has seen almost every player bounce between minutes in the low 20's and mid 30's in recent weeks, as they try to cobble together some kind of rotation. The one exception has been Burks, who has played less than 30 minutes once in his last nine games. In those last two weeks with consistent minutes, he has scored more than four fantasy points per game more than his season average (28.0 per game to 32.3 per game).
Despite the defined role and strong recent play, his price has never crossed the $6,500 threshold, allowing him to consistently deliver 5x value no matter the opponent. In tonight's matchup, his opponent is the New York Knicks, who allow the most three-pointers, third-most points, and sixth-most rebounds to the small forward position. Because of the ineptitude of both of these teams in the early months, the spread is low -- the Warriors are 4.5 point favorites -- so as long as the Knicks can remain competitive, Burks should see plenty of court time and continue his 30+ minute streak.
Rudy Gobert ($8,000) - In another appealing game with a low spread, the Utah Jazz get a significant pace bump (Utah is 15th in the league, Minnesota is 4th) as they travel to face the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Jazz are only one-point favorites in a game with a healthy 223 implied total. The premier matchup will be at the center position, where Gobert comes into an elite spot.
Since returning from a brief injury, Gobert is riding a seven-game double-double streak, and our projections predict that it will continue in a big way with 16 points and 14 rebounds in 35 minutes. Always a strong finisher around the rim, the Stifle Tower is shooting an astounding 82% from the field over his last five games to accompany his 18 points and 12 rebounds per game. Against Minnesota, Gobert will match up against the 10th-worst defensive rebounding team in the NBA, and faces Karl-Anthony Towns, who owns the second-lowest defensive rating among all centers with at least 25 minutes per game.