3 NBA FanDuel Tournament Plays to Target on 12/13/19
"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.
Ben Simmons ($8,800) - The general knock on Ben Simmons (besides the three-pointers) is that his usage is just not high enough to put him in the elite DFS guard category. His usage this season is 19.2% as most of the shots are distributed among Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid, and Josh Richardson.
But what is often overlooked is the fact that Simmons ranks top 10 among all qualified guards in rebound percentage (4th), assist percentage (10th), and steals (1st). He has become a defensive monster this season. These ancillary stats that don't show up in usage rate boost Simmons' nightly potential for massive DFS games when he doesn't shoot the ball well or shoot all that much.
A matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans give Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers a pace bump of 15 spots against a Pelicans team ranks 28th in defensive rating. This is the perfect type of spot to provide Simmons the supporting stats to break a slate.
Paul George ($9,300) - George can often get overlooked when he plays on slates that include LeBron James (maybe the greatest player ever) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (probably the greatest player right now). But he consistently comes at discount of $2,000-$3,000 from those two and is routinely dropping 40-60 FanDuel point games, even while playing alongside Kawhi Leonard.
George has the best matchup of the three stud small forwards tonight, and his team is projected to receive the the second-largest pace bump on the slate. The Minnesota Timberwolves and their revolving door at small forward continue to struggle defensively against the position, allowing the fifth-most FanDuel points to the position.
Carter gets a game against one of the holy trinity of center matchups. Tthe Hornets allow the second-most FanDuel points to the center position and have consistently been abused by opposing frontcourts. Charlotte ranks 28th in defensive rebound percentage and allow the third-most points in the paint per game, playing right into the strengths of Carter. He ranks seventh in the NBA with 10 paint touches per game and shoots almost 66% on those possessions.
Keyser Soze of the Night
Clint Capela ($8,800) - Capela has been a double-double machine in recent weeks, but all signs point to that train slowing down in a tough matchup against the Orlando Magic, who have been stellar at containing opposing centers.
The Magic, whether with Nikola Vucevic or Khem Birch starting, have combined to allow the third-fewest FanDuel points to the center position. Orlando also typically dominates the boards, and owns the fifth-best defensive rebounding percentage in the league, suppressing one of Capela's greatest strengths.
Combine all this with a 25-spot drop in pace as the Houston Rockets go into Orlando, and it all adds up to a negative environment for Capela. We may see him finish with a double-double, but one of Capela's recent 20-point, 20-rebound, 55-FanDuel-point games doesn't seem likely.