3 NBA FanDuel Tournament Plays to Target on 12/17/19
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 Tuesday's FanDuel main slate.
Josh Hart ($5,000) - As ownership trends today towards Jrue Holiday and Brandon Ingram, don't forget about Hart as a tremendous value play with J.J. Redick out with injury. Redick averages 29 minutes and 19% usage on the season, and those minutes and shots have to go somewhere -- Holiday simply can't take all of it. Even before the Redick news, Hart had carved out a nice role in the rotation, averaging 29 minutes over his last four games, including being in the closing rotation in each of those contests.
The New Orleans Pelicans come into tonight with the third-highest implied total on the slate (113 points) and the second-highest pace projection. With a tight 2.5-point spread in the game, look for the Pelicans to count on Hart's physical presence to fill the shooting void left by Redick. Hart is our top point-per-dollar play at the position tonight.
Marcus Morris ($6,200) - As roles on the New York Knicks begin to become more defined now that David Fizdale is out of town, Morris has settled into a 30 minute per game player over his last six contests. That should be more than enough court time against an Atlanta Hawks team that ranks dead last and gives up 2.5 more FanDuel points to small forwards per game than the next closest team. They rank in the bottom five in points, assists, three pointers, steals and blocks allowed to the position, a significant contributor to the Hawks' rank of 27th in overall team defensive rating.
Recently, we have seen both Morris' ceiling game (60.5 FanDuel points) and floor game (10.6), which will surely turn some people off due to his inconsistency. That, and the fact that he plays for the trainwreck Knicks. But the Knicks get a large pace bump tonight and are projected to score more than 10 points over their season average. In this type of environment, I predict we see Morris score over his season average of 30.3 FanDuel points as the Knicks are finally favored in a game.
Marvin Bagley III ($6,500) - Two forwards are up today because the center position is a big mess, and I don't feel comfortable with any of the options. I assume Rudy Gobert will be popular from a raw points perspective, but he is in a horrific game environment. Montrezl Harrell's production has been extremely erratic lately. Mitchell Robinson is not reaching his ceiling lately, and Deandre Ayton is a big question mark in his first game back from suspension.
Bagley, on the other hand, should start to see his minutes creep up after seeing 22-23 minutes in all three games since returning from injury. That's good news when you come into a matchup with the Charlotte Hornets. Bagley's first three matchups were not even in the same neighborhood compared to his matchup against the Hornets' frontcourt tonight, who have the some middling ranks out of 30 NBA teams: FanDuel points allowed to power forwards (26th), defensive rating (24th), rebound percentage (24th), opposition points in the paint (26th), and opponents field goal percentage (26th).
In his short stint this season, Bagley owns a 26.4% usage rate and is averaging over one fantasy point per minute. If we can get close to the 26 minutes Bagley played per game last season, he has a clear path to 5x value in a stellar matchup.