3 NBA FanDuel Tournament Plays to Target on 12/30/19
"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 look at lower-owned plays that help you gain leverage against the competition.
Let's look at plays for Monday's FanDuel main slate.
Ricky Rubio ($7,400) - Rubio has been playing exceptional basketball lately, scoring more than 40 FanDuel points in five of his last seven games. He continues to deliver strong performances not only on the back of his usage (24.2%) but because of his incredible distribution and ball protection. Rubio is now third among all guards for assist percentage (38.5%) and is second in the NBA in assist/turnover ratio. On a site like FanDuel where turnovers equal negative points, a point guard with high usage and low turnovers is straight gold.
A matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers also looks appealing as the Blazers now allow seventh-most FanDuel points per game to the point guard position on the season, including forcing the fifth-fewest turnovers, perfectly aligning with Rubio's strengths. In what looks to be a night where most managers will gravitate towards Damian Lillard and Spencer Dinwiddie, pivoting to a cheaper Rubio provides the leverage we are looking for in tournaments.
Jarrett Allen ($6,000) - Traditionally a center on the depth chart, we get the benefit of Allen being power forward eligible on FanDuel, allowing us to pay up at center while also taking advantage of Allen's strong matchup. The Minnesota Timberwolves now allowing the sixth-most FanDuel points per game to opposing centers and Karl-Anthony Towns now ranks second-worst in defensive rating among all centers with at least 25 minutes per game.
Allen averages a strong 34.6 FanDuel points per game over his last five contests, but more importantly, he has topped 26 minutes per game in four of those five games. That is something he had done in only three of his previous eight games before that stretch, but the Brooklyn Nets seem committed to giving him the majority of the center minutes over DeAndre Jordan.
If that trend continues tonight, Allen should be in line for a strong box score, especially considering his price which is surprisingly the lowest it has been since November 18.
Andre Drummond ($9,600) - There is no shortage of strong center plays on the slate tonight, especially if Karl-Anthony Towns suits up against the hapless Brooklyn Nets. A matchup against the Utah Jazz and Rudy Gobert in their building may be enough to scare some people off of playing Drummond in an environment where he is projected to have all the usage he can handle. Drummond carries a 24% usage and 1.42 fantasy points per minute on the season, but Detroit is expected to be without Blake Griffin and Markieff Morris tonight.
Those two frontcourt players account for 27.7% usage (Griffin) and 20.7% usage (Morris) on the season, opening up plenty of opportunity for Drummond to find extra shots and rebound opportunities tonight. He has scored at least 43 FanDuel points in six of his last seven games, and even though Gobert remains in the top ten for defensive rating among centers, the Jazz have allowed opposing centers to average 18.5 points, 15.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 2.5 blocks per game. With a lack of big men alongside Drummond tonight, he has an excellent chance of reaching each of those figures.