3 NBA FanDuel Tournament Plays to Target on 1/2/20

Tristan Thompson has a dream matchup against Charlotte, giving him big-time upside tonight. Who else should you look to in tournaments?

"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 Thursday's FanDuel main slate.


Jimmy Butler ($8,700) - The high-priced guard pivot tonight away from Luka Doncic and Spencer Dinwiddie will be Butler in a tricky matchup against the Toronto Raptors.

Butler leads all shooting guards in fantasy points per game on this slate, and he is up to 1.22 fantasy points per minute on the season as he has taken his ancillary stats to another level. Butler not only has a 25% usage rate on the season, but he also ranks second among all forwards in assist rate, ranks third in the NBA in steals per game, and has even chipped in 7.3 rebounds per game over his last six.

Butler already has a 22-point, 13-rebound, 12-assist, 55-FanDuel-point performance against the Raptors this year. While we shouldn't expect a repeat of those numbers, a matchup against Fred VanVleet is not one to fear, especially in Miami.


Alec Burks ($5,600) - With all of the projected value chalk on the other side of this game (with all of the potential Minnesota Timberwolves injuries), a simple pivot will be to look across the court to one of numberFire's top projected point-per-dollar forward plays on the night.

For Burks, it is all about the minutes. In his last seven games in which he has played at least 29 minutes, he has averaged 39.6 FanDuel points per contest. In that same timespan, he has played four games of fewer than 29 minutes with outputs of 24, 23.5, 22, and 18.9 FanDuel points in those. If the Golden State Warriors commit to giving him minutes tonight, which is likely considering the nature of their roster, Burks can have a good day against the team allowing the seventh most FanDuel points to the small forward position.


Tristan Thompson ($6,400) - As long as the Charlotte Hornets keep playing the games that are on their schedule, I will keep playing any center against them who has a pulse. Lately, Thompson has been showing many more signs of life than just a pulse, as he now averages one fantasy point per minute on the season and is playing more than 32 minutes per game over his last seven.

The Hornets continue to be a turnstyle for center points and are now the only team allowing more than 60 FanDuel points per game to any position on the year. As a team, they rank 27th in defensive rating and 28th in overall rebound percentage. Thompson already has one 14-point, 13-rebound game against the Hornets this year, and it's no stretch to think something similar will happen again.