3 NBA FanDuel Tournament Plays to Target on 1/10/20
"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 Friday's FanDuel main slate.
De'Aaron Fox ($7,400) - I would be shocked if any meaningful percentage of managers play Fox on tonight's slate. With Trae Young in such a strong spot, Luka Doncic still without Kristaps Porzingis, and Lonzo Ball playing well at a cheaper price, there are plenty of other point guard options from which to choose. Managers also -- I believe -- subconsciously look at a matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks and and think two things: 1) blowout and 2) tough defensive matchup.
It is true that the Sacramento Kings have their work cut out for them as they are 9.0-point underdogs at home, but the Bucks have been quite generous to point guards this season. Milwaukee allows almost 23 actual points per game to the position and also gives up the second most steals and three pointers to points guards this season.
If that wasn't enough, Fox is an underrated player in terms of his involvement in his team's offense. If you add up the usage rate and assist rate for all points guards on tonight's slate -- just a rudimentary way to see what percentage of the offensive plays Fox is involved in -- he ranks behind only Doncic, Young, and Spencer Dinwiddie. Fox's usage rate plus assist rate is 62.7%, higher than that of Malcolm Brogdon, Ja Morant, Louis Williams, Ricky Rubio, and many others.
Fox has been an outstanding contributor of late; his FanDuel points per game over his last five is 15% higher than his seasonal average. With as much involvement as Fox has in the offense, a matchup with the Bucks shouldn't scare us off in tournament.
LaMarcus Aldridge ($7,400) - I also love Jaren Jackson Jr. on the other side of this game for $300 less, but his astounding play lately may draw more attention tonight, especially with so may top power forwards out or questionable heading into the slate. If we were looking at this game three years ago, we wouldn't likely go near it due to the slow, grinding pace of the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies teams of yesteryear. But we are in a new age now (both teams rank top 11 in pace), and this game has the second highest implied total of the night and a spread of only one point as of Friday morning.
The Grizzlies have been one of the worst teams this year in defending the power forward position. They are bottom 10 allowed in points, assists, and blocks to power forwards and are also bottom 10 in opponent field goal percentage. Aldridge never seems to be an exciting player to roster on any DFS slate, but one reason why I prefer him on FanDuel is his low turnover rate. He is second at his position for fewest turnovers, which matters when accounting for their new faster pace and the negative points accrued on FanDuel.
Myles Turner ($6,200) - Even before the Chicago Bulls lost Wendell Carter Jr. to injury, they were extremely bad against opposing centers. With the Bulls allowing the second most points to the position, centers were scoring and rebounding at will against them. With Carter out for several weeks, the Bulls now have no one in their regular rotation with a rebound rate higher than Lauri Markkanen's 10%. That 10% number ranks 76th among all forwards with at least 10 minutes played per game.
Turner is going to have a field day on the glass -- especially if Domantas Sabonis sits -- and there doesn't seem to be anyone on the Bulls who can offer much resistance.
Always an up-and-down player, Turner has certainly done nothing to change that impression this season, but he does have six games of 30-plus FanDuel points over his last 11. His usage spikes six percentage points and his points increase by 5.5 with Sabonis off the floor, so if there is any indication the Indiana will be short-handed in the frontcourt today, Turner becomes a piece you need to own.