3 NBA FanDuel Tournament Plays to Target on 1/27/20
"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.
Andrew Wiggins ($7,100) - Somewhere in our lineups we need to have exposure to this game environment, one of the best of the night. With numbers that pop off the page, this matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves and Sacramento Kings brings a stellar implied total of 224.5 -- a small spread of Minnesota as three-point favorites -- features a Timberwolves team who run at the seventh-fastest pace in the league, and matches up two teams in the bottom half of defensive rating.
While a lot of lock buttons will be pushed for Karl-Anthony Towns tonight, don't forget about Wiggins, who rocks an elite 28.8% usage rating and continues to put up over 20 real points almost every night. The Kings allow the sixth-most FanDuel points per game to shooting guards, as both Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic rank in the bottom half of all guards for defensive rating. The Kings as a team also rank 23rd in overall opponents field goal percentage, benefiting a player like Wiggins whose shot chart spans all areas of the floor.
Andrew Wiggins's (@22wiggins) 2018-19 Shot Chart:
Volume: EXTREME | P_95 (percentile)
Shot Skill: MEDIOCRE | P_22
Efficiency: MEDIOCRE | P_15
Efficiency Value: POOR | P_1
Favorite Zone: MidRange
Best Skill Zone: Corner3
Best Value Zone: Restricted#AndrewWiggins#Timberwolves pic.twitter.com/ec542hdOdt
— NBA Shot Charts (@NBAChartBot) December 6, 2019
Kevin Love ($7,300) - The power forward position has been a rotating cast of characters for Love's opponent tonight, the Detroit Pistons. Since Blake Griffin was lost for the season, Detroit has trotted out a motley crew of big men, none of which seem to have much of an impact on defense. The Pistons are now allowing the eighth-most FanDuel points to the position, including the fourth most points and three-pointers allowed to power forwards.
Enter Love, who has the highest usage rate and fantasy points per minute among all power forwards on tonight's slate. To further solidify his case, three-pointers account for 41.5% of Love's points this season -- the second-highest mark of his career -- as he continues to bomb away from behind the arc. All this adds up to Love averaging the second-best true shooting percentage of his career. If Tristan Thompson is called upon to bang down low with Andre Drummond, it could free up Love to excel in rebounding and scoring tonight.
Rudy Gobert ($9,600) - It's quite clear that playing any of the available Houston Rockets will be the chalk value of the night. Even Clint Capela at $8,000 is under-priced for the role he will be asked to play in a tough matchup against the Utah Jazz. (Update: Capela now listed as doubtful for tonight's game). So while the masses flock to that side of the game, a pivot to Gobert makes sense for multiple reasons. Centers such as Drummond and Towns are projected for more raw points -- albeit at almost $1,000 more expensive than Gobert. But what Gobert has going in his favor, however, is one of the most appealing position vs. team matchups you can find.
Among all NBA centers, Gobert averages the fourth most touches and the fifth-most touches in the paint in the entire league. The Rockets, on the other hand, allow the seventh-most points in the paint this year, including the most points in the paint in the league over their last three games. It's no surprise that Houston has struggled on defense this season, but they have been especially atrocious at protecting the rim. Gobert has scored less than 46 FanDuel points once in his last nine games as he continues to dominate on both the defensive and offensive sides of the floor -- he has scored more than 20 points in six of his last seven games.