3 NBA FanDuel Tournament Plays to Target on 2/10/20
"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 Monday's FanDuel main slate.
Buddy Hield ($5,700) - With this selection, I am assuming tonight's slate gets turned on its head, and Giannis Antetokounmpo is going to end up sitting this game out for personal reasons. If that's the case, everyone in every contest will be jamming in the remaining Milwaukee Bucks and rightly so.
But if Giannis is, in fact, held out, the 13.5-point spread in this contest is going to come way down, so both sides of this game will be supremely appealing. In tournaments, we simply can't forget about Hield, who is now priced as a bench player but is growing more comfortable in the role and seeing immediate results.
Except for one outlier against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Hield's minutes have been steadily in the high-20s to mid-30s since his move to the bench. What this shift has allowed him to do is be more free to operate offensively with the second unit and not compete with De'Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic for shots, while still remaining in the closing, crunch-time lineup. The results show that Hield has seen at least 25% usage in seven of his last nine games and is scoring FanDuel points at a rate 10% higher than his seasonal average over his last 10 games.
At a discounted price of only $5,700, Hield is projected to be one of the top-three point-per-dollar values at his position tonight in a game that will likely become more attractive as the day moves on.
Bam Adebayo ($8,500) - There is so much uncertainty tonight with the guards and wing players for the Miami Heat tonight. Will Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro play? Will the new additions of Jae Crowder, Andre Iguodala, and Solomon Hill continue to be involved? How much and who else does it affect?
But for all the questions in the backcourt, the one rock solid piece on the Heat is Adebayo. He has scored between 33.5 and 49.0 FanDuel points for eight straight games and has a usage percentage that rarely drops below 20%.
This is a major pace-up spot for the Heat, as the Golden State Warriors rank 11th in the league (the Heat are 27th) and are in the bottom half of the league in FanDuel points allowed to power forwards and centers. There is no shortage of power forwards in elite spots tonight around this price range (such as Domantas Sabonis and Kristaps Porzingis), but only Adebayo can claim to have the highest projected floor of anyone at his position tonight.
Against an undersized Warriors team, I will have no problem being overweight on Adebayo tonight.
Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,000) - An interesting thing has been happening with Towns recently. He has seen his usage dip for six straight games, from 40.4% on January 24 down to 21.7% on Saturday, which has seen him score 5% less FanDuel points than he has on the season. To be fair to Towns, however, he has been playing with the modern version of the 2007 Cleveland Cavaliers' supporting cast for the past three or four games, with Andrew Wiggins, Jeff Teague, and Shabazz Napier all traded before the deadline.
Despite the dip in usage, Towns is still averaging almost 52 FanDuel points per game over his last six. How has this happened? He has simply transformed into the team's primary facilitator, a la Nikola Jokic, averaging almost five assists per game (including four games with an assist rate over 20%), over 10 rebounds per game, and at least two steals-plus-blocks in five of six games.
It will be interesting to see how the Minnesota Timberwolves incorporate D'Angelo Russell into the lineup (assuming he plays), but it likely means Towns can resume more of the scoring load, leaving Russell to run the offense.
The matchup against the Toronto Raptors is not an easy one -- they allow the second-fewest FanDuel points to centers -- but our projections look for KAT to lead the position in FanDuel points, putting up a strong double-double against an undermanned Raptors team. We can let the tough matchup scare others away in tournaments.