3 NBA FanDuel Tournament Plays to Target on 3/3/20
"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 Tuesday's FanDuel main slate.
Kyle Lowry ($6,900) - You can't get much more consistent than Lowry has been this season. He is averaging over 36 minutes per game, including more than 30 in seven of his last eight, and now has seen a usage rate above 20% in 28 of his last 30 games played. That level of safety is rarely seen at under $7,000, and add on the pristine matchup and we have a tremendous mid-range value play on our hands.
On the season, the Phoenix Suns allow the seventh most FanDuel points to point guards, largely due to the fact they are top 10 in pace but bottom 12 in defensive rating. That's the perfect combination for opposing guards who project for 34-36 minutes and carry the offensive load the way Lowry does. In addition to his 23% usage rate on the season, Lowry ranks seventh in assist percentage over the last 10 games. Against the Suns, look for Lowry to surpass what he did to them two weeks ago -- when he scored 36 FanDuel points with a tidy 13-point, 10-assist, 5-rebound line.
Harry Giles ($4,900) - I love the consistency Giles has been providing recently for the low price. He has scored more than 26 FanDuel points in five straight games, easily surpassing the 5x threshold we are looking for in our roster builds. He has been a consistent source of points and rebounds as the Sacramento Kings have been shorthanded in the frontcourt, and he now faces one of the best possible matchups in the Washington Wizards.
Not only do the Wizards rank as the fifth worst team against centers this season, they also provide the Sacramento with a massive 19-spot pace bump, and the Kings are projected to score 11 more points than their average tonight. The best part about the game, however, is the tight 5.0-point spread, which will hopefully serve to keep the game close and allow Giles to reach 30-32 minutes.
Nikola Jokic ($10,300) - With only five players priced above $8,600 on the slate and plenty of value plays to go around with injury news trickling in, we need a source of safe, raw points. We project Jokic to deliver them in spades tonight, with a line of 21 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals+blocks.
Jokic is playing his best basketball of late, scoring between 48 and 80 FanDuel points in nine of his last 12 games, displaying what we can expect to be a floor and a ceiling for tonight's contest against the undermanned Golden State Warriors. The Warriors have been in a defensive free fall for the past few weeks, ranking 25th in defensive rating and 26th in rebound rate over the last 10 games.
In a game with a lopsided spread (Denver is a 16.0-point favorite) and a lower total than the most popular contests, the Nuggets are still projected to score six more points than their seasonal average, and with fellow late hammers Anthony Davis and LeBron James getting a lot of the love, Jokic is sure to go overlooked.