3 NBA FanDuel Tournament Plays to Target on 3/4/20
"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 Wednesday's FanDuel main slate.
Ja Morant ($6,700) - Morant was a massive letdown in the most hyped game of the night on Monday, playing only 24 minutes en route to just 28 FanDuel points against the Atlanta Hawks. However, that game quickly got out of hand, and the Memphis Grizzlies' bench ended up playing the vast majority of the second half in the 39-point blowout. That disappointing performance, combined with other strong point guards options like Luka Doncic, Damian Lillard, and Lonzo Ball, should keep ownership down on Morant. In a high total matchup against the Brooklyn Nets with the tightest spread on the board, we have the perfect opportunity to take advantage of Morant's reduced price.
The Nets allow the third-most points and three-pointers to the point guard position and are a top ten team in pace, just like the Grizzlies. Before Monday, Morant's usage had not dropped below 24% in a full month as they adjust to life without Jaren Jackson Jr. (23.7% usage), Brandon Clarke (18.3%), and Jae Crowder (15.3%). With the Nets coming off a back-to-back including overtime and travel, this increasingly looks like a good spot to load up on the Grizzlies. Their projected team total fantasy points is the second-highest on the slate.
Naz Reid ($4,500) - After two or three lackluster performances due to foul trouble and limited minutes, Reid's ownership was less than 5% in the best game environment on the slate on Tuesday. He responded with an incredible 48.3 FanDuel points, throwing up 9x value in only 27 minutes played. He now enters tonight's slate with a $100 price drop, and will likely see more people click his name due to his monster performance. But even if his ownership doubles or triples from last night, I plan to be overweight in another dream matchup against the Chicago Bulls.
On the season, the Bulls have been one of the best teams to pick on with opposing frontcourts. They allow the third-most FanDuel points to centers and second-most FanDuel points to power forwards. The Bulls are also bottom ten in each of the following categories this season: opponent points in the paint, defensive rebound percentage, total defensive rebounds, blocks per game, and opponents shooting percentage. With increased opportunity since Karl-Anthony Towns went down with an injury, Reid is now up to 23% usage in his time on the floor this season, allowing for a floor/ceiling combination that is tough to find in a salary this low.
Hassan Whiteside ($9,500) - Speaking of low ownership percentage, Whiteside was only 3% owned on Monday in a game where Damian Lillard was still out with injury. With Dame back on the court tonight drawing huge amounts of usage, I can only imagine owners will continue to fade Whiteside as he hovers around his highest price of the season.
But as we saw on Monday when Whiteside scored 39 FanDuel points in only 26 minutes, he can contribute in limited opportunity and in a tough matchup. He has the opposite of a tough matchup tonight against the Washington Wizards. The Wizards allow the fifth-most points to opposing centers including the most rebounds to the position, ranking dead last in rebound percentage in the league. This Portland-Washington matchup is the best game environment of the night, and our projections expect Whiteside to take full advantage of the poor defense and fast pace. We predict Whiteside will lead all centers in FanDuel points, rebounds, and blocks, while scoring the second-most points. Buy in while others shift their attention back to Lillard.