3 NBA FanDuel Tournament Plays to Target on 8/4/20

Welcome back, NBA! For the next several weeks, we get the bubble-wrapped version of the top 22 teams in the association as they look to finish up the 2019-2020 season.

When it's time to start building DFS tournament lineups, especially for NBA, 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 the 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 of that night's games. 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.

With a maximum of eight games per night from now until the end of the season, it will be even more important to determine where we should differentiate against the field.

Let's look at plays for Tuesday's FanDuel main slate.

Projected Chalk

Rockets. Blazers. Nets' bench brigade. Bucks' scrubs. Kawhi. PG13. Luka. Take your pick on Tuesday's slate. There are actually so many promising places to go, ownership might not be much of an issue outside of James Harden.

The Houston Rockets-Portland Trail Blazers tilt has a total pushing 245(!!) tomorrow night. The Brooklyn Nets are almost asking their assistant coaches to suit up for the game. The Milwaukee Bucks bench are licking their chops staring down some massive playing time. Dogs and cats, living together! Mass Hysteria!

One thing is for sure -- the games between the Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic and the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics will go severely overlooked tomorrow, so if we need some differentiation, those are the first places to turn.

Don't be disillusioned, I will have plenty of those players above. But in spots where I am not entirely comfortable, I have no problems pivoting to the under-owned games.


Ricky Rubio ($6,000) - A player who averages 42.6 FanDuel points per game in his last 10 with a low of 16.6 and a high of 68.1 is the very definition of a strong tournament play. Rubio is rarely a cash game guard because of his volatility, but when he gets the Phoenix Suns' offense running, he is one of the more explosive fantasy producers.

That offensive force has been on full display since the restart, as he averages 37.5 FanDuel points per game in his first two contests. Carrying a salary that has now dropped to $6,000, Rubio will look to stretch his streak of games with at least 35 FanDuel points to seven.

In the two games they have played, Rubio's opponent -- the Los Angeles Clippers -- have given Reggie Jackson the bulk of the point guard minutes. And while Jackson is a fine player, Patrick Beverley ranks first overall in defensive real plus-minus among point guards this season. The more minutes Rubio sees matched up against Jackson, the better.

The last time Rubio faced this team, he torched them for 45 FanDuel points. The blowout risk is there on Tuesday, but if the Phoenix Suns can keep it close, there is triple-double upside for Rubio against the Clippers.


Jaylen Brown ($6,200) - It doesn't matter too much how tough your defensive matchup is if you are consistently playing 35 minutes per night at the pace these bubble games have been played.

Brown has been a man possessed since the season kicked back off, averaging 26 points, five rebounds, and 1.5 steals in his two games so far. And those games were against the Bucks and the Blazers, so it's not like he has played the Washington Wizards twice.

The most reassuring thing about Brown's game since the league returned is his newly-found high usage is still present. Only once in his last eight games has he had a usage rate under 24% and he averages almost 18 shot attempts per game in that span. Brown is always going to rack up stats in the rebounds, assists, and steals columns, so if he is now adding 20+ points to this repertoire, he should continue to be a fantasy stud.

Combining the high usage with an NBA top-15 minutes per game over his last 10 contests, Brown should have no issue passing 5x value, even with Jimmy Butler or Jae Crowder guarding him.


Nikola Vucevic ($7,800) - I wrote up Vucevic in this space on Friday and in his two games since he has done the typical Vucevic thing: 22 points and seven rebounds for 36 FanDuel points against the Brooklyn Nets and 23 points and 11 rebounds against the Sacramento Kings for 45 FanDuel points.

The consistency is what you are paying for with Vucevic; he has only four games since mid-December when he returned from an injury that he has scored less than 35 FanDuel points. Plus, he has the talent to pop off for 50 or more, something he has done ten times in that span.

It's just icing on the cake that Vucevic's price laughably dropped $300 since his last game.

Even though the Pacers have a reputation as a tough defensive team, they are exactly in the middle of the pack in allowing 52.5 FanDuel points per game to centers this season. Vucevic should have no problem reaching value in this game against Myles Turner on the tail end of a back-to-back, as the Pacers are only ranked 23rd in the NBA in rebound percentage and are 15th in points allowed in the paint.

Our projections have Vucevic leading the way at the center position, putting up 21 points and 11 boards in a strong showing on Tuesday.