3 NBA FanDuel Tournament Plays to Target on 8/5/20
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 Wednesday's FanDuel main slate.
The safest bet any NBA DFS player can make during this odd restart is that the masses will flock to any team that is facing the Washington Wizards during these regular season games. In their first three games, the Wizards have allowed an average of 118 points per game and have lost all three contests.
Tuesday's contestant in Who Gets To Pile Up Stats Against the Wizards is the Philadelphia 76ers, who are currently 10-point favorites in a game with a projected total of 233. All of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, and even Josh Richardson should carry heavy ownership on the slate.
Likewise, we presume the "regular" Brooklyn Nets starters will be back in action on Wednesday after their much-needed rest after four and a half months off. That is good news for the Boston Celtics. Assuming Kemba Walker is limited on the second night of a back-to-back, that leaves ownership trending towards Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Gordon Hayward. If Walker sits, look out for Marcus Smart chalk night.
These are all, of course, good plays on Wednesday, but there are also games we can look to as reasonable lower-owned pivots.
Chris Paul ($7,300) - The Oklahoma City Thunder are clinging to the 6th seed and doing everything they can to avoid dropping to seventh, forcing a matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round. That's the motivation. All we need now is the opportunity.
We already have confirmation that Dennis Schroder will be out against the Los Angeles Lakers. CP3 and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are going to have to once again carry the load for the Thunder if they have any chance of defeating the Lakers.
Even without five minutes of overtime on Monday, Paul played 34 minutes in a closely contested matchup. The Thunder have shown no sign of resting him down the stretch -- which solidifies the floor for Paul in any game, much less one where they will be without a primary playmaker like Schroeder.
The brand of defense the Lakers are playing this season is strangely perfectly suited to Paul's game. They stay grounded at the three-point line and clog the lane with Anthony Davis, JaVale McGee, or Dwight Howard, almost allowing shooters to drive but forcing them to settle for mid-range two-point shots.
Among guards who have played at least 40 games this season, Paul has far and away the best field goal percentage on two-point pull-up jumpers at 47.2%. Combine that with the fact that the Lakers allow the second-most fast break points per game this season (16.5), and you have a match made in heaven for Paul.
Aaron Gordon ($6,100) - It may surprise you to learn that the Toronto Raptors, Gordon's opponent on Wednesday, are bottom 12 in FanDuel points allowed to both small forwards and power forwards, according to Basketball Monster.
Even with long, active bodies like Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby, the Raptors have struggled defending those positions -- just in time for Gordon to roll into their corner of Disney World fresh off of two games with at least a 23.5% usage rate, an assist rate over 16%, and a rebound rate over 10%.
The Raptors do represent a tough defensive matchup overall -- hence the low projected ownership for Gordon -- but they also represent a 12-spot bump in pace for the Orlando, who rank 26th in pace on the year. The Raptors are also a bottom six defensive rebounding team in the league, opening the door for Gordon to excel on both ends of the floor.
I don't quite understand the price drop, especially after he has logged two double-doubles while averaging two blocks per game in the restart, but I'm certainly not complaining.
The Memphis Grizzlies rank right in the middle of the league in terms of FanDuel points allowed to centers. But Memphis' main weaknesses play well into Gobert's strengths. The Grizzlies rank in the bottom half of the league in both rebounds and blocks per game to their opponents. This is where Gobert earns his value today as he is top six among all centers in both rebound rate and blocks per game.
We project Gobert to play the most minutes at the position today and crush value with a strong 15-point, 14-rebound double-double while still chipping in two blocks.