NBA

3 NBA FanDuel Tournament Plays to Target on 8/7/20

De'Aaron Fox is getting overlooked despite being one of the best players in the bubble. Who else should we target for tournaments?

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 Friday's FanDuel main slate.

Projected Chalk

I'm checking this before the total for the Washington Wizards-New Orleans Pelicans game is released on FanDuel Sportsbook, so I'm playing a game with myself to guess what the over/under might be for the total. 240? 250? If I win, I get to play all the players from that game. If I lose, I'm sure I will still end up on them anyway.

Those two teams are both top-5 in pace and bottom-10 in defensive rating. Let's just say that game will be the uber-chalk for stars and value plays before we start even considering injuries.

Jordan Clarkson also looks to be popular tomorrow as the Utah Jazz are diving into what's known as the "Brooklyn Nets Phenomenon," which is trying to win a game by only playing the end of your bench. He is under $5,000 after three lackluster performances, so he is likely to be one of the value plays of the day and will be hard to fade.

No Ben Simmons tomorrow, you say? Joel Embiid will be locked into many lineups as well.

Guard

De'Aaron Fox ($8,000) - If not for names like T.J. Warren and Michael Porter Jr., we would be hearing a lot more about how Fox is dominating play within the bubble this month. DFS players should take advantage of the relative anonymity today.

Since the beginning of the restart, Fox is averaging 27.5 points, 7.0 assists, and almost 2.0 steals per game, scoring more than 49 FanDuel points per game in three of four contests.

The Kings are lingering down in the bottom of the standings, so they don't get much publicity, but Fox and his 34% Orlando usage rate is doing everything he can to change that.

Against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, Fox gets to match up against a team allowing the eighth-most FanDuel points to point guards and who have the third-worst defensive rating of any team left in the bubble.

Forward

Pascal Siakam ($7,500) - We all understand the idea of price sensitivity and that the costs of various commodities can fluctuate based on market factors. But when the price of a player like Pascal Siakam drops to the lowest it has been since mid-January, it's time to buy in.

I guess the price dropped from an average of $8,000 the last three games to $7,500 today because of a tough matchup with the Boston Celtics? His poor performance in his last game? The last time these two teams met, Siakam put up 41 FanDuel points when we was $8,900. Any production like that today and you're looking at almost 6x value.

Since the Orlando games started, the Houston Rockets have allowed the most FanDuel points to power forwards. Who gives up the second-most? The Celtics, who are allowing power forwards to score 51.6 FanDuel points per game over the last week.

Our projections have Siakam and Jayson Tatum as the top forward options on the slate.

Center

Steven Adams ($5,900) - Those poor Memphis Grizzlies. They pack their bags and travel all the way to Disney World, thinking they are going to have a good time. But then they show up and lose four straight and are only a half-game ahead of the surging Portland Trail Blazers for the coveted eighth playoff spot.

This is not the Grizzlies Grit-N-Grind team of old, my friends. This iteration is running at the sixth-fastest pace in the league this year and allows teams to score 114.1 points per game this season (bottom-10), which drops to 120.3 points per game in Orlando (sixth-worst among teams remaining).

Adams has not stood out an any meaningful way in the Oklahoma City Thunder's three prior games in the restart, but that should keep ownership down along with his price. He has been held under 28 minutes in two of the three games due to injury and other issues, but the Thunder will need him to put a body on Jonas Valanciunas all night, so look for Adams to play his full allotment of minutes.

Our projections have Adams at nearly a double-double, easily crossing the 5x threshold on Friday.