3 NBA FanDuel Tournament Plays to Target on 8/17/19

With Mike Conley out of the bubble, Donovan Mitchell should have all the usage he can handle. Who else should we target in tournaments?

Welcome to playoff NBA DFS! No more crazy rotations or researching players you've never heard of. Playoffs bring tight rotations, more minutes for the stars, and a greater confidence of who will play what role for their playoff teams.

When it's time to start building DFS tournament lineups, especially for the 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 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 contrarian plays that help you gain leverage against the competition.

With a maximum of four games per day 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 take a look at plays for Monday's FanDuel main slate (1:30 PM ET).


Donovan Mitchell ($7,300) - With Mike Conley out of the bubble for the birth of his child, we might see a slightly chalky Mitchell as the primary ball handler, distributor, and scorer. But against a tough Denver Nuggets squad in the first game of the day, Mitchell may go overlooked on a slate overloaded with great guard play.

With Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic off the court this season, Mitchell's FanDuel points per 36 minutes increases by 1.2, and he owns an astounding 31% usage rate, second only to Luka Doncic among all guards on the slate.

During the restart, the Nuggets have not displayed their typical strong guard defense, allowing the fourth-most FanDuel points per game to point guards, according to Basketball Monster. Most of that is due to the absence of Will Barton and Gary Harris, both of whom are still out on Monday.

Jamal Murray returning to the lineup complicates things, but his defensive rating is eighth-worst among all guards in Orlando, as he was slowed by a hamstring injury that is still rounding into form.


Paul Millsap ($4,300) - Also in the early game, we have a much-needed value play at forward. The Nuggets have been keeping Millsap under wraps during Orlando, giving Michael Porter Jr. as much run as he can handle, but expect him to be much more involved as the playoffs kick off.

Our projections have Millsap coming into the slate as the top point-per-dollar option among all forwards, as his FanDuel price has dropped by almost 15% since the restart. This is mostly contributed to the limited minutes Millsap played over the Nuggets' eight games, but in Millsap's last six games with at least 25 minutes played, he has averaged 27 FanDuel points per game.

I fully expect he will be at least to that level as the playoffs start (we project 28 minutes), especially with the Nuggets missing a couple key pieces. Somewhere in the range of 6x value for his low salary is well within reach.


Jarrett Allen ($7,200) - This is certainly the pick with the greatest level of risk today, and it has the potential to blow up in my face considering the opponent.

The Toronto Raptors have been incredibly stingy in Orlando, allowing only 44.6 FanDuel points per game to centers, the third-best mark of all team in the restart. But offsetting the touch matchup, Allen has taken his game to another level, mostly by default as he and Caris LeVert have been the only reliable offensive options for the short-handed Brooklyn Nets.

Allen has raised his fantasy points per game by 13.6 points in Orlando, third-best in the league (only Lavert and Porter, Jr. have seen bigger jumps), and raised his overall offensive rating by more than six points per 100 possessions in the last two weeks alone.

Perhaps most importantly, his minutes per game have increased from 26.5 per game to 32.2 with no DeAndre Jordan competing for playing time. With that increased court time and a condensed rotation, he should have no problem at least matching our projections of 13 points, 11 rebounds, and a couple blocks, even against a tough opponent.