3 NBA FanDuel Tournament Plays to Target on 8/18/20
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 Tuesday's FanDuel main slate (1:30 PM ET).
Markelle Fultz ($5,500) - With five elite options priced at more than $10,000 on FanDuel, the theme of these tournament plays is going to be value in an attempt to be able to jam in as many studs as you can elsewhere. Recently inserted into the starting lineup, Fultz is a great place to start and is someone who should have microscopic ownership on Tuesday.
Throughout the season the Milwaukee Bucks were always in the middle of the pack in defending the point guard position, but in the bubble, their perimeter defense has fallen off a cliff.
Over the past two weeks, the Bucks have allowed 53.4 FanDuel points per game to point guards (worst in Orlando), up from 46.6 in the regular season. Small sample size with constantly churning rotations? Yes, but Eric Bledsoe ranks 65th among all point guards in defensive real plus-minus on the season.
If Aaron Gordon were to miss this game (currently questionable), that would free up 21% of the team's usage and almost 33 fantasy points per game.
Fultz in the starting lineup and playing more minutes should end as an effective move for the Magic. In fact, six of their top seven five-man lineups on the season (in offensive rating) included Fultz running the point position.
Eric Gordon ($4,500) - All eyes should be on James Harden today and rightly so with Russell Westbrook on the bench. But don't sleep on Gordon, who is beginning to round back in to game shape and sees massive increases in usage and efficiency with Westbrook off the court.
Harden obviously dominates the ball in these types of games, but Gordon slips into the Westbrook role in the rotation, playing every minute that Harden rests and serving as the primary scoring option when Harden sits. With Westbrook off the floor, Gordon's usage rate jumps 5.5 percentage points per 36 minutes -- up to 27.8% (higher than Jimmy Butler's, for comparison). His fantasy points per game also rises by five points per 36 minutes.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have allowed the third-most FanDuel points to the shooting guard position over the last two weeks at almost 46 per contest. In a game with a strong 225-point implied total, look for Harden and Gordon to push the pace and for Gordon to soar past 6x value with Westbrook on the shelf.
Steven Adams ($5,400) - There is a little bit of concern that Adams is going to get on the court and look a lot like that John Travolta looking around gif, as he is going to see P.J. Tucker and Robert Covington hanging out around the three-point line and wonder what to do on defense.
On offense, however, Adams should be able to assert his will in the paint against an undersized Houston Rockets team. The Rockets allowed the seventh-most FanDuel points per game to centers in the bubble (55.2), and this is a matchup the Thunder should look to exploit.
Not surprisingly, the Rockets allowed the fifth-most points in the paint per game during the regular season and also had the fifth-worst defensive rebounding rate. Adams was sixth in the entire league with almost 82% of his points coming from inside the paint.
Coming in under $5,500, Adams is our top point-per-dollar option at the center position.