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

Khris Middleton's poor Game 1 shouldn't deter us today. Who else is worth a look 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 Thursday's FanDuel main slate (1:00 PM ET).


Khris Middleton ($7,000) - Almost anyone besides James Harden at shooting guard is going to come in at lowish ownership on Thursday, and a motivated Middleton certainly fits the bill. After the Milwaukee Bucks were embarrassed in Game 1 on Tuesday, look for this entire team to come out and reestablish why they were the top team in the regular season this year.

I'm looking for Middleton to rebound after shooting only 4-for-12, committing four fouls, four turnovers, and ending the game with a -8 plus/minus rating -- which doesn't even touch on the fact that Terrence Ross dominated him to the tune of 18 points (on 7-of-13 shooting) and +19 plus/minus.

Our projections have Middleton bouncing back in a big way -- 23 points, six rebounds, five assists, and greater than 5x value.


Anthony Davis ($10,400) - Similarly for the Los Angeles Lakers, they will look to bounce back after letting Game 1 slip away in the final minutes to the white-hot Portland Trail Blazers.

The Brow's final fantasy line in Game 1 looks reasonable from a FanDuel points perspective, as he logged 53.7 FD points by games end, by it was a struggle to get there. Davis may have led the team with 28 points, but he took 24 field goal attempts and 17 free throw attempts, a horribly inefficient number,

In terms of plus/minus, Tuesday was Davis' third-worst game of the season, and he also couldn't have picked a worse time to have his fifth-lowest single-game effective field goal percentage of 2019-2020.

The matchup still should give us hope that Davis can have a monster performance. The Blazers allowed the fourth-most FanDuel points to the power forward position in the regular season and are now undersized with Zach Collins out.

Many may fade this spot since Davis got a $400 price increase after Game 1, but he is a strong option to reach 5x value even at the inflated cost.


Steven Adams ($5,900) - I'm doubling down on Adams after recommending him on Tuesday, and he certainly delivered, scoring 33.4 FanDuel points in only 27 minutes for better than 6x value.

The most encouraging thing about Adams' game on Tuesday was the fact that he had the potential for a truly monster fantasy output but was denied his regular end-of-fourth-quarter minutes because the game was a blowout and the Oklahoma City Thunder were trying to shoot their way back into the contest until the starters were all pulled with two minutes remaining. After Adams checked out of the game with 7:45 left, he never came back in.

If the Thunder can keep this game closer against the Houston Rockets, Adams should be able to continue dominating the board and racking up points inside the paint. On Tuesday, 12 of Adams' 13 field goal attempts were in the restricted area or in the paint, which makes complete sense when you are four inches taller than anyone else on the floor.

If things continue to come easy for Adams close to the rim, all he needs is a competitive game to gain big minutes and crush value at under $6,000.