FanDuel NBA Core Plays: Tuesday, November 14th
Andy Means will be bringing Premium subscribers his top cash game plays and tournament pivots to build around. A former Duke basketball walk-on and now top-ranked DFS player, Andy will take an in-depth look into each of his core plays, and then blend it all together from a roster construction perspective. On weekends, the preseason maestro you all know and love, Allan Lem, takes the reigns.
Tuesday, November 14th
UPDATE – 4:48 PM EST
FYI, I removed Tatum from the core and added in Kyrie Irving. I still think Tatum is the best point per dollar play on the slate at that position, but some of my builds had me going a bit cheaper in order to fit in some other pieces I wanted. Ultimately, I don’t think he is as much as a must-play as I did this morning. For example, if you land on Marcus Morris instead of Tatum for $500 cheaper, I think that is completely fine.
As for Kyrie, I just don’t see myself not pairing him and Dinwiddie in cash games. On a three-game slate, I am willing to take on whatever injury risk he has. I don’t expect him to be on any sort of limit if they are going to allow him to play.
UPDATE – 1:08 PM EST
With Nene now ruled out, I will move Clint Capela into the Core Plays.
For those that read this article last year, welcome back. For those that are new, thanks for reading! Here is a quick review of what I am trying to accomplish with NBA Core Plays.
First and foremost, the Core Plays I reference below are for cash game formats (e.g. 50/50, H2H, double-ups). They are the players I think you absolutely must have in your cash game lineup(s) on that day’s main slate. There is a ton of great DFS information available nowadays. However, it can also be difficult to comb through all of that information and know whom exactly to put in your lineup. After reading a lot of articles and listening to a few podcasts, you suddenly are left thinking that there are 20 guys you should be putting into your cash game lineup (“Player X is an elite play!”; “Player Y is perfect for cash games!”; “Player Z is viable in all formats!”).
My goal with this article is to actually prioritize all of those viable plays. So the first player you see listed below is who I think is the most important. The second player listed is the second most important and so on and so forth. I will usually provide 3-5 players each day. While some (or all) of the plays may seem obvious, we still want to make those plays and let our opponents be the ones to make the mistakes. Not building around this core set of players, in my opinion, is a recipe for an unprofitable night.
Since I know a lot of DFS players only play tournaments, I also provide tournament pivots off of those Core Plays. I usually try to have the pivots be from the same position, same game, or same price range. The Core Plays will usually see some of the highest ownership on the slate, so how you mix them into your lineups for tournaments is up to your own personal tournament strategy.
IMPORTANT: I will make every effort to update this article as news breaks until approximately one hour before rosters lock. So please check back throughout the day as I update my Core Plays. However, if time is tight, I will forego the analysis here and only update my tags on LineupHQ. I plan to keep the tags updated on LineupHQ all the way up until lineup lock, so always make sure to check there first. Remember, what may be a great play at 2:00 PM is not always a great play at 7:00 PM. To get my most up-to-date thoughts on the slate before lineups lock, be sure to tune into Crunch Time. Kevin Roth and I will go live thirty minutes before lineups lock, and you can watch right there in LineupHQ as you build lineups.
If you aren’t already doing so, give me a follow on Twitter. I won’t answer too many specific DFS questions (in order to protect you, the Premium subscribers), but I absolutely love just talking hoops. Let’s get to it!
A quick reminder that with only three games on the slate, it is probably best to lower your volume and perhaps avoid cash games altogether. On a site like FanDuel that doesn’t have multi positional eligibility, you are going to have a ton of overlap in cash games.
1) Spencer Dinwiddie, PG, Brooklyn Nets – $5,800
With D’Angelo Russell ruled out for at least a few games, Spencer Dinwiddie will draw the start at point guard in his place. In the only game that DAR missed earlier this season, Dinwiddie logged 31 minutes in a tight game with Sean Kilpatrick getting most of the backup minutes. Dinwiddie dropped 38 FanDuel points that game, so add in that with the fact that we only have three games on this slate, and you will be looking at a very chalky play.
There isn’t much else that needs to be said here except that Dinwiddie is too cheap for his expected minutes and rate bumps. It is only one game to go on, yes, but check out the increases he saw in that game compared to his seasonal numbers.
2017-2018 (12 games): 22.3 minutes per game, 18.7% usage rate, 33% assist rate, 6.6% rebound rate
10/25/2017 vs. Cleveland: 31.75 minutes, 22.2% usage rate, 30.8% assist rate, 8.9% rebound rate
Dinwiddie had a 74.5% true shooting percentage that game, so don’t go expecting 38 FanDuel points again. However, he is still underpriced and, if nothing else, he showed what kind of ceiling he has at this price when given the minutes. If you are brave enough to play cash games this evening, you absolutely have to eat the chalk and play Spencer.
(Tournament pivot: You will need to get creative here in tournaments due to the small slate, and I think a good play for large field tournaments is taking a stab at either Isaiah Whitehead or Sean Kilpatrick. I haven’t quite been able to glean from the news who Coach Atkinson prefers for the backup PG duties. Neither of them have been playing much at all lately. Keep your ears to the news to see what information might come out during the day. Once you feel comfortable with who the backup is, throw a dart with him in tournaments in the hopes that variance is on your side. Maybe Dinwiddie gets in foul trouble. Maybe he rolls an ankle. Maybe he plays so badly that Atkinson benches him. I highly doubt many DFS owners will take a stab with the backup since neither got much run in this same scenario on 10/25. I think it is worth a shot in large field tournaments as a very low owned play.)
2) James Harden, SG, Houston Rockets – $12,500
Harden makes for a very interesting case on this tiny slate considering his price tag is $3,800 more than the next player. While he may not come close to making the greatest point per dollar play on the slate, he is miles ahead of the next closest player in expected fantasy production. As a result, I think he needs to be a staple of your cash game lineup. That is especially so on FanDuel where you are forced to roster two of them.
(Tournament pivot: There is a strong case to be made for a Harden fade in tournaments on this slate due to the big price tag and gap between him and the rest of the field. I think a logical pivot off of Harden is to go to DeMar DeRozan. DDR isn’t that much better of a point per dollar play than Harden, but moving down to him off of Harden immediately will give you a much more unique roster construction. Because DeRozan is so scoring dependent, you are hoping for an extremely efficient night in that regard or for him to contribute in other ancillary stats that we aren’t accustomed to.)
3) Jayson Tatum, PF, Boston Celtics – $5,100
The Celtics obviously get a big pace-up game here against Brooklyn, and I think my favorite piece to target for them is Tatum. If you remove the first two games of the season when he was priced as basically a punt, this is the cheapest price point we have seen on him to date.
Tatum has been getting right at 30 minutes per game this season, and we should expect that to continue tonight even with Marcus Morris back in the fold. Tatum has basically been around a 0.8 FanDuel points per minute guy here in the early going of his rookie season. That baseline projection puts him in a nice spot tonight for cash games. And his projection will certainly get a boost due to pace (Brooklyn plays at the fastest pace in the league by a decent margin) and matchup (Brooklyn is 24th in defensive rating).
This certainly seems like a nice buy low spot on Tatum, and I promise I am saying that without bias. I think he is a lock for a power forward slot on FanDuel due to this price tag and matchup.
(Tournament pivot: I will go to Tatum’s teammate, Marcus Morris, as a good tournament pivot. The minutes have topped out at about 24 as he has worked his way back into the rotation, so we certainly need an efficient outing from Morris to get us what we need in tournaments. Luckily, he is only $4,600, so there is still some profit potential here despite what appears to be a soft cap on his minutes. I expect him to be lower owned than Tatum, which makes me want to target him more heavily in tournaments as a leverage play on the Tatum ownership.)
ROSTER CONSTRUCTION THOUGHTS
Even with plugging in Harden’s huge price tag, we are still left with $6,100 in average salary remaining per player. This definitely appears to be a night that we want to pay up for center, taking either Al Horford or Clint Capela. My lean is to side with getting more Celtics exposure and going with Horford.
Another key decision point will be deciding which Toronto wing to take with Norman Powell doubtful. OG Anunoby started the second half last game when Powell left with an injury, but he is still probably going to split the minutes with CJ Miles. It is highly likely that one of these two will fill a small forward slot in your cash games. I don’t have a strong feel as to which way I want to go at this point in the day.
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