FanDuel NBA Core Plays: Wednesday, December 6th
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.
Wednesday, December 6th
UPDATE – 1:35 PM EST
After looking into it a bit more, I am warming up to Klay Thompson. I still have some efficiency concerns, but the price tag and having to play two shooting guards on FanDuel make him viable. However, I don’t think he is a Core Play by any stretch. I am also adding Rajon Rondo 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!
1) DeMarcus Cousins, C, New Orleans Pelicans – $11,300
Another night with Anthony Davis sidelined means another night jamming in Boogie in our cash game lineups. You know I don’t like locking in a must-play center on FanDuel unless the situation absolutely calls for it, and I think that is what we have on our hands tonight.
For starters, this is one of the best games to target on the slate. It has the second highest over/under (218.5) and a tight spread (New Orleans -5).
We know by now that Boogie sees a nice usage bump with no Anthony Davis, so there isn’t much need to dive into that again. The Pelicans get a great matchup against a Denver team that ranks 21st in defensive rating. And the eye test tells me that there is not one player on the Nuggets that has the bulk to come close to slowing him down on the block.
There is some opportunity cost at center, but I don’t think I want to get too fancy here. Boogie is the safest bet for fantasy points on this slate, so I will be locking him into cash games.
(Tournament pivot: The tournament pivot here is to go down to the guy who will be guarding Boogie a lot tonight, Mason Plumlee. Plumlee is going to look like a great point per dollar option tonight in his own right due to the minutes we should be expecting him to play, but there is all sorts of foul trouble risk here. However, if he can somehow keep that in check and get his minutes around 30 like he saw two games ago, there is a lot of profit potential still left in this tag. The Nuggets will need all of the minutes they can get out of Plumlee to try to defend Boogie, so I like the upside if he can keep himself on the court.)
2) Kevin Durant, SF, Golden State Warriors – $10,000
This is another great game environment to target, as it has the highest over/under (219.5) and also a tight spread (Warriors -6).
While Stephen Curry being out hurts Golden State’s offensive efficiency, Durant’s usage rate and assist rate bump makes up for it. Since he was acquired by the Warriors at the start of last season, Durant sees approximately a 4% usage rate bump and 6.5% assist rate bump when Stephen Curry is off of the floor.
The matchup is mostly neutral here too, but again, the increased offensive responsibility for Durant without Curry trumps that. He is another extremely safe bet for fantasy production tonight, and it comes at a position that has been an outright pain to fill out on FanDuel this season. And it is no different tonight. I am doing all I can to fit Durant in with Boogie tonight in cash games.
(Tournament pivot: I think the tournament pivots here are to overpay for Giannis Antetokounmpo or LeBron James. Both guys come with their own risks. LeBron and the Cavs are huge favorites, so the minutes could be down tonight. Giannis has a massive price tag and a somewhat difficult matchup against a decent Pistons team that is stingy against opposing power forwards. They will both come at much lower ownership than Durant, but both also have slate-winning upside on any given night they play.)
3) Andre Iguodala, SF, Golden State Warriors – $4,000
We are obviously going to need some salary relief at this point in our roster construction, and my lean is to pair Iggy with Durant at small forward. There are a handful of other options in this general price range that are also in play, but my lean at this point in the day is to get some cheap access to the Warriors via Iggy.
Iguodala’s rates are less affected by the absence of Curry than other Warriors. What really matters with Iggy when Curry misses games is the trickle down effect of the game environment as a whole. With Curry out, that is one less rotation guy available that Steve Kerr trusts. That also means the likelihood of a competitive game are greatly enhanced, which ultimately means we see more court time for Iggy.
He looks like a very safe cash game play if the minutes land in the upper 20’s. However, we have also seen them reach into the 30’s in competitive games. With the Warriors on an island game in what should be a competitive game, I think his minutes are pretty safe tonight. I like him a lot as a salary relief option on FanDuel.
(Tournament pivot: One of those other options I referenced above is DeAndre Bembry. I don’t know if I can quite pull the trigger in cash games, but he makes for a great tournament pivot regardless. The minutes and usage have been trending up lately for Bembry, and he is still only $3,800 on FanDuel. An efficient shooting night mixed with some ancillary stats would leave him crushing this price tag. He is in play in any format tonight but is definitely a phenomenal tournament option.)
ROSTER CONSTRUCTION THOUGHTS
At the time I am writing this, I feel very strongly that we should be jamming in Boogie and Durant. That of course means the name of the game tonight is salary relief. Due to how well FanDuel has been pricing the slates lately, we will be left with a few uncomfortable decisions if it is a slow news day.
However, once we find one or two cheap plays, it really isn’t that difficult to fill out a roster. We definitely want to be shopping in the mid tier at point guard and at least one power forward spot. Klay Thompson may get some attention today, but I am not that high on him as of now. His production decreases quite a bit without Stephen Curry on the floor.
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