Welcome to the debut of Rotoworld’s “FanDuel NBA Pivot Plays” column! You probably noticed that “new article smell” once the page loaded.
The objective of this segment is to outline the potential popular selections at every position, then give some sneaky “pivot plays” with lower ownership percentages for tournament consideration. Essentially, it’s your traditional “Tournament Picks” article with an emphasis on getting away from those key “groupthink selections” of the day.
So with that, let’s look at some spots to “zag” where others are “zigging”.
Pivot 1: Isaiah Thomas – Boston (FanDuel Price: $8,100)
A great tactic while screening for pivot plays is to objectively look for a popular, expensive pick, then find someone who could produce in a similar range for much cheaper. It sounds extremely simple, but you’d be surprised at how many people ignore this strategy. In this case, Stephen Curry is an expensive, popular option, and Isaiah Thomas is the overlooked cheaper pick with upside. Let’s not forget that Minnesota-Boston holds a heavy 217 over/under with a competitive 4.5 point spread. That should leave Thomas enough room to do his thing, especially considering the hotstreak of 47 FPPG over the past three.
Pivot 1: O.J. Mayo – Milwaukee (FanDuel Price: $3,800)
We never really know how the minutes will be allocated any given night for Milwaukee. That’s where the risk comes in with a guy like Mayo. However, he’s near minimum salary, sitting on a great matchup against the Lakers, and his playing time has been trending up as of late. He has played four games since his return from injury, earning more minutes in each contest. The crescendo built to a 33 FP outing in 38 minutes last game, which appears to be promising for his playing time moving forward … By pivoting to Mayo, you’ll be tolerating a lot of risk, but also saving cap space to spend on upside elsewhere.
Pivot 1: Carmelo Anthony – SF – New York (FanDuel Price: $9,300)
LeBron James is stealing the headlines as everyone’s top small forward play. You can’t really argue against it, as the guy is matchup-proof, hitting 50+ FP in each of the past four games. If Kyrie Irving is out, it will be very hard to fade LeBron James (potentially more usage). However, if Kyrie Irving plays, there may be some merit to selecting Carmelo Anthony for a cheaper salary. After all, Melo has been just as good recently, averaging 48 FPPG over the past three. His matchup is actually better on paper as well, given that Toronto has been subpar against small forwards since DeMarre Carroll’s injury … Food for thought.
Pivot 2: Jae Crowder – SF – Boston (FanDuel Price: $5,900)
This is another contingent play, as Crowder is a potential pivot away from the popular likes of Luol Deng. If Dwyane Wade is out again (currently questionable), Deng will be difficult to pivot off, and I’ll likely bite the proverbial bullet for cash games and tournaments. However, if Wade plays, he’ll likely siphon usage away from Deng, neutralizing the upside displayed over the past two games. This is where it may pay off to pivot towards Jae Crowder in an exceptional game environment (217 over/under) and capable stat-stuffing potential.
Pivot 1: Myles Turner – Indiana (FanDuel Price: $5,600)
Before you scroll down to the comment section and type something in all capital letters, please hear me out! I’m not fading Jabari Parker in cash games, as I believe the matchup, price, and recent hotstreak is too good to pass up. However, there is merit in pivoting to Myles Turner in tournaments. Here are the reasons: 1) He’ll assuredly have a much lower ownership percentage. 2) Even though Parker has been great lately, their baseline projections are somewhat similar. 3) Parker’s breakout game (47 FP) came in an overtime contest where he saw 51 minutes. We may need to cater expectations a little bit. 4) Almost everyone in the Bucks starting lineup has a great matchup. There’s a chance the production could flow to Antetokounmpo, Carter-Williams, Middleton, or Monroe instead of Parker. 5) Myles Turner has been exceptionally solid, and he always carries upside with elite shot blocking skills.
Pivot 2: Mirza Teletovic – Phoenix (FanDuel Price: $4,100)
Even though Jon Leuer has been starting, Teletovic has played more minutes with more fantasy relevance this week. He is averaging a nice 28 FPPG over the past three games, which certainly has provided some solid returns on investment. On top of that, Tyson Chandler is doubtful, making the Phoenix frontcourt even thinner, ultimately pushing Mirza into a 30 minute role. We all know he’s instant-offense who carries a fantasy friendly game, and I implore you not to overlook him in tournaments.
Pivot 1: Hassan Whiteside – Miami (FanDuel Price: $7,900)
Whiteside will assuredly need to step up with Chris Bosh out indefinitely. After all, he’s one of the only serious rebounding threats on the team. He certainly responded to the call last game, posting 25 points, 23 rebounds, and 56 overall fantasy points vs Washington. The matchup against Indiana tonight isn’t great from an efficiency ranking standpoint, but Whiteside’s dominance on the glass doesn’t exactly rely upon offensive efficiency. In other words, even though this is a lower scoring game in a subpar matchup on paper, Whiteside still carries heavy upside due to his current role on the team. Give him a look if you can’t quite fit Karl-Anthony Towns.