The objective of this segment is to outline 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 “groupthink selections” of the day.
So with that, let’s look at some spots to “zag” where others are “zigging”.
Pivot: Kyrie Irving – PG – Cleveland (FanDuel Price: $7,000)
Here’s how I believe most people will view the point guard position on FanDuel: Spend up on Russell Westbrook, then counter his high-price tag by taking savings with Darren Collison. If they are looking for a mid-range pick, Mike Conley has a better matchup and recent game log than Kyrie Irving, pushing more ownership to the Grizzlies’ floor general … Still, we can’t deny Kyrie against an Indiana team that has been struggling against point guards (ranked 18th overall in defensive efficiency vs the position). He has topped 40+ FP in two of the past four games, with some “down performances” keeping his salary lower than usual. Also, Kyrie would get a boost in usage if Kevin Love (questionable) does not play. If you can find a way to pair Kyrie with Russell Westbrook, that could make for a nice tournament PG duo this evening.
Pivot: Monta Ellis – SG – Indiana (FanDuel Price: $6,100)
Everyone is drooling over Will Barton tonight, as he could see a jump in minutes, usage, and fantasy points with Danilo Gallinari out. Most of the enthusiasm is warranted, as Barton does have a nice matchup (Memphis 23rd vs SGs) to go along with those other contextual factors. However, let’s not forget about Monta Ellis for tournaments; potentially combining him with Barton in some situations as well. I’m guessing Ellis will have an extremely low ownership percentage, as the matchup looks tough on paper (Cleveland 4th vs SGs) and everyone will pick Will Barton if looking for a mid-range player. Monta and Paul George have been trading big games back and forth lately. If this is Monta’s night to carry the offense, we could see some nice upside as a result. Ellis has had pretty good success against the Cavs this season, putting up 38 fantasy points in a game earlier this season.
Pivot 1: Trevor Ariza – Houston (FanDuel Price: $6,100)
Trevor Ariza will assuredly slip through the cracks tonight, as most people will be looking cheaper than him for their SF2 play (Barnes or Covington). If you have the extra salary cap to upgrade from the popular likes of Matt Barnes ($5,000) to Ariza, it could be a nice tournament strategy. After all, Ariza has been floating between the SF and PF position for Houston, and he often thrives when playing the 4-spot. Milwaukee ranks 21st in defensive efficiency against opposing frontcourt members, and Ariza would benefit even more if Clint Caplea (questionable) does not play.
Pivot 2: Otto Porter – Washington (FanDuel Price: $5,000)
Porter’s minutes have been trending down ever since Markieff Morris arrived, and that will make most FanDuelers uneasy while crafting their lineups. However, Porter has hit 30 and 33 FP respectively in the past two games, the first of which came in the same matchup he’ll enjoy tonight (Philadelphia ranks 28th vs SFs). It will take a relatively high FP/min ratio for Porter to hit value, but he has proven himself as of late. As I mentioned before, Matt Barnes and Robert Covington will likely be the more popular selections in this price range.
Pivot: Nerlens Noel – Philadelphia (FanDuel Price: $6,500)
Noel is obviously a tournament only recommendation, as rotational concerns and foul trouble make him a pure risk/reward fantasy commodity. He has been inconsistent as of late, hitting 17 FP or less in three of the past six. On the other hand, he has recorded 40+ FP in two games over that stretch. That’s essentially the definition of a tournament gamble, and I’m guessing most people will flock to the security of the popular picks listed above rather than taking a chance on Noel’s high-risk, high-reward profile. The matchup against Washington (28th vs PFs) helps his cause.
Pivot: Chris Andersen – Memphis (FanDuel Price: $3,500)
Chris Andersen, now a member of the Memphis Grizzlies, has seen 20 minutes apiece in the past two games. With Brandan Wright officially ruled out, he could see around 25 or so minutes tonight. The matchup is decent against a Denver team that ranks 20th in defensive efficiency against opposing big man. More importantly, investing in Andersen could potentially allow you to squeeze Westbrook, Harden, and Durant in the same lineup for a high-upside tournament strategy.