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.
In other words, I’m playing devil’s advocate in going against the grain. Hopefully, this will help find some lower-owned pivot plays to accompany the popular, well-aligned picks in your FanDuel lineups.
Pivot: Ishmael Smith – Philadelphia (FanDuel Price: $6,800)
Smith may actually be somewhat popular, but his ownership levels will assuredly be lower than the aforementioned players, possibly even below the likes of Rajon Rondo and Kemba Walker as well. The reason for this comes down to matchup, as Houston is fairly neutral against the point guard spot. However, we need to consider other external factors working in Smith’s favor. He has been seeing more minutes and productivity lately, something that should carry into this high-scoring, faster-paced matchup. Along with that Nerlens Noel is back for Philadelphia, which should help create driving lanes and assist opportunities for Ish.
Pivot: Iman Shumpert – Cleveland (FanDuel Price: $3,900)
Some of you may be taken aback by this pick, but just hear me out. Shumpert has actually been pretty decent as of late, hitting 59 fantasy points in 57 minutes over the past two games. His 39 FP performance vs Boston last week generates some enthusiasm for upside. If you recall, Timfoey Mozgov left early that game, and the Cavaliers went small with Shumpert, allowing him to play 35 minutes. Mozgov is considered questionable with an illness tonight. If he doesn’t play, Shumpert could benefit from a small-ball lineup once again, even if he isn’t in the starting lineup. The matchup is excellent as well, considering the Kings rank in the bottom ten against shooting guards and small forwards alike.
Pivot: Trevor Ariza – Houston (FanDuel Price: $6,300)
If you have been regularly reading this column, you know I love targeting Ariza in certain situations. This is certainly the time to give him serious consideration, as the matchup against Philly (29th in defensive efficiency against opposing small forwards) is golden. Ariza always sees heavy minutes (38-40), and he has flexed some upside in recent games. He will assuredly slip through the cracks once again, considering that most people will take a high/low strategy when filling out the small forward position. Ariza will be sitting on a low ownership percentage in the mid-range, despite holding a juicy matchup.
Pivot: Derrick Favors – Utah (FanDuel Price: $7,600)
Let’s face it, Derrick Favors is a pretty boring fantasy pick. In fact, everyone for Utah tends to be under-owned because of that stigma, even Gordon Hayward throughout his mega-hotstreak earlier in the season. Favors is certainly capable of upside, as he showed with a monstrous 57 fantasy point effort at New Orleans on Saturday. He’ll be playing up in pace again tonight, facing Golden State at home. That could be the catalyst for Favors to rack up a solid statline, and the Warriors have fallen to 26th in defensive efficiency against opposing power forwards this season.
Pivot: DeAndre Jordan – LA Clippers (FanDuel Price: $8,600)
Despite DeAndre Jordan’s hotstreak of three straight 48+ fantasy point efforts, I’m guessing he’ll have a lower than deserved ownership rate. Hassan Whiteside and Dwight Howard have solid matchups, and Alex Len will likely consume a huge chunk of FanDuel lineups tonight. I’m certainly rolling with Len for cash games, but I’ll have some shares of Jordan while filling out multiple tournament entries. The matchup against Oklahoma City looks tough on paper (another reason Jordan could be under-owned), but keep in mind that DJ posted 49 FP against the Thunder last week.