Ladies and gentlemen, the $1 million NBA MEGA Slam is finally here. It’s only $25 to enter and is awarding $100,000 to first place. Additionally, everyone that finishes in the top eight will receive prizes of at least $10,000.
With one of the biggest NBA tournaments of the season on tap for tonight, we will focus on my favorite FanDuel plays to target in tournaments.
Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves (Salary: $8300, FPPG: 32.8, MPG: 31, Usage Rate: 20.9)
Much like Ice Cube, Rubio messed around and got a triple-double the other night against the Clippers. He finished the game with 18 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists on his way to a 49-fantasy point outing. He has now scored at least 38 fantasy points in six of his last seven games. Rubio should have another monster outing in store for us tonight, as he faces a Nuggets defense that has all but given up on the season. They are ranked 22nd against point guards and 26th in points allowed per game.
Reggie Jackson, Detroit Pistons (Salary: $6100, FPPG: 24.7, MPG: 28, Usage Rate: 23.3)
Since joining the Pistons, Jackson has been ice cold from the field. He is shooting a paltry 33% (23-of-69) from the field in his first four games with the team. It’s only a matter of time before he starts hitting shots, and it’s promising to see him averaging 17 shot attempts per game. Tonight is a great opportunity to buy low on the ball-dominant point guard. He draws a favorable matchup against Tyreke Evans and the Pelicans.
Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat (Salary: $7200, FPPG: 32.7, MPG: 32, Usage Rate: 34)
Wade has officially ended his mini-slump by scoring at least 34 fantasy points in each of his last two outings. He should keep it going tonight against the Lakers, who have allowed more points per game than any other team in the NBA this season. Wade has one of the highest usage rates in the NBA and the Heat are projected to score 104 points tonight. To give you an idea of how favorable their matchup against the Lakers really is, the Heat have only averaged 94 points per game this season.
Louis Williams, Toronto Raptors (Salary: $5300, FPPG: 21.9, MPG: 25, Usage Rate: 26.7)
This pick hinges on the health of Kyle Lowry, but many reports suggest that the Raptors are going to hold him out for at least another game. If that’s the case, Williams will see an uptick in both minutes and production. He has played well in Lowry’s absence over the last two games, scoring 30 and 34 fantasy points, respectively. His price on FanDuel has come up a bit, which should scare a lot of people off of him tonight. He’s a perfect high-upside, contrarian play for tournaments.
Nicolas Batum, Portland Trail Blazers (Salary: $5600, FPPG: 24.3, MPG: 34, Usage Rate: 14.5)
Batum is the kind of player that could win someone a big tournament on a night like tonight. His ownership level is always low, even though he has a very high ceiling for a player at his price point. Batum may not be the most consistent player, but he has 40-fantasy point type of upside tonight against the Clippers. He has the ability to fill up all areas of the stat sheet and the Clippers have struggled to contain opposing wing players this season.
James Johnson, Toronto Raptors (Salary: $4300, FPPG: 18.2, MPG: 21, Usage Rate: 16.3)
Much like Batum, Johnson struggles with consistency. While that’s a big concern in cash games, all we care about in tournaments is a player’s upside. Johnson has shown an ability to post 30+ fantasy point outings and he’s priced at a very affordable $4,300. Johnson will likely be asked to defend LeBron James tonight, so he may see extended playing time in this one. The last time he was matched up against a superstar (James Harden), Johnson put up 47 fantasy points.
Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz (Salary: $7600, FPPG: 31.6, MPG: 31, Usage Rate: 23)
Favors has really flourished since the Enes Kanter trade. It has solidified his minutes in the frontcourt and he is now playing with a ton of confidence. Favors has scored at least 35 fantasy points in five of his last six games. He has a great chance to reach that mark again tonight against a Celtics frontcourt that is both under-sized and under-manned. The way to beat the Celtics is to dominate the paint, and the Jazz will look to exploit the weak interior defense of the Boston tonight.
Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets (Salary: $5800, FPPG: 24.5, MPG: 27, Usage Rate: 19.3)
Brian Shaw was fired yesterday and it wasn’t a huge surprise to see the Nuggets finally play well. Shaw and the players were not on the same page all season. Shaw’s absence may be just what Faried needed to release his inner Manimal. He played 32 minutes against the Bucks last night and he scored 34 fantasy points. Faried is still way too risky to use in cash games, but he provides great upside against the Wolves at a price of only $5,800.
Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic (Salary: $8500, FPPG: 36.8, MPG: 35, Usage Rate: 25.8)
DeMarcus Cousins will likely be the popular tournament play at center tonight. While I love the upside that Cousins provides, Vucevic has a similar ceiling and he is $2,400 cheaper. Tonight he faces the Suns, who have been stingy against opposing centers recently. The good news is that Alex Len has a knack of getting into foul trouble. It also helps that the Suns are ranked 25th in rebounding differential. Vucevic could be in line for a 20-point, 20-rebound performance tonight.