Two huge tournaments sit atop the lobbies on FanDuel and DraftKings today. On FanDuel, it’s the 400k Super Slam, an almost 20,000 player tournament that’s only $25 to enter and will award $40,000 to 1st place. On DraftKings, their Micro Millions Main Event also has a whopping 400K prizepool, but is only $20 to enter, and awards $100,000 for first place. This is the type of big money we all dream of when playing daily fantasy NBA.
The top-heavy nature of these tournaments (especially on DraftKings, where 25% of the total prize pool will go to 1st place) changes the way you must construct your lineup. For example, using any player without a high ceiling (for example, the minutes-restricted Kevin Garnett) will depress the potential of your lineup and significantly decrease the chances of you winning it all. Every player must be capable of having a big game, especially on a night with 12 games.
Another caveat when constructing your lineup, and one that I plan on helping you with directly in this article, is the importance of picking a few players who will be used very little by the field. The benefit of using these low-ownership players is that if one has a really big game, your lineup effectively jumps ahead of most of the field. Compare this with a high-owned player like Anthony Davis tonight, who should be owned by 35-50% in the Micro Millions Main Event. If he has a big game, you haven’t made much progress, as almost half the tournament owns him. I’m not saying don’t play Anthony Davis tonight — I think he’s a fantastic play — just that it’s important to find some diamonds in the rough that will separate your lineup from the rest.
Since this article is covering both DraftKings and Fanduel and the pricing on each site can vastly differ, below I will give you some FanDuel specific plays, some DraftKings specific plays, and some plays for both. All of my suggestions below are players I feel will have a less than 15% (sometimes as little as 3%) ownership in these tournaments, and I don’t necessarily recommend them in 50/50 and heads-up games.
(stats via dailyfantasywinners.com and basketball-reference.com)
George Hill ($6,400 on FanDuel, $6,300 on DraftKings)
Hill will be overlooked by most tonight, but there are countless reasons why he shouldn’t be. The Bulls seem like a bad matchup, but without Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler, their defense has suffered significantly: the Bulls actually rank 3rd in fantasy points allowed to guards over their last 5 games, and 6th in their last 10. Hill has slowly come back from injury and was previously on a minutes restriction, but with that minutes restriction lifted he’s become a big part of this offense, averaging a USG% (this is a measure of how often a player controls the ball on offense) of around 25% in his last 5 games. We’ve seen what Hill can do in a good matchup. Against Cleveland 3 games ago, he had a triple-double and scored 49 fantasy points despite shooting only 27% from the field. On top of all this, Hill’s backup, C.J. Watson, is dealing with elbow soreness and may not play. If he doesn’t, this means more minutes for Hill and increases his potential even further. Hill will likely be the highest owned of all of my picks (likely around 10-15% ownership), but is my favorite of the bunch.
Tim Duncan ($7,300 on FanDuel, $6,800 on DraftKings)
Duncan will have low ownership tonight, mostly due to recent performance. In his last 3 games, he hasn’t topped 25 fantasy points. But this is due to the Spurs resting their stars in blowouts; Duncan has only played 20 mpg in his last 2 games. But in the Spurs last 3 close games, Duncan has excelled, averaging 20 points, 10 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1 steal, and 3 blocks, good for over 40 fantasy points per game. The Spurs are 11.5 point favorites against the Nuggets tonight, but Denver could keep it close here playing well in the wake of Brian Shaw’s firing. And Duncan’s matchup with the Nuggets is incredible. They are 2nd worst in the NBA against PFs and 3rd worst in defensive fantasy points allowed.
Al Horford ($7,400)
Sandwiched in salary between Marc Gasol ($7,500), Joakim Noah ($7,400), and Rudy Gobert ($7,200), Horford will be less than 3% owned tonight. While I can’t confidently say Horford will outperform all of those players, there’s an argument for it. The Cavaliers are 4th-worst in the NBA in offensive fantasy points allowed per game, which bodes well for Horford who’s a rare offensive-minded center, scoring 61% of his fantasy points via offensive statistics. His price is also quite low, with an $800 difference from his FanDuel salary. If Horford can outperform the players above, especially Gobert, your lineup will have a nice edge on the field.
Alex Len ($5,000)
Demarcus Cousins, Hassan Whiteside, Marc Gasol, and Rudy Gobert should see the majority of ownership at center on FanDuel tonight, while Len will essentially go unnoticed. If he’s owned by more than 3% of teams, I’d be shocked. He’s coming off a horrible game against Orlando, getting into foul trouble early and only scoring 4 fantasy points, but prior to that game he was averaging almost 28 fantasy points per game. He’s matched up with Brooklyn, who plays small starting Joe Johnson at PF, but with Mason Plumlee and Brook Lopez getting the majority of time at center, there are plenty of reasons for Len to his minutes. I also like how Len will change the construction of your lineup, without Gasol or Gobert who are significantly higher priced, your lineup will be vastly different with several thousand dollars going to other positions. If a high-priced player at SG or PG — like Steph Curry or James Harden — goes off, you’ll have a much better lineup than others who may have tried to use Gobert with Harden, leaving little money to spend elsewhere.