NBA DFS starts the week off with a large nine game slate that could go in any number of directions. One major piece of news is already in, Philadelphia will be without Joel Embiid this evening, which has created a significant ownership and opportunity bubble around some of his teammates. Outside of the 76ers lineup, the board looks to have numerous players with a bit too much ownership on the high end before rapidly dropping onto a plateau of sameness from which no players truly stand out for value or upside. The slate will surely see some gamebreakers, but for now focusing on the most likely building blocks, and filling in around them is a solid approach to lineup building.
This space will always focus on the factors mentioned above, but at times we will call out plays that are over-owned, taking the opportunity to discuss the potential pivots. With nine games on the slate, this will be a close look at several of the positive leverage options, as well as the slate’s big conversation piece. As always, the goal is to find under-appreciated players for the frequency with which they land in the optimal lineup in DraftKings and FanDuel DFS NBA projections and simulations.
NBA DFS Optimizer Leverage Leaders Today
These picks are made utilizing the Boom/Bust Tool, specifically analyzing the optimal lineup rate, leverage score, and boom probability. The optimal lineup rate represents the frequency at which a player appears in Awesemo’s simulated DraftKings NBA and FanDuel NBA slates. The leverage score is the difference between the optimal lineup rate and projected ownership, while the boom probability indicates a player’s likelihood of hitting a ceiling score. It is important to remember that not all of these NBA DFS picks are highlights, and bad chalk and shaky investments will be discussed in this space, so be sure to read the analysis and not just the headlines.
Andre Drummond: DraftKings — $4,400 — C | FanDuel — $5,400 — C
The big news of the early afternoon is that the 76ers will be without Joel Embiid, who is getting a night of rest after playing through pain early in the year. His absence leaves a chasm in the Philadelphia rotation, but Andre Drummond is likely to be up for the task of filling it. Drummond is the fifth-highest player at any position on this slate by fantasy points per minute, with something approaching starter’s minutes he has phenomenal upside at his pricing across the industry. Drummond is averaging 1.46 fantasy points per minute in his 15.8 minutes a night so far this year. He has seen 18.6% usage in the backup role and has contributed a 28.3% rebounding percentage and 12.7% assist share. The counting stats are likely to skyrocket, while Drummond also stands to improve upon his 58.6% true shooting percentage given all the work around the rim. In less than 16 minutes a game, Drummond is averaging 9 rebounds and 2.4 stocks.
Drummond is a $5,400 play on the FanDuel slate, despite the higher cap that is a higher relative price than he costs on the other side of the industry, but it does little to change the nature of the play. Drummond is the leading player at any position on the slate. He lands in the optimal lineup in 43.7% of simulations for the single-center site, and the public is trailing by a significant margin. Drummond is projected for 46.4% ownership, a mark that will climb throughout the afternoon. Still, the current number leaves him at just a -2.7 leverage score, even if he drops further into negative territory he is a strong play. He has a massive 66.5% boom score probability and a 38.5 median FanDuel points projection.
At a lower relative price on the DraftKings slate, Drummond is a virtual lock play. For just $4,400 the upside that he brings, even in a shorter than expected stint, is immense. Drummond is the optimal center in 72.6% of simulated DraftKings slates, while he is riding a gargantuan 85.9% boom score probability into the slate like a conquering hero. Drummond is currently projected to be in more than three quarters of all lineups on DraftKings, and it is safe to expect him to crack the 80% mark. Still, with the frequency with which he is found in optimal lineups, Drummond is a go-to play even at -2.5 leverage. There is little that will change the nature of this play leading up to lock, getting to Drummond in this situation is one of the better pieces of “good chalk” that we have seen in the season’s first few weeks.
Michael Porter Jr.: DraftKings — $6,200 — SF | FanDuel — $6,200 — PF/SF
Denver’s newest member of the ultra-rich club, Michael Porter Jr., is trending toward being a strong play on the NBA DFS slate across both sites tonight. He has averaged just 0.79 fantasy points per minute in his 31.1 minutes per game, down from last year’s 1.05 mark. Porter is seeing the same 20% usage rate but is turning in just a 40.7% true shooting mark with a 9.9% assist percentage and 9.4% rebounding rate. All of those marks should return to form in short order, for now Porter is a solid value play who is not getting enough attention in his team’s matchup against the Grizzlies.
Porter is the fourth-highest player by optimal lineup rate with a 25% mark on the blue site tonight. He has significant flexibility with eligibility at both forward spots, and he is a positive leverage play on the FanDuel slate. Porter is projected for just 23% ownership, leaving him with a leverage score of 2.0 that stands as the lone positive mark among the top eight players by optimal lineup rate. Porter is carrying just a 16% boom score probability, but that is more than enough at his popularity marks and working from a nearly 30-point median FanDuel projection for the salary.
On DraftKings, Porter ranks second among all players to only Drummond by optimal lineup rate. He lands in the top roster in 23.4% of simulated slates, while slotting in exclusively at the small forward spot on the site. Porter has a 30.3 median projection on the site, his 23% boom score probability is just 30th on the board among all players, but he is the second-most positively leveraged play on the board as well, coming in with a 6.9 score in the category. The public is well behind the value on playing added shares of Porter, pushing over the top of the projected 16.5% popularity is both easy and sound.
Paul Reed: DraftKings — $3,000 — PF/C | FanDuel — $3,500 — SG
Presenting one of the stranger positional mismatches that we will see this season, min-priced Paul Reed is a power forward and center on the DraftKings slate, and he plays shooting guard on the blue site. Reed is providing an interesting value play wrinkle at the dead minimum salary across both of those sites this evening, regardless of where one can roster him there is upside in his 18.5 minute projection for the money. Reed seems likely to see added minutes in the depleted Philadelphia rotation. He has averaged just five per game this season, however, so temper all expectations accordingly. Reed has posted 1.16 fantasy points per minute on a 40% true shooting mark, putting up a 22.2% assist rate and 17.6% rebounding share while seeing just 10% usage. Last season Reed contributed 1.33 fantasy points per minute on the same amount of usage, in his small playing time samples these numbers are not outliers, which is what provides upside tonight.
On FanDuel, Reed comes in as a $3,500 value play shooting guard option with significant leverage. He ranks 17th overall by optimal lineup rate and eighth among eligible shooting guards. He has a 24.3% boom score probability that ranks fourth at the position and the field is rostering him at just a 5.6% clip, which leaves an advantageous 10.6 leverage score on a minimum priced player with a role tonight. That should be tournament gold, assuming the minutes projection holds up in Doc Rivers’ rotation.
Reed provides similar quality at different positions on the DraftKings slate, while coming up more frequently optimal. He is the eighth ranked player at any position in the category and lands fifth among eligible centers and power forwards. Reed has a 31.1% boom score probability and a median DraftKings points projection that stands at 19.1, which is nearly enough on its own at the minimum salary. Reed will not be owned enough by the public on this site either. He is coming up with just a 5.3% ownership projection which leaves him at a slate-leading 8.9 leverage score. Booking minimum priced value with that type of ownership edge is a strong play whether it comes through at the end of the night or not.
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Our NBA projections DraftKings are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. We also have DraftKings rankings, FanDuel NBA ownership rankings and Yahoo! NBA rankings for today's slate. Looking for more NBA DFS picks today DraftKings and the best NBA DFS picks today? View our DraftKings ownership, our Yahoo! NBA ownership and our FanDuel NBA ownership. Check out our daily fantasy rankings NBA for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own NBA daily fantasy projections.
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