A five-game Thursday slate of NBA DFS action features a handful of games with relatively low totals and a pair of late-night games that look like potential blowouts. Finding the reliable quality on a slate of this nature becomes a bit of a challenge, though rostering a foundation of players with leading optimal lineup rates and boom scores at positive leverage is always a strong start. With star power in the late games, it will be interesting to watch the slate unfold, leaving space for late-swapping onto, or off of, expensive plays at the end of the night could be tournament-winning.
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 five games on the slate, this will be a search for reliable upside plays from any level of the salary board. 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. Check out Alex Hunter’s Boom/Bust Tool article, where he breaks down some of the top boom and bust candidates from Awesemo’s expert projections. 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.
Josh Giddey: DraftKings — $5,800 — SG/SF | FanDuel — $6,000 — SG
Thunder rookie Josh Giddey has had a strong start to his NBA career. He comes in at a fair mid-range price on both sites for a player who is posting 1.08 fantasy points per minute this season. Giddey has averaged 29.1 minutes to start his career and is projected for 32 this evening, giving him significant upside for the money. He has seen 19.7% usage and has posted a 49.5% true shooting percentage with a 33.6% assist rate and a 9.5% rebounding rate. He is averaging 11.3 real points with 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists to start the year.
On DraftKings Giddey slots in at both shooting guard and small forward for $5,800 and is the slate leader with a 38.5% optimal lineup rate. With flexibility between positions that allows him to be rostered in five different lineup slots, Giddey has strong value to lineup creation on a small slate and he comes with sturdy upside as well. He has a median projection of 34.5 while carrying a 46.8% boom score probability that is also the top mark on the board. Giddey will be popular, but the public ownership projection is still trailing the frequency with which he comes up optimal in simulations, leaving him with a 2.1 leverage score that makes him one of the most appealing plays available on the DraftKings slate.
As only a shooting guard on the FanDuel slate, Giddey gives up a bit of utility, but his value is still extremely high, and he is a leading play in all of our metrics once again. Giddey comes up in the optimal lineup in 41.7% of Awesemo’s simulated slates, the leading mark among players at any position on the slate. He is also the leading play by boom score probability with a 41% rate in conjunction with his 35-point median projection. Giddey is a strong value for just $6,000 and he is a fantastic play with a leverage score sitting at 9. The field is not nearly on this play enough on the blue site, exceeding the 32.7% projected ownership is a recommended approach.
Furkan Korkmaz: DraftKings — $4,700 — SG/SF | FanDuel — $4,200 — SG
With the 76ers dealing with several injuries to rotation pieces, Furkan Korkmaz is likely to see another night of significant run and responsibility. He is underpriced for someone getting starter’s minutes and he is capable of delivering a solid return on the investment. Korkmaz is averaging 0.91 fantasy points per minute and seeing 21.9% usage across all situations this season, up from the 0.84 per-minute mark he had on 22.4% usage last season. In 662 minutes without the teammates who will be missing tonight on the floor, Korkmaz has seen 22.9% usage since the start of last season. He has a 59.1% true shooting percentage with a 20% assist rate and 4.5% rebounding percentage going into tonight; for the price, he is capable of producing a relative ceiling game.
On FanDuel Korkmaz lands fourth with a 30.2% optimal lineup rate, putting him second at the shooting guard position behind Giddey. Pairing the two players is a strong play for value and upside, though with both available exclusively at shooting guard there is some limitation to the flexibility of the lineup’s construction. Korkmaz is carrying a 26.4 median projection with a 36.9% boom score probability that also ranks fourth among players at all positions. With only five games on the slate, he will be a popular selection in NBA DFS lineups, but the public is not reaching the shares they should be, leaving Korkmaz with a solidly playable 3.4 leverage score. Including Korkmaz in lineups brings major value on the blue site tonight.
The same is true on the DraftKings slate where Korkmaz comes in as a $4,700 player who has eligibility both shooting guard and small forward. He is carrying a 27-point median projection with a 32.8% boom score probability that ranks sixth among players at any position. He appears in the optimal lineup in 26% of simulated slates, which lands fourth among all available options, but the public is trailing on this site as well. With just 26% projected popularity, Korkmaz has an excellent 5.9 leverage score, the fifth highest on the board. Getting to plays with clear upside and opportunity when others are not there frequently enough is the way to win NBA DFS tournaments, Korkmaz is a solid step along the optimal lineup construction path across the industry tonight.
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Anthony Davis: DraftKings — $10,300 — PF/C | FanDuel — $10,500 — PF/C
The original version of this article featured an under-owned LeBron James in this space, but the Lakers just announced that he will not play tonight. The absence of James leaves an NBA DFS scoring void in the Lakers lineup that is likely to be filled by Anthony Davis and fellow star Russell Westbrook. Davis typically sees 28% usage, in games without James since the start of last season that number leaps to 33.8%, though with Westbrook joining them this year that dips slightly to a 32.5% mark when James is not on the floor. Davis puts up significant numbers when not seeing increased usage, with the uptick in our expectation he could provide a monster performance this evening. He averages 1.40 fantasy points per minute on a 54.9% true shooting percentage with a 12.1% assist percentage and 14.3% rebounding percentage. We should see a bump in all aspects of Davis’ game this evening.
On the FanDuel slate, Davis lands as the second-highest play in the updated version of the Boom/Bust tool, coming up with a 42.2% optimal lineup rate. He slots in at both center and power forward, giving him solid flexibility on the site for his lofty $10,500 price. Davis is projected for a 52.5 median score on the blue site, and he has a 33.1% boom score probability that stands out for the potential to post a significant ceiling game. Davis is pushing the 40% ownership mark, but he still has positive leverage with a 3.3 in the category. Even if he trends into negative leverage, Davis is a strong play on a short slate, his raw scoring potential alone should justify aggressively including him in lineups.
Davis stands out on DraftKings as well. He is priced at $10,300 and slots in at both power forward and center and he has a 36.1% boom score probability. There is major potential for a score that will be mandatory to access the top of standings from Davis tonight. He lands in the optimal lineup in 35.8% of Awesemo’s simulations, the second-highest play behind Giddey on the updated board. Davis has a 5.5 that ranks ninth among all players and second among eligible centers. Exceeding the public’s projected 30.3% ownership is a strong approach to building lineups for the DraftKings NBA DFS slate tonight.
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We also have FanDuel rankings, Yahoo! rankings and DraftKings rankings for today's slate. View our Yahoo! NBA ownership, our FanDuel NBA ownership projections and our DraftKings ownership. Looking for more DFS NBA today and the best NBA DFS tools? Our NBA projections DraftKings are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. Check out our NBA FanDuel rankings for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own NBA projections FanDuel.
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