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NBA Optimal Lineups Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel Chris Paul | Monday, Dec. 13

Terry McBride

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Monday’s nine-game NBA DFS slate has one major feature in common with the short action from yesterday, namely Jalen Brunson. He is the leading play on both DraftKings and FanDuel once again, with teammate Luka Doncic out with an ankle injury. Brunson was covered in this space in detail yesterday and he will be featured extensively across the NBA DFS industry today. The play is almost as good as yesterday, with a barely noticeable increase in salary on both sites. Brunson is in 47.3% of the optimal lineups on FanDuel and 53.2% on DraftKings. He comes at negative leverage on both sites, with ownership upwards of 55-60%, but he remains a fundamental piece of lineup construction considering the massive points-per-dollar upside. Beyond Brunson, there are a number of viable options on an interesting slate that features three games in the 220s, with the game between the Rockets and Hawks reaching 226.5. Any number of premium options could emerge, there is injury and health protocol news looming over the night like a thundercloud, but there are clear pieces for value and leverage on the board beyond Brunson already, helping give a shape to early lineup construction.

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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 board, this article will focus on the top overall plays that combine optimal lineup appearances and leverage score on the Boom/Bust Tool. As always, the goal is to find players who are under-appreciated for the frequency with which they land in the optimal lineup in DraftKings and FanDuel NBA DFS projections and simulations.

DraftKings & FanDuel NBA DFS Lineup Optimizer Picks

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 the optimal lineup 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, at times we will discuss plays that are outright bad or come at such aggressively negative leverage that they are rendered bad in this space, so be sure to read the analysis and not just the headlines.

Tyler Herro: DraftKings — $7,200 — PG/SG | FanDuel — $6,400 — SG/SF

The second-most frequently optimal guard play on the DraftKings slate is also benefitting from the absence of star teammates. Miami’s Tyler Herro is projected for a 33-minute night at a reasonable price tag for his ceiling potential. Herro saw 33 minutes in the team’s most recent outing, up from the 28 he received in two prior to that while remaining in the role as the first man off the bench. Herro played most of the fourth quarter in what turned into a blowout victory for the Heat, and he could see similar action tonight. Herro comes into action tonight sporting a bumpy 0.77 fantasy point per minute mark over the team’s last three games under similar circumstances. He posted a 25.7-point night in the 33-minute outing, which would not be enough at the asking price. Still, Herro can produce nearly a full point-per-minute when he is going right. Across all situations for the season, Herro is still averaging a 0.95 per-minute mark on 54.4% true shooting and a 19.1% assist percentage. Herro is a solid target from near the top of the board on both sites this evening.

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Zach Brunner also has more on Herro being a great value play in his NBA DFS Picks, Grades & Values article today.

On FanDuel, Herro ranks third from the top by optimal lineup appearance rate, landing in the best lineup in 28.7% of simulated slates. He slots into both the shooting guard and small forward position on the blue site and comes in at a discounted $6,400 that stands out in comparison to some of the other similarly ranked options. Herro is projected for a 34.6-point median FanDuel night with an excellent 31.4% boom score probability that ranks fourth on the slate and second to only Brunson at the shooting guard spot. Herro is no secret and there are other viable options for raw point production on a nine-game slate. He will be owned aggressively by the field, currently to the tune of a 30.2% popularity projection, but that leaves him at just -1.5 leverage, which remains a playable number. The field seems sharp on the top plays for tonight’s slate, no player in the top-10 when sorting by optimal lineup appearance rate lands at a positive leverage score. Herro’s -1.5 is second only to the -1.2 carried by Malcolm Brogdon, who also fits the shooting guard position but comes with a $7,300 salary and a 21.1% boom score probability. Herro seems like the more appealing option in spite of the heavier ownership, but rostering them as a pair is also viable.

Herro is a $7,200 option at point guard and shooting guard on DraftKings. Despite the inflated price and lackluster performance, Herro lands fifth overall with a 20% optimal lineup appearance rate in simulated slates. Herro is projected for a 37.8-point median fantasy score and a healthy 26.6% boom score probability that defies his increased price on the site. Herro is the second-best play at both guard spots on DraftKings behind only Brunson, and he comes with a terrific leverage score. Only 12.3% of the slate is projected to pay sticker price for Herro on this slate, leaving him with a 7.7 leverage score that leads the slate by nearly two points. Herro is an excellent option for upside and leverage on the DraftKings NBA DFS slate.


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Chris Paul: DraftKings — $8,300 — PG | FanDuel — $8,400 — PG

A potential sleeper play on both sites, Chris Paul is projected for limited popularity despite strong marks in all of Awesemo’s probability metrics. Paul sees an across-the-board bump in scoring potential in the absence of injured teammate Devin Booker. In 326 minutes without Booker this season, Paul jumps from a 19.9% usage rate to a 21.3% mark and his assist percentage goes from 42.4% to 49.3% while the production takes a minor hop from 1.21 to 1.24 fantasy points per minute. Paul is fairly priced on both sites for his potential tonight, and he has room for a ceiling score in the situation. The public is seemingly behind the curve on the Booker news, making Paul a strong target provided the leverage scores hold as lock approaches.

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Paul costs $8,300 on the DraftKings slate, where he lands as the 16th most frequently optimal player overall. Paul draws a 10.9% appearance rate in the optimal lineup in Awesemo’s simulated slates, while that mark may seem low by comparison to the very top of the board it is worth remembering that the sixth-highest player, Nikola Jokic, has just a 16.6% optimal rate on a tightly packed slate. Paul’s appeal becomes obvious in his 40-point median projection and 17.1% boom score probability. The raw points account for the 12th-highest total on the board, with only Brunson and Kristaps Porzingis projected to provide more fantasy points for less salary. Paul is under-owned at just an 8.1% popularity projection. He currently has a 2.8 leverage score that stands as one of the better options for differentiation without sacrifice.

Paul improves marginally across town on the blue site, where Paul is an $8,400 point guard option against a higher salary cap. He comes in with a 13% optimal lineup appearance rate in simulations and he is one of the slate-leading options for leverage. The public is projected for single-digit ownership on this site as well, Paul will be in only 7.6% of lineups as things currently stand. That is far too low for the frequency with which he is in optimal lineups, leaving him an excellent 5.4 leverage score. Paul is projected for a 39.1-point median night on FanDuel and he has a 16.8% boom score probability that, while not outrageous, is highly targetable for value at this popularity. Paul has a strong probability of posting something approaching a ceiling score in the situation, yet the public is trailing by a wide margin, it is difficult to figure out why that is the case, but it is an avoidable in lineup construction.

Miles Bridges: DraftKings — $8,000 — SF/PF | FanDuel — $8,500 — SF

Another player who has seen a number of mentions in this space over the first portion of the season, Miles Bridges looks like a quality mid-range option on this slate. After bumping his head on a price ceiling in recent games, Bridges is at a fair price that can be targeted across the industry. He has seen a downturn in recent games, providing just 0.78 fantasy points per minute over the team’s three most recent games, despite playing 42 minutes a night in the shorthanded rotation. Bridges did turn in a 42.4-point performance in 40 minutes in the team’s last outing and his per-minute production for the season is still firm at 1.03. He has a 57.2% true shooting percentage while putting up a 13.5% assist rate and 9.2% rebounding share across all situations, and there is simply more to do for the Hornets in this configuration of the team.

Bridges ranks ninth overall on the DraftKings board, landing at a 14.4% optimal lineup rate. He has eligibility at both forward positions, giving him high-quality flexibility for a player who is projected for 37.2 minutes and 39.2 fantasy points. Bridges comes in with an 18.7% boom score probability, and he has the highest projection of any player in the top-15 by leverage, a board on which he sits 13th overall. Bridges has upside at the price, and the public is projected for only 10.7% ownership. Getting to Bridges at a rate ahead of that seems like a sharp play on this slate.

Bridges is a less frequently optimal play on the FanDuel slate, but he still pops up in the best lineup in 10.8% of simulated slates, which compares favorably with players ranked 15 spots ahead of his 29th overall position in the category. He costs $8,500 on the slate, which eats into his optimal rate and his boom score probability, which lands at 11.1%. Bridges is projected for a 37.5-point median night on FanDuel, which ties Bradley Beal for the 14th highest raw fantasy points projection on the board, revealing the edges of the appeal of getting to Bridges on the site. The public is targeting Bridges in just 4.1% of lineups, leaving him with an excellent 6.7 leverage score. With so few members of the public willing to pay the price, he becomes appealing by virtue of his pure fantasy point scoring capability at low single-digit ownership. Bridges is a good target on the blue site tonight, doubling or even tripling the field’s projected ownership is an easy proposition and one that will not kill lineups if he merely delivers his median score.


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We also have FanDuel rankings, DraftKings NBA rankings and Yahoo! rankings for today's slate. Check out our NBA DraftKings rankings for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own NBA daily fantasy projections. Our NBA FanDuel projections are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. Looking for more DFS NBA tips and the top NBA DFS picks tonight? View our DraftKings NBA ownership projections, our Yahoo! ownership projections and our FanDuel ownership projections.

Terry used to do other things, now he writes words on the internet. He hopes his more than 20 years’ experience in season-long and daily fantasy sports and his custom models for MLB, NBA, and NFL don't steer you too wrong when he writes columns and makes picks on Awesemo.com. A lifetime of experience keeping odd hours make Terry ideal to cover KBO baseball overnight until the world returns to normal. Most of those late night hours have been spent on the couch watching sports, T.V., and movies; just try to shut him up about any of the above. You can find his pop-culture ramblings and more on Sideaction.

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