The Thursday NBA DFS slate drops back to a more limited three-game affair, but what a three-game schedule it is. The league put together an intriguing combination of matchups, with the Hawks and Mavericks, Bucks and Heat, and Clippers and Warriors all squaring off with star-studded lineups. While the totals in all three games are under the 230 mark, they are all currently below 4-point spreads, which should mean some exciting games and potential for stars to see a full run in close competitions. There are excellent options up and down the salary spectrum, though finding the top plays for GPP play is a challenge when ownership is this tight. Utilizing the Boom/Bust Tool and focusing on the optimal lineup rate and leverage columns is the best approach to finding plays that the field is neglecting and spots to push beyond even heavy public ownership.
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 three games on the slate, this article will be tight in scope, looking for the top positive leverage plays from any tier. 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.
Jordan Nwora — Milwaukee Bucks
DraftKings — $3,700 — SF/PF | FanDuel — $4,300 — PF/SF
Jordan Nwora comes into tonight’s small slate with both popularity and excellent marks across the board for tournament play, which seems paradoxical. He has eligibility at both forward spots on both DraftKings and FanDuel tonight, and he comes at a strong discount on both sites. Nwora saw 26.5 minutes on opening night, picking up a bit of extended run down the stretch when the already short-handed Bucks were down Jrue Holiday in the second half. Awesemo is projecting Nwora for a night in the range of 25 minutes, which should be more than enough for him to post a strong score for NBA DFS tournament play. Last season, Nwora averaged 1.11 fantasy points per minute on 25.4% usage across all situations, but he averaged just 9.1 minutes per game. With an expanded role, Nwora has the opportunity to shine until his price goes up. In Tuesday’s opener he scored 15 points on 22.3% usage, going 6-13 shooting (3-6 from three) with six rebounds, an assist, and two stocks. He has the potential to post a similar night if he gets the same run.
On DraftKings, Nwora is an extreme value at $3,700. He will be owned by a projected 43.9% of the public, but he lands at the top of the optimal lineup rate category, coming up in the best lineup in 53.8% of Awesemo’s simulations. Nwora is carrying a 26-point raw DraftKings projection and a 47.4% boom score probability that ranks him second on the slate at any position. With those values firmly in place and the expectation of a full complement of minutes, Nwora stands out as a strong play for the price, regardless of his popularity. His 9.9 leverage score is also slate leading.
On FanDuel, Nwora seems equally valuable at a $4,300 salary. He fits into both forward spots and is carrying a slate-leading leverage score of 14. That mark is nearly double the 7.7 carried by Jalen Brunson in the second spot when sorting by leverage, which makes Nwora explode off the page as an excellent option for tournaments. He is projected for 25.3 raw FanDuel points and has a 29.7% boom score probability that ranks fourth overall on the site, among a group of mostly star players at higher salaries. Nwora lands seventh overall on the slate, with a 40.2% optimal lineup rate. That mark lands fourth among eligible power forwards and third among small forwards, there is plenty of room to mix and match the list of top positional options at the three and four on FanDuel tonight, Nwora should be a major factor in that shuffle.
Clint Capela — Atlanta Hawks
DraftKings — $7,200 — C | FanDuel — $7,600 — C
One of the few center-only plays on the board, Clint Capela is in an interesting position on both sites tonight. He is not the most highly ranked player by the probability of success metrics, though he comes up frequently enough to be an easy inclusion in a full slate of lineups. What Capela does offer on the slate is a strong positive leverage score while some of the more highly ranked options come in at either negative leverage or at best efficient public ownership. Bam Adebayo can be rostered as a power forward on the FanDuel slate, which provides additional flexibility to roster Capela at center. Over the course of last season, Capela averaged 1.35 fantasy points per minute on just 19.3% usage. Capela played 30.1 minutes a night, averaging 15.2 real-life points and 14.3 rebounds, with 2.7 stocks per game. The rebounding represents a 47.1% share of the team’s boards. He is outstanding at providing NBA DFS points even when he is not scoring points on the floor.
On FanDuel the ability to shuffle additional top options to other positions opens a world of possibility for gaining upside in rostering Capela and other top frontcourt options. Capela has a 26% optimal lineup rate that ranks sixth among eligible centers, and he is carrying a 19.7% boom score probability with a 36.2 raw FanDuel points projection. The median projection compares favorably with the players ranked higher than him on the board by success rate, and his 19.7% ownership projection is essentially half that of the more highly ranked options. The appealing feature of a Capela play tonight is his 6.3 leverage score, the second highest among eligible centers and the only strong positive mark outside of the top overall option. Capela should be considered a pivot to several of the other options at his position and price, though all of the players from whom one would pivot at center can be rostered as power forwards as well. So again. using Capela in the center spot is a strong play.
On the DraftKings slate, Capela is in a slightly tighter box, as one of the other top options loses forward eligibility across sites. Capela still rates as a strong leverage play on the slate, however, coming up in the optimal lineup in 23% of simulations while landing at a 5.9 leverage score, meaning the public is trailing his value tonight. Capela is projected for a 27.5% boom score probability, ranking him fourth among eligible centers and ninth among all positions on DraftKings tonight. With only 17% of the field paying attention to the Atlanta pivot, there is a major opportunity available in rostering him well beyond that rate. Playing him in combination with the next option at the Utility spot is a strong move as well.
Bam Adebayo — Miami Heat
DraftKings — $7,600 — C | FanDuel — $8,200 — C/PF
With both sites seemingly forgetting how good he is, Adebayo is underpriced and under-owned across the industry tonight. He has eligibility at both center and power forward on FanDuel he is the top play mentioned above in the Capela section. On DraftKings he loses his forward eligibility but remains an excellent option. Adebayo averaged 1.24 fantasy points per minute on 23.3% usage last season. He pulled in a 31.8% rebounding share and was a generous passer with a 28.8% assist rate on the season. Adebayo is a dynamic player who fits in well with what the Heat want to do on the court with their loaded lineup. By raw numbers, he played 33.5 minutes a night, averaging 18.7 points and nine rebounds, while adding 5.4 assists and 2.2 stocks per game. Adebayo is a terrific option for NBA DFS scoring across the industry.
On DraftKings, Adebayo rates as the third-best option by boom score probability, landing at a massive 44.4% likely to post a leading score. He also lands third on the board by optimal lineup rate, coming up in the best lineup in a whopping 40.8% of Awesemo’s simulations. He will be popular, roughly 35% of the slate will be on the play tonight, but his value is outpacing that mark by a wide margin, Adebayo’s 6.9 leverage score once again ranks him third overall on the slate, while all of the marks mentioned are tops among eligible centers. Playing Adebayo and Capela together on the site seems like an interesting tournament build for a set of lineups within a full slate of entries.
Similarly, on FanDuel, Capela and Adebayo can be played together as a solid leverage build. Adebayo lands with the site’s fourth-highest leverage score at 6.7, despite more than 40% public popularity. He comes up as an optimal play in 48.9% of Awesemo’s simulations and carries a 31.5% boom score probability, ranking second and third, respectively, among all players on the blue site. Adebayo stands out from other available stars in that category while landing at a price that makes it easy to play him alongside other premium options.
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We also have DraftKings NBA rankings, FanDuel NBA ownership rankings and Yahoo! NBA ownership rankings for today's slate. Our NBA DFS projections FanDuel are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. View our DraftKings ownership, our Yahoo! ownership and our FanDuel NBA ownership. Looking for more NBA DFS and the best NBA DFS advice? Check out our NBA daily fantasy rankings for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own NBA daily fantasy projections.
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