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NBA Optimal Lineups Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel Dejounte Murray | Friday, Oct. 22

Terry McBride



Friday features a full 10-game slate of NBA DFS action, with gigantic GPPs available on both DraftKings and FanDuel for low entry points once again. Early-season NBA action has been a fun ride over the season’s first three days as teams unfurl their regular rotations. There is only a rough outline of how certain rotations will work and how usage will be distributed. With a bit of refined information in hand, the Boom/Bust Tool provides an edge over the field by focusing on the optimal lineup rates, boom scores and leverage scores to help NBA DFS gamers find the top plays that the field is not getting to.

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 10 games on the slate, this will be a broad view of the slate, looking for the top positive leverage plays from among the star players as well as attempting to find the leveraged values on both sites. 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.

Jonas Valanciunas — New Orleans Pelicans

DraftKings — $7,200 — C | FanDuel — $6,500 — C

Jonas Valanciunas will be in line for a significant role once again tonight, as the Pelicans open the season without Zion Williamson. Without Williamson on the floor, Valanciunas saw a 31.3% usage rate in the season’s first game, playing 29.6 minutes and scoring nine points while hauling down 12 rebounds and adding a block and a few assists. He was a 21.7% usage player with Memphis last season, a mark that is likely more in line with what expectations should be under normal circumstances. For the season, he had a 43.2% rebounding rate, something that the Pelicans will need him to continue while in this role. Valanciunas is a different play from site to site, but he will be slate-relevant in this spot once again.

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On FanDuel, Valanciunas is priced down at $6,500, which gives him an excellent 49.1% boom score probability rating against a 39-point FanDuel projection. The issue with rostering him on the blue site is whether one wants to press beyond the projected 22.9% public popularity on the play. Valanciunas comes up in the optimal lineup in simulations 21.8% of the time, creating a negative leverage situation. Valanciunas is in an interesting spot, his boom score probability is a slate-leading mark at any position, but his raw point projection comes up just seventh among eligible FanDuel centers, with only three of the options ahead of him eligible at power forward. This pushes the optimal lineup rate down. Rostering Valanciunas creates an opportunity cost around Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic that must be considered. The fact that Embiid is coming up with a strong positive leverage score should not be ignored. Rostering Valanciunas is smart on this slate, but undercutting the field slightly on FanDuel is likely a good approach as well.

On DraftKings, Valanciunas comes up as the 12th-best play by optimal lineup rate at any position. His 44.3% boom score probability ranks eighth overall, and he costs $7,200 which is keeping the field slightly more at bay. He lands in the optimal lineup in 14.4% of Awesemo’s simulations for this slate, the 10th-most frequent player at any position and the third-best center in the category. In spite of those ratings, Valanciunas is projected for under 10% ownership, pushing his leverage score to the second-highest total on the slate and making him an excellent tournament play on the site, assuming the ownership marks hold.

Dejounte Murray — San Antonio Spurs

DraftKings — $7,000 — PG | FanDuel — $7,900 — PG/SG

With multi-position eligibility on the FanDuel slate, Dejounte Murray has slightly more value on the blue site than he does across town, but he makes for a strong tournament play on both sites tonight. He was a 1.11 fantasy point per minute player last season on 23.1% usage in 31.9 minutes per game. In the opener this year, Murray saw a 26.9% usage rate that would go well with the 33.7 minutes for which Awesemo has him projected tonight. Murray contributed a 24.3% rebounding share and a 32.7% assist rate in his time on the floor last season.

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On DraftKings, Murray slots in exclusively at the point guard spot, but he can be rostered for just $7,000 on the site. Murray comes in with an optimal lineup rate of 15.9% that ranks seventh at any position on the site. There are three point guards ranked ahead of him on the site, but only one of those lacks eligibility at a second position, which opens up the ability to combine guard plays from the top of the board in a unique fashion. Murray has a 42.9% boom score probability that ranks ninth among all players on the slate and he is projected for 39.1 NBA DFS points on DraftKings. Unfortunately, the public is getting to Murray efficiently, his projected ownership is trailing his optimal lineup rate only slightly, leaving him at a 0.9 leverage score. It is easy to get to around the field’s ownership on Murray, exceeding that level becomes a matter of where the pre-lock ownership and leverage marks land, as well as how the other positional options stack up.

On the FanDuel slate, Murray slots in at both guard spots, giving him significant utility on the site. He comes up in the optimal lineup in 17.6% of simulated slates, making him the ninth-most optimal play at any position on the site. Murray has a 22.6% boom score probability against a 38.5-point FanDuel projection while coming up with just an 11.2% public ownership mark. The boom score drops him to 20th overall on the slate, but given the significant positive leverage in his 6.4 score in the category, it makes sense to extend beyond the field’s low projected ownership on Murray.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

DraftKings — $6,700 — PG | FanDuel — $7,500 — SG/PG

With not a lot going on in the rotation, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander comes in as one of the leading plays on both DraftKings and FanDuel. As with the above play, Gilgeous-Alexander adds shooting guard eligibility on the FanDuel slate and picks up additional utility for the ability to move him around the lineup. He is underpriced for a 1.17 fantasy point per game player as well, although he saw less usage in the first game of the season than he did over the course of last year. In the opener, Gilgeous-Alexander saw a 23.8% usage rate compared to the 28.3% he received last year. In the course of that game, he played 32.7 minutes and posted just 18 points with a limited line of four rebounds and two assists. Clearly, he will have to do more for both the Thunder and NBA DFS gamers.

On the FanDuel slate, Gilgeous-Alexander slots in at both guard spots and lands second among all players with a 32.6% optimal lineup rate. He has a public ownership share over 30%, but he still carries a slightly positive leverage score and seems worthy of consideration, particularly given the positional flexibility. With a 42.9% boom score probability that ranks second overall on the site, there is a reasonable expectation of enough upside to press the field’s ownership. If ownership climbs and he slips into negative leverage territory, an undercut to the field may be warranted, but the player belongs in a fair share of lineup constructions either way.

On the DraftKings slate, Gilgeous-Alexander joins Murray as the other player in the top 10 by optimal lineup rate who is eligible only at point guard. With a $6,700 salary, he comes in at a monster boom score probability of 64.8%, the second-highest mark on the site behind Christian Wood. Gilgeous-Alexander will be owned by 33.5% of the field, but he is squeezing out positive leverage with a 1.9 score in the category, giving him upside at a price that is clearly too low. This is a spot that appears to be a good one to press beyond the field’s ownership but, again, we want to monitor the leverage scores as lock approaches to determine the correct ratio of ownership to the field’s exposure.

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

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 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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