The five-game NBA DFS Tuesday slate would have to go completely sideways to rival the chaos of last night’s post-lock swap meet. The changes and breaking news had a major impact on player ownership and lineup configuration, for better and worse, after the initial games tipped off. Tonight’s slate has a number of question marks as well. Paying attention to the news as lock approaches will be a key factor, but with two early games and a three-game late-night sledgehammer starting hours later on the West Coast, the pace of changes should at least be less frantic. The slate’s two games that crack into the 220-point range are both in the later block. The Warriors and Suns are slated to face one another in what should be a terrific game, with hometown Phoenix favored by 2.5 in a game totaled at 222. The next game to start should be a fast-paced affair, with the Lakers traveling to the state capital to take on the Kings in a game with a juicy 226-point total that sees Sacramento as 4-point home underdogs. The early game between the Knicks and Nets should be another interesting game, particularly with a wildly unpredictable Knicks rotation in the mix. A handful of solid values and mid-range plays from the other games are viable for tournament lineup builds.
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, the focus is a few of the top plays that also carry positive leverage on the slate. 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.
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 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.
LaMarcus Aldridge: DraftKings — $6,500 — SG/SF | FanDuel — $6,200 — SG
A brief retirement and a change of scenery can work wonders for a player. LaMarcus Aldridge is commanding attention as a strong value play with points-per-dollar upside who is also carrying massive leverage appeal on the Tuesday NBA DFS slate. With Joe Harris falling by the wayside for an undetermined amount of time after undergoing surgery, there will likely be a surplus of minutes from which Aldridge will pick up at least a few. He has a 62.7% true shooting percentage with a 12.9% rebounding rate while playing 22.1 minutes a night. Aldridge has contributed 1.17 fantasy points per minute, terrific for his average price in the first quarter of the season. He sees 23% usage across all situations this season, and we can safely assume there will be a bit more to do for the foreseeable future. Aldridge is projected for a 32.7-minute night this evening. He is carrying massive probability marks in the Boom/Bust Tool and he looks like an excellent option from the lower mid-range of pricing on both sites.
On the DraftKings slate Aldridge lands in the optimal lineup in Awesemo’s simulations more frequently than any other player at any position. He is optimal in 39.3% of simulations, despite lacking multi-position eligibility on the site. He has a 35.6-point median projection that is the 15th-highest median projection on the site. Aldridge’s salary falls in line with a group of similarly projected players who all cost $2,000 to $3,000 more. He comes in with a 50.9% boom score probability, again leading all players, this time by more than 8 percentage points over the next-highest total. He is projected for 24.7% ownership, which is trailing the probability marks by a significant margin. Aldridge ranks out as the top play on the slate for his chances of both landing in the winning lineup and posting a ceiling score, but he comes in with a fantastic 14.6 leverage score that is extremely targetable. Getting well above the field makes sense if these probability metrics hold and nothing changes with his playing time forecast.
Aldridge is just as good on the blue site. He picks up power forward eligibility on the FanDuel slate for a $6,100 salary and he is the most frequently optimal player on this slate as well. He picks up a 43.5% optimal lineup probability mark on this site, putting him more than 8 percentage points over the second-highest player on the board, C.J. McCollum. Aldridge leads the way by boom score probability as well, coming in with a 41.1% opportunity of exploding through the roof like a broken water heater. With a 35.5-point median projection against his fair salary, Aldridge will not have to do very much extra to provide significant value, but the public is well behind on FanDuel as well. Aldridge is projected for just 28.7% popularity, leaving a gargantuan 14.8 leverage score and making him the most valuable and likely play on the slate.
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Devin Booker: DraftKings — $8,600 — PG/SG | FanDuel — $7,900 — SG
A fascinating late-night game between the top two teams in the Western Conference is providing a number of interesting plays, with Devin Booker looking like the most positively leveraged option among the stars. Booker comes in at a reasonable price across the industry, with the FanDuel number seeming like a misprice for a player with 1.14 fantasy points per minute this season. That mark comes on 30.9% usage in 33 minutes a night. The production is up from the 1.09 per-minute mark that Booker delivered on 31.9% usage last year, giving it even more value for efficiency. Booker is projected for a 34.9-minute night, and he has a 56.5% true shooting percentage and a 21.8% assist rate this year. Booker is not a major factor on the boards, but he has a 7.3% rebounding share this year. He slots into multiple positions on one site and he is too cheap on the other, there is a major opportunity to buy a large number of shares of a star player in the most interesting game of the season’s first quarter.
Booker is the fifth-most frequently optimal player on the entire FanDuel slate. He lands in the optimal lineup in 28.3% of Awesemo’s simulated slates for his discounted $7,900 salary, giving him major appeal. Booker’s 38.6-point median projection is the eighth-highest overall on the site in terms of raw median scoring potential, and his 21.4% boom score probability ranks sixth among players at any position on the site. Sorting by salary, we can clearly see that Booker’s potential to hit a ceiling score exceeds that of every player priced above him on the slate. The first player to outpace him in the category is $7,200 McCollum, who is also a good play and can be rostered in tandem with Booker, though that limits the positional flexibility in differentiating lineups. Booker is coming in at a 7.6 leverage score that ranks third among players at any position on the site and easily the highest among the star players. Booker is under-owned at 20.7% in the early afternoon, even if ownership slips somewhat he is a strong play at the points-per-dollar upside he provides.
Booker comes at a higher price on the DraftKings slate, but Booker picks up point guard eligibility that adds valuable roster construction flexibility on the site. He slots into the simulated slate’s optimal lineup in 18.2% of early runs. While that mark pales in comparison to the top three options on the board, it is less than 4 percentage points behind the fourth-ranked player and lands as the 10th-most frequently optimal play at any position. Booker has a 40.2-point median projection that is ninth-highest on the slate and fifth among point guards, but first among eligible shooting guards. Booker is projected for just 18.2% popularity, leaving him with a highly playable 5.7 leverage score that ranks fifth overall. The lack of ownership and the clear path to a slate-relevant score makes Booker a great-looking tournament option in early projections.
With the team’s rotation in shambles, a number of the Raptors are coming up as viable plays across the industry this evening. The Raptors will be without O.G. Anunoby and Khem Birch, with Gary Trent Jr. listed as questionable but trending toward playing. Trent is currently projected for a 35.8-minute night, which would vault him toward the top of the board on both sites. With that amount of time, Trent would project as the second-most frequently optimal player on both DraftKings and FanDuel at any position, with a 33.8% mark on the former and 29.8% on the latter. He is expected to go through shootaround and there should be news well in advance of lock, so keeping an eye on his status is critical to this rotation. If Trent does not play, Svi Mykhailiuk would likely pick up more than his currently projected 24 minutes. He would be a value play for the low price given more than a 30-minute projection, but he currently does not rate well on the FanDuel slate. At just $3,800 on DraftKings, Mykhailiuk is already at a 10.8% optimal lineup rate with a 12.9% boom score probability and just 4% ownership, leaving him at a 6.8 leverage score. His raw median projection of just 19.6 needs to be remembered when creating lineups, but with some additional run, this would be a strong value play on the site.
Regular starters Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet will both have a lot to do and plenty of time in which to get it done on the floor this evening, both rank as strong plays across the industry. Siakam is in the optimal lineup in 25.8% of simulated slates on FanDuel and 14.8% on DraftKings, making him one of the most viable big men. VanVleet is negatively leveraged, but he has upside with a 15.1% FanDuel boom score probability and a 15.4% mark on the DraftKings slate. Both players can be mixed and matched throughout a fair number of lineups, with VanVleet getting less raw ownership at a higher price on both sites.
Check out Alex Hunter’s breakdown of why the Raptors players are so valuable today in his NBA DFS Boom/Bust Picks today.
Scottie Barnes and Precious Achiuwa also seem likely to play significant roles in the depleted Toronto rotation. Achiuwa has seen a major uptick to 32.3 minutes a game over the last three after playing 33 minutes two games ago and 36 minutes in the team’s most recent outing. Barnes sees 35.3 minutes a night for the season and has bounced to 37 per-game after playing 39, 35, and 37 minutes over the team’s last three games. Achiuwa has a 22.5% optimal lineup rate but 39.8% ownership on the FanDuel slate, leaving him as the most negatively leveraged play on the board. Barnes also lands in negative land, but at a more interesting -6.5 mark with his 25.8% optimal rate measuring up to the 32.3% ownership forecast. On DraftKings, Barnes lands at a 15% ownership mark and just -1.0 leverage, and he has a 12.6% boom score probability with flexibility to both forward positions. Achiuwa has a 29.1% optimal lineup appearance rate on DraftKings, but he will again be incredibly popular. He is projected for 42.9% popularity, landing him in the basement at a -13.8 leverage score. That mark can largely be ignored on this site, Achiuwa comes in at an inexplicable $4,400 salary in the center spot, his 41.6% boom score probability is the second-highest on the entire slate by nearly 10 percentage points. Achiuwa is very good chalk on the DraftKings slate.
Getting to the right mix of Raptors players in differentiated combinations with values and stars from across the industry seems like a key to success with how things are currently projected. With emergent values, this could easily change, but for now, Toronto seems like the key to unlocking the top tier of tournament standings this evening.
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Looking for more free NBA DFS advice today and the best NBA DFS tools? Check out our daily fantasy sports rankings NBA for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own NBA projections DraftKings. View our DraftKings ownership, our FanDuel ownership and our Yahoo! ownership. Our DFS NBA projections are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. We also have DraftKings NBA ownership rankings, FanDuel NBA rankings and Yahoo! NBA ownership rankings for today's slate.
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