Wednesday NBA DFS action has a robust 10-game slate, and it looks like an interesting one. There are only two games totaled above 230 points on the Vegas board, and the majority of games are carrying a spread of around 6 points. With 10 games on the slate, there are plenty of stars and value plays to chase. The field will be concentrated in a few pockets of extremely heavy ownership, while numerous plays with upside go undervalued. Getting to the right blend of the good chalk and the underappreciated plays is the winning formula for NBA DFS lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel.
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 ten games on the slate, this will be a broad view of the slate that ranges from the premium stars to the value end. 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.
Robert Williams: DraftKings — $6,300 — C | FanDuel — $7,100 — PF/C
Another Celtics slate, another standout day for Robert Williams in the Boom/Bust Tool. Williams has a major impact when he is on the court. So far this season Williams is averaging 10.2 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 4.5 stocks per 36 minutes. He has averaged 34.2 minutes a night and sees just 9.5% usage, which has translated into a dip in fantasy production to this point. Last season, Williams posted a healthy 1.36 fantasy points per minute on 14.5% usage, this year he has managed just 1.02 while playing a much larger overall role in nearly doubling his minutes average. Williams remains underpriced across the industry, with DraftKings trailing his quality notably with where he is priced on the site. Even with Al Horford probable for tonight, after missing the second half of a back-to-back in the team’s last game, it makes sense to roster Williams heavily on this slate.
On DraftKings, Williams is the leading player at any position, coming up in 24.4% of optimal lineups in Awesemo’s simulated slates. That mark outpaces the runner-up by more than 3 full percentage points, and yet Williams will be dramatically under-owned by the NBA DFS community on the site. For just $6,300 he should be far more popular than the currently projected 17.7% ownership share, particularly considering a hefty 48.8% boom score probability and a 37.9-point median DraftKings points projection. Williams ranks fourth on the site by leverage score, coming up with a 6.7 in the category, which ranks second to only value play Nicolas Claxton among eligible centers. Loading up on additional shares of Williams is currently looking like an excellent proposition for this large slate.
With power forward eligibility on the FanDuel slate, Williams is potentially even more valuable across town. He gains positional flexibility and should stand a strong chance at delivering a ceiling score in the 30.9 minutes for which Awesemo has him projected tonight. Williams comes in with a 40.5% boom score probability on a 39.7-point FanDuel projection. He is a $7,100 play on the site, but the ability to move him around the board more than makes up for any pricing headaches. At 29.8% he lands second overall by optimal lineup appearance rate at any position on the site and he will be under-owned on this side of the industry as well. Williams’ 7.8 leverage score ranks fourth among all players and second among centers, again to Claxton who also has power forward eligibility and can be played simultaneously at either spot. It is noteworthy that the top four eligible center plays on the blue site by optimal lineup rate also have this positional flexibility, unique lineup combinations can be achieved merely by moving the pieces around the lineup in different combinations, while also including the center-only plays.
Gordon Hayward: DraftKings — $6.900 — SF/PF | FanDuel — $6,400 — SF/SG
With the Hornets missing two key pieces in their rotation in guard Terry Rozier and forward P.J. Washington, there has been a bit more to do on a regular basis for the remaining featured players, including Gordon Hayward. Hayward has logged significant minutes over the team’s first four games, coming into tonight with a 35.1 minute-per-game average. Hayward has seen 22.5% usage over that time, but he has returned a disappointing 0.80 fantasy points per minute. That mark is significantly down from his 1.04 per-minute rate on 23.5% usage last season, a difference that in no way can be accounted for with simply the minor dip in usage. Hayward has not shot well to start the season, his true shooting percentage is down from .584 last year to just .538 so far this season, though he has made 40% of his 3-point attempts thus far. His rebounding has dropped so far this season as well, slipping from 5.9 per game last year to just 3.8 so far this season. Still, this is a very small sample, with only four games in the books, given the extended minutes and significant focus, there is every reason to believe that Hayward’s talent will win out in the end; his lackluster performance to this point only serves to free up leverage.
Hayward is a small forward or shooting guard on FanDuel, where he is priced at just $6,400. He lands in the top lineup in Awesemo’s simulations 31.5% of the time, leading the slate at any position. Hayward is carrying a 31.8-point median projection on FanDuel and he has a 46.9% boom score probability that is also slate-leading. He will be a popular play and a fixture in lineups for more than 30% of the field, but there is still a thin bit of positive leverage on the play. With ten games on the slate, there are, naturally, alternatives at both positions, but Hayward’s upside at the price should not be ignored.
On the DraftKings slate, Hayward slots into either forward role, but loses his guard eligibility. He is priced higher on the slate but lands at a still-fair $6,900. The increased cost does cut into his overall value, but only very slightly. Hayward rates third overall on the slate with a 20.8% optimal lineup appearance rate and he has a 43.7% boom score probability on a 39.4-point raw projection. With only 15.7% of the field projected to be including the Hornets forward in their lineups, there is a significant amount of leverage on the table for those who simply choose to roster one of the most likely plays on the board by his probability of succeeding. Hayward has a 5.1 leverage score that pairs quite nicely with Robert Williams’ mark as the first two clicks in DraftKings NBA DFS lineups tonight.
Fred VanVleet: DraftKings — $7,800 — PG/SG | FanDuel — $7,700 — SG/PG
Another player who has largely frustrated NBA DFS gamers early in the season, Toronto’s Fred VanVleet has seen a sharp drop in his production despite an uptick in minutes and his role as the focal point in the team’s attack through the first four games of the season. VanVleet is averaging 38.3 minutes a night, which sits third behind Pacers Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis, who have played two overtime games in their first four, while all of VanVleet’s time has come in regulation. He is a dynamic scorer who averaged 1.08 fantasy points per minute on 23.7% usage last season while contributing a 13.6% rebounding percentage and 33.6% assist share in 36.5 minutes a night. This season, VanVleet has dropped to just an 11% rebounding percentage, but he has a massive 57.4% assist rate. The dip in his fantasy production can largely be attributed to what has simply been atrocious shooting. So far this year VanVleet is making just 22.2% of his 3-point attempts, a chasm of a drop for a player who shot 36.6% from deep last year and 38.1% for his career. His true shooting percentage is at an obscenely low .447 to start the season, so he has nowhere to go but up.
VanVleet comes in as a bit of a tricky play on the FanDuel slate. He ranks fourth on the slate with a 25.3% optimal lineup appearance rate but is burdened by significant ownership that drags him into a morass of negative leverage. VanVleet is projected for 32.4% ownership and a 31.6% boom score probability. He has a robust 40.3-point raw projection on the blue site and is coming up as one of the most likely guards to post a ceiling score. Among available point guards, VanVleet’s boom score probability ranks second and he is third among eligible shooting guards. With a -7.1 leverage score, the decision becomes whether to undercut the field’s ownership and roster VanVleet somewhere in the 25% range or to push beyond the public’s popularity and approach the 50% or beyond territory. The further his leverage score swings into negative territory, the less appealing the play becomes, with the opposite being the case if he becomes less popular.
For just $100 more, VanVleet comes up as a lower-owned play across town on the DraftKings slate. He is eligible at both guard positions on the site and lands with a 19.4% optimal lineup appearance rate that ranks second at both spots behind value play De’Anthony Melton. The field will be on VanVleet just a bit more than desirable, but VanVleet’s combination of fair pricing and 36% boom score probability should not be ignored in building lineups. Getting beyond the field’s currently projected ownership seems advisable on the DraftKings NBA DFS slate tonight, even by simple median projection he ranks 16th among all players while coming in at the lowest price and second-highest boom score probability on the list. Within that group of the 16 most highly projected players, only Giannis Antetokounmpo ranks higher in the category with a 44.6% boom score probability.
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Looking for more free NBA DFS tools 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 FanDuel projections. Our best DFS NBA projections are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. We also have DraftKings NBA rankings, Yahoo! rankings and FanDuel NBA rankings for today's slate. View our Yahoo! ownership projections, our FanDuel ownership projections and our DraftKings NBA ownership.
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