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NBA Optimal Lineups Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel Gordon Hayward | Monday, Dec. 6

Terry McBride

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A loaded 10-game NBA DFS Monday gets the week started in style, with a wide range of opportunities on the table for lineup construction. The board in Vegas includes just one game totaled above 220, with the Hawks and Timberwolves spiking to a 222.5 total in a game with just a 2.5-point spread. The competitive situation and abundance of potential plays from that game are appealing, but there are many other spots to find upside on this slate. Most of the games are carrying totals in the 215-217 range, though the Thunder vs Pistons game is at an anemic 202.5, with the hometown Pistons favored by 4.5. That game will yield NBA DFS relevant scoring, but the overall upside for many players to do well seems capped. Getting to a mix of optimal lineup appearances and leverage in a lineup on a slate of this size is a key for roster construction, there are a number of quality pivots at each salary tier that will help build differentiation into lineups that still include a foundation of good chalk.

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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 10 games on the slate, the focus is on a few positively leveraged plays with NBA DFS point-scoring potential that may be overlooked 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 Tonight

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.

Josh Giddey: DraftKings — $6,800 — SG/SF | FanDuel — $6,200 — SG

Update: in a change of gears, the Thunder announced that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will be available after all. Giddey’s value takes a big hit, consult the tools update for more.

For a rookie with just 20 games under his belt, Josh Giddey seems to find his way into this space with curious regularity. Giddey is expected to start for the Thunder this evening, after returning to Sunday’s practice following a bout of sickness. He will be in line for significant action once again, with the continued absence of the team’s top player, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who was officially ruled out in the mid-afternoon. Other guards from the Thunder come in as value plays, with Tre Mann and Ty Jerome both landing at affordable prices from site to site, but it is Giddey who provides the most compelling upside. In 196 minutes without Gilgeous-Alexander on the floor, Giddey has seen a slight uptick from 20.8% usage to 21.5%, and his per-minute fantasy production goes from 1.02 to 1.06. Giddey has solid flexibility in positioning, and he comes at a fair price for the upside projected in Awesemo’s tools. He comes at strong leverage marks on both sites and should be rostered aggressively.

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Giddey is the second-most frequently optimal play on the DraftKings board. He costs just $6,800 at either the shooting guard or small forward position, giving him powerful positional flexibility. His 29.2% optimal lineup appearance rate falls short of only the 31.6% mark put up by $3,400 Ish Smith at the point guard spot. Giddey is on another tier with a 39.8-point median projection and a 42.6% boom score probability that exceeds all other options at both of his positions by at least 3 percentage points. Giddey is projected for 22.4% ownership in early numbers, though that could climb with the confirmation that he was not on the team’s injury report and is expected to play. At the current projection, Giddey comes up with a healthy 6.8 leverage score. He will retain appeal even if the popularity rises, his probability marks are simply too good to ignore.

On FanDuel Giddey is the most frequently optimal player at any position. He has a 39.3-point median projection for a $6,200 salary at just the shooting guard position. His 46% optimal lineup appearance rate outpaces the field by 16 percentage points and his 56% boom score probability at the low salary also stands 16 percentage points above the field in that category. Giddey has explosive potential in his 33.5-minute projection. The public is projected to roster him at an aggressive 34.9% on the blue site, but he holds his value with an iron grip at that rate, his 11.1 leverage score is the second-highest mark on the slate. If the ownership climbs that will obviously come down, but assuming the projection and probability marks hold there is massive appeal in getting Giddey’s per-dollar production and upside probability into lineups.


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Gordon Hayward: DraftKings — $7,000 — SF/PF | FanDuel — $7,200 — SF/SG

A mix of several players from the Charlotte vs Philadelphia game rise to the top of the board this evening, particularly with the Hornets still dealing with significant absences in their rotation. Ish Smith is one of the most highly optimal but negatively leveraged plays on both sites, while forwards P.J. Washington and Miles Bridges are both strong mid-range plays with at best efficient ownership. Hayward falls a few spots behind those options by optimal lineup rate, but he gains in leverage which gives him tournament appeal, while the others make quality cash lineup building blocks. Hayward has posted 0.91 fantasy points per minute across all situations this season on 20.7% usage. In games with both LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier off the floor, Hayward has posted a 0.96 per-minute mark since the start of last season. His usage climbs to a 22.7% mark in that situation through the course of this season, returning 0.95 fantasy points per minute. Hayward has a 57.5% true shooting percentage and a 14.5% assist rate with a 6.7% rebounding share across all situations. He could be in line for an across-the-board uptick tonight.

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On DraftKings Hayward ranks as the 12th most frequently optimal player at any position at 12.3%. He is the fifth-highest ranked small forward and fourth-highest power forward and his $7,000 price tag is fair for the potential production. Hayward has a solid 35.1-point median projection and a respectable 19.3% boom score probability on this slate. Sorted by salary, Hayward’s boom score probability would be the fifth highest in players from the top of the board down to his price tag, revealing the sturdy mid-range potential. The field is rostering him at a 10.3% rate, which leaves him at a playable 2.0 leverage score on the DraftKings slate tonight. Hayward may be unspectacular, but he makes for a solid contributor in NBA DFS lineups.

Hayward comes in further down the board on the FanDuel slate, his 8.7% optimal lineup appearance rate falls to 39th overall on the slate, though only four players on the blue site are landing in the optimal lineup more than 20% of the time. He flexibility between small forward and shooting and has a 34.1-point median projection and a 16% boom score probability. Hayward’s single-digit ownership leaves him at a 1.0 leverage score that falls as a playable but not necessarily targetable mark on this slate. Hayward is a sturdy mix and match piece on the FanDuel slate, but he does not pop off the page for upside, it would not be shocking to see him within a point of his median projection.

Keldon Johnson: DraftKings — $5,600 — PF | FanDuel — $5,400 — PF/SF

Coming in with the opposite site-to-site appeal from Hayward, Keldon Johnson looks to have more value and upside on the FanDuel slate this evening. Johnson is a playable option on the DraftKings slate as well, but he is more of a target on the blue site tonight. He has had a bit of an up and down year. He is providing just 0.87 fantasy points per minute on 19.8% usage this season, which is actually up from his 0.85 mark across all situations last year. Johnson has a 54.1% true shooting percentage, but he has not contributed much in other categories, with an 8.9% assist percentage and 9.4% rebounding share. Since November 10th, Johnson has produced just a 0.80 per-minute mark and that has slipped to a 0.72 in December. Still, with a 33.9-minute projection for the low price and positional value, Johnson has some appeal as a slightly under-owned value piece.

On the DraftKings slate Johnson has a 7.6% optimal lineup rate that lands 40th overall on the site, but only five players on the slate come in with better than a 20% optimal mark, and the 16th ranked player in the category is only at double the probability. Johnson brings a 29.9-point median projection with a solid 21.4% boom score probability that provides hope at his 6.9% ownership projection. The boom score probability ranks 22nd overall and sits in the top 10 of his price tier. Johnson is a plug-in option that can be rostered ahead of the field, getting to 15% and doubling the low public projection is an easy stake to put in the slate.

On the FanDuel board Johnson ranks 12th overall with a 16.2% optimal lineup rate, falling in behind a few star-caliber players who may miss tonight’s action, which would boost his appeal. Johnson has a 29-point median projection across both the power forward and small forward position on the site, and his 24.1% boom score probability is 16th from the top at any position. Johnson is projected for just 12.3% public popularity, which leaves him with a healthy 3.9 leverage score that fits nicely into FanDuel NBA DFS lineups for differentiation purposes.


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