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NBA Optimal Lineups Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel Ja Morant | Wednesday, Nov. 10

Terry McBride

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With a whopper of a Wednesday slate on tap for tonight, NBA DFS tournament victory could come in virtually any form. A few key absences in the known-knowns column are already clearing out a lot of the value discussion, with members of the Nuggets skyrocketing toward the top of the board. In addition to those players, there are stars at a variety of prices both too low and too high, as well as an incredible range of similar plays in the middle. Getting through all of the options is an impossibility. Building with a solid foundation of the most frequently optimal plays, preferably at positive leverage, is the approach. In the case of a 13-game slate, there are numerous options that land similarly at almost every point on the salary spectrum. Paying attention to where these fall in terms of probability and popularity is critical to building a strong set of lineups, even with duplication less of a factor on a gigantic slate on both 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 13 games on the slate, the focus is on the primary value situation and the top positively leveraged plays. 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.

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These picks are made utilizing the Boom/Bust Tool, specifically analyzing the optimal lineup rate, leverage score and boom probability. Check out Alex Hunter’s Boom/Bust Tool article, where he breaks down some of the top boom and bust candidates from Awesemo’s expert projections. 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, 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.

Denver Nuggets

The main value situation of the day is currently revolving around the Nuggets, who will be without Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. Those absences leave a massive amount of usage and production up for grabs and several of the options to snatch shares of it are severely underpriced for the upside.

The most frequently optimal player in simulations for both sites is JaMychal Green, who is projected to see nearly 30 minutes with 0.89 fantasy points per minute at just $3,800 on FanDuel and $3,200 on DraftKings. Green comes in with a 31.2% optimal rate on the blue site and a gigantic 49.7% for the bargain salary across town on DraftKings. He is efficiently owned on both sites, there is no leverage on the play as of the early afternoon and he will likely slip into negative territory by the time the slate locks. Still, in the absence of extreme value opening in other places, Green deserves to be owned at or around the field’s level.

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Jeff Green is projected for a 32 minute night and significant production for a mere $3,400 on DraftKings and $3,700 on FanDuel. This Green lands at a severely negative leverage score on both sites, however, coming in at -16.3 with a 22.7% optimal lineup rate on DraftKings and -23.5 with a 15.2% optimal rate on the FanDuel slate. Green can be plugged into lineups for the value as long as consideration is given to getting different from the slate elsewhere, but the over-ownership is significant on a player with just a 24.2-point median projection on a 13-game slate. Green’s elevated boom score probabilities help to assuage doubts about the production at this popularity. He ranks eighth on FanDuel and third on DraftKings in the category.

A third Denver frontcourt player is also coming up with value, but he carries a higher price and more negative leverage. Aaron Gordon has averaged just 0.80 fantasy points per minute on 17.5% usage this season while playing 29.8 minutes per game. He is projected for a 34-minute night tonight and we know from several years of history that Gordon is a better producer who is capable of contributing in every facet of the game. Gordon lands in the optimal lineup in 14.7% of simulated slates on FanDuel but he is at a -19.9 leverage score. On DraftKings, Gordon is priced up to $5,200 and he lands in the optimal lineup in the same number of simulated slates. He has a -14.2 leverage score on that site. Playing a rotation of the Denver frontcourt values, while avoiding having all three in the same lineup, seems like a sound approach. Based on current projections, JaMychal Green would have been the featured player in this space had we selected just one.

Adam Scherer is also locked in on a Nuggets player for tonight’s DFS slate, but it is Will Barton. See why Adam — and the NBA DFS lineup optimizer — is so high on Barton tonight in Adam’s NBA Deep Dive.

Jimmy Butler: DraftKings — $9,600 — SF | FanDuel — $9,700 — SF/SG

With the Heat in Los Angeles to face the LeBron James-less Lakers and fellow star Bam Adebayo questionable to play, Jimmy Butler seems like a solid play among the stars this evening, though he is a better value on the FanDuel slate as things currently stand. Butler is averaging 1.31 fantasy points per minute on 62.4% true shooting so far this season. He sees 27.7% usage under normal circumstances and would be in line to do more if Adebayo does not play. Butler contributes a 27.8% assist percentage and 8.3% rebounding rate which would also potentially see an uptick in the absence of his frontcourt mate. He comes with multi-position eligibility on the FanDuel slate, where he is a shooting guard in addition to the small forward eligibility to which he is restricted on DraftKings. Butler is a pricey play from the second tier of salary, but he is worth getting to for positive leverage and general upside where appropriate.

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On DraftKings Butler comes in at an 11.2% optimal lineup rate and efficient ownership. While the optimal lineup rate seems very low on the surface when compared to the eye-popping numbers for a few value plays atop the board, it is important to consider the size of this slate. Butler’s optimal rate ranks 13th among all players and fourth among eligible small forwards. He also ranks third-highest in optimal rate when considering players priced over $9,000 on the slate, behind only Jonas Valanciunas and Ja Morant both of whom he trails by less than a percentage point. Butler is carrying a 47-point DraftKings median projection and a strong 24.8% boom score probability. He is projected for just 11.3% popularity as the slate currently stands. Getting to at least that mark is a good play, adding shares beyond the field’s level seems to have upside for tournament play.

Butler stands out more on the FanDuel slate. He adds shooting guard eligibility that makes him a more dynamic play to fit in with the numerous positional values on the site. He lands in the optimal lineup 20.7% of the time in Awesemo’s simulated slates for the blue site, placing him fourth overall and second at both of his eligible positions. By simple raw FanDuel point projection, Butler is the fourth-highest ranked player on the board, trailing only more expensive superstars Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry and Anthony Davis. Butler can be played with any of those fellow stars, there is enough value on the table on both sites. He has a higher boom score probability than all three of those options, and his optimal lineup rate outpaces that of Antetokounmpo by a full 4 percentage points, the closest margin among the trio. Butler seems like the best play at the top of the slate, and he is the lowest cost by $500. Adding to the appeal, he comes in with just a 15.8% ownership projection that gives him a 4.9 leverage score. When one of the top star plays on a 13-game slate is coming in with the ninth-best leverage score, it pays to not ask too many questions. It is significant that Butler looks this good while Awesemo is still projecting Adebayo to play. Expect the numbers to bounce higher if he sits.


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Ja Morant: DraftKings — $9,900 — PG | FanDuel — $9,100 — PG

Ja Morant will be facing the Hornets in a game carrying a 228.5 total, the highest of the night. The next-highest mark on the board is 224 between the Trail Blazers and Suns, and there are only three contests totaled in the 220s. Four games are totaled below 210 tonight, getting to raw production opportunities is important in considering the full slate. Morant sees 35.1 minutes a night, leading his team with a 31.8% usage rate and producing 1.29 fantasy points per minute on 57.1% true shooting. He has a 35% assist percentage and a 7.9% rebounding rate. On the whole, Morant was at just 1.08 fantasy points per minute last year on similar usage. With a 35-minute projection and one of the higher median scores on both sites, Morant looks like an excellent play at positive leverage when making NBA DFS picks tonight, though he could take a minor hit in upside if currently questionable teammate Dillon Brooks suits up.

On the FanDuel slate Morant lands as the ninth-most frequently optimal player in simulated slates at a 15.8% rate. He is carrying an excellent 45.4 median projection for just $9,100, putting him in a similar place to Butler. Morant has a 28.4% boom score probability that ranks 19th overall on the site but third among eligible point guards, putting him very much in play. He is projected for just 9.8% public popularity on the blue site, leaving him with a 6.0 leverage score.

Morant is a similar player on DraftKings despite a big jump to a $9,900 salary on the site. He still lands in the optimal lineup in 11.6% of simulated slates, the 11th-highest player at any position and the fourth among point guards on the site. Morant has a 47.7-point median projection and a 22.7% boom score probability on the site. The salary suppresses the ceiling slightly, but it is more than made up for in a lack of popularity. Morant is projected to be rostered by just 6.5% of the DraftKings public, leaving him as the slate’s fourth-most positively leveraged play at a 5.1. Getting to additional shares of Morant is both easy and recommended. Even at the inflated price he stands a strong chance of putting up a score that will be difficult to replicate in lineups. Morant is the 15th-highest salary on the slate, his optimal lineup rate is nearly double that of everyone above him, with the exception of highest-priced Giannis Antetokounmpo at $12,300 who has an 8.5% in the category. That mark still trails Morant by more than three percentage points, and there is a $2,400 salary difference between the two. The only other player not doubled up by Morant’s rate while coming in at a higher price is New York’s Julius Randle, who lands at a 7.7% optimal rate for $10,300 at power forward and center. Morant can be played with either of these frontcourt options, but he stands as the top play in his salary tier by every metric on the Boom/Bust Tool if a tiebreaker between them is needed.


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

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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