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NBA Optimal Lineups Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel Jayson Tatum | Sunday, Nov. 28

Terry McBride



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A short-slate Sunday starts early on the blue site, with FanDuel including the 5 pm ET game between the Bucks and Pacers on their four-game slate. DraftKings skips that contest in favor of a tighter three-game offering, creating some obvious differences from site to site this evening. With unique lineups slightly more difficult to come by in DraftKings contests, it will be very important to focus on a few differentiation plays in lineup construction this evening. The four-game FanDuel slate dictates similar considerations, of course, but with an added game that features several star-caliber players, including arguably the best player in the NBA, there are many more quality pay-up options and a few interesting values that gamers across town do not get this evening.

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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 either three or four games on the slate, depending on your site of choice, the focus is on a few of the most positively leveraged plays from near the top of the probability categories. 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. 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.

Tyus Jones: DraftKings — $4,800 — PG | FanDuel — $3,800 — PG

One of the top plays available on both sites tonight comes in the form of Tyus Jones, who is a clear value and looks like a building block across the industry. Jones has averaged just 15.7 minutes a night so far this season, but he is projected for nearly 30 minutes this evening with star Ja Morant out of action. Jones has contributed a 0.95 fantasy point per minute rate this season, despite just 14.2% usage. He has a stellar 30.2% assist percentage with a 5.9% rebounding share and a 62.6% true shooting percentage. Jones’ usage jumps to 16.3% with a 0.98 fantasy point per minute rate in 237 minutes without Morant on the floor so far this evening, giving him clear upside for the very low cost. Jones is very popular across the industry, but he seems like an excellent piece of chalk that should be foundational in lineup building on both sites.

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Jones stacks up as the top play by optimal lineup appearance rate on the DraftKings slate landing in 47.8% of the top lineups in Awesemo’s simulated slates. He has a standout 4.1 leverage score, meaning he is a very targetable play even with 43.7% of the field projected to include him in lineups this evening. Jones has a 30.6-point median projection that ranks 15th overall on the slate and first in his salary tier by a fair margin over our next featured player. Jones 43.1% boom score probability as well, which makes him one of the leading options for upside and leverage.

Jones looks equally strong on the FanDuel slate. He has a massive 60% optimal lineup appearance rate for the thin $3,800 salary at the point guard spot, making him a virtual lock play on the site, particularly at somehow still positive leverage. Jones is projected for nearly 60% ownership across the site, either pushing over the top of undercutting the field and spreading out shares is probably the best approach, there is little to be gained in rostering the player simply in line with the field. Getting additional shares into lineups seems like the stronger option at this point in the afternoon. Jones has a 30.5-point median projection on the FanDuel slate and he comes in with a titanic 66.4% boom score probability that is more than double that of any option other than our next featured player, who he still outpaces by more than 15 percentage points. Jones is a fundamental building block for lineup construction across the industry unless things change dramatically prior to lock.

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Chimezie Metu: DraftKings — $3,900 — PF | FanDuel — $4,100 — C

Chimezie Metu is projected for some significant run for a cheap salary this evening, thrusting him into a prominent role for NBA DFS action across the industry. Metu is projected for a 28.2-minute night after seeing 25 last night in his return to action following two straight missed games. Metu averages 23 minutes a night for the season, posting 0.91 fantasy points per minute across all situations despite just a 47.4% true shooting percentage. He contributes a 6.0% assist share and a 13.3% rebounding rate. Last season he posted a 0.96 per-minute mark on 19.4% usage, slightly more than the 18.2% he has seen so far this season. Given the opportunity for extended minutes, more rebounds, and potentially more scoring opportunities, Metu stands as a top option across both sites unless we receive news that he is going to see injury management minutes or not play.

On the FanDuel slate Metu is the fourth-most frequently optimal player on the board at any position with a 36.2% rate that lands tops among eligible centers on the blue site. Metu is projected for a 27.6-point median score with an excellent 45.6% boom score probability that is second to only Jones on the site. He is projected to be owned by just 21.6% of the field on a short-slate evening, giving him a 14.6 leverage score that screams for attention. Metu is very cheap at $4,100. He is a solid piece of foundation on the site despite his center-only positional eligibility.

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On the DraftKings slate Metu is a power forward who costs a mere $3,900. He is projected for a 28.2-point median score that would be virtually on-value if that were all he contributed for the salary. He has clear upside, however, leading the entire slate at a 51.8% boom score probability and landing in the optimal lineup in 45% of simulated slates, which places him second on the site at any position. Metu fits well with the Jones play on both sites, but they truly stand out on the DraftKings slate where he has monumental leverage that lands at a whopping 19.8 despite his clear ceiling potential and the frequency at which he lands in the optimal lineup in Awesemo’s simulations. This is an outstanding play who can be paired with Jones to create a sturdy foundation of value that will help buy NBA DFS point-scoring upside at other positions.

Jayson Tatum: DraftKings — $9,900 — SF/PF | FanDuel — $9,700 — SF/PF

Jayson Tatum looks like the top pay-up option who appears on both sites this evening. He comes at a far lower salary than his superstar peer on the site where they can both be found, giving him the advantage from both a point-per-dollar and a leverage perspective. Tatum is the best option to target from the top shelf on a slate that is somewhat lacking in superstar upside. So far this season he has delivered a 51.1% true shooting percentage with a 16.7% assist share and an 11.2% rebounding percentage, totaling to a 1.19 fantasy point per minute rate. Tatum sees 31.7% of the team’s usage across all situations, last season he was a 1.23 per-minute contributor on 29.8% usage, so there is a fair presumption of additional upside given a return to that form. With positive leverage on a short night, Tatum is a strong consideration for aggressive exposure across the NBA DFS industry.

On the FanDuel slate Tatum lands as the sixth-most optimal player at 32.7% but the public is not rostering him as such. He has a 3.1 leverage score on the site, with the public coming in at “only” a 29.6% exposure projection. With eligibility at both forward positions for a fair $9,700, Tatum has the ability to contribute not only a strong median projection but significant upside at his 15.8% boom score probability despite the hefty salary. Tatum is projected for a 43.2-point median night. He has upside for far more than that level of production and is one of the few players on the slate capable of contributing a 60-point night.

Tatum looks even better on DraftKings, where we do not have the luxury of the Milwaukee game. He has a 39.6% optimal lineup appearance rate that lands third overall on the site. He has positional flexibility at both forward spots, and he is not popular enough even at a 37.1% ownership forecast. He is projected for a 45.1-point median night, the highest raw NBA DFS point projection on the site this evening, while still carrying a 16.9% boom score probability that sits 12th overall despite the high price and outpaces all options at $9,000 or above by more than 11 percentage points in the category. Tatum is the top option from near the peak of the salary board this evening.

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

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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