NBA DFS Tuesday features a 7:30 ET start time and an interesting five-game slate. The Vegas board fails to reach a 230-point total for any of the night’s five games, and two of them are carrying somewhat inflated point spreads over 10. The remaining closely projected games could be a bonanza of NBA DFS scoring, however, and there is plenty of star power and value caliber plays from the potential blowouts that remain worthy of consideration. Getting to the right mix of these plays is a challenging task on a short slate, but there are many ways to put together potentially unique lineups while remaining on the optimal construction path and building toward high ceiling potential.
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 only five games on the slate, this will be a narrower view of the higher-end plays on the board. 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.
Kristaps Porzingis: DraftKings — $7,000 — PF/C | FanDuel — $7,600 — PF
As frustrating a player as he can be for both real-life and NBA DFS purposes, Kristaps Porzingis is undeniably talented and capable of stuffing the stat sheet in multiple categories. He displays dynamite upside from night to night, particularly when he is underpriced across the industry. Porzingis has averaged 29 minutes and 27.5% usage over the season’s first two games, turning that into 1.18 fantasy points per minute. He was a 1.21 per-minute player last season on 25.9% usage, so there is presumably more to come on a good night if the uptick in opportunities continues. Porzingis pulled in a 31.8% rebounding share last season but just a 10.4% assist rate while putting up 20.1 points and 1.8 stocks per game.
Porzingis ranks fifth overall on the DraftKings slate with a 26.4% optimal lineup appearance rate in Awesemo’s simulations of tonight’s slate. He slots in as only a power forward on the site, but his price is low at $7,600 given the skillset. Porzingis is projected for a 31-minute night with 39.1 DraftKings points on the board. He has upside for more, as is indicated by a healthy 33.7% boom score probability, but he will be under-owned on the slate. The public is rostering Porzingis at a projected 21.4% rate, leaving him with a 5.0 leverage score that ranks eighth among players from any position on the site, while he lands third in that group by a simple median projection sort. Getting to additional shares of Porzingis beyond where the public is rostering him is advisable on this slate.
With the blue site adding multi-position eligibility, Porzingis can be rostered at both power forward and center, giving him added upside and flexibility. Porzingis leads the entire slate with a 43.3% optimal lineup appearance rate on the FanDuel slate tonight. He has a 38.9-point raw median projection with a 39.2% boom score probability, but he will be very popular. Porzingis is projected for a 45.9% ownership share in public lineups. He is a negatively leveraged play at -2.6, but there is likely enough upside for the $7,000 price tag and positional flexibility that he should be rostered beyond the field’s projected rate. Getting to additional shares of Porzingis on the FanDuel NBA DFS slate seems advisable as well, but if he slips further into negative leverage this decision should be weighed again closer to lock.
Evan Fournier: DraftKings — $6,200 — SG/SF | FanDuel — $6,100 — SF/SG
The winner of New York’s “Oh … ok” award for free agency, Evan Fournier was no one’s first thought but he has delivered precisely what the Knicks need through the team’s first three games. Fournier has averaged 32.5 minutes a night while drawing 23% usage and posting a 1.03 fantasy points per minute rate so far this year. Those marks are up from the 22.2% usage and 0.96 per-minute marks he saw last season between Orlando and Boston. Taking a moment for observational input, Fournier and Julius Randle appear to be focusing on a two-man game and building chemistry early in the season. The pairing has been solid for production in the nascent stages of the season. Fournier has shot 41.4% from 3-point range so far for the Knicks, posting 19.3 real-life points per game. Last season he had a .598 true-shooting percentage while putting up 20.6 real-life points-per-36. Fournier is a capable scorer, but he needs his shot to fall to be truly valuable for NBA DFS purposes. He had just an 11% rebounding rate and a 21.6% assist share last season.
On FanDuel, Fournier ranks 21st with a 15.3% optimal lineup appearance rate, while slotting in at both shooting guard and small forward for $6,100. His price is capping the overall upside to a degree. He has just a 10.8% boom score probability on the site while carrying a 27.8 median FanDuel projection. He will be under-owned by the public, however, coming in at just a 6.6% ownership projection that leaves him with a healthy 8.7 leverage score on the site. Fournier is a bit of a thin needle to thread on this slate, but at those ownership marks it is both easy and worthwhile to roster him beyond where the field is projected. On the nights that the play connects, it will be a valuable injection of under-owned points into a lineup that could potentially be a difference-maker.
Fournier is more valuable on the DraftKings slate. Slotting in at both shooting guard and small forward for $6,200 gives him flexibility to five positions in a lineup, making him valuable for differentiating roster combinations. Fournier comes in with a 29.1 median projection and a 15.9% boom score probability on the slate. He comes up in the optimal lineup in 15.1% of Awesemo’s simulations, which ranks him 23rd overall in the category, but he is a leading leverage play. Fournier’s 8.7 leverage score on the slate ranks third among players at any position, second among eligible small forwards, and first among eligible shooting guards. Getting to additional shares of him is easy, given just a 6.4% public popularity projection. Knowing that he has repeatedly burned NBA DFS gamers in the past only adds to the value of playing Fournier, he will frequently be under-owned by the public.
Joel Embiid: DraftKings — $9,800 — C | FanDuel — $10,000 — C
It seems likely that NBA DFS gamers will be dealing with frustrating injury report situations with Joel Embiid throughout the season. He has been listed as questionable and a game-time decision for each of Philadelphia’s first three games, ultimately taking the court for all three. Embiid has averaged 29.6 minutes per game so far this year while seeing a 29.6% usage rate that represents a dip from the 35.2% mark he reached last season. That has done nothing to slow the growth in his game. Embiid is averaging 1.63 fantasy points per minute in the early part of the season, up from 1.59 last year, despite the reduced usage and minutes. Part of the uptick is directly attributable to Embiid becoming a more willing and able passer. His assist share through last season was just 18.1%; through this year’s first three games he has more than doubled that mark, coming in at a 39.1% assist percentage. For reference purposes, Nikola Jokic, widely regarded as the league’s best passing big man, had a 40.1% assist share last season. Embiid is a fantastic NBA DFS pick, even at a heavy price, but he is projected to be dramatically under-owned across the industry once again. Assuming he plays, Embiid is likely the top option on the board on both sites for upside and leverage over the field.
On the DraftKings slate, Embiid costs $9,800 and is projected for a median 52.9 DraftKings points night. He has a massive 50.8% boom score probability on the site, but ownership is projected at just an 11.9% rate. That mark could climb if he is confirmed as active early enough before lock, but it is unlikely to fully close on the upside available in the play. Embiid has a 27.9% optimal lineup appearance rate that ranks fourth overall on the site and first among eligible centers. His leverage score is a slate-leading 16.0, making him a fantastic option for upside and differentiation, blowing past the field on shares of Philadelphia’s pivot is highly recommended unless ownership trends upward in a major way. With the utility spot open and several of the remaining center options on the site also possessing power forward eligibility it makes perfect sense to roster Embiid in the center slot over and over again while building DraftKings NBA DFS lineups tonight.
Embiid is an equally strong play across town. He is a $10,000 play on the FanDuel slate which carves into his boom score probability slightly, though his 36.7% mark in the category is the second highest at any position on the slate and tops among eligible centers. He lands in the optimal lineup in 32.2% of Awesemo’s simulated slates, the ninth-highest overall projection on the board and the second highest among eligible centers, trailing only Porzingis. Pairing the two leading big men on the site is a highly viable and recommended move, given the positive leverage on both players. Embiid is the slate leader with a 14.5 leverage score. He is projected for just 17.7% public popularity on the slate. Piling up shares of Embiid is an excellent foundational play for GPP contests on the blue site tonight.
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Our NBA DFS projections today are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. Looking for more NBA DFS help and the best NBA DFS picks? View our DraftKings NBA ownership, our FanDuel NBA ownership and our Yahoo! ownership. Check out our NBA FanDuel rankings for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own daily fantasy basketball projections. We also have Yahoo! rankings, DraftKings ownership rankings and FanDuel NBA ownership rankings for today's slate.
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