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NBA Optimal Lineups Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel Josh Giddey | Wednesday, Nov. 24

Terry McBride



A gigantic 13-game pre-Thanksgiving slate on Wednesday night brings seemingly endless options for NBA DFS roster construction across the industry this evening. With most of the league in play, a number of status question marks and values up and down the salary spectrum, there is a lot to unpack for this slate. Getting to a combination of the premium assets that are carrying positive leverage at both the value and star tiers is fundamental to success on a slate of this nature. Staying on top of things and reacting to changing situations both in lineups and in tournament standings after the slate locks is also a critical aspect of winning on a night that features the most heavily totaled games.

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 a few of the top overall plays on the board. 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.

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 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 — $6,600 — SG/SF | FanDuel — $6,000 — SG

With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander shelved again tonight, rookie Josh Giddey is a highly relevant play on both sites. Giddey is one of the leading players from his class through the first 17 games of his career, posting 1.02 fantasy points per minute on 20.3% usage in 29.4 minutes a night. Giddey has provided a sterling 32% assist percentage through the early part of his career, though he has struggled with his shot to this point, posting just a 45.2% true shooting percentage. At his pricing, Giddey is a strong play from the mid-range on both sites tonight. He stands out for better value on the FanDuel slate, but that is also drawing additional attention, while he makes for a positively leveraged and potentially better play across town.

On the DraftKings slate, Giddey comes in with a $6,600 price tag, but strong flexibility between shooting guard and small forward, making him an excellent option for differentiating lineup constructions. The price is keeping some of the public ownership at bay, despite landing third overall with an 18.7% optimal lineup appearance rate, Giddey is carrying a 4.0 leverage score. The public is behind the curve on a player with a 35.5-point median projection and a 30.7% boom score probability. The latter mark is sixth on the slate, second among small forwards and third among shooting guards. Giddey is projected for just 14.7% public popularity. It is worth the minor pay up in the mid-range to get to the potential for a ceiling performance.

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Giddey is somewhat different on the FanDuel slate, though Giddey has significant value there as well. He can only be rostered at shooting guard on the site, but his salary dips to $6,000 against a higher cap, which is drawing the public eye. Giddey is projected for 34.6% public ownership while landing in 27.3 of optimal lineups in Awesemo’s simulated slates for this evening, leaving him with a -7.3 leverage score on the site. Getting to his upside still seems worthwhile in lineup shares, given the low cost and a slate-leading 41% boom score probability, but Giddey is more of a piece of “good chalk” that still requires lineup differentiation elsewhere. In fact, using him as a building block play will force the requirement to get different at other positions given the degree to which the field is pushing the issues.

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Miles Bridges: DraftKings — $7,800 — SF/PF | FanDuel — $8,200 — SF

With the Hornets and Magic playing one of the more highly totaled early games on the NBA DFS slate, several players stand out for strong value and upside. Several inexpensive Orlando players are coming in at impressive optimal lineup appearance rates on both sites while also drawing heavy public popularity across the industry for their perceived value. These players are all strong building blocks, but there are also plays from the upper mid-range and star level on the other side of the game. Both LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges stand out as interesting plays from the Charlotte side, with Bridges landing in more of the simulated optimal lineups from site to site. He has posted 1.07 fantasy points per minute across his first 19 games, averaging 36.9 minutes a night. That represents a major jump from the 0.89 per-minute mark at which Bridges produced last year, which can partly be attributed to a major bump from 17% to 23% usage. Bridges has a 13.1% assist percentage and a 9.2% rebounding rate.

Bridges is pulling in a 13.4% ownership projection on the FanDuel slate, leaving him slightly in negative leverage land at a -3.2 against his 10.2% optimal lineup appearance rate. He has a 38-point median projection. He does not stand out for his boom score probability, coming in at 15.9% which ranks 32nd overall on the slate. To put that rank in perspective, the 10th-highest score on the site is Christian Wood at 23.5%, so there is not a major downgrade from player to player at this level. Bridges is more of a player who can be worked into lineups at the field’s ownership levels, using him for the median projection and suggestion of available upside, but he is not a foundational play for value at his optimal lineup appearance rate.

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On the DraftKings slate, Bridges is the eighth-highest ranked player at any position with his 12.2% optimal lineup rate. He fits in at both forward positions on the site, adding significant utility while coming in at just a $7,800 price tag. Bridges has a 23.5% boom score probability and a 39-point median projection on the site, ranking him 24th and 13th overall in the categories. He is a sturdy play for a good price on this slate, though he does slip into negative leverage, coming up with 14.9% projected ownership, which drops him at a -2.7 in the leverage column. That mark seems highly playable, booking Bridges’ steady probability of around 40 fantasy points with upside for more is worth paying his fair price.

Adam Scherer has even more on Bridges in his NBA DFS Deep Dive article today.

Orlando Magic

On the other side of the Hornets – Magic game, the young Orlando team is providing major values up and down the board, with Cole Anthony out once again and Gary Harris unlikely to play. Those two join the list of other Magic players who have been out for longer stretches, affording an opportunity to a host of teammates who come at a range of inexpensive prices and potential. At the top of the DraftKings board, Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs are both drawing major attention. They both come in around 23% optimal and are both drawing slightly over 31% ownership, leaving them both negatively leveraged but valuable for construction all the same. Wagner has a 42.8% boom score probability against his $3,900 salary at both forward positions on the DraftKings slate, while Suggs is a more expensive but more likely option with a 44.2% boom score and a $4,800 salary at both guard spots. They can be rostered together, but focusing on differentiation from there will be critical in any build. They are different options on the blue site, where they come in at a 13.5% optimal rate for Wagner and a 12.3% mark for Suggs. Both players can be rostered on FanDuel, but they do not stand out to the same level.

On both FanDuel and DraftKings, teammate Wendell Carter Jr. stands tall among all players in terms of his popularity, though he may be of questionable value due to the negative leverage that creates across the industry. Carter comes in at an 18% optimal rate on FanDuel, but his 41.4% ownership projection has him lost in negative leverage at a -23.4. The chasm is nearly as deep on the DraftKings slate, where he is highly affordable at just $5,500, but his leverage is a -21.1, with a 17.8% optimal rate and 38.9% public exposure. On such a large slate, it might pay to think about other directions for value at the position. He has upside, but there are other options projected for similar production.

One of those could be teammate Mo Bamba, though he is also coming in with a negative leverage mark at -6.4 on FanDuel and -6.9 on DraftKings. Bamba has a greater upside with a 36.5 median projection and a 32.3% boom score probability for $6,800 at only the center position on FanDuel, while coming in at a 35.7-point projection with a 34.9% boom score probability on DraftKings. For roughly half the overall ownership as Carter, Bamba is worth paying up for if rostering Magic bigs this evening. To this point in the season, Bamba has posted 1.09 fantasy points per minute on 54% true shooting with a 10.2% assist rate and a 13.6% rebounding share.

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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 NBA DraftKings projections. We also have FanDuel ownership rankings, DraftKings NBA ownership rankings and Yahoo! NBA rankings for today's slate. Our NBA DFS projections tonight are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. Looking for more DFS NBA picks today and the best NBA DFS picks? View our FanDuel ownership, our DraftKings NBA ownership projections and our Yahoo! NBA ownership 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 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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