If Sunday tells us anything about the NBA, it is that they are not afraid to go toe to toe with the behemoth flinging a pigskin around during the afternoon. With an early Sunday slate starting at 6 pm on the East Coast but featuring three of four games that start two hours later, virtually anything is possible in NBA DFS action tonight. Staying on top of all the breaking news after lock and making any appropriate or mandatory late swaps will be a requirement. The slate features four games that are carrying generally low totals, the highest checking in at 217.5 for the night’s last game between the Raptors and Warriors. The other three games are totaled below 212, making explosive upside quite the commodity on this NBA DFS slate.
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 eight games on the slate, the focus is on 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.
Julius Randle: DraftKings — $9,700 — PF/C | FanDuel — $8,400 — PF/C
Julius Randle is off to a rocky start after blowing away the New York City crowd last season. Randle has dropped to 1.15 fantasy points per minute on 27.2% usage this year, after putting up a 1.21 per-minute mark on 29.3% usage a year ago. He is averaging a steady 35.3 minutes a night, which alone would give him upside at the price at which he is available on the blue site. Overall, Randle seems like an interesting play across the industry. His true shooting percentage is just 51.3% for the season, suggesting there is more upside to come. He still has an excellent 25.2% assist percentage and a sturdy 13.1% rebounding rate for the season. Randle should be owned more than he currently is projected by the field, getting to him in additional lineup shares could be advantageous.
On the DraftKings slate, Randle is more of a pay-up option for raw fantasy point-scoring upside. He ranks 26th overall with a 14.1% optimal lineup rate, but only eight players on the entire slate rank above 20% in the category, keeping Randle in play on a short night. He has a 13.6% boom score probability and a 42.1-point median projection, making him one of the more highly projected plays at any position. Randle is a luxury item that the foundational value plays help to pay for. On a night with limited options for raw scoring, Randle is in play on the DraftKings slate, but he does not have the appeal that he does across town.
On FanDuel, Randle stands out as a strong play, given a severely discounted salary. He has eligibility at both power forward and center on the site, and he comes in at just an $8,400 price tag, which vaults him to the fifth overall spot and a 33.3% optimal lineup rate. The public is not asleep on this play, Randle is projected for more than 30% popularity on the slate, but that is still leaving him with room on his projection. He is positively leveraged at a 2.7 score in the mid-afternoon. Randle has a 39.8-point median projection and a 19.9% boom score probability on the blue site. He seems like an excellent buy for the money, and he should be included in lineups more often than not.
Saddiq Bey: DraftKings — $5,600 — SF/PF | FanDuel — $5,700 — SF
Playing 32.8 minutes a night as a key piece in the Pistons rotation has done good things for Saddiq Bey’s fantasy point scoring upside, but not much to his price across the NBA DFS industry. Bey comes in as a strong value across both DraftKings and FanDuel for this evening’s slate. He is at a fair mid-range salary that should help build toward a few pay-up stars, while not sacrificing much in terms of upside for slate-relevant scoring. Bey is averaging 0.87 fantasy points per minute, and he is carrying a 33.2-minute projection tonight. He has an ugly 46.1% true shooting percentage for the season. If any shots ever fall, he will have an easy path to a ceiling score for the low salaries. Bey is putting up a solid 14.9% assist percentage and a 9.6% rebounding rate this season. At worst, he is unlikely to derail lineups entirely.
Bey lands as the second-most optimal player at any position on the FanDuel slate, where he is eligible only at the small forward position. He lands in the top lineup in a massive 38.7% of simulated slates, rendering his -1.3 leverage score far less relevant on a slate lacking in quality options. He has a 24.8% boom score probability and a 30.8-point median FanDuel points projection, which is demonstrative of the upside in getting to him. Bey will be owned by nearly 40% of the public, getting well beyond that mark is not overly challenging when creating lineups, focusing on unique constructions that include the upside play is the right approach.
On the DraftKings slate, Bey comes with the added benefit of positive leverage, likely gained from his multi-position eligibility at both forward spots. Bey has a 34.3% optimal lineup rate that ranks him third overall on the DraftKings slate and first among eligible power forwards. Despite that, he is carrying just a 29.5% ownership projection at an affordable $5,600 salary, leaving him with a strong 4.8 leverage score that can be targeted for ownership and lineup flexibility. Bey has an excellent 33.3% boom score probability that is the second-highest mark on the slate, and he is projected for a 31.2-point median on the DraftKings slate.
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Mikal Bridges: DraftKings — $4,800 — SG/SF | FanDuel — $5,100 — SF/PF
Phoenix has several standout plays on the short slate this evening, but the one carrying positive leverage across both sites stands as a top value on both sites. Mikal Bridges is no one’s favorite player to roster, but he is currently tracking as one of the top plays by optimal lineup rate and for leverage across the industry, while carrying a 34.6-minute projection. Bridges has 0.75 fantasy points per minute on 15% usage this season, which is down from the 0.82 on 14.7% we saw last year. He has a 6.3% assist percentage and a 5.0% rebounding percentage. Bridges does have a nice 64.4% true shooting percentage, though that could be a mark on the way down. For the pricing, he stands as a good play regardless of the lackluster numbers to this point in the season.
On DraftKings, Bridges has a 24.8% optimal lineup rate that ranks sixth overall and third among eligible shooting guards and small forwards. He has just a 19.8% ownership projection, leaving a healthy 5.0 leverage points on the table for anyone who wants them. The eligibility across five lineup spots created by his positional flexibility gives him added appeal at only $4,800. That upside can be seen in his 23% boom score probability more than his 25.6-point median projection, but even that would be a fine number for the low cost. Bridges is a good value play from the lower mid-range this evening.
On the blue site, Bridges also ranks sixth overall, this time with a 28.8% optimal lineup rate. He has positive leverage on FanDuel as well, but it is not as strong on this site, coming in at just a 1.7 for a $5,100 price tag. Bridges still makes for a fine play with eligibility at both forward positions and a good 26-point median projection. He has a 17.8% boom score probability that is above average but not fantastic, but without an abundance of options on a four-game night, we will take what we can get. From near the top of the board by optimal lineup frequency, Bridges is an excellent value on both sites.
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Looking for more NBA DFS help tonight and the top NBA DFS picks for today? View our DraftKings NBA ownership projections, our Yahoo! ownership projections and our FanDuel NBA ownership. Our NBA DFS projections DraftKings are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. We also have Yahoo! NBA rankings, DraftKings rankings and FanDuel ownership rankings for today's slate. Check out our DFS rankings NBA for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own NBA DFS projections tonight.
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