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NBA Optimal Lineups Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel Keldon Johnson | Tuesday, Nov. 16

Terry McBride



NBA DFS today gives us a tiny Tuesday slate that tips off at 7:30 on the East Coast and then waits 2.5 hours to start the next game. With only three games on the slate and two of them starting so far after lock, this is going to be an extremely interesting night for NBA DFS lineup constructions across both DraftKings and FanDuel. The slate is yielding a few strong plays from the mid-range, and there are a number of premium stars from which to choose. The first game of the night, between the Warriors and Nets, is slated for the highest total and the tightest point spread, with the hometown Nets favored by 3 in a game carrying a 222 total. The two West Coast games are looking more lopsided, but there are excellent options in each. Getting to the right blend of players in initial builds while leaving some flexibility to move pieces around with late swapping is a strong approach. With only three games on the slate, there is some requirement to focus more on differentiation plays. Lineup duplication will be a significant factor at the top of GPP standings today.

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 three games on the slate, the focus is on the top leverage 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. 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.

Keldon Johnson: DraftKings — $6,000 — PF | FanDuel — $6,900 — PF/SF

Despite ownership projecting into the mid-20% range and climbing, Keldon Johnson is looking like a fantastic play in early afternoon projections. Johnson is priced in the mid-range and provides the opportunity to build toward a multi-star lineup in other positions while contributing significant upside of his own. He is averaging 0.97 fantasy points per minute across all situations in his first 13 games this season. That mark is up from 0.85 last year and Johnson’s usage has hopped from 18.9% to 23%. He has a 51.3% true shooting percentage with a 9.8% assist share and a 9.8% rebounding percentage. Johnson can contribute a healthy upside to NBA DFS lineups and he looks extremely under-owned on both sites tonight.

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Johnson is a cheap option at the power forward position on DraftKings at just $6,000. He has a terrific optimal lineup rate going into tonight’s action, Johnson lands in the top lineup in simulations 42.8% of the time, leading all players on the site. He has a 34.5-point median DraftKings points projection with a slate-leading 33.5% boom score probability. The projected public popularity is far behind the curve on the play, creating an excellent opportunity on such a short slate. Johnson is slated to be in 26.5% of all public lineups, but that leaves him with a 16.3 leverage score that is the third category-leader for the player. He appears to be an integral part of lineup constructions tonight, but the field will not be there. Even if things change and ownership draws nearer to where it should be, Johnson should be included in a large portion of lineups this evening.

For an additional $900 against a higher cap, Johnson adds small forward eligibility on the FanDuel slate. He is second among all players with a 40.8% optimal lineup rate and he has an excellent 33.7-point median projection. The multi-position eligibility adds to his upside, as there are a number of strong plays in the forward spots on the blue site tonight. Weaving those plays into a tapestry of differentiated combinations across 150 lineups is key to reaching the top of tournament standings on a three-game night. Johnson has an 18.6% boom score probability on the site, the seventh-highest mark on the slate but second-highest at both forward positions. He is projected to be significantly under-owned on this slate as well, with only a 23.8% public ownership share in afternoon projections. This leaves Johnson as the top play on this slate as well, a 17.0 leverage score with significant NBA DFS scoring upside cannot be ignored on a three-game slate.

While Johnson is showing up as one of the optimal plays on tonight’s three-game slate, there are plenty of value plays from the Spurs side of the ball. EMac has a deeper look at all of the value options San Antonio is providing in his NBA DFS Building Blocks article for Tuesday.

Patty Mills: DraftKings — $4,000 — SG/PG | FanDuel — $3,800 — PG/SG

With the Warriors in Brooklyn to take on the top-heavy Nets in the highest-totaled game of the night, the slate is laden with solidly ranked plays from the early game. The values vary from site to site, but one of the top options across the industry appears to be Patty Mills. He is projected for a 32.3 minute night, with Nets rotation player Joe Harris slated to miss tonight. For the season, Mills is averaging just 0.69 fantasy points per minute over 25 minutes per game. He has been consistently at his minutes average but seems a likely candidate to see a bit of increased run tonight, which could give him a smidge of under-owned value on a slate where unique plays are hard to find. Mills has a 58.2% true shooting percentage and a 13.7% assist rate this year. In a team-leading 192 minutes on the court without Harris this season, Mills has seen his assist percentage jump to 15.7% and he has produced 0.75 fantasy points per minute in FanDuel scoring, 0.80 with DraftKings points. Mills needs the minutes to climb his way to value at the low rates. He will be playing alongside two high-usage superstars and will have to make shots and facilitate the offense.

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Mills stands out for positive leverage on both sites. He slots into both guard positions for just $4,000 on the FanDuel slate, giving him a 17.3% boom score probability against his 21.7-point median projection on the blue site. Mills lands in the optimal lineup in 30.5% of Awesemo’s simulated slates, ranking him ninth overall, fifth among shooting guards, and fourth among eligible point guards. Mills is currently carrying just a 19.6% ownership projection, the lowest mark by far among players ranked in the top-10 by optimal lineup rate. His 10.9 leverage score on the site ranks second only to Johnson. Mills is an inexpensive option who simply slots in for an expectation around his median projection while allowing lineups to reach better heights at other positions.

On the DraftKings slate, Mills lands as a $3,800 option at both guard positions. He has a 22.8-point median projection and a 23.4% boom score probability that sits sixth overall and second at both guard spots on this site. Mills is projected to be under-owned on this side of town as well. The public is at just an 18.8% projection that falls far short of his optimal lineup rate. While it comes in at essentially half of Johnson’s leverage score, Mills’ 8.2 mark ranks second in the category on the DraftKings slate as well. This is not a comfortable play, nor is it one that will deliver a massive raw point total, but from a value and leverage perspective, he seems like a strong option unless things change as lock approaches.

Mills popped a lot in the lineup optimizer when running optimal lineups for our DraftKings NBA cheat sheet tonight. Check out all of our other free NBA DFS picks for Tuesday with our FanDuel NBA cheat sheet and Yahoo NBA cheat sheet.

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Eric Bledsoe: DraftKings — $5,200 — SG/PG | FanDuel — $6,000 — SG/PG

For some reason, Eric Bledsoe still lands as a cringe-worthy play for many NBA DFS gamers in the general public. After disappointing throughout much of last season with just 0.80 fantasy points per minute , Bledsoe has been under-owned for his quality on most early slates this season. Over his first 13 games, Bledsoe has delivered a strong uptick in quality, posting a 0.95 per-minute mark on an increased usage rate of 19.9%. Bledsoe sees 28.5 minutes a night and is projected for slightly over 30 in tonight’s action, giving him clear upside for the salary on both sites. His increased fantasy production has also come with just a 49.5% true shooting percentage, leaving room for more quality. He has a 22.8% assist percentage that has bolstered his NBA DFS point-scoring upside, as has his 2.3 stocks per game. Bledsoe is coming up as an under-owned under-appreciated option on both sites, making him a prime target for GPP lineup construction.

Bledsoe ranks fifth overall with a 30% optimal lineup rate on the DraftKings slate. He is inexpensive at just $5,200 with eligibility at both guard spots, making him an excellent option for flexibility and lineup differentiation. Bledsoe has a 29.2-point median projection with a 25.4% boom score probability. The latter number lands him fourth from the top in the category and first among guards at either position. Despite these standout marks, Bledsoe is projected for just 24.6% ownership on a three-game slate, leaving him at an excellent 5.4 leverage score that ranks seventh overall, second among point guards, and third among shooting guards on the DraftKings slate.

At a $6,000 salary with similar multi-guard-spot eligibility on the FanDuel slate, Bledsoe looks like an equally good option across the industry. He is projected for a median night of 29 fantasy points on the site, with an upside to a 15.2% boom score probability, but he is tracking for just 20% ownership in early returns. He is a strong contender for roster spots, given a 7.2 leverage score that slots in sixth among players from all positions tonight. It is worth noting that three of the more highly ranked players in leverage and optimal lineup rate on the blue site are also carrying point guard and shooting guard eligibility. All four of Bledsoe, Mills, Derrick White, and Jordan Poole can be rostered on the site. They are all priced at or below $6,000, ranging down to Mills’ $4,000 mark, they all carry leverage scores at or above Bledsoe’s 7.2, and they have an average optimal lineup rate of 33.75%. All four players can be included in the same lineup, to the detriment of exposure to star guards like Stephen Curry, James Harden, and Donovan Mitchell. Finding the right mix of these guards seems like the key to success on the FanDuel slate tonight.

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We also have Yahoo! ownership rankings, FanDuel rankings and DraftKings NBA ownership rankings for today's slate. Looking for more free NBA DFS tools and the best NBA DFS advice? View our Yahoo! NBA ownership projections, our FanDuel NBA ownership projections and our DraftKings ownership projections. Check out our NBA DraftKings rankings for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own NBA DraftKings projections. Our DFS NBA projections 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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