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NBA Optimal Lineups Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel Kevin Durant | Monday, Nov. 8

Terry McBride

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Monday starts off the week of NBA DFS action with a solid eight-game slate that includes three late-night games that are all totaled in the 220s, the highest three games of the night. On top of the multiple late-night hammers, there are major NBA DFS values already standing tall on the board, with several key players sitting out for their teams. Keeping an eye on their leverage and overall ownership and boom score probability is key in making decisions for early values. Leaving room for late-swapping for the after-hours sessions is advisable as well.

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, this will be a closer look at the most positively leveraged 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 DFS NBA 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. 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.

Andre Drummond: DraftKings — $5,700 — C | FanDuel — $5,500 — C

With news breaking early in the afternoon that Joel Embiid will miss today’s game – and possibly several others as he enters the league’s health and safety protocols – the NBA DFS public is treated to the pleasure of a virtual lock play at the center spot on both sites once again tonight. Andre Drummond steps in with a low price and a significant role across the industry, he is a major value who has already shown what he can do in limited minutes early this season. Drummond averages just 17.6 minutes per game and sees 18.8% usage while posting a 17.3% assist rate and 25.2% rebounding percentage. He averages 1.39 fantasy points per minute so far this year, which is a minor step up from the 1.37 he posted last season on similar numbers. Drummond should be rostered aggressively, essentially without regard for how frequently the public is getting to him.

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On the FanDuel slate Drummond lands in the optimal lineup in 59% of simulated slates, more than double the frequency with which we find the next player on the list. He has a 44.3-point median projection on the blue site and he is carrying a gigantic 81.2% boom score probability that is one of the larger scores we have seen in the category this season. Drummond is projected for 45.3% ownership, but that still leaves him at a 13.7 leverage score that is second-best on the slate. Drummond is a fundamental building block for lineups tonight.

The same is true on the DraftKings slate, where Drummond is even more frequently optimal. He lands in the top lineup in 63.5% of simulated slates, a number that is approaching three times as frequent as the next-highest ranked player. Drummond has a 44.8-point projection and a 79.4% boom score probability on DraftKings. He is projected for nearly 45% ownership but has a leverage score approaching 20. The field’s ownership could nearly double before it becomes debatable if Drummond is a good play.

Drummond was a big-time discussion point in Adam Scherer’s NBA DFS Deep Dive today. He discusses why he likes Drummond so much for tonight’s slate, as well as other great cash game and tournament options.

Kevin Durant: DraftKings — $9,900 — SF/PF | FanDuel — $10,500 — SF/PF

Several of the NBA’s apex stars are currently trending for positive leverage across both sites tonight. With value plays emerging in every direction it is no difficult task to assemble a roster that includes multiple superstars from near the top of the salary spectrum, which gives players like Kevin Durant a nudge in the frequency with which we find them in the optimal lineup in simulations. Of course, Durant typically needs little help getting to at least a strong raw point total. He is averaging 1.38 fantasy points per minute on 31.5% usage for the early part of the season. He sees 34.9 minutes a night and has posted a 65.5% true shooting percentage with a 28.6% assist percentage and 11.8% rebounding rate. Durant is an excellent pay-up option on this slate, in what is projected to be a closely contested game between the Nets and revamped Bulls.

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Durant is the 10th ranked player on the DraftKings slate when sorting by optimal lineup appearance rate, coming in with a 14.7% mark in the category. It is unfair to think of Drummond’s number from the previous section in relation to Durant’s here, instead, we should consider the 26.2% for Miles Bridges (Bridges is also a terrific play on both sites tonight) in second place, or the 19.8% mark to which the category quickly falls when it reaches Frank Kaminsky in the third spot on the list. Durant compares favorably with the top of the board in optimal rate, and he has positive leverage with a 5.5 in the category, given an ownership projection below 10%. With his price tag below $10,000 on the DraftKings slate and a 48.3-point median projection, Durant is carrying a 24.6% boom score probability that ranks 14th overall but is one of the highest among players in the elite tier of salaries.

Durant is a similar play on the FanDuel slate. He ranks 23rd with a 13.2% optimal lineup appearance rate mark that seems low until we consider the 17.8% carried by Tyrese Maxey that is less than five points higher yet ranks seventh overall. There is room to roster Durant, despite a higher price on the site at $10,500 he provides scoring upside and positional flexibility, as well as positive leverage. Durant is projected for a 46.1-point night, giving him a 13.4% boom score probability but his 8.6 leverage score ranks fourth overall on the slate and second at either forward spot. With the public going to Durant just 4.6% of the time on the blue site, it is simple to get to double or even triple the exposure without getting over-extended to the expensive play across a full slate of lineups.


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Russell Westbrook: DraftKings — $10,400 — PG | FanDuel — $9,400 — PG/SG

Potentially one of the players most worthy to wield the late-night hammer, Russell Westbrook is a popular play across the industry already, with LeBron James on the shelf. Westbrook is trending toward being one of the top plays on both sites while we have the currently questionable Anthony Davis projected to play, if Davis sits Westbrook’s upside will skyrocket, as will his popularity. Through 10 games in all situations this season, Westbrook is averaging 1.15 fantasy points per minute, with a 47.3% true shooting percentage, a 33.9% assist rate, and a 10.9% rebounding percentage. His per-minute production last season was at 1.48 on 27% usage, there is clearly more ceiling when the situation arises. In 196 minutes without James on the court this season, Westbrook sees a huge spike to a 34.1% usage rate. In 63 minutes without Davis, that number jumps again, all the way to 39.4%. The Lakers are facing the Hornets in a game with the highest total on the board and just a two-point spread, an excellent recipe for NBA DFS scoring.

On DraftKings, Westbrook is the sixth highest player on the board by optimal lineup rate with a 16.3% in the category. He is priced at $10,400 on the site, which cuts his boom score probability to 27.1%, still good for the ninth-highest number at any position and the top mark among all guards. Westbrook has a 51.5-point projection that will only climb if Davis sits. Westbrook’s projected 16.1% popularity is almost directly in line with his optimal rate, but the raw upside is terrific and worth rostering. If Davis sits, Westbrook becomes a fundamental piece of NBA DFS lineup construction tonight.

With an absurdly low price of just $9,400 and multi-position eligibility between both guard spots on FanDuel, Westbrook stands as one of the top plays on the slate even before any news about Davis. He has a 27.7% optimal lineup appearance rate that is the third-highest on the board and the highest mark among eligible guards at either position. Westbrook has a 47.4 point projection with a 30.9% boom score probability. He will be popular with 31.2% of the field projected to be on the play, a number that will climb quickly if Davis sits. Still, the overall ceiling and frequency with which he comes up in the optimal lineup seem to justify getting at least to the field’s projected ownership, and likely well beyond, despite a -3.5 leverage score. Westbrook’s star power is likely to have a slate-changing impact on the slate in the last game of the night.


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

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 Awesemo.com. 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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