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NBA Optimal Lineups Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel Kyle Lowry | Friday, Dec. 3

Terry McBride



A nine-game night of NBA DFS is on tap to spice up Friday night with several intriguing games on the board. The slate tops out with a 222 total in the game between the Timberwolves and Nets that also carries a -7.5 spread in favor of hometown Brooklyn. Two of the remaining games slip below the 210 mark, with the Heat and Pacers drawing a lowly 206.5 and the Cavaliers – Wizards game landing at a 208.5. The other games on the board fall into the mid-teens, with several close point spreads, putting an intriguing middle ground into the mix on the board in Las Vegas. Getting to a spread of players from contests of all shapes is critical, point totals are not the end-all for targetable NBA DFS plays, particularly when so many premium value plays are available throughout the slate. There are numerous injury situations to deal with once again, though hopefully a player like Giannis Antetokounmpo will not fall out of the player pool with five minutes to spare before lock again this evening.

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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 nine games on the slate, the focus is the top overall plays on the Boom/Bust Tool. 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.

DraftKings & FanDuel NBA DFS Lineup Optimizer Picks Tonight

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.

Cole Anthony: DraftKings — $8,200 — PG | FanDuel — $8,300 — PG/SG

No matter who takes the court from game to game, NBA DFS action simply cannot get away from the Magic this season. Orlando features several reasonable fantasy point producers who are typically underpriced for their role, particularly in the absence of key teammates. In this case, it is Cole Anthony who leaps to the top of the board in his second game back in action. Anthony played a huge 37-minute night in his return, with the Magic missing rookie guard Jalen Suggs, who is out again with a fractured thumb. The two guards essentially swapped NBA DFS roles with this change, though Anthony comes at a far higher price than the mark at which Suggs was getting attention. Firmly entrenched in the upper mid-range of salary, Anthony will have to produce to pay off this play. Anthony has played 17 games this season, averaging 34.2 minutes a night and seeing 25.7% usage across all situations. He has delivered a 55% true shooting percentage with a 28.3% assist share and 9.3% rebounding percentage, totaling 1.11 fantasy points per minute. That mark is well up from the 0.94 that he posted last season, but it still leaves a lot of heavy lifting for the salary on both sites tonight.

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Anthony is the top-ranked player by optimal lineup rate on the DraftKings board. He is an $8,200 option on the site, and he lacks positional flexibility, but he still appears in the top lineup in 22.1% of Awesemo’s simulations. Anthony is projected for a 40.6-point median performance on the site, making him one of the more highly projected players on the whole at 12th-highest overall, though six of the players above him for raw point-scoring also play the point guard spot. Anthony sits seventh highest on the board by boom score probability with a 24.9% rate, but he will be owned by just 20.3% of the field, leaving him at a playable 1.8 leverage score on the site. Getting to Anthony at this price does not seem like a bargain, but his projection carries him to the top of the board in every category, suggesting that he should be somewhat higher priced and certainly more popular. Getting a few additional shares of Anthony in DraftKings builds is a good approach to GPP play this evening.

On the FanDuel slate Anthony does not stand quite as tall, though he picks up shooting guard eligibility. He ranks 11th overall with a 17.7% optimal lineup rate for $8,300 across both guard spots, and he is under-owned at 14%. The 3.7 leverage score plays very well with his 38.2-point median projection, while his 14.8% is the 23rd-highest mark on the board, but in the top 12 at both guard spots. Anthony is more critical on the other side of town, but he can be rostered ahead of the field with strong upside marks and positive leverage.

Check out Anthony’s best NBA player prop bets tonight by reading Adam Strangis’ NBA Picks, Parlays & Player Props article tonight.

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Al Horford: DraftKings — $6,800 — PF/C | FanDuel — $6,300 — PF/C

One of the known knowns for this evening’s injury situation is that Celtics wing Jaylen Brown will be out tonight as he is still gingerly making his way back from injury. With the team resting Brown, several of the players who saw prominent roles in his absence will gain ground for potential fantasy point production on this slate, the least of which is Al Horford, who has seen his price deflate to a value level for the potential upside. Across all situations this season, Horford has provided 1.16 fantasy points per minute on 18.3% usage. In 302 minutes with Brown off the floor this season, Horford’s usage spikes to a 20.2% mark. He contributes a solid 18.2% assist percentage and a 13.8% rebounding rate across all situations. He has several paths to accruing fantasy points and should be considered for fair midrange value pricing.

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The DraftKings slate sees Horford land 26th overall, but ninth among eligible power forwards and 10th among eligible centers with a 10.1% optimal lineup rate. He is a stronger play overall on the blue site, but there is value in those marks on DraftKings, where Horford will be owned at just a 5.5% clip by the public, leaving him with a healthy 4.6 leverage score. Horford is projected for a 31.4-point median score and he has a 14.1% boom score probability on the site. Horford is not a foundational go-to piece on this slate, but he should be a big presence in the rotation of positively leveraged big men through both the power forward and center spot on this site tonight.

The Horford play looks stronger on FanDuel, where he fits in at both power forward and center for a low $6,300 price tag against a higher cap. This thrusts Horford upward on the board, giving him a 19.2% optimal lineup rate on the site. He ranks sixth overall at that rate, and second among both power forwards and centers, falling in behind only fellow resurgent big man, LaMarcus Aldridge. Pairing the two ancient ones in the frontcourt seems like a sturdy play on the blue site, they are the top two big men available on the board with a litany of wings who can be swapped in and out of various lineup combinations. Horford has a 31.7-point median projection and a 21.8% boom score probability, but he will be owned by 17.1% of the slate, leaving a targetable 2.1 leverage score that outpaces Aldridge’s mark by a wide margin. Given a tie between the two, the leverage would lead more frequently to Horford. The players look very similar otherwise, they are both key pieces to early afternoon builds on the blue site.

Miami Heat

Both Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo are expected to miss Friday night’s game, leaving the remaining Heat rotation pieces with monster marks on the boom/bust board. All three of Tyler Herro, Kyle Lowry and Dewayne Dedmon are drawing significant ownership projections on both DraftKings and FanDuel. The most highly rostered piece is Lowry at 38.8% on the FanDuel slate given a $6,500 salary. At $7,800 on the DraftKings slate, Lowry is the lowest owned of the trio and the only one remotely close to efficient ownership on either site. Lowry sits at a -1.7 leverage score, 11.5% optimal lineup rate, 13.2% ownership projection and 14.2% boom score probability. Across town, Lowry is the most negatively leveraged of the three at -11.0. He has a 27.8% optimal lineup rate at the tiny salary investment, making him one of the foundational pieces despite extreme ownership. Lowry should be rostered at this price and a 33.6-point median projection with a 25.3% boom score probability.

Herro lands at a 25% optimal lineup rate on the FanDuel slate and a 20.6% mark on DraftKings. He is less expensive as a shooting guard or small forward on FanDuel, where he costs just $7,000, DraftKings rosters him at either guard spot for $7,500, after properly anticipating the need to inflate his price tag. Herro averages 0.97 fantasy points per minute on 28.2% usage across all situations this season. He has a chance to see both marks climb significantly as one of the focal points in this offense tonight. Herro has a 22.4% boom score probability on FanDuel and a 27.4% mark on DraftKings. He will be negatively leveraged on both sites, with a -10.6 mark on the latter and a -7.9 on the blue site. Herro can be rostered in the same lineup as Lowry for the low pricing, though grouping them off to not come up as frequently that way is likely a smart approach for building a full slate of entries.

Dedmon is the most negatively leveraged Heat player on DraftKings, where he costs just $4,800 at the center spot. He is a $5,500 center-only option on FanDuel, which has only one shot at the position, and he comes up as just a 13.2% optimal play as compared to his 20.4% mark across town. The FanDuel public is still rostering Dedmon aggressively, however, getting to him at a 20.2% rate, which leaves him at a -7.0 leverage mark. That is a better look than his -13.3 on DraftKings on the surface, but at a much lower price and a far better optimal lineup rate, Dedmon looks more playable on that site in spite of the negative leverage mark.

Dedmon is showing up as one of the best value plays on the slate, which Zach Brunner wrote about in his NBA DFS Picks, Grades & Value article.

Other Heat players can contribute interesting value as mix and match pieces from inexpensive salary points. Sharpshooting Duncan Robinson has produced just 0.68 fantasy points per minute on uncharacteristic 49% true shooting this season. He comes up just 3.5% optimal on FanDuel but lands at a 9.7% rate on the DraftKings slate tonight. Caleb Martin is priced at $3,700 at both shooting guard and small forward on DraftKings, while landing at $4,200 on the FanDuel slate against a 24.6-minute projection. Martin has viable upside, though both his boom score and optimal lineup rate are below 10% on both sites. Max Strus could see upside for his price that comes in under $4,000 on both sites, and those rostering P.J. Tucker for his 30-minute projection at 0.63 fantasy points per minute will be one of the brave few to do so.

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

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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