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NBA Optimal Lineups Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel Luka Doncic | Thursday, Oct. 28

Terry McBride



An exciting six-game slate of NBA DFS action is taking shape for Thursday night. The evening’s highest total lands at 229 in the last contest of the night, a game between the Warriors and Grizzlies that seems likely to swing GPP slates industrywide. The remaining five games on the slate are carrying lower totals but two of them have close point spreads and the others feature a solid list of star-caliber players at a variety of positions to mix and match.

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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 six games on the slate, this will be a more leverage-focused look into today’s lineup construction options. As always, the goal is to find under-appreciated players 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. 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, and bad chalk and shaky investments will be discussed in this space, so be sure to read the analysis and not just the headlines.

Montrezl Harrell: DraftKings — $5,300 — C | FanDuel — $5,600 — PF/C

With a standout boom score on both sites, Montrezl Harrell looks on the surface like a foundational piece of lineup building, but that may not be the best conclusion to draw from tonight’s boom/bust board. Harrell has been a feature piece for the Wizards so far this season, averaging 29.9 minutes a night and seeing 18.7% usage. He has maintained the 1.12 fantasy points per minute that he posted on 21.1% usage in a more limited 22.9 minute per game role last season with the Lakers. Harrell has contributed a 30.1% rebounding rate and an 11.1% assist percentage while averaging 17.8 points and 1.6 stocks in the small sample with Washington this year. While he has maintained the same per-minute scoring rate, the sites have yet to adjust for his increased time on the court, leaving Harrell’s price short across the industry and creating his massively inflated boom score marks. The issue with the play comes in when we examine his ownership and optimal lineup rates on both sites.

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Update: Harrell’s optimal lineup rate has been corrected across both sites to accurately reflect the upside that was apparent in his boom score probability. With an extremely high optimal lineup rate and positive leverage across both sites, he is now a fantastic option and the leading foundational piece in roster construction.

Luka Doncic: DraftKings — $11,000 — PG/SF | FanDuel — $10,700 — PG/SG

One of the most fun players to roster in fantasy basketball looks to be a great pick for NBA DFS contests of all types across the industry tonight. Luka Doncic is both the highest-priced and most frequently optimal player on the DraftKings slate tonight, and he is close to pulling that same trick off on the FanDuel slate. In either instance, Doncic is a slam-dunk play tonight. The Mavericks announced that Kristaps Porzingis will be out for the night with back pain, thrusting Doncic further into focus. He is averaging 1.39 fantasy points per minute on 32.9% usage so far this season. He was a 1.47 fantasy points per minute player on 35% usage last year; in 49 minutes without Porzingis on the floor this season, Doncic has seen 36.4% usage. He has a 31.2% rebounding percentage and a 56.5% assist share in addition to his excellent scoring ability.

On DraftKings, Doncic comes in with a hefty $11,000 price but still leads all players with a 27% optimal lineup appearance rate on the site. Doncic has multi-position eligibility between point guard and small forward, meaning he can be included in five different positions in a lineup, giving him exceptional flexibility for differentiated constructions. He stands out with a 59.1 median projection and a 51.1% boom score probability, but he is projected for just 24.6% popularity, which leaves him with a slight bit of positive leverage on the slate as an added bonus for those willing to pay up to get him. Doncic is a strong option despite the inflated price tag.

With a $10,700 salary and eligibility at both guard spots, Doncic comes up as a strong play on the blue site as well. FanDuel does not have the robust flexibility that DraftKings offers positionally, but the added positional options make Doncic a frequently optimal play on this site as well. Doncic ranks fourth among all players with a 31% optimal lineup appearance rate. That mark sits third among eligible point guards, behind Stephen Curry and Kevin Porter Jr., but it is tops among shooting guard options. Doncic has a 37.3% boom score probability against a 54.6 median projection. His leverage score sits at just -0.4, making him popular but playable. Rostering him beyond the field’s number is relatively easy and recommended given the frequency with which he comes up optimal on this six-game slate.

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Kevin Porter Jr.: DraftKings — $6,700 — PG | FanDuel — $5,900 — SF/PG

The Rockets are a bad basketball team, and they will be facing a good basketball team tonight in the Utah Jazz, a team that Las Vegas has favored by 9.5 as of the mid-afternoon. With a stout defense against them and an unlikely path to victory, the Rockets will have a lot of work ahead of them, with one of the leading candidates for volume coming in at a strong price across the NBA DFS industry. Kevin Porter Jr. has seen popularity in each of the Rockets’ four contests this season as one of the focal points of their offense. Porter has posted a 30.9 minute per night average, turning in 0.85 fantasy points per minute on 26.7% usage. Last season he was a 0.94 points per minute player on 24.7% usage, but he had a 40.6% assist share and 13.3% rebounding rate compared to 42.1% and 11% this season. Porter is inexpensive across both sites, and he offers positional flexibility on the FanDuel slate, where he is a stronger play tonight.

On DraftKings, Porter has only point guard eligibility and costs $6,700, which cuts into his overall upside. He is projected for a 32-point night in the site’s scoring but is carrying just a 17% boom score probability. Porter still lands in the optimal lineup in 13.9% of simulated slates, ranking him 16th overall on the site but eighth among eligible point guards. He will be a positively leveraged play with a 4.3 score in the category, seventh best at any position on the site tonight, which adds to his appeal. Porter is not the prime play on DraftKings that he is across town, but he is very much in consideration.

Where Porter comes up as a strong value is on the FanDuel slate. The site is yet to price him up appropriately, leaving his salary at a paltry $5,900 while adding small forward eligibility to make him significantly more valuable across positions. Porter ranks third among all players on the blue site with a 31.5% optimal lineup appearance rate in simulated slates. He is projected for a 30.4 FanDuel point night and is carrying a 21.9% boom score probability that ranks 14th overall and fourth among point guards. Porter has a 4.6 leverage score that is fifth among all players and second to just Dejounte Murray at the point guard spot. Mixing and matching shares of Porter and Murray across three positions is an interesting approach given that both players are frequently optimal and positively leveraged, taking an approach of putting Murray at shooting guard, Porter at small forward, and then rostering two point guards is one way to exploit the site’s new multi-position eligibility and take a different path to lineup construction.

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