Tuesday’s interesting NBA DFS slate sets itself apart from recent contests of the last few weeks because it appears that salaries will actually matter for a change. The absurd availability of extreme value plays on every slate for the past month has rendered the game somewhat uninteresting, but with players cycling out of the health and safety protocols, and the site’s pricing remaining value plays appropriately for a change, things are looking up for those who actually relish the opportunity to strategize and calculate. The six-game slate includes three contests totaled in the 220s and none lower than the 213.5 at which the Nuggets – Clippers game falls. The other low total comes in the first game of the night, an ugly contest between the Thunder and Wizards that comes in at a 214.5. With a half-hour between the tip of that game and the next contest on the slate, there will be bonus time for swapping a large number of player shares after the action begins. With a lack of extreme value building blocks on the slate, tonight’s lineup constructions will focus on probability metrics.
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 article will focus on several of the top overall plays from several price points 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
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.
Montrezl Harrell: DraftKings — $4,700 — C | FanDuel –$4,900 – C/PF
Returning from a seven-game COVID-19 absence, backup big man Montrezl Harrell brings his fantasy-friendly skillset to the Wizards bench this evening. Harrell should regain his regular role and he is projected for a 23.3-minute night in Awesemo’s most recent update, a mark that is easy to see him reaching in this contest. Harrell has produced a terrific 1.13 fantasy points per minute across all situations this season, averaging 25.4 minutes per game. Harrell has a 68.8% true shooting percentage, and he contributes across the board with a 14% assist rate and 14.6% rebounding share in his limited action. On a per-minute and per-dollar basis, Harrell appears to be one of the few value plays on the slate. The lone risk in rostering the versatile big man is the potential for a reduced role or limited time following his extended absence, but this seems less likely in the current configuration of the team. Harrell looks like an under-owned standout on both sites tonight. He should be rostered ahead of the field unless projections change as lock draws near.
The FanDuel board shows Harrell as the fifth most frequently optimal player on the slate. In just 23.3 minutes, Harrell is projected for a 27.3-point median FanDuel night and he lands in the optimal lineup 27.5% of the time. That makes him the second most frequently optimal player at each of his eligible positions, namely power forward and center. Harrell falls in behind only Nikola Jokic at the center spot and currently questionable Scottie Barnes at power forward, Barnes can be rostered at small forward and all three players can be played together without doubling a spot if desired. Harrell is projected for just 15.4% popularity on the site, leaving him at a whopping 12.1 in the leverage column. That leaves Harrell as the most under-owned option on the slate when thinking in terms of optimal lineup appearances. He also carries a 28.4% boom score probability on the site, the fourth highest on the slate and second to the same pair of players at both of his positions. Harrell is a strong option for differentiation and quality production but given the playing time projection there may be a lower overall ceiling on his fantasy scoring, fortunately, he is priced cheaply enough that he is still likely to deliver value.
Harrell is a $4,700 center-only option on the DraftKings slate. The positional rigidity and salary cut into his optimal lineup appearance rate when comparing across sites, Harrell lands in the optimal lineup in 18.5% of simulated DraftKings slates. Of course, when focusing only on the site that matters in this evaluation, that rate ranks fifth overall, and second among eligible centers to only Jokic who costs $12,000. For a little more than one-third of the salary, Harrell is projected for a 27.2-point median score and he has a 30.9% boom score probability on the low cost. Harrell is projected for merely 8.4% popularity, and his 10.1 leverage score makes him easily the best option for differentiation from among the top-25 by boom score probability or optimal lineup rate. With a lack of popularity, Harrell makes for a strong option on which to stretch beyond the field, doubling his projected public ownership is a perfectly viable approach to the slate, while still not exposing too many lineups in a 150-entry block to limited performance if Harrell does not make his minutes threshold.
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Anthony Edwards: DraftKings — $7,900 — SG/SF | FanDuel — $8,200 — SF/SG
Timberwolves’ second-year scorer Anthony Edwards has seen his salary bounce up and down with his performance in the first half of the NBA DFS season. Edwards comes in at what looks like a fair, if not appealing, price on both sites tonight. Edwards has been a 1.08 fantasy points per minute player across all situations this season, with upside to far more on his big scoring nights. Over the team’s three most recent games, Edwards has averaged 31.7 minutes while posting 1.39 fantasy points per minute, despite the return of superstar center Karl-Anthony Towns and guard D’Angelo Russell. Edwards is averaging 22.2 real-life points per game on 55.5% true shooting with a 16.7% assist percentage and a 7.3% rebounding rate. Overall, he has improved since last season when he delivered just 1.00 fantasy points per minute on roughly the same usage. In the game with the highest total of the night, there should be plenty of opportunities for the dynamic scorer to get his real-life points; the fantasy version should follow.
On DraftKings, Edwards comes in with a 37.2-point median projection at both the shooting guard and small forward positions for only $7,900. That rate of production has him in the optimal lineup in 15.8% of Awesemo’s simulated slates, the ninth-highest mark on the board. The public ownership projection is not reflecting that rate of probability, however. Edwards is under-owned at just 9.9%, leaving a targetable amount of leverage on his ledger. Edwards has a 17.2% boom score probability that ranks 22nd overall, but only eight percentage points behind the fourth-ranked 25.6% carried by opponent Brandon Ingram. Edwards’ 5.9 leverage score ranks fourth overall on the DraftKings slate. He is the top option for differentiation at the shooting guard spot, second to only Barnes at small forward, where Barnes comes in with a very interesting 10.2 leverage score. The ability to pair the combination of players in lineups is intriguing. Overall, Edwards is one of the top wings available on the DraftKings slate. The public is not getting to him enough and he has clear tournament-winning upside.
Edwards lands 14th from the top by optimal lineup appearance rate on the blue site, coming in with a 17.2%. There are a number of shooting guards and small forward options between Edwards and the very top of the board, but he comes in as a strong target for differentiation, given just a 9.8% popularity projection and a 7.4 leverage score. That rate lands fourth overall on the FanDuel slate, first among shooting guards and second to Barnes among small forwards. The appeal of Edwards comes in his flexibility between both shooting guard and small forward and the fair price for his upside and 36.2-point median projection. He has an 11.6% boom score probability that is not exactly skyscraping but does rank 35th out of 149 projected players. Edwards has the upside to set a tournament score apart when he comes at single-digit ownership, a fair price, and a strong positive leverage score. He warrants additional shares across the industry.
Brandon Ingram: DraftKings — $8,200 — SG/SF | FanDuel — $8,000 — SF
On the opposite side of the same game as Edwards, Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram looks like a strong option for production and probability but comes with heavy popularity across the NBA DFS industry. Ingram and Edwards have produced similar numbers at similar pricing and positioning this season. Ingram has a matching 1.08 fantasy points per minute rate across all situations this year and he has been at a 1.11 rate over the team’s three most recent games, the most recent of which lacked teammate Josh Hart, among others. With the team expected to be closer to full health tonight, Ingram should see his average opportunity in terms of usage, minutes, and role. He is a negatively leveraged option where Edwards is one of the top options for positive leverage, there are clear indicators that an in-game pivot between the two could be advisable, but Ingram is still a strong play for lineup shares.
On FanDuel, Ingram is sixth when sorting by optimal lineup appearance rate, coming in with a 24.8% mark in the category, but he is projected to be far more popular than that probability warrants at an $8,000 price. Ingram has a 36.2% popularity projection, leaving him at a -11.4 leverage score that ranks second-worst overall behind only Cade Cunningham. Ingram is projected for a 38.8-point median score, the 11th-highest raw fantasy scoring projection on the blue site, but only 2.6 fantasy points ahead of the far less popular Edwards. Ingram has a 21.6% boom score probability on the site, outpacing Edwards by a fairly wide margin of around 10 percentage points. This is caused, in part, by the higher raw projection for a lower salary, but it is offset almost entirely by the extreme popularity difference and leverage scores. Ingram looks like a good piece of chalk who should be owned near the field’s mark, but stripping shares away and sending them in Edwards’ direction seems like a solid approach to getting different in lineup constructions.
The leverage situation is less egregious on DraftKings. Ingram comes in with a -2.3 leverage score and just 26.5% popularity on the site. He lands in the optimal lineup in 24.2% of simulated slates, the second-highest mark on the board behind only Jokic. Ingram’s probability marker on this site outpaces the degree to which we should be concerned about his minor negative leverage, but Edwards still makes for a strong direct pivot. On the DraftKings slate, the Pelicans wing slots into the same multi-position eligibility, but he costs $8,200, $300 more than his Timberwolves counterpart. Ingram has a 40.9-point median projection in DraftKings scoring, ninth best on the slate at any position, and 3.7 fantasy points ahead of Edwards’ median mark. He outpaces Edwards by about eight percentage points in boom score probability, landing fifth best on the slate at a 25.6% rate of hitting a ceiling score. Ingram is a better option on DraftKings. He is at a more playable leverage number and lower raw ownership than on the blue site, and he can be rostered at or ahead of the field’s rate. Edwards remains a valid pivot who should be considered. He can also be used in conjunction with Ingram, taking both sides of the highest-scoring game of the night.
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Check out our NBA fantasy rankings today for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own DFS NBA projections. We also have FanDuel rankings, Yahoo! NBA ownership rankings and DraftKings NBA ownership rankings for today's slate. Looking for more DraftKings DFS NBA and the best free NBA DFS tools? View our DraftKings ownership, our FanDuel ownership and our Yahoo! ownership projections. Our DFS basketball projections are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks.
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