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NBA DFS Optimizer Picks Tonight for DraftKings & FanDuel Lineups Anthony Edwards | Wednesday 3/30/22

Terry McBride



The massive 11-game Wednesday NBA slate starts with a sprint from 7 to 8 ET that will see eight games tip within an hour of the start of the slate. The ninth game begins at 8:30 and the final two contests start at 10 ET, creating an interesting situation where the field may be far more in touch with late swapping opportunities in the frantic first hour while leaving shares on the table in the later games. There are numerous known unknowns already on this slate, including in the late games, and this time of year is all about unknown unknowns wreaking havoc on early afternoon NBA DFS plans, so paying attention to the news and any emergent value, particularly from the later games, will have significant value tonight.

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The slate includes just two games that are totaled above the 230-point line. The Nuggets are in Indianapolis to take on the Pacers in a game with a slate-leading 236-point game total but also some blowout risk, the visitors and their superstar center are favored by 10. The second premium source of NBA points on the Vegas board is the matchup between the Grizzlies and Spurs that features numerous options from every price tier, a 234.5-point total and a more reasonable spread that sees Memphis favored by 5. The slate bottoms out with the Eastern Conference fistfight between the Heat and Celtics scheduled to take place in Boston. That game is carrying just a 213-point total, with the limping Celtics still favored by 5.5, but that spread may change if either of currently questionable Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown sit out. The Mavericks – Cavaliers and Magic – Wizards games are both also totaled slightly below the 220-point mark, while every other game on the slate lands in the 220s. Targeting the 229.5-point totals in both the Kings – Rockets and the Hawks – Thunder games is the top angle to take into those surplus contests, both games offer a wide range of scoring potential from stars as well as excellent value-based options. With a ridiculous wealth of options, it is easy to find under-appreciated upside plays on tonight’s slate, threading them together to form a high-upside lineup that has a low probability of duplication in NBA DFS tournaments.

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 11 games on the slate, this article will focus on the top probability plays that also offer leverage on the NBA DFS 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.

NBA DFS Optimizer Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel Lineups

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 optimizer 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.

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Luka Doncic: DK $12,000 — PG | FD $10,400 — PG/SG

At 1.48 fantasy points per minute across all situations this season, Mavericks star Luka Doncic has created fantasy points at the second-highest rate among all players on tonight’s slate. Doncic is only outpaced by Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic, who checks in at a massive 1.74 per-minute rate that is rivaled only by Giannis Antetokounmpo, who does not play today. With Jokic topping the salary list at $12,400 on DraftKings and $11,400 on the singular center FanDuel slate, Doncic stands as the better pay-up option by Awesemo’s probability metrics. The Mavericks’ guard has an outstanding 45.5% assist rate to go with his solid 56.5% true shooting percentage and underrated 12.8% rebounding rate. Doncic is an excellent multi-category contributor, he adds 1.7 stocks per 36 to provide a thin layer of padding to his excellent fantasy production. Doncic has produced a massive 1.67 fantasy points per minute over the team’s three most recent games, posting a 68.4-point FanDuel outing in just 30 minutes in the team’s most recent game. For those who enjoy recency bias, the top three per-minute performers for the season on tonight’s slate produced a collective 200.6 FanDuel points in their most recent individual games. In addition to the 68.4 that Doncic posted, Jokic turned in a 67.3 in 35 minutes, and Spurs guard Dejounte Murray worked his way to a 64.9 in 38 minutes. All three stars are viable for strong median projections and similar upside to 60 fantasy points and beyond on tonight’s slate.

As the most frequently optimal player at any position on the DraftKings slate, Doncic is an easy first click in a preponderance of lineup combinations for the site. His 21.8% optimal lineup appearance rate outpaces the field by nearly 7 percentage points, with Harrison Barnes landing second as a $5,900 multi-positional forward who lands in the optimal lineup 14.9% of the time at a -9.2 leverage score. The midrange Kings player is fine to include in lineups, but he is not likely to be a difference-maker in winning an NBA DFS tournament, where Doncic and his staggering 5.7 leverage score most certainly could. The Mavericks star is dramatically under-owned by the field, despite leading the way by optimal lineup rate, Doncic is in just 16.1% of the public’s lineups. He is projected for a 62.1-point median score and carries a slate-leading 36.46% boom score probability. At that rate of hitting his salary-adjusted required ceiling score, Doncic stands as by far the top upside option among the stars. Jokic checks in with a still-good 23.99% boom score mark against his higher salary and lower median projection, while Murray is projected for nearly 10 fewer raw fantasy points and has a boom score probability of just 18.23% on the site. Among the remaining top-10 players by salary, only Trae Young and Karl-Anthony Towns have boom score probabilities above 20%. Doncic is the clear top pay-up option on the DraftKings slate, but the public is not reaching for him with the same outlook, getting to additional shares is strongly advised.

The same is true on the FanDuel slate, where Doncic comes at a much cheaper price against a much higher salary cap. The outstanding guard is the slate leader by 17.5 percentage points of optimal lineup appearance rate. Doncic lands in the top lineup in 38% of Awesemo’s simulated slates, while Alperen Sengun is the only other player above a 20% optimal rate on the blue site tonight. For $400 less at the same position, Hawks star Trae Young lands in the optimal lineup in just 18.2% of simulated slates, though he will be owned at just a 23.8% rate compared to the whopping 41.1% rate at which the public is including Doncic on FanDuel. At such a discount it is easy to include Doncic in most FanDuel builds, particularly with his multi-guard eligibility. The flexibility of positioning allows Doncic to be paired with most of the other top plays at either guard spot. The 56.66-point median projection and 49.53% boom score probability that Doncic has on FanDuel are well worth the weight of public popularity, Doncic has just a -3.1 leverage score on the slate. While that is not ideal, it is not a number from which gamers should be running either. Luka Doncic is simply too strong a performer for this price, he should be rostered aggressively on the FanDuel slate tonight.

Pascal Siakam: DK $9,600 — PF/C | FD $9,500 — PF

With 11 games on the slate, there is a significant plateau of probability on a wide range of players tonight. This allows gamers the ability to shop the slate for values from either a salary or leverage perspective while maintaining similar ranges of potential outcomes. The natural outcome of large slates is that quality players in good situations will go under-owned by the field, simply by virtue of entry count limitations. One such option on both sites tonight is Toronto big man Pascal Siakam. At a mid-$9,000s price on both sites, Siakam is in no way inexpensive, but he provides a reasonable chance at a required ceiling score, strong median projections and a targetable lack of popularity across the industry. Siakam has averaged 1.14 fantasy points per minute across all situations this season while seeing 37.7 minutes a night. In the team’s three most recent games, the already strong player has spiked to a 1.47 per-minute mark, though that is skewed somewhat by a massive 71.1-point (FanDuel) performance in a 47-minute outing in a game that went to overtime. Siakam is a quality contributor across the board, he has a 56.7% true shooting percentage with a 21.7% assist rate and a 10.9% rebounding percentage and he posts 1.8 stocks per-36. Siakam is a strong target across the NBA DFS industry tonight, the public’s disagreement with that assessment only serves to make him a better play.

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On the FanDuel slate, Siakam lands in the optimal lineup in 14.7% of Awesemo’s simulated slates. While that may pale in comparison to the 38% rate carried by Doncic, it actually ranks 14th among players from every position on the blue site tonight. The slate hits a plateau at third-ranked Anthony Edwards, who lands in the optimal lineup in 19.6% of simulations, and it continues through 34th-ranked C.J. McCollum at 10% optimal. Siakam is eligible at only the power forward position on the FanDuel slate, but he is a prime target at the position, landing sixth by optimal rate with every player above him eligible at more than one position. That flexibility from other options lets Siakam join lineups that include similarly ranked frontcourt players, many of whom are similarly good plays. Siakam has a 20.12% boom score probability that falls behind the same options who are above him by optimal rate, but he claws back significant value as the only positively leveraged player in that group. Siakam is projected for just a 7.7% public popularity rate, far lower than the five players above him by optimal lineup rate. The average ownership projection for that group is above 24%, with three of the players pushing 30% ownership and all of them at negative leverage. Siakam is an excellent option for raw scoring, the potential of hitting a ceiling score and for lineup differentiation, an exceptionally valuable combination of traits that should lead to additional shares in FanDuel NBA DFS lineups.

The DraftKings board functions similarly this evening. Doncic stands above every other option on the slate before things immediately dip to a large plateau. In this case, the plateau begins with Barnes’ mark from above and continues until at least 42nd ranked Goga Bitadze at seven percent optimal. While that rate seems low to include in the discussion, it is only half the rate at which second-ranked Barnes lands in the top lineup, and 15th-ranked Garrison Matthews is the last player to get there even 10% of the time. With the thin probability metrics, it makes sense to scan for quality further down the board than one may normally look, which leads to Siakam who sits in 23rd with a 9.2% optimal lineup appearance rate. Siakam costs $9,600 against the lower salary cap on DraftKings, but he picks up center eligibility and has a strong 45.5-point median projection. Siakam is carrying a 17.9% boom score probability, giving him a reasonably good chance of hitting a salary-adjusted required ceiling score for tournament-winning lineups. He will be significantly under-owned by the public however, Siakam is projected for just 7.7% ownership on this site, giving him a targetable 1.5 leverage score that, while thin, could be difference-making for DraftKings NBA DFS lineups.

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Anthony Edwards: DK $7,300 — SG/SF | FD $6,700 — SF/SG

High-flying exciting second-year man Anthony Edwards checks in at a fair mid-range price on both sites tonight, making him a prime option for a variety of lineup combinations. Edwards is a productive second-year player who has improved his fantasy output slightly from the 1.0 per-minute rate he put up as a rookie. At 1.05 fantasy points per minute on 26.1% usage this season, Edwards is a quality contributor who can occasionally reach over-inflated prices. He has a 55.3% true shooting percentage for the season to go with a 16.8% assist rate and 6.6% rebounding percentage. As those numbers would suggest, Edwards typically relies primarily on NBA scoring for his fantasy point production, he can be a frustrating play as he tends to fluctuate wildly, but a broad range of outcomes plays well in NBA DFS tournaments. In his most recent three games, Edwards has dipped to just 0.89 fantasy points per minute, but he was back to a 1.0 rate in putting up 37 FanDuel points in 37 minutes in his last game. At a reasonable price, the flexible wing finds his way into a large portion of winning lineups in simulations for both sites tonight.

Edwards is the third-most frequently optimal player on DraftKings at 14.1%. The Timberwolves wing has valuable five-position flexibility with his shooting guard and small forward eligibility on the slate and he costs just $7,300. The 38.6-point median projection that Edwards accrues with his expected 37.9 minutes of playing time stands as the top option in his price tier. In fact, Edwards has the highest median projection among all players priced below $8,000 tonight, and he is within 3 fantasy points of most of the players priced through the $9,000 tier. Edwards has a similar upside to players priced upwards of $2,000 more than his cost on this slate, making him an underappreciated asset, which is somewhat reflected in his 26.63% probability of hitting his salary-adjusted required ceiling score. While he may disappoint, Edwards checks in with just an 11.3% ownership projection, leaving him as a solid 2.8 leverage score play on this slate, which only adds to the appeal. Getting beyond the field on shares of Edwards could be a significantly profitable play on the DraftKings slate tonight.

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Very little changes when moving from site to site. Edwards checks in as the third-most frequently optimal player on the FanDuel slate, where he has a bargain-basement price of just $6,700 while maintaining his flexibility between shooting guard and small forward. The field is reaching for Edwards at a more appropriate rate on the blue site, he is projected to be included in 21.8% of public lineups, technically dropping him to a -2.2 leverage score, but that is a non-threatening mark when it is cast against the effectively low raw ownership total. Edwards is carrying a 37.52-point median projection on the FanDuel slate, among players priced at or below $8,000, only Tyrese Haliburton has a larger projection at 39.33 FanDuel points. Both players are solid targets, for $7,600 at either guard position, Haliburton drops into the optimal lineup in 16.4% of simulated slates for similar ownership and slightly negative leverage to where Edwards lands. He is well behind the discounted Timberwolves option with a 30.08% boom score probability, however, Edwards stands tall at a 38.5% chance of bumping his head on the ceiling, the slate’s sixth-highest mark at any position. Anthony Edwards is a premium option that is underpriced and, at worst, efficiently owned by the field. Edwards ranks 36th by salary on the FanDuel slate, but he sits 18th by raw fantasy point projection, third in optimal lineup appearance rate and sixth in the probability of hitting the ceiling. That is the type of player where a little negative leverage is welcome while rostering additional shares.

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