Monday offers a strong set of NBA DFS contests across the industry, with no competition from the gridiron this week. The slate features seven games, including a Bucks vs Hornets game totaled at a whopping 236, and three other contests totaled in the 220s. The game between the 76ers and Rockets comes in at a 227.5 total and the Nets vs Trail Blazers game ends the night with a 228 total on the board. The slate is once again loaded with extreme upside plays from the value range, and the teams on the schedule offer a wide range of stars at a variety of positions and price points.
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 seven 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.
Dejounte Murray: DraftKings — $9,700 — PG | FanDuel –$10,400 — PG/SG
There has been just no slowing the Dejounte Murray breakout this season. Murray began the season somewhere in the $7,000 price range and he is now frequently totaled around or above $10,000. The salary has been warranted, Murray is putting up fantasy points at a 1.36 per-minute rate this season, a massive leap from the 1.11 he posted last year. That excellent production comes in multiple categories, Murray has a 37% assist percentage and a respectable 11.3% rebounding share. The point guard is tied with LaMelo Ball for fourth by per-minute production. If we ignore the 1.68 posted by Devontae Cacok in his ludicrously small sample of five games and 6.2 minutes per game, Murray and Ball would land third behind only Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo on this slate. That Murray produces the fantasy point production he does despite a 49.5% true shooting percentage that ranks him 130th out of 170 players projected on this slate is simply astounding. The Spurs point guard is under-owned across the industry and he is worth getting to tonight.
On the FanDuel slate, Murray is the 11th most frequently optimal player at any position, and he slots in at either guard spot for $10,400. The inflated price is not slowing his projected production, but it does serve to keep the public at bay to a good degree. Murray comes in as one of the most positively leveraged plays on the slate with a 7.6, he is projected for just 11.7% public ownership despite a 49.3-point median projection on the blue site. Murray lands in the optimal lineup in 19.3% of simulated slates and is one of just three positively leveraged plays in the top-11 by optimal lineup rate, joining Ball and Kemba Walker, who remains questionable tonight. As one of the few positively leveraged and frequently optimal players available, Murray deserves more attention than the public is affording him, making him an excellent piece as a pay-up for differentiation option in FanDuel NBA DFS lineups.
At a lower price but without shooting guard eligibility, Murray leaps to an excellent 27.1% optimal lineup appearance rate in Awesemo’s simulated DraftKings slates. The point guard is the top option at his position, landing more than six percentage points ahead of the inexpensive Mike Conley. Murray has a 50.7-point median DraftKings projection, the third highest on the slate. He is also the least expensive option in the top-5 by median projection, landing $800 less than fellow point guard James Harden, who is projected for a 46.9-point median night. Murray has an excellent 36.5% boom score probability that outpaces most of the surrounding options on the top shelf. By comparison, Harden has just a 13.3% boom score probability. Even Embiid and Antetokounmpo, who are projected at 54.7 and 59.3 respectively, land at a 31.2% and 31.6% boom score probabilities. Murray is a top option, but he is not getting the love from the field, despite landing in 27.1% of optimal lineups, the Spurs point guard is pulling down a mere 16.5% ownership projection on this slate. That makes Murray the top leverage option on the DraftKings slate with a 10.6 in the category. Ball comes in with a 5.9 leverage score as a $9,300 play at either guard spot. Every other player in the top-20 by leverage score is priced below $7,800, with an average salary of $5,100, revealing the nature of the pay-up to get different options that both guards provide on the DraftKings NBA DFS slate tonight.
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Garrison Matthews: DraftKings — $3,900 — SF | FanDuel — $4,200 — SF
Rockets forward Garrison Matthews makes for an interesting piece across the industry this evening. The under-owned option has been a fixture in the Rockets rotation, coming off the bench to average 28 minutes a game over the team’s four most recent outings. Matthews is projected for another 30.2 minutes tonight, he posted just a 26.6-point FanDuel game in 31 minutes the last time out and has averaged just 0.63 per minute over the team’s last three games, but his probability marks are far outpacing his ownership projections tonight. Matthews is a 0.70 per-minute producer across all situations this season, but he is a limited contributor who needs to score real points to produce, Matthews has just a 3.8% assist rate and 6.1% rebounding percentage.
On FanDuel, Matthews lands with a 10.2% optimal lineup appearance rate, ranking him 34th overall at any position and 14th among eligible small forwards. That list includes teammate Kenyon Martin Jr. who is also a positively leveraged play at the position, but one who costs slightly more. Matthews comes in with just a 21.8-point median projection but a 14.9% boom score probability against the low price tag. The boom score mark lands ninth among eligible small forwards, a group among which Matthews’ 8.4 leverage score stands out for quality. The small forward is projected for a mere 1.8% ownership in the mid-afternoon update, even if the field’s attention doubles from this point it would be easy to get well ahead of the curve without overexposing a pool of lineups to Matthews’ downside. While he is not the blazing neon “play me” sign on the board today, Matthews could provide sneaky value at such a low ownership mark, potentially differentiating a lineup while providing added funds to pay for strength at other positions.
On the DraftKings slate, Matthews’ price drops to just $3,900, pushing him upward in the probability metrics. On this site, Matthews lands 13th overall with a 15.7% optimal lineup appearance rate in Awesemo’s simulated slates. The small forward has a 22.8-point median projection on the site, he remains a low-end producer in most situations, but there is room toward a ceiling score on the site. Despite his slow rate of production, Matthews is forecast for a 23.1% boom score probability, 17th from the top among all players on the DraftKings slate. Despite this, Matthews is forecast for only 5.2% popularity, leaving him with an extremely targetable 10.5 leverage score, the second-best mark on the board. Matthews is an unexciting but extremely appealing option for DraftKings NBA DFS lineups tonight.
Hassan Whiteside: DraftKings — $5,200 — C | FanDuel — $5,300 — C
Once again projected for a solid number of minutes filling in for the Jazz, center Hassan Whiteside comes in as an extremely popular but also highly probable option on both sites. Whiteside’s popularity is the lone concern in making the play once again tonight. He has a 26.4-minute projection that should be more than enough time for him to do damage, given the 1.25 per-minute rate at which he has produced across all situations this year. Of course, Whiteside has struggled while in the NBA DFS spotlight in recent games, posting just a 0.69 per-minute mark over the team’s last three games while playing 27.5 minutes a night. In 25 minutes the last time out, Whiteside put up just 16.6 FanDuel points. This lack of delivery has done very little to prevent the public from shipping the Whiteside shares once again today, he is the second-most popular option on FanDuel and easily the most rostered on DraftKings.
On the blue site, Whiteside is forecast for 42.3% popularity, a big number for a player who slots in at only the singular center position. Whiteside is projected for a 36-point median score on FanDuel, this would be an excellent mark for the money, and he has a slate-leading 59.2% boom score probability against the highly affordable price tag. The center lands in the optimal lineup in 33.8% of simulated FanDuel slates tonight, the second-highest rate on the board, but that falls in behind his popularity, leaving Whiteside with a -8.5 leverage score. He is playable at that level, but it does rank seventh from the bottom by leverage, in company with Nassir Little, who is the most negatively leveraged player at 13.6; fellow center and most frequently optimal option at any position, Bobby Portis at -12.8; and superstar James Harden, who is at a -8.9. Getting separation between Whiteside and other options from the list of extremely negatively leveraged plays will be important when using him, considering an undercut to the field via the utilization of positional flexibility on other highly probable options is another path to constructions tonight. Whiteside is a very interesting inflection point. His production seems likely to decide things on the blue site.
The situation is similar on DraftKings. Whiteside is projected for a 35-point median night and he costs $5,200 at the center spot. The big man has a 55.3% boom score probability that stands atop the entire slate, but he is also the leading option by public popularity projections. With 41.6% of the slate projected to include Whiteside in their lineups, he becomes a major decision point on this site as well. That rate of ownership outpaces the excellent 33% optimal lineup appearance rate that the Jazz big man is carrying, leaving him at a -8.6 leverage score. With fellow center Jusuf Nurkic landing as the second-most frequently optimal player at any position on the DraftKings slate, but also as a negatively leveraged 35.3% owned option, there are pivots available to both, but they are far less likely to succeed. Adding Portis and Antetokounmpo to the mix accounts for 118% of the ownership available between center, utility, and power forward, leaving most of the other options at the center spot as differentiation plays on the slate. Still, the frequency with which Whiteside is in the optimal lineup probably outpaces the need to get different, this seems likely to be good chalk, assuming the production catches up to expectation.
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We also have Yahoo! NBA rankings, DraftKings NBA ownership rankings and FanDuel rankings for today's slate. Looking for more NBA DFS lineups and the best NBA DFS picks today? Check out our daily fantasy rankings NBA for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own NBA DFS projections tonight. View our DraftKings ownership, our FanDuel ownership projections and our Yahoo! ownership projections. Our NBA DFS projections today are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks.
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