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NBA DFS Optimizer Picks Tonight for DraftKings & FanDuel Lineups Dennis Schroder | Wednesday 1/12/22

Terry McBride



The nine-game midweek Wednesday slate of NBA DFS action features a compelling list of games, including three contests totaled in the 230s. There should be an abundance of fantasy point scoring options available at a variety of price tiers on this slate. Things will not be nearly as tight as last night’s slate. Today’s action returns more to recent form with several extreme values topping the board by optimal appearance rate. There is a very strong mid-range, though some of the better players have been priced up to what could more fairly be called the bottom of the upper tier. Getting to a fair mix of those mid-range talents or a stars and scrubs approach is a difficult decision, there are lineup constructions that come together toward similar totals via different paths, focusing on upside and leverage on a slate such as this is paramount.

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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, 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.

Bonus Pick Update: Miami Heat Guards

With the Primo pick below no longer looking so primo, it’s worth a moment to review the updated board for replacement guard value. While not quite falling to the same prices at which we were getting Primo shares before the Spurs news, the Miami Heat offer interesting quality from site to site. The original thought was to feature Caleb Martin in this update, but Tyler Herro looks like an excellent leverage play on the DraftKings slate and is worthy of inclusion. On FanDuel, Herro is a frequently optimal player who is drawing appropriate attention because he is priced down at $6,500 with eligibility between shooting guard and small forward. On DraftKings, Herro is priced way up to $7,800 with eligibility at either guard spot. That price pushes his optimal lineup rate to 9.7% but he has a strong boom score probability of 20.4% and a 37.8-point median projection with only 3.3% of the DraftKings field getting to the play. Herro can be rostered as a chalky mid-range play on FanDuel and he is an excellent leverage piece to help get different on DraftKings.

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Martin comes in as a quality piece on both sites. He is drawing an 11.7% optimal lineup rate on FanDuel and a 16.4% mark on the DraftKings slate, where he costs just $4,400 at shooting guard or small forward. With the same positional eligibility for $5,200 on the FanDuel slate, the 0.81 fantasy point per minute performer has a 16.7% boom score probability and a 25.9-point FanDuel projection. He lands at a 5.4 leverage score, merely 6.3% of the field projected to include Martin in their lineups, making him an excellent play on the blue site. On DraftKings, Martin is a featured value piece with a 27.8% boom score probability for his reduced price and excellent flexibility across five lineup slots. Martin is projected for just 11.2% ownership, leaving him with a 5.2 leverage score that stands as the fourth-highest on the entire DraftKings slate, he is easy to include in a roster when not paying up to differentiate even further with Herro.

It should be noted that Kyle Lowry is projected to be over-owned on both sites. Lowry comes in at a 13.7% optimal rate against 25.3% ownership on FanDuel and he is 10.5% optimal against 17.3% popularity on DraftKings. Lowry is fine for raw scoring potential, but the field is treating him like a much stronger option than he is on tonight’s slate. Neither Duncan Robinson nor Max Strus project to be particularly relevant at the guard spot tonight. Robinson is projected for 28 minutes but he comes in under 2.5% optimal on both sites, while Strus grades out even worse against his 24.5-minute projection.

Joshua Primo: DraftKings — $4,000 — SG/SF | FanDuel –$3,800 — SG

Note: While this article was being written, three Spurs players were added to Awesemo’s projections, changing the nature of Primo’s value entirely. All three players, Devin Vassell, Derrick White, and Keldon Johnson, need an additional negative COVID test prior to the game to even be eligible, and conditioning could be a factor, but they stand a chance to play and would make things dramatically different for Primo, who loses all value in the most recent run of projections and tools. While this was not originally a strong endorsement of the Primo play anyway – preferring other values and pushing attention toward Dejounte Murray as a pay-up option – this is now a bad play that should not be considered if those players are available. If news trends in Primo’s favor, everything below will once again become valid.

With several key Spurs rotation players still on the health and safety list, it appears that Joshua Primo will be in the starting lineup for San Antonio once again this evening. Primo has been a solid value piece on the front side of recent slates, but he has come up empty several times as well, making him an interesting player when he comes at negative leverage. Primo has posted just 0.77 fantasy points per minute on 15.5% usage across all situations this season, but he has taken a step back in 30.7 minutes per game over the past three, with just a 0.63 fantasy points per minute rate. Primo has a 51.8% true shooting percentage with a 12.1% assist share and 5.4% rebounding rate. His negative leverage mark comes at very heavy raw ownership projections as well, it becomes difficult to trust his overall upside given the scoring rate and continued public attention. Contrary to the Primo position, Spurs teammate Dejounte Murray is the top option by optimal lineup appearance rate on both sites and he comes at strong positive leverage marks once again. Murray is at a $10,200 salary as a multi-position guard on FanDuel and he is a $9,700 DraftKings option. He was somewhat disappointing at the high prices in the team’s most recent game, putting up 42.3 FanDuel points in 30 minutes of action. With a lot of leash in a highly totaled game, Murray is the far better play from this group, Primo is over-exposed on both sites, particularly when compared to Murray, but his value can be salvaged, and he has upside compared to more egregiously over-exposed teammates.

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Primo is projected for a 31-minute night, pushing him to a 27.7% optimal lineup appearance rate on the FanDuel slate tonight. The Spurs shooting guard is a $3,800 option on the blue site, but he lacks positional flexibility. Getting to shares of Primo is easy regardless. He comes up very frequently in unaltered top-of-the-deck constructions in optimizers, as do three other Spurs with great frequency. Primo has a -8.2 leverage score on FanDuel. He is projected for a 35.9% popularity rate that can be of concern despite the third-highest optimal lineup rate on the board. Primo needs to produce at a greater pace than he has been to pay off even this cheap salary. He helps pay for significant upgrades at other positions, but offsetting his ownership and differentiating plays elsewhere is key to utilizing him, which could push lineups in a downward trajectory, depending on the sacrifice of fantasy upside required to lower that ownership. Primo has an excellent 45.5% boom score probability on the blue site. He can be rostered aggressively, but coming up short of the field’s mark is viable. The consideration seems to be either stopping well short or getting well over, rostering Primo simply alongside the field does not seem to provide the necessary edge.

On DraftKings, Primo lands as a $4,000 option between shooting guard and small forward. He is a better play on this site despite the higher price. The multi-position eligibility is helpful in lineup construction and extends Primo’s value beyond his salary-based expectations. His pricing is slightly decreasing his projected ownership, Primo is slated for 26.3% popularity on the DraftKings slate, and he lands in the optimal lineup in 22% of simulations. Those are playable ranges, Primo can be rostered at or beyond the field on DraftKings, with a hope for more than the 26.5-point median projection for which Awesemo has him slated. The 41.6% boom score probability suggests that Primo can get there for NBA DFS gamers tonight.

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Dennis Schroder: DraftKings — $4,800 — PG/SG | FanDuel — $5,300 — PG/SG

Celtics guard Dennis Schroder looks like a standout play across the NBA DFS industry tonight. The dynamic combo guard comes at a fair price on FanDuel and is seemingly at a discount on DraftKings. Schroder puts up a 0.86 fantasy points per minute rate across all situations, playing 31.6 minutes a night. In his three most recent games, Schroder has seen minutes dip back into the low 20s, but he is projected for a 34.9-minute night in the starting lineup tonight. Schroder has a strong 23.5% assist percentage to pair with his 53.4% true shooting. He is a good option who is getting overlooked on this slate, but his upside is greater on DraftKings where his price is simply incorrect.

At just $4,800, Schroder will have plenty of time to deliver value even in a somewhat standard ho-hum outing. The guard is carrying a 19.4% optimal lineup appearance rate that ranks him fifth overall on the DraftKings slate tonight. He ranks second among eligible point guard and third among eligible shooting guards on the site, and he is the second-most highly projected of the group at the top, excluding Dejounte Murray, in terms of median projection. Schroder is projected for 29.3 DraftKings points, and he has a targetable 38.1% boom score probability that stands out against merely 12.3% ownership. With a 7.1 leverage score and probability marks like he is receiving in this spot, Schroder seems like a no-brainer for the discounted salary, including him in many more lineups than the public seems advisable at this point in the day.

The play is less exciting on FanDuel, where Schroder costs $5,300 at either guard spot. He retains value, however, given a fair positive leverage score of 3.7 and a boom score probability of 23.2%. Schroder is projected for a 28.1-point median scoring night on the blue site. He has upside for more than that, but the public is not getting to the play with any frequency. The Celtics guard is projected for merely 5.8% ownership on the site, helping to allay any concerns about his 9.5% optimal lineup appearance rate when including him in rosters. Schroder is not a player for whom one should go out of their way in roster construction, but when landing with $5,300 and an open guard spot remaining, he is a quality choice that not much of the competition is making, putting him firmly in play for GPPs.

Chuma Okeke: DraftKings — $4,600 — SF/PF | FanDuel — $5,500 — PF

Note: While this article was being written, Okeke’s ownership projection jumped significantly. He is no longer the leverage leader, but he remains a positively leveraged quality play across the industry. Refer to boom/bust tool updates for current metrics.

The Orlando Magic have easily been the most rostered bad basketball team in NBA DFS this season. The Magic simply present compelling options in different forms night after night, based on a chaotic number of injuries and rotation changes, as well as the typical COVID chaos that has been seen across the league. Okeke has seen increased minutes since his return three games ago, first playing 21, then 26, and in the most recent outing reaching all the way to 34. Okeke is expected to start for the Magic tonight, and Awesemo has him projected for a 33.3-minute night, giving him opportunity to deliver at his typical 0.83 per-minute rate. Okeke comes at positive leverage despite a strong optimal lineup rate across the industry this evening. He looks like a strong option unless news changes his situational outlook.

On FanDuel, Okeke lands as the 22nd most frequently optimal player at 12.2% for $5,500 in the power forward position. Okeke suffers slightly from a lack of positional flexibility, but he ranks seventh overall at his position, landing behind superstar LeBron James and several other more expensive options. The only comparable player on his price tier at the position is Harrison Barnes, who is drawing a 26.1% ownership projection with a 15.3% optimal lineup rate. Okeke, by comparison, has a 0.8% ownership projection with his optimal lineup rate that sits only two points back. Okeke is a clear option for differentiation purposes, and he is in no way lacking for upside, given an 18.6% boom score probability and a 27.9-point median projection. This is a quality puzzle piece on the blue site tonight.

Okeke also looks good on DraftKings, where he can be rostered at either forward position for just $4,600. That salary and flexibility push his optimal lineup appearance rate to 16.3% with a 27.8-point median projection and an excellent 34.6% boom score probability. By boom score, Okeke ranks ninth on the entire DraftKings slate, but second at power forward, behind only Atlanta value player Onyeka Okongwu, who comes in with a 57.6% mark as one of the top overall value options on the site tonight. Okeke slips in immediately behind him at the position and they can be rostered as a pair of bigs, with Okeke providing excellent ownership deflation opportunities. The Magic forward has just a 4.9% popularity projection and a slate-leading 11.4 leverage score on the site, outpacing Boston’s Al Horford by three full points.

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