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NBA DFS Optimizer Picks Tonight for DraftKings & FanDuel Lineups Donovan Mitchell | Sunday 3/20/22

Terry McBride

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Tonight's NBA DFS picks, DraftKings and FanDuel news, notes & lineups, as well as look at the day's betting picks & player props 4/28/22.

The seven-game Sunday slate tips off at 6 pm ET this week, with three of the games starting before a 90-minute gap until the next tipoff. The three early games are all important targets for NBA DFS lineups, they include a 233-point total between the Pelicans and Hawks, a 224.5-point total between the Thunder and Magic, and a Suns vs Kings game that sees visiting Phoenix favored by nine points. Each of those three games has critical pieces that are currently listed as questionable for tonight. Any or all of Devonte’ GrahamTrae YoungShai Gilgeous-AlexanderJalen SuggsDe’Aaron Fox or Jae Crowder could miss their respective games tonight, creating what should be a chaotic hour or two of action immediately before lock. The Jazz and Knicks are scheduled for a 7:30 ET island game with a 220.5-point total, the Celtics and Nuggets are in a tight contest with Boston favored by just 2.5 on the road in Denver in an 8:00 ET game with a 221.5-point total, and the two 8:30 games come at 226.5 and 219 with a wild range of value plays available across both games based on significant lists of missing pieces. With a ton of value currently on the board and a lot more likely to emerge, there are numerous ways to build lineups that have a chance to be unique, with seven games on the board it pays to focus on probability metrics when building NBA DFS lineups tonight.

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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 seven games on the slate, this article will focus on the top probability plays 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.

Chris Boucher: DK $4,700 — PF | FD $4,900 — C/PF

Productive but enigmatic Toronto big man Chris Boucher has been a wild ride for NBA DFS gamers this season. Boucher sees extremely unpredictable minutes, but he tends to gain ground in the absence of some of his teammates, which is the case this evening. Over the team’s five most recent games, Boucher has averaged 20.2 minutes, playing 17, 22, and 20, but he saw 30 and 12 minutes in the two games immediately preceding that stretch. With a 25-minute projection on deck tonight, Boucher looks like he will be a strong value play at his low salaries industrywide. The ability to lock in his 1.02 per-minute season-long rates would be a coup at his available prices, though he has been just a 0.81 per-minute rate over the past three games, revealing the up and down nature of the play. That rise and fall is what renders Boucher an under-owned player on this slate, he comes with strong positive leverage numbers on both slates tonight and can be targeted aggressively as needed.

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On the FanDuel slate, Boucher’s $4,900 eligibility at power forward and center is extremely appealing at an 11.2 leverage score that leads the slate if the currently questionable Trae Young and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are ignored at the top of the board. If either of those players takes the floor he will likely be closer to efficient ownership, while Boucher seems like a good bet to go under-owned almost regardless of circumstance. The big man has a 25.95-point median projection and his positional flexibility and low cost help him reach the optimal lineup in 11.5% of Awesemo’s simulated slates. That mark seems pedestrian in the overall sense, it sits 35th among players at all positions, but Boucher’s value comes in his near-total lack of ownership. Still, the 19.8% optimal rate that Jayson Tatum holds in eighth overall is not that far afield from Boucher’s mark, despite the canyon between the two in terms of talent. Boucher has a 22.84% boom score probability at his low price, he reaches his required ceiling score at the 14th-best rate among eligible power forwards and centers, but he outpaces the entire field at the positions with his leverage score, the 0.9% projected ownership makes the Toronto big man a terrific tournament target.

On the DraftKings slate, Boucher’s $4,700 salary has a strong value at the power forward spot, but the field is again staying well away from the volatile forward. At the low price, Boucher lands in the optimal lineup in 13.7% of Awesemo’s simulated slates for the site, the 12th-highest mark on the entire board and the fourth-highest ranked power forward in the category. With multi-position among most of the players in the group, and additional roster spots available with the DraftKings lineup configuration, it should be easy to combine Boucher with any of the more frequently optimal big men above him. The forward is carrying just a 2.2% ownership forecast, leaving him at a slate-leading 11.5 leverage score that demands attention. Boucher has a 25.2-point median projection and a 19.71% boom score probability on the DraftKings slate, the fifth-best mark at power forward. All three of Darius Bazley, Wendell Carter Jr. and Pascal Siakam are ahead of Boucher in both categories, with Al Horford joining the group when sorting by boom score probability. The Toronto forward can be rostered aggressively for tournament differentiation and salary-based upside.

Donovan Mitchell: DK $8,800 — SG | FD $8,500 — SG/PG

Big city narratives aside, Utah star Donovan Mitchell just looks like an underpriced star-caliber player in his team’s contest against the Knicks this evening. The Jazz are shorthanded, playing without veteran point guard Mike ConleyBojan Bogdanovic, Danuel House and potentially Trent Forrest, as well as big man Hassan Whiteside, in the Garden this evening. This leaves the remaining rotation players with plenty to do and loads of time in which to do it. Mitchell has a median projection in excess of 40 fantasy points on both sites tonight, he is slated for a 34.7-minute night, which would put him right on his season-long average. Over the course of the full season, Mitchell has been at a 1.22 fantasy points per minute rate on 32.1% usage, though he has slipped to just 1.19 in the small 81-minute sample without this specific group of players on the floor over the full season. In the team’s three most recent games, in reasonably similar situations, Mitchell has posted a 1.32 per-minute rate. Overall, his pricing is simply too low for a player with his scoring acumen and more than 30% usage, who will be in better than his typically featured role. Mitchell is a strong play despite efficient ownership on both sites, the pure potential in his 57.4% true shooting percentage and 26.6% assist rate can be rostered at a fair price across the industry.

Mitchell is an $8,800 shooting guard on the DraftKings slate, where he has a 45.3-point median projection. On projected fantasy points alone, Mitchell is already a top-10 play on the board, landing at the bottom of that group 1.8 fantasy points below ninth-ranked Devin Booker who sits another 0.9 DraftKings points behind Jayson Tatum. By probability metrics, Mitchell compares well to the other available stars. The shooting guard ranks sixth with a 15.9% optimal lineup appearance rate, again sitting him behind Booker, this time by four percentage points of optimal appearance rate. Mitchell’s currently questionable teammate Trent Forrest is the slate’s most frequently optimal player at any position as things currently stand, with him seeing a 30-minute projection. The $3,000 five-position player would be a major source of value if he happens to go, if he does not the numbers on Mitchell should rise somewhat. Either way, the star can be included in lineup combinations of all types for his fair price. Mitchell has a 27.86% boom score probability, giving him clear upside to a salary-adjusted required ceiling score. He will be owned by the public, the 21% popularity outpaces his optimal rate, leaving him as a -5.1 leverage play, but he can be targeted at or around the field’s ownership numbers on this slate.

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FanDuel priced Mitchell lower against the higher salary cap, while also giving him multi-position eligibility. The multi-guard eligibility puts Mitchell even more in play on the blue site. The quality scorer lands in the optimal lineup in 23.1% of Awesemo’s simulated FanDuel slates, the fifth-highest player on the entire slate. That rate lands Mitchell third among shooting guards and second at point guard, with questionable Gilgeous-Alexander atop the board at both positions and inexpensive Warriors shooter Klay Thompson in between at shooting guard. Thompson has a 28.9% optimal lineup rate for his cheap $6,800 price tag. The 38.65-point median projection carried by the Warriors’ comeback kid is an excellent mark for the price, and Thompson can shoot his way through the ceiling on any given slate. The guard will be negatively leveraged at a -4.0 against his 32.9% popularity, joining Mitchell who lands at a -4.8 against his 27.9% popularity. The pair of guards can be rostered in the same lineup despite the negative leverage, but differentiation will need to be accounted for elsewhere in lineup combinations. If there were more positively leveraged guards on the board, the better approach could become to continually separate the two in the majority of lineups, but that does not look like the case this evening. Both Mitchell and Thompson should be rostered aggressively on FanDuel.


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Jaylen Brown: DK $8,000 — SG/SF | FD $7,400 — SF/SG

One source of potential differentiation, at least from a purely low raw ownership perspective, is Celtics wing Jaylen Brown — the Barney to Tatum’s Fred, the Spade to Tatum’s Farley, and the Pippen to his … well, that may be going too far. No matter how one puts it, Brown is the Celtics’ second banana, but he is a strong contributor who tends to be a forgotten man on NBA DFS slates. Typically priced and owned at efficient numbers, Brown tends to fade into the woodwork when evaluating the looks of a slate, as evidenced by his single-digit ownership on one site tonight. The capable contributor has a 1.09 fantasy points per minute rate on 29.7% usage this season, a rate that is down from the 1.15 per-minute mark at which he produced fantasy points last season. With the reduced production has come a decreased cost, Brown comes in with positional flexibility and easy-to-reach numbers across the industry, but he is arguably under-owned on both sites.

Despite technically negative leverage on the FanDuel slate, Brown should probably be more popular at just a $7,400 price tag. He has eligibility at both shooting guard and small forward, giving him strong flexibility across numerous combinations of players, and the slate is including him in lineups just 17.3% of the time. Brown has a high-quality 36.01-point median projection and a solid 20.94% boom score probability. While neither of those rates tops the board, they compare favorably with the numbers of far more popular RJ Barrett at the same positioning and similar cost. Barrett comes in with a 27.1% public popularity projection and an 18.7% optimal lineup rate, leaving him as a much worse leverage play than the -1.5 at which we find Brown. Barrett’s -8.4 mark in the category does not render him unplayable, but at that rate, he does not provide much in the way of differentiation if he cracks the ceiling. Brown’s low raw ownership can help set a lineup apart, even if it technically slips below his 15.8% optimal rate. The Celtics’ wing should be rostered at or around the field at a minimum, extending for additional shares would not be a mistake.

The DraftKings board looks even better for Brown as a leverage play. While he comes in at just a 9.9% optimal lineup appearance rate, the five-position player costs a mere $8,000 on the site while landing at a 2.0 leverage score. It is important to remember that Mitchell’s optimal rate was just 15.9% in the sixth spot on the board, so a 9.9% is not as abyssal as it may seem at the surface. Brown has a 37.6-point median projection on the site, again comparing favorably with Barrett, who costs $200 less at the same positions while checking in at a 38.2-point median mark. The difference between Barrett’s 18.14% boom score probability and Brown’s 14.03% mark is paid for in the difference between the 15.1% and 7.9% respective popularities. At that low single-digit ownership, Brown seems like an easy target on this slate. He is not the most frequently optimal player on the board, but he can be a key source of differentiation in multiple combinations of high-upside tournament lineups, and he sacrifices little in terms of overall quality. The flexibility and low cost at single-digit ownership are important on this slate, Brown should be targeted for twice the field’s ownership at a minimum.

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