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NBA DFS Optimizer Picks Tonight for DraftKings & FanDuel Lineups Draymond Green | Sunday 4/3/22

Terry McBride



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An eight-game Sunday slate of NBA DFS opens with a pair of 6 ET games of typical size and shape, before hitting the 7 pm launching pad that is the Timberwolves vs Rockets game. That contest checks in at a slate-leading 243.5, nearly 20 points higher than every other game total available. The next-highest mark on the board is the 231 total between the Trail Blazers and Spurs, but that is the only other game that cracks even the 230-point line. A handful of contests land in the low 220s while the matchup between the Heat and Raptors slips to a lowly 213. The board still contains a broad range of targets from the full slate of games, but the massive contest between Minnesota and Houston demands attention. Combining a play or two from that game with the top options for probability and leverage from the rest of the slate is a sound approach to the first few clicks in an NBA DFS lineup 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 eight games on the slate, this article will focus on the top overall 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.

JaVale McGee: DK $3,800 — C | FD $3,600 — C

One of the better fantasy points per minute players on the entire slate, Suns backup big man JaVale McGee is projected for additional playing time and looks like a premium value target on both sites tonight. McGee is expected to step into starters minutes in the absence of Deandre Ayton, with the Suns also entering the contest without Devonte Booker and Jae Crowder. Despite those key absences, the Suns are still favored by a whopping 14 points over the miserable Thunder lineup, entering the contest as a -1200 favorite. Phoenix should roll through this game and McGee is expected to play a major role in their success in his 24-minute projection. McGee has a 1.35 fantasy points per minute rate across all situations this season, posting a 66.1% true shooting percentage with a 5.5% assist rate and a 20.3% rebounding share. In 569 minutes without the trio of teammates on the floor this season, McGee vaults to a 1.41 per-minute mark. At his pricing industry-wide, McGee is easily the value play of the day.

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The optimal lineup rate for JaVale McGee more than doubles that of every other player on the DraftKings slate at 47.8%. The $3,800 center is simply the dominant play of the slate, he can be deployed in every combination of players, including alongside premium centers Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns, who enter the night as the fourth and fifth most frequently optimal plays at any position. McGee is projected for a 35.2-point median performance, only 15 fantasy points below the output projected for Towns despite coming in at a third of the price. McGee has the 18th highest median projection on the slate as its 106th most expensive player. The dominant point expectation from the cheap player has his boom score probability in the stratosphere as well, McGee comes in with a 79.15% likelihood of hitting his salary-adjusted required ceiling score, easily the top mark on the slate. He outpaces fellow value center, teammate Bismack Biyombo, by 26 percentage points in the category and stands 36 percentage points ahead of Moses Brown, another value center consideration. McGee will be extremely popular, he has a 52.7% ownership projection that lands him as a -4.9 leverage play, but his clear value and point-scoring potential outstrip any concerns about ownership, McGee is a foundational building block for DraftKings lineups tonight, the ownership is essentially irrelevant.

On the FanDuel slate, the singular center stipulation begins to block off the McGee play from the top of potential scoring. He still makes his way into the optimal lineup in 22.5% of simulated slates at the cheap $3,600 price tag, but the inability to play him alongside Embiid, Towns, and other premium center-only options cuts that number in half from site to site. The quality of the play is still reflected in McGee’s boom score probability, he is carrying a 35.26-point median projection for his low cost, elevating him to an 82.79% chance of hitting the salary-adjusted required ceiling score on the FanDuel slate. McGee comes up less frequently optimal than Embiid by about three percentage points at the same level of ownership. Embiid is slightly on the positive side of leverage at 1.9, while McGee slips to a -1.3, both players stand above the more popular Towns, who is projected for 28.8% ownership at -8.3 leverage. Those three players are all center-only options, each of whom comes in more than 20% optimal, while the next six options by optimal lineup appearance rate among eligible centers also have power forward eligibility. Creating a rotation through McGee, Embiid, and Towns in lineup constructions and letting their prices dictate the nature of combinations, with a well thought out pivot or two, should be a sound approach to creating premium lineups while utilizing the key center options on the blue site tonight.

Draymond Green: DK $6,000 — PF/C | FD $6,100 — PF/C

On the sheer virtue of being one of the few true NBA talents in the frontcourt in the matchup between the Warriors and Kings, scrappy veteran forward Draymond Green has a chance to pay off his fair mid-range pricing at positive leverage across the industry tonight. Green accrues fantasy points in multiple categories, he has a 1.06 per-minute rate on just 13.9% usage for the season, racking up a 57.6% true shooting percentage with an excellent 32.3% assist rate and a 12.2% rebounding percentage. Green adds 2.9 stocks per-36, adding points to his fantasy total through “doing Draymond Green things” on the court. The excellent big man is underappreciated for his talents in both the pricing and popularity columns today, he warrants additional consideration.

On FanDuel, Green sits 17th overall with a 17.2% optimal lineup appearance rate. While 17th on the board seems uninspiring, Green’s optimal rate compares favorably with every player above him with the exception of currently questionable Spurs star Dejounte Murray, who leads the slate with a 47.3% mark. Everyone else on the slate comes in below 30% optimal, second place Darius Garland is a 27% optimal play and the 20% cutoff comes with 13th-ranked Alperen Sengun. Most of the players above Green come at negative leverage and higher raw ownership projections than the Golden State star. Green is projected for just 14.6% popularity, leaving him as a high quality 2.6 leverage play. With a 33.57-point median projection and a targetable 32.78% boom score probability, the public is not appreciating Green’s potential on this slate, pushing him to a 20% share or higher in lineups is a fine approach to the slate, particularly with power forward eligibility that allows Green to combine with the premium center-only plays in FanDuel NBA DFS lineups.

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For $6,000 with multi-position eligibility on the site that already allows multiple centers, Green’s value is extended somewhat. He checks in with a 16.8% optimal lineup appearance rate that ranks ninth among all eligible players on the slate. Green lands one spot behind Knicks forward Obi Toppin, who has a 17% optimal rate for $5,200 but comes in as a -2.9 leverage play with 19.9$ raw popularity. Green is projected as a positive leverage play, 15% of the field is forecast to include him in lineups, which leaves him at a quality 1.8 leverage score. With the fair price and a 33.5-point median projection, Green gets to his salary-adjusted required ceiling score 31.15% of the time, he is a prime target for under-owned upside on tonight’s DraftKings NBA DFS slate.

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Alperen Sengun: DK $7,000 — PF/C | FD $5,800 — C/PF

The prime target on the board is the massive total in the game between the Timberwolves and Rockets, rendering a number of players on both sides extremely popular, with many landing in negative leverage. One of the options that is currently at more appealing leverage numbers is Rockets breakout big man Alperen Sengun, who has posted a 1.14 fantasy points per minute rate on 21.9% usage across the entire season. Sengun will see starters minutes with teammate Christian Wood ruled out for the remainder of the season, he is projected for a 28.6-minute night, right on his average over the team’s three most recent contests. Sengun has been at a 0.93 per-minute pace over that stretch, even at that rate of production he stands a chance at providing value, but the greater ceiling available makes him a clear target. Sengun has a 55% true shooting percentage and a 19.1% assist rate, as well as a 13.1% rebounding percentage for the season, stuffing the stat sheet in multiple categories. At a fair price and with positive leverage across the industry, Sengun deserves more attention than he is currently drawing from the public.

On the DraftKings slate, the probability factors are not eye-popping, Sengun is priced up to $7,000 at either power forward or center, which causes him to land in the optimal lineup in just 8.1% of simulated slates. He has a strong 34.3-point median projection on the site, the ninth-highest raw projection among all eligible power forwards and center options. At the high price, Sengun’s appeal comes mainly from a lack of popularity, he is projected for just a 6.2% ownership total, far lower than most of the options that appear above him by probability percentages. While he falls in well beyond plays like Draymond Green and Obi Toppin in those metrics, he does have a similar raw projection and salary, and his single-digit ownership could prove to be a serviceable differentiation point in lineup combinations tonight. Sengun is more of a tournament dart throw at low ownership and uninspiring probability grades on the DraftKings slate, but he can absolutely be deployed in a range of lineups when utilizing a combination of McGee, Green, a premium center like Embiid, and another power forward.

Sengun’s power forward eligibility and low $5,800 price tag are key attributes on the FanDuel slate. The big man is a more valuable commodity on this side of town, where he lands in the optimal lineup in 19.7% of simulated slates. That rate drops Sengun into the optimal lineup with the 13th-highest frequency among all players on the FanDuel slate, he is the fifth-most frequently optimal center and the second-most frequently optimal power forward play. Sengun ranks behind only Bam Adebayo, who leads eligible power forwards with a 20.4% optimal lineup appearance rate, but lands at a -4.3 leverage score with 24.7% of the public rostering him. Sengun, on the other hand, has just an 18.1% ownership projection and a 1.6 leverage score that can be included in more lineups than the public’s current rate of deployment. Sengun has a 33.88-point FanDuel median projection and he hits his salary-adjusted ceiling score 39.74% of the time, the third-highest rate of ceiling success among power forwards. Only Toppin and Warriors center Kevon Looney hit their necessary ceilings with more frequency, landing at 47.49% and 46.73% respectively. Among this group of three, Sengun has the highest median projection and the most reliable playing time. The Rockets big man should be rostered frequently and aggressively, his positioning works well with the other premium frontcourt options on the blue site tonight, and he has a high probability of being a foundational key to accessing the top of FanDuel NBA DFS tournament standings.

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

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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