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NBA DFS Optimizer Picks Tonight for DraftKings & FanDuel Lineups Kevin Durant | Wednesday 4/6/22

Terry McBride

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A six-game midweek NBA DFS slate brings all sorts of chaos to an otherwise tame Wednesday. Whenever the game with the night’s second-highest total includes the words New York and Knicks, there is an issue with the slate. The Knicks are at home taking on the inter-borough rival Brooklyn Nets in a game with a 230-point total and Brooklyn favored by 5. The highwater mark comes at 234 in the matchup between the Wizards and Hawks, and the slate has plenty of playable options at every range of salary. With a few clear bargain-basement values on the board already, gamers are in for another wild round of combining the stars and scrubs for NBA DFS lineup constructions. The leverage column should be a key guide rail for choosing roster combinations on both DraftKings and FanDuel 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 six games on the slate, this article will focus on the top leverage 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.

Kristaps Porzingis: DK $4,000 — PG | FD $3,700 — PG

Productive big man Kristaps Porzingis comes in as one of the top probability options and a relatively popular play, but one that still lands with strong positive leverage marks across the industry. Porzingis has produced a 1.33 fantasy points per minute rate across all situations this season and he has been at a 1.37 mark over the team’s three most recent games, playing 27.7 minutes a night. In a 29-minute outing in the team’s most recent contest, Porzingis posted a 39.1-point FanDuel score, a productive but still unacceptable mark for his salary and not close to the necessary ceiling at the elevated price, he is projected for more points than that in the median tonight. Porzingis is a top option at an upper mid-range price, he offers strong fantasy scoring in a premium matchup, and he is under-owned by the public.

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On DraftKings, Porzingis is the most frequently optimal player at any position on tonight’s slate. The power forward or center eligible big man costs just $8,400 on the slate and lands in the top lineup in 26.4% of Awesemo’s simulations. The ability to move Porzingis around the board makes him a perfect click for shuffling roster constructions, he provides a strong 5.2 leverage score against his 21.2% public popularity. With a 44.8-point median projection, Porzingis is already outpacing most of the options at his positions, he has the slate’s sixth-highest raw projection, trailing only stars like Luka Doncic, Kevin Durant and Jayson Tatum, all of whom cost more than $10,000 on the slate. Porzingis is cheap by comparison; his salary is the 10th highest on the slate and he has a terrific 32.01% boom score probability that ranks among the leaders on the board.

Porzingis ranks third overall on the FanDuel slate at a 29.5% optimal lineup appearance rate and he has one of the top leverage scores on the board as well. He is eligible at power forward and center, and he has a 22.5% popularity projection, leaving him at an excellent 7.0 leverage score. Because of that, he should be targeted for shares well ahead of the field. Porzingis has a 28.54% boom score probability, elevating him to being one of the slate’s most likely candidates to hit his salary-adjusted required ceiling score tonight. The 44.19-point median projection is sixth highest on FanDuel, though Porzingis’ $8,900 salary is a more appropriate mark that ranks seventh overall. With the strong median projection and probability marks, Porzingis is arguably still underpriced, he is definitely under-owned. Adding shares to the field’s projection is advisable in this situation.

Kevin Durant: DK $11,300 — SF/PF | FD $11,500 — SF/PF

The lousy but athletic and young Knicks should be game to keep things somewhat close in a home game at the season’s end, at least for three quarters or so, which is why the Nets come in favored by only five when the team is without Julius Randle. The Nets will have both of their primary stars available tonight, but it is Kevin Durant who stands out on both sites. Durant is one of the league’s very best, he needs little introduction in any NBA discussion. He averages 1.35 fantasy points per minute across all situations this season, and he has been at a 1.3 over the team’s three most recent games, playing 41.3 minutes a night over the stretch and 37 minutes a night for the year. Durant has massive upside on any slate, in addition to his 63.7% true shooting percentage he has a high-end 27% assist rate and a 9.7% rebounding percentage. He is one of the highest-cost players on both sites, but he is well worth the investment across the industry tonight.

Durant is a positive leverage play on FanDuel, where he sits at a 15.8% optimal lineup appearance rate in Awesemo’s simulated slates. Durant lands in the top lineup at that pace, the 16th highest at any position, despite a slate-high $11,500 salary. That price tag also limits his boom score probability, which stands at just 13.7%, but Durant is already projected for a 50.18-point median score and he has easy 65-point upside on the blue site in this spot. Durant’s primary attribute tonight is his low raw ownership total. Durant will be owned by just 9.7% of the field, leaving him at a highly targetable 6.1 leverage score that should be rostered aggressively. While the probability marks fall short of some comparably priced players, Durant gains back more than enough advantage based on the low totals, Luka Doncic, the second-most expensive player on the slate, has a 35.6% popularity projection, though he is still positively leveraged due to a massive 37.8% optimal lineup rate. Both stars are strong FanDuel plays.

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On the DraftKings board, Durant has an 11.9% optimal lineup rate at an $11,300 salary at both forward positions. The superstar is projected for a 52.1-point median score, slightly behind the marks held by Doncic and Trae Young on the DraftKings slate, both guards outpace the forward in optimal lineup appearance rate and boom score probability. Durant has a 14.81% probability of hitting his ceiling score on the DraftKings slate, leaving him again short of the top of the board but he comes with just a 6.4% ownership projection that seems light for his talents. Even at lower than standard probability marks, Kevin Durant should be rostered with enthusiasm when he has a 5.5 leverage score and upward mobility to more than 60 DraftKings points.


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Evan Fournier: DK $4,600 — SG/SF | FD $4,900 — SF/SG

Rest assured, your lack of desire to read about Evan Fournier is equaled by a lack of desire to write about Evan Fournier on this side of the equation, but the Knicks wing is in play for NBA DFS purposes tonight. New York is in a rare highly totaled spot and the team will be without several pieces once again, which should thrust usage in Fournier’s direction to start the game. If he comes out strong, he has a chance to put up better than the 8.9 FanDuel points he delivered in 15 minutes in the last outing. Fournier has been a disappointment in New York, generating just 0.77 fantasy points per minute across the season as a whole, but he has spiked to 0.92 in the team’s three most recent games, including the clunker in the last outing. Deploying Fournier is no one’s idea of a good time, he makes COVID testing look enjoyable by comparison, but at the right price, in the right situation, even including his ridiculous Wednesdays at Madison Square Garden narrative, he is in play tonight.

Fournier costs $4,600 and fills five positions on DraftKings, where he lands as the slate’s sixth-most frequently optimal player at any position. The uncomfortable click is most likely a valuable one, Fournier lands in the optimal lineup 20.7% of the time but he will be rostered by just 14.7% of the slate. The wing has a 26-point median projection on the DraftKings slate, placing him roughly 7 fantasy points behind most of the options who project similarly for optimal lineup appearance, but his salary comes roughly $2,000 less than those options and he has a similar 22.35% boom score probability. At that rate of hitting his ceiling, Fournier is comparable to teammate Obi Toppin (the slate’s second-most frequently optimal player) and more expensive guards Reggie Jackson and Jalen Brunson. Fournier has a 6.0 leverage score that should be targeted despite the bad taste it may leave lingering.

The player is very much the same on the FanDuel slate, but his ownership projection drops to the low single-digits at $4,900 with eligibility at either small forward or shooting guard. Fournier is projected for a 24.56-point FanDuel night, a middling score but one that is fitting at his salary and leaves him room to hit a ceiling score. Fournier’s price is not ideal on this slate, he has a good but not great chance of that ceiling mark, pulling in a 15.32% boom score probability. The main appeal is that those probability metrics can be rostered with just 3.9% of the public along for the ride. Fournier checks into tonight’s action with a 7.0 leverage score that equals the mark on Porzingis. Both players rank below the 11.0 held by Saddiq Bey and the slate-leading 13.8 mark for inexpensive small forward Jaylen Hoard, but Fournier is equally in play with those cheap options atop the list for FanDuel NBA DFS lineups tonight.

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

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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