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NBA Optimal Lineups Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel Saddiq Bey | Sunday, Dec. 26

Terry McBride

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NBA DFS DraftKings FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Optimal lIneups

Sunday of a busy holiday weekend brings an NBA DFS slate with reduced prize pools and minimal attention, which could lead to opportunities for savvy gamers. The seven-game slate includes a host of teams that are dealing with injuries, absences, and part-time players. The board in Vegas has just one game totaled above 220, with the Grizzlies – Kings game landing at a 225. Four of the seven games are carrying totals of 211.5 or below, with the seabed at 205 in the 76ers – Wizards game. As is the current standard, there are ludicrous value plays on the slate, leading to a highly stars-and-scrubs focused concentration in lineups once again. There are, of course, plenty of slots for premium plays for the mid-range, who can often be the differentiators in constructions of this nature. With the whole slate on just a few of the same plays, it pays to get different where players begin to look very similar in everything but the ownership column.

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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 several of the top plays with positive leverage 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.

Saddiq Bey: DraftKings — $7,500 — SF/PF | FanDuel — $5,600

The Pistons have 10 missing players this evening, there should be plenty of action for the key players who are available, not the least of which should be forward Saddiq Bey, who has popped up for value at various times through the season. Bey has largely produced quality for his reasonable salaries on both sites this season. He has an uninspiring 0.82 fantasy point per minute mark on 20.1% usage this season but has bumped up to a 0.90 mark over the team’s three most recent contests in which he has averaged 38.7 minutes. Bey posted a 41.5-point night in 43 minutes in the team’s most recent game, and he is projected for 38.7 minutes this evening, which should provide a clear path to a potential ceiling game. Bey is a strong mid-range option on DraftKings, and he comes at a discount on the blue site that increases the appeal along with the popularity.

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On FanDuel, Bey is priced at just $5,600 at the small forward position, giving him extreme upside potential on the slate. Bey leads the slate, appearing in 54.3% of optimal lineups in Awesemo’s early simulations, but the public is behind the curve on the play even at a 42.6% ownership projection. That expectation leaves Bey with an 11.7 leverage score that is also a slate-leading value. He is projected for a 40.5-point median score and he has a titanic 72.7% boom score probability that once again leads all players at any position on the site. Given the significant salary savings, there is a great reason to get to Bey at a rate that outpaces the field’s ownership projection. He is both a strong option for a ceiling score and a good differentiator despite relatively high raw ownership.

At $7,500, Bey’s value takes a bit of a dip on the DraftKings slate. He fits into either forward spot on the site, which helps him land in more optimal lineups via positional flexibility, and overall he only drops to third with a 40.5% optimal lineup appearance rate on the site. Bey is projected for a 43.1-point median projection and he is carrying a 47.7% boom score probability on the site. That rate lands 10th overall, there are several absurd values available on DraftKings, where we have four players with boom scores above 80%. Bey is the best player in that group, and he comes at the highest price, the other players range from the minimum salary carried by Luka Garza in the top spot to $6,500 for Derrick White one spot ahead of Bey at a 48.2% boom score probability. Bey is also the lone power forward in the top-10 by boom score. The public is getting to the Pistons forward at a 31.3% ownership projection, which leaves an extremely playable 9.2 leverage score on the slate. Bey should be targeted for added shares in lineups across the NBA DFS industry tonight.


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Tremont Waters: DraftKings — $3,000 — PG | FanDuel — $3,500 — PG

The Raptors will be without every player that would be a known name for casual NBA fans. The expected starting lineup would make for a mediocre-at-best bench on most teams, but the NBA plows forward. This situation is expected to thrust Tremont Waters into a prominent role in his first action with the team after signing a 10-day contract several days ago. Waters is a former Celtics backup who provided minor flashes of low-salary value in opportunities last season while posting a 1.0 fantasy point per minute rate on 20.4% usage across all situations. With a minimum salary on both sites and a 32-minute projection on Awesemo’s afternoon update, Waters looks like he could make for a fundamental building block for FanDuel and DraftKings NBA DFS lineups tonight.

On the DraftKings slate, Waters costs the minimum $3,000 and he is eligible at only the point guard position, where he is one of the four players with a boom score probability above 80%. Waters is projected for a 30.9-point median projection and a fearsome 81.8% boom score probability against that minimum salary. At the low cost, assuming he plays at all, he is virtually a no-downside play, it is a cinch that he will make value at worst and there is as clear a path as one could hope for in seeking upside and ceiling score potential. Waters has a 31.3% ownership projection but lands in the optimal lineup in 36.6% of simulated slates, meaning a minimum-price player with absurd fantasy-point potential for the money is going under-owned on the slate. Waters has a 5.3 leverage score on the slate. He is one of the top plays and the public is well behind the curve, barring news about limited minutes or any other changes, this is one of the best values on the slate.

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Waters also comes in as a minimum-price point guard for $3,500 on the blue site tonight. He is carrying a more limited 21.7% optimal lineup appearance rate on the slate and he lacks multi-position eligibility, but he still looks like an excellent plug-in option from the deep value range. Waters is carrying a 68.7% boom score probability and a 29.7-point median projection on the FanDuel slate, and the public is projected for merely 14.2% ownership, leaving a targetable 7.5-point leverage score this evening. The public seems hesitant to roster Waters in extreme shares, given the price and the leverage there are plenty of good reasons to include him in lineups, his leverage score ranks third highest among players in the top-15 by optimal lineup rate on the slate, where he is number 15 in that category. The public is not rostering Waters with enough frequency, it is easy enough to double the expected exposure without doing significant damage to a full set of lineups, it would be surprising to see him not at least make value at such a low price.

Derrick White: DraftKings — $6,500 — PG/SG | FanDuel — $7,600 — PG

Breakout Spurs guard Dejounte Murray has landed on the COVID-19 protocol list and will miss at least today’s contest, which should vault fellow guard Derrick White to the top of the board across the NBA DFS industry. White has quietly produced a 1.0 fantasy point per minute rate across all situations this season, notably up a bit from his 0.95 per-minute mark on 22.3% usage last season. White has seen his usage drop to just 19.8% this season and he has played largely alongside Murray, who has made a major leap. White has posted a 22.9% assist rate and a 5.5% rebounding share this season, and he has been at a consistent 0.98 per-minute mark over the team’s three most recent games. Last time out, White put up an excellent 44.1-point fantasy performance in just 30 minutes. He is projected for a 34.3-minute night this evening.

On the FanDuel slate, White ranks sixth-best by optimal lineup rate. He lands in the best lineup on the slate 31.7% of the time and the public is currently projected to land well behind the curve, leaving him with an excellent leverage score. That mark may slip some by the time the 6 pm lock rolls around, but White should remain a strong play even in the face of increased ownership. He is a $7,600 option at just the point guard position on the slate, but he is carrying a 24.6% boom score probability and a 38.2-point median projection that should be a sturdy mid-range value play in building lineups. With 22.2% of the field currently projected to be targeting White he lands at a 9.5 leverage score, as momentum builds for the play with the news about Murray’s status, this is likely to slip into negative leverage territory, but he should have plenty to do and plenty of time on the court in which to do it.

On DraftKings, White is projected for efficient ownership already, partly because he costs just $6,500 and has multi-position eligibility across both guard spots. White lands in the optimal lineup in 32.9% of Awesemo’s simulated slates and the field is projected for 31.3% popularity, leaving his leverage score at a meager 1.6 with the likelihood of trending toward negative leverage come lock. Still, at the mid-range value pricing, White is a great option who provides flexibility in lineup building with his added positional availability. The dynamic guard has a 48.2% boom score probability for the low cost, and he is projected for a 38.7-point median score on the DraftKings slate. The boom score ranks him ninth overall on the slate, falling in behind the list of 80%+ value plays and a spot ahead of Bey. He has major potential to deliver a slate-relevant fantasy score tonight.


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Check out our daily fantasy sports rankings NBA for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own NBA DFS projections FanDuel. Looking for more NBA DFS lineups and the best NBA DFS picks today? We also have DraftKings NBA rankings, FanDuel rankings and Yahoo! rankings for today's slate. View our FanDuel ownership, our Yahoo! ownership and our DraftKings ownership projections. Our NBA projections DFS 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 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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