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NBA DFS Optimizer Picks Tonight for DraftKings & FanDuel Lineups Shai Gilgeous-Alexander | Saturday 1/22/22

Terry McBride



Free NBA fantasy picks, rankings & projections for DraftKings & FanDuel fantasy basketball lineups tonight from Awesemo's lineup optimizer today

Believe it or not, there’s a Saturday NBA DFS slate today. With just three games on the schedule and a lot of attention focused on the gigantic contests in other sports, it makes sense that people may be overlooking the smaller basketball slate, which could be advantageous to those willing to continue the daily grind. To make matters even less appealing, the lowest point spread on the board is the -10 by which the Bucks are favored over the Kings. That game at least carries an appealing 233.5 total, the other two contests come in at 209 and 220, with the Cavaliers favored by 12 over the Thunder and the Suns hosting the Pacers who are 11.5-point underdogs. The slate offers a few key pieces of value that will be extremely popular, despite unfounded concerns about quality based on recent output. The nature of the slate leans into a stars and scrubs construction, with the available values it is easy to get to virtually any combination of stars desired, often with room to spare.

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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 three games on the slate, this article will focus on several of the top leverage plays 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.

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 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: DraftKings — $8,600 — PG/SG | FanDuel –$8,100 — PG

The Suns’ backup big man continues to be a hot-button discussion point in the Awesemo NBA Discord channels and DFS chats all around. JaVale McGee is the second-best fantasy points per minute producer on the entire slate, coming in at a 1.31 mark that sits second only to Giannis Antetokounmpo. McGee is projected for a 21.9-minute night, filling in once again for starter Deandre Ayton, but splitting time with Bismack Biyombo, who is projected for 20.3 minutes. Between the two, McGee is the more probable to contribute to a winning lineup score on both sites tonight. The versatile big man has a 67.3% true shooting percentage and a 19.9% rebounding rate in his short playing time, he is capable of racking up fantasy points in buckets when he is on the floor, but he saw just 18 minutes in the team’s most recent outing, compared to 28 for Biyombo. With the assumption of regular playing time, McGee should produce far beyond the 10.8 FanDuel points he posted in that outing.

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On the FanDuel slate, McGee comes in as the fourth-most frequently optimal player at any position with a 46.4% appearance rate in the top lineup in simulated slates. The Phoenix big man is projected for a 28.8-point median FanDuel score with clear upside for more, depending on the playing time. McGee has an aggressively good 45.4% boom score probability on the blue site, more than 10 percentage points ahead of Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley at the top of the board among all players. McGee’s ownership is trailing his probability metrics on this slate, he comes in with an excellent 10.0 leverage score that should be targeted for its clear value. The center is projected for 36.4% public popularity, which is well behind the rate at which he should be included in FanDuel NBA DFS lineups tonight. The ability to roster Mobley, Bobby PortisJarret Allen, and other frequently optimal big men at the power forward spot with McGee at the center adds to the flexibility of lineup construction on the FanDuel slate, and gives McGee even more value at his low cost.

At 40.2%, McGee is the second-most frequently optimal player on the DraftKings slate behind only Kevin Love, who comes in at a 40.9% mark for $700 more salary. Love is eligible at the power forward or center position and DraftKings offers the utility spot for additional flexibility, so he can easily be paired with McGee in a highly optimal combination that will also be at excellent positive leverage marks on the slate. McGee has a 9.7 leverage score while Love is also under-owned at a 7.6. The Suns’ center costs just $4,400 and he rockets past Love by boom score probability, landing all the way at a 48.2% compared to the Cavaliers’ veteran at 34.3% despite the exact same 29.2-point median projection for the night. McGee is owned at a 30.5% clip by the public, making him slightly less popular than Love, who lands at 33.3%. Either option is a good selection for DraftKings NBA DFS lineups, but if it comes down to a decision between the two, taking the savings and leverage that come with McGee is the stronger choice.

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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: DraftKings — $8,600 — PG | FanDuel — $9,000 — SG/PG

One of the standout options from the top shelf on today’s slate is Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who comes in at a slight discount by comparison to similarly talented players on both sites tonight. Gilgeous-Alexander has produced fantasy points at a 1.13 per-minute clip across all situations so far this season, slightly down from the 1.17 mark that he was at last year. He has a 27.1% assist percentage and a 52.8% true shooting percentage this season, and he has seen a major uptick to a 1.32 per-minute mark over the team’s three most recent games. Gilgeous-Alexander is projected for a 34.9-minute night and significant value across both sites tonight, he should be included in more lineups than the rate at which the public is getting to the play.

On DraftKings, Gilgeous-Alexander ranks fourth from the top with a 36% optimal lineup appearance rate, just 0.5 percentage points below Suns star guard Devin Booker, who fits in at either guard spot. As a point guard exclusive play, Gilgeous-Alexander costs just $8,600 on the slate and he can be rostered alongside Booker, Love, and McGee, for an extremely optimal and somewhat under-owned lineup core from the top of the board. The Thunder guard is carrying a 38.1-point median projection and a 12.9% boom score probability on the DraftKings slate, with the field getting to him at a 28.4% rate. While still popular, that rate leaves the public well behind the curve on Gilgeous-Alexander, who comes in at an excellent 7.6 leverage score. Simply put, the Thunder point guard should be more popular than he is today.

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At 40.7% optimal, Gilgeous-Alexander is the seventh-ranked player on the board on the blue site, but he is second among point guards and third among shooting guards, with the positional flexibility giving him added value. The Thunder guard is projected for a 37.1-point median score on the slate and he has an excellent 4.7 leverage score, but his $9,000 salary does trim his boom score probability dramatically. Gilgeous-Alexander comes in with just a 6.8% blue site boom score mark, trailing the rest of the pay-up options by a wide margin. On a short slate, the guard can still be rostered for the probability of landing at or around his median score, which keeps him frequently optimal. He is projected for 36% popularity on the slate, but that still clearly trails the rate at which he is in the winning lineup in simulations, making him a strong option despite lineups not quite building themselves on FanDuel as easily as they do across town tonight.

Pacers Players

The most pivotal spot for news on this slate comes, naturally, in the final game of the night. The Pacers have several major question marks on the board once again, with both Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert listed as game-time decisions. The team will already be without big men Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis, which will create opportunities throughout the lineup. If LeVert and Brogdon also sit, there will be expanded minutes and potential for several of the team’s players who have comported themselves well in that situation in recent outings.

When Brogon is projected to play, he looks like one of the top options on the slate, landing at a 51.4% optimal lineup rate on FanDuel and a 32.8% mark on DraftKings. He is cheap on the blue site, where he is just a $6,600 investment at either guard position. On DraftKings he costs $7,400 at just point guard, but he is worth getting to if he makes an appearance, given a dramatic lack of popularity. Since the play comes in the last game of the night, the questionable status will likely keep public ownership low on the Brogdon play, which could reward those bold enough to make the move prior to lock. By a similar token, LeVert will also be unpopular, he projects for just a 12.9% ownership rate on FanDuel and a 10.8% mark on DraftKings, while coming up 19.3% and 16.9% optimal respectively.

Torrey Craig is currently projected for a 26.5-minute night, in the team’s most recent game he posted 32.9 FanDuel points in a 34-minute outing, he could reach those marks again if either of the better guards is out, but his inflated price tag hampers his value-based probability marks on one site. Craig is in the optimal lineup in just 4.7% of FanDuel simulations at his $5,900 price, but he lands in the top lineup in 15.2% of DraftKings contests at a mere $4,500 with multi-position eligibility. The other known commodity from the value tier on this team is center Goga Bitadze, who costs $6,000 on FanDuel but just $4,700 on DraftKings. Bitadze is carrying a 12.6% optimal lineup mark on the FanDuel slate and he comes up in 22.4% of the top lineups on DraftKings, but he is negatively leveraged on both sites. Those marks are playable, Bitadze is projected for 17.2% popularity at the singular center position on FanDuel, a -4.6 leverage score, while he is in 28.7% of public lineups on DraftKings, a -6.3 leverage mark.

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If the two guards do not play, the value will pour in around the edges for the Pacers. In the most recent game, Jeremy Lamb saw 19 minutes and produced 27.4 FanDuel points, the 0.75 per-minute performer would increase dramatically in value with a larger projection of minutes, though his price discrepancy is noteworthy. Lamb is a $5,200 option on FanDuel at the shooting guard and small forward position, his value would be far more explosive on the DraftKings slate, where he costs a mere $3,300 at the same positions. Forward Oshae Brissett played 22 minutes in the most recent game, he is projected for 22.5 minutes already and could stand to see more in a situation where the team simply lacks bodies. In the last game, Brissett posted a 12.7 FanDuel point outing, while fellow backup forward Isaiah Jackson managed a whopping 33.9 in just 19 minutes. Jackson would also pick up value with the absence of rotation pieces, he is currently projected for just 13.9 minutes. Another potential piece of the puzzle is point guard Kiefer Sykes, who drew the star in the last game. Sykes played 31 minutes but posted just 17.3 FanDuel points. He is a 0.65 fantasy point per minute performer this season, expectations should be tempered, but Sykes would provide value in a starting role at just $4,200 on FanDuel and $3,600 on DraftKings.

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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 DraftKings. Our NBA daily projections are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. Looking for more free NBA DFS advice and the best NBA DFS advice? View our Yahoo! NBA ownership, our FanDuel NBA ownership projections and our DraftKings NBA ownership. We also have Yahoo! ownership rankings, DraftKings NBA 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 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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