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NBA Optimal Lineups Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel Tyrese Haliburton | Sunday, Dec. 19

Terry McBride

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Sunday’s slate suddenly shed three games during the afternoon, when the 7 pm block of contests were all postponed by the NBA as teams continue to deal with COVID-19 exposures. The league is taking an aggressive approach, forcing some teams to continue to play relatively short-handed, while the worst overall cases are getting relief in the form of postponement, which seems like an untenable situation. As of 3 pm, it seems like the remaining six games on the NBA DFS slate are more secure and are likely to tip at 6 pm and play through, but this is the anything is possible 2021 version of today’s article and keeping an eye on the news is going to be critical.

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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 and a lot of unpredictability on the board, this article will focus on a range of different 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.

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.

Kristaps Porzingis: DraftKings — $8,800 — PF | FanDuel — $8,700 — PF/C

Luka Doncic is still on the shelf dealing with his ongoing injury, and the team has a number of laid-up forward options as well. From both a role and time-based perspective, this should afford the opportunity for big man Kristaps Porzingis to play a significant part for his team once again tonight. For the full season, Porzingis is averaging 1.26 fantasy points per minute on 27.6% usage, up from the 1.21 on 25.9% that he posted through all situations last year. With more to do in the team’s three most recent games, Porzingis has contributed a 1.33 per-minute mark while playing 31.3 minutes per game. Porzingis posted a 42.9-point night in 39 minutes the last time his team took the floor. He is marginally underpriced on both sites for the potential production on an ugly slate.

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On DraftKings Porzingis ranks third from the top of the board at any position, landing in the optimal lineup in 23.9% of simulated slates. The public is not getting to Porzingis at $8,800 frequently enough on the site, Porzingis is projected for just 19.9% public popularity, giving him a healthy 4.0 leverage score that can be targeted with urgency in lineup constructions. The 44-point median projection and 21.2% boom score probability that Porzingis carries for this slate both rank well among players in his price tier, landing above every other option with more than a $7,000 price tag in the categories. With positive leverage and clear opportunity at his position, it makes sense to exceed the field on Porzingis shares on this slate.

On the blue site Porzingis picks up center eligibility, extending his utility and helping him to rank second overall with a 37.8% optimal lineup rate. Porzingis is projected for 43.7 FanDuel points and a 29.1% boom score probability, both among the leaders at his position and at his price tier across any position. Porzingis’ 36.1% popularity outpaces the number that he sees across town by a wide margin, but with the increased upside, he still has a 1.7 leverage score on the FanDuel slate. Porzingis can be rostered in excess of the field’s projected mark on this site as well, it is just a more comfortable proposition on the other site.


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Tyrese Haliburton: DraftKings — $6,900 — PG/SG| FanDuel — $7,700 — PG/SG

In a familiar refrain, Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton will see increased responsibility and opportunity on the court for his team again tonight, given the continued absence of key teammates in the Sacramento rotation. These include multiple wings and star point guard De’Aaron Fox, leaving plenty of shooting and facilitation requirements available for Haliburton to claim. He has provided 0.94 fantasy points per minute on 15.7% usage across all situations this season, an equivalent rate to what he produced on 17.5% usage last year. That production has climbed notably in recent outings. Over his team’s three most recent games, Haliburton is averaging 1.13 fantasy points per minute. Haliburton has a 54.8% true shooting percentage with a 24.8% assist rate and a 5.8% rebounding share. The assists and, with any luck, the shooting will see an uptick in this one. Haliburton should be a good source of fantasy points for the fair salary.

On FanDuel Haliburton is a $7,700 option at either guard spot. He has value on the blue site despite a much higher price than that at which he lands across town. Haliburton is carrying a 26.3% optimal lineup rate on FanDuel, good for sixth overall on the slate and second among eligible point guards. At the shooting guard spot, he ranks behind four other options, but all of them have multi-position eligibility and can be rostered in combination with one another. This is an excellent situation for roster construction that allows a large variety of mix-and-match utility across similarly projected but differently priced and owned players. Haliburton has a 39.2-point median projection and a 27.1% boom score probability while pulling an excellent 3.3 leverage score.

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At just $6,900 at either guard position on DraftKings, Haliburton lands at the top of the board with a 33.7% optimal lineup mark in Awesemo’s simulated slates. He is projected for a 40-point night on the DraftKings slate, giving him a 37.7% boom score probability at his highly affordable price. Haliburton ranks second overall in the category at any position, falling in behind only minimum priced center value play DeAndre Jordan, who reached a 45.9% mark by boom score. Haliburton is a strong go-to option that can be considered a building block for lineups on this site. The public is trailing despite a 31.7% ownership projection that is one of the higher marks on the site, Haliburton has a 2.0 leverage score, and he should be considered good chalk.

Dewayne Dedmon: DraftKings — $5,100 — C | FanDuel — $6,000 — C

Looking to another game with at least a handful of known-knowns and the hope of marginally fewer unknown-unknowns, the fact that Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo and a host of role players remain out for the Heat leaves significant opportunity for whichever of their teammates are mispriced from day to day. On the Sunday slate, that player appears to be center Dewayne Dedmon, who has been targeted in this opportunity in the past. Dedmon has produced 0.99 fantasy points per minute this season across all situations and he has been at a 0.98 mark over the team’s three most recent games under arguably similar circumstances. Tonight he is taking on a weak Detroit team that is also depleted, which should provide a touch of additional upside that could thrust him back toward being the 1.27 per-minute player that we saw across all situations last season. Even something in the middle of those rates would be more than enough at tonight’s cheap pricing and positive leverage on both sites.

On DraftKings Dedmon ranks ninth overall on the slate with an 18% optimal lineup rate that is well worth the pursuit. Dedmon is a center only on the site and he costs just $5,100 which is creating a 30.2% boom score probability around his 30-point median projection on the site. Dedmon is slated for just 11.8% popularity tonight, at this point in the day he is one of the top options for leverage at a 6.2 mark, making him a clear option for added lineup shares. Dedmon ranks immediately next to minimum-priced Jordan, they can be rostered together or in a rotation through center shares at their low prices.

On the FanDuel slate Dedmon has a similar 6.2 leverage score. He has a 29.7-point median projection with a 19% boom score probability for the $6,000 salary on FanDuel, yet just 4.8% of the field is projected to roster him on the singular center site. The opportunity cost is not massive tonight, Dedmon is outpacing several of the star-caliber center-only plays and he ranks immediately near both Jordan and Sacramento’s Chimezie Metu on the slate, the clear center-only value plays. With Porzingis and a host of other potential center plays also carrying power forward eligibility, it becomes easy to grab extended shares of Dedmon here, doing so seems advisable, barring slate-shifting news.


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

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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