Unlike yesterday’s odd-duck of an NBA slate, Tuesday evening’s four-game sprint will have all eight teams providing NBA DFS points by 8 p.m. ET, give or take the traditional mysterious 15 minutes between start time and tip time. The slate includes ripe targets for fantasy basketball point-scoring upside, two of the games are totaled above 230, and a third falls just a point shy of that line. The fourth game is an oddball in the group, the lopsided contest in Miami has the Pistons as 13-point underdogs against the excellent Heat roster, in a game with just a 214-point total. That contest offers a limited range of options that are priced and owned efficiently, but it should not be crossed off entirely for NBA DFS lineup construction, particularly with so few options available overall. Getting to a blend of upside plays from the three premium games is going to be an obvious yet necessary approach, finding under-owned options from the low-end contest could be a viable approach for differentiation.
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 four games on the slate, this article will focus on a range of quality 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 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.
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Tyus Jones: DK $3,400 — PG | FD $4,200 — PG
With currently questionable Memphis star point guard Ja Morant almost definitely sidelined with a back injury tonight, backup Tyus Jones leaps to prominence across the NBA DFS industry. Jones should see starter’s minutes this evening, he is projected for a 30.1-minute run and could easily crack through that mark to deliver a ceiling score for his extremely low cost across the board. Jones is the most popular play on either site, but he appears to be more of a quality building block than an obstacle to success even at the extreme ownership rates. Jones is averaging 0.96 fantasy points per minute across all situations this season, and he has recorded 1.10 per minute in 386 minutes without Morant on the floor since the start of the calendar year. He has a 54.3% true shooting percentage and a 28% assist rate while consuming an efficient 16.5% usage. Jones flashed his upside in posting 26.9 FanDuel points in just 18 minutes in the team’s most recent game, he should have ample opportunities to reach his salary-based ceiling scores tonight.
As the most frequently optimal and most popular player on the DraftKings slate, Jones is an easy selection unless one is dead-set on simply avoiding raw public popularity as a rule. Jones’ value comes from the $3,400 price at which he can be rostered, providing a starting point guard’s run and production for an extremely low cost, creating major purchasing power in other positions. The point guard lands in the optimal lineup in 67.5% of Awesemo’s simulated DraftKings slates, leading the field by 20 percentage points. Even with a -10.9 leverage score, he is a simple first click, the value that Jones creates on this slate cannot currently be replicated with other players. If additional values from the extreme-low end of salary open up as the afternoon rolls along, that could shift, but right now he looks like a must-play option. Jones is projected for a 30.7-point median score on the site, giving him a 74.43% boom score probability that is unrivaled. The nearest boom score rate is approaching a gap of 30 percentage points behind Jones. He will be owned by 78.4% of the field on this slate, a number that could conceivably come in higher and could easily just be viewed as a free square on the site. Unless something dramatic happens, Tyus Jones is the best value play on the board tonight, and it is not particularly close.
As mentioned before, Jones is the player showing up most frequently in the NBA lineup optimizer today, which, of course, makes him a great play. For more of the best plays popping in our fantasy basketball rankings, check out the DraftKings NBA Cheat Sheet and FanDuel NBA Cheat Sheet for the best NBA picks today.
Things are somewhat different on the FanDuel slate. Jones still leads the way by optimal lineup appearance rate, but the field is nearer to his probability numbers than they are across town. Jones is carrying a 54.5% optimal lineup appearance rate, just above New Orleans star C.J. McCollum, who comes in with a 50.1% optimal rate at a 1.6 leverage score and should be targeted. Jones is a -6.2 leverage play for $4,200. His salary is a strong value but not the extreme bargain that it is on the other site. Jones is projected for 60.7% popularity, and he still reaches his salary-adjusted required ceiling score 58.71% of the time, the leading boom score probability mark on the blue site. Jones is projected for a 30.69-point median projection for the low cost. Even at the lower probability marks and higher relative cost, he should be rostered aggressively and enthusiastically on the FanDuel slate.
Devin Booker: DK $9,600 — PG/SG | FD $10,400 — SG
In the evening’s nominal late game, an 8 p.m. ET contest in New Orleans, Suns star Devin Booker looks like an underappreciated star on the NBA DFS slate tonight. Since the intro to this column was written, this game has climbed above the 230-point mark, now sitting at a 231-point total with the depleted Suns still favored by 4.5. Phoenix will be without star point guard Chris Paul and a host of other pieces, leaving Booker and center DeAndre Ayton to shoulder much of the load for the top-notch team. The duo will be joined in the starting lineup by Cameron Payne, Mikal Bridges, and Jae Crowder, who of whom are essentially zeros on the offensive end of the floor on an average night. This should leave plenty of opportunities for Booker to drive the scoring as well as a significant amount of offensive facilitation for his team. In 440 minutes without Paul on the floor since the beginning of the calendar year, Booker has produced 1.38 fantasy points per minute, well up from his average of 1.21 across all situations this season. There is every reason to expect a big performance from Booker in this game, but the field is leaving too many shares on the table, creating a sharp opportunity for NBA DFS tournaments across the industry.
On the FanDuel slate, Booker has a 25.7% optimal lineup appearance rate that ranks 10th among all players and fifth among eligible shooting guards. Several of the options ahead of him at the position are carrying multi-position eligibility, however, only McCollum is restricted to the shooting guard position like Booker is. Pairing the two dynamic guards in their head-to-head duel is a compelling construction, while other options in the mix at the position include Dillon Brooks, Cade Cunningham, and Heat star Jimmy Butler, who is another quality top-shelf play on this slate. With a high $10,400 salary, Booker does not get off the line well by boom score probability, his 11.11% rate ranks just 27th on the small FanDuel slate, but the 44.8-point median projection offsets some of the concern about the overall ceiling. Booker is projected for just 20.5% ownership on the slate, leaving the excellent scorer at a 5.2 leverage score that can, and should, be targeted for heavy ownership well beyond the field’s rate. As one of the few players on this slate capable of reasonably putting up 60 FanDuel points, Booker deserves more attention on this slate than he is getting, take advantage.
Fellow Awesemo NBA expert EMac is also extremely high on Booker in this matchup tonight. Check out why he has Booker as his Play of the Day in his NBA DFS Optimizer Building Blocks today.
As the fourth-most frequently optimal player on the entire DraftKings slate, Booker may seem like a more obvious call, but the field is not responding accordingly if that is the case. The Suns’ star has an excellent 7.5 leverage score, the field is leaving far too many shares available for leverage on the affordably priced $9,600 option that can be rostered at either guard position. With a lower relative cost and positional flexibility added, Booker is a more dynamic play on the DraftKings slate, adding utility to a lineup instead of requiring concessions to fit. Booker ranks one spot behind $9,400 McCollum by optimal rate and he trails his Pelicans counterpart 27.3% to 23.79% by boom score probability, but McCollum is projected for 32.5% popularity, leaving him at a (still good) 2.0 leverage score that falls well short of the amazing mark on Booker. For a marginally lower boom score percentage and probability of landing in the optimal lineup, Booker provides a relevant and compelling amount of leverage on the slate. Getting to shares of Booker both alongside and instead of McCollum is a sharp approach to DraftKings NBA DFS lineup construction, but, in truth, both guards are excellent plays on either site tonight.
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Isaiah Jackson: DK $5,200 — PF/C | FD $5,700 — PF
With the Pacers frontcourt still banged up, several key options are questionable on the injury report and seem unlikely to play. The most likely configuration of the starting lineup and rotation should yield a strong opportunity for Isaiah Jackson to continue to start and may afford him a few additional minutes and opportunities as well. Jackson has played a limited role so far, in his 29 games he has seen just 13.3 minutes a night, but he has been wildly productive in situations where he sees the court. Over the average situation, Jackson has posted 1.32 fantasy points per minute this season, and he has 1.30 per minute in 24.7 minutes over the team’s three most recent games in fairly similar circumstances to what he should expect tonight. Jackson has a 61% true shooting percentage with just a 3.2% assist rate but a strong 14.7% rebounding percentage, and he adds an astounding 5.0 stocks per-36 (1.4 steals and 3.6 blocks). With a 22.6-minute median projection, Jackson looks like a solid play on both sites. If he sees anything approaching the 28- to 30-minute range he should blow the doors off of this slate.
Jackson is either a power forward or center on the DraftKings slate, where he lands in the optimal lineup in 17.9% of Awesemo’s simulated slates. At $5,200, Jackson is an easy mid-range click. He does not provide a huge salary-based advantage, but he is underappreciated by the field as things currently stand. Jackson is carrying just a 10.7% ownership projection, leaving him at an excellent 7.2 leverage score that creates valuable differentiation on a tiny four-game slate. Building in shares of highly probable but undervalued players is a fundamental aspect of winning tournaments on a slate of this size, Jackson currently looks like one of the top options for creating space against the field, but he does not cost anything in salary or fantasy points relative to other selections on the board. With a 27.2-point median projection and a 22.05% boom score probability, Jackson is a clear top option assuming the opportunity around the absence of his teammates still exists at lock.
Jackson is more limited positionally on FanDuel, where he drops his center eligibility, and his salary climbs to $5,700, though that comes against FanDuel’s higher salary cap and is basically a site-to-site wash. Jackson lands in the optimal lineup in 19.2% of simulated FanDuel slates, but the field is ignoring him as of mid-afternoon projections. Jackson’s optimal rate sits 20th on the site, but his 10.5% popularity ranks 33rd. The productive young player has an 8.7 leverage score, an excellent mark that sits third behind only currently questionable Cade Cunningham, and Memphis guard De’Anthony Melton. Jackson has a 22.32% boom score probability on FanDuel for the salary, and his ownership is simply too low. Jackson is a better choice at power forward than many of the options ahead of him in the optimal category, both Bam Adebayo and Kevin Durant have lower boom scores and far higher salaries, and each of Jerami Grant, Wendell Carter Jr., and Jaren Jackson Jr. lands at negative leverage. Isaiah Jackson is an excellent off-the-radar play on the FanDuel slate tonight. He should be rostered ahead of the field unless the situation with Indiana’s rotation changes ahead of lock.
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We also have DraftKings rankings, Yahoo! rankings and FanDuel NBA ownership rankings for today's slate. Looking for more NBA DFS FanDuel and the top NBA DFS picks tonight? Our NBA FanDuel projections are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. View our FanDuel ownership, our Yahoo! NBA ownership projections and our DraftKings ownership projections. Check out our NBA DFS rankings for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own NBA projections FanDuel.
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