A high-octane eight-game Friday night slate of NBA DFS action has excellent options for daily fantasy basketball tournaments from up and down the salary spectrum, and that’s with news still to come. The shape of the slate could change as lock approaches, but there are tremendous choices atop the boom/bust tool in the late-afternoon update, and several of them are well under-owned by the public. With eight games on the slate and so many robust options, this article will once again focus on the top plays with available leverage on the board. As always, the goal is to find under-appreciated players for the frequency with which they land in the optimal lineup in DraftKings and FanDuel NBA simulations.
This article always comes out ahead of lock, and many things will change with these daily fantasy basketball picks. Be sure to follow the @AwesemoNBA Twitter handle for all the latest breaking news (via NewsGod).
NBA Daily Fantasy Basketball: Optimal + Leverage Leaders
These picks are made utilizing the Boom/Bust tool, specifically analyzing the optimized-lineup rate, leverage score, and boom probability. The optimized-lineup rate represents the frequency at which a player appears 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, and bad chalk and shaky investments will be discussed in this space, so be sure to read the analysis and not just the headlines.
Jordan Clarkson — Utah Jazz
DraftKings — $7,300 — PG/SG | FanDuel — $6,300 — SG
Clarkson has filled in admirably with Donovan Mitchell sidelined. Now with Mike Conley out as well, Clarkson has a significant role in keeping the Jazz afloat in their quest for Western Conference glory. He is second on the team in usage, at 25.9% in April games played without both teammates. He has 1.00 fantasy points per minute through that 156-minute sample, which lands his pricing more in the fair territory than the value range. Clarkson makes for a strong play on both sites given the potential for upside and opportunity, though he is in a tough matchup for pace and scoring against a stingy Phoenix defense.
On FanDuel, Clarkson has the second-highest optimal-lineup rate, coming in with a 27.9% mark. He is trending toward being a bit over-owned, but at just a -1.3 leverage score he is more of a building block than an obstacle on the optimal path. Clarkson has a solid 25.3% boom-score probability and room for upside at a fair $6,300 on the blue site.
Clarkson gains point guard eligibility on DraftKings but comes in with a price that is $1,000 higher against a lower cap. He is still one of the better plays on the board, ranking fifth by optimal-lineup rate. He carries a 10.4% boom-score probability that is less appealing than some of the options around him for upside, but the floor and the optimal-lineup rates are stable. With the field not getting to Clarkson as much at the increased price, there is a nice 5.4 leverage score that pushes the appeal of the play. Clarkson should be rostered beyond the field’s current projection on the DraftKings slate tonight.
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Evan Fournier — Boston Celtics
DraftKings — $5,700 — SG/SF | FanDuel — $4,600 — SG
Fournier is back in the lives of NBA DFS players given the recent absence of Kemba Walker in the Boston backcourt. He started and saw 35 minutes in the team’s most recent game, but that was played with Jayson Tatum also sitting. Two games ago, Fournier played just 20 minutes as the second man off the bench for the Celtics. With Tatum in the lineup tonight, Awesemo still has Fournier projected for nearly 30 minutes of action, which is more than enough for him to put up a relevant score for daily fantasy basketball.
On the DraftKings slate, Fournier ranks 16th with a 13.6% optimal-lineup rate. He has significant utility for just $5,700 on the slate and with eligibility at both guard and forward, making him a nice moving part on the board. With the public rostering him at just 4.4% projected ownership on the site, it is easy to get beyond the field without getting overexposed to the play across a full slate of lineups. Fournier has a 9.2 leverage score, so there is plenty of room for leveraged upside in rostering him tonight.
On FanDuel, Fournier only fits in at shooting guard, but his price is just $4,600. That creates a 34.3% boom-score probability and significant upside. Fournier lands in the optimal lineup in 24.2% of simulations for FanDuel slates, ranking him fourth among players at any position and second among shooting guards. He has a 5.8 leverage score that is the only positively leveraged mark among the top seven players on FanDuel in the category. There is significant appeal in this play, pending any news about minutes or role changes.
Anthony Davis — Los Angeles Lakers
DraftKings — $9,100 — PF/C | FanDuel — $9,500 — PF
Davis is still working his way back to full health and production, but he has a 31.4-minute projection in Awesemo’s numbers tonight and looks like a potentially sneaky-strong option. Davis is averaging 1.33 fantasy points per minute across all situations this season, 1.11 in the 107 minutes he has played since returning to the lineup. Davis is a per-minute fantasy beast at this price when fully healthy, but one has to question if there is an upside cap even at absurdly cheap-for-him prices on both sites.
On the FanDuel slate, Davis ranks 12th overall by optimal-lineup rate, coming in at a sound 17.5%. That puts him third among power forwards, second if Giannis Antetokounmpo is ruled out after a sprained ankle last night. Davis will gain in the category when the Bucks star is announced out. He currently stands as a strong option, carrying a 9.3 leverage score that will likely decline as his upside increases against other options at the position, but it may not catch up to where it “should” be based on how frequently Davis will be an optimal play. Given upside and leverage, a star at too cheap a price always has appeal.
On the DraftKings slate, there is a lot that is different about the play. Davis has similar upside for the price while adding center eligibility and potential to gain more ground when Antetokounmpo scratches, but he has just a 7.9% optimal-lineup rate in the late-afternoon update. That rate pushes him far down the board to 40th overall in the category. He does have leverage, currently pulling in a quality 5.1 score, but with upside capped at just 3.5% boom-score probability, the play is less appealing on the other side of the industry. Things will change with this play given news, however, so it is worth monitoring on the boom/bust tool and ownership projections.
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