A short six-game Thursday slate of daily fantasy basketball brings a concentrated ownership pool that will be heavily focused on some of the top raw point scorers, but may be operating inefficiently by leaving leverage on the best options. There are several interesting opportunities on both sites that stand out for value on today’s boom/bust tool. With six games on the slate, this article will focus on several strong leverage plays with upside. 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.
Kristaps Porzingis — Dallas Mavericks
DraftKings — $9,000 — PF/C | FanDuel — $8,300 — PF
Porzingis appears to be among the prime frontcourt options on both sites, despite a fairly aggressive salary discrepancy. The Mavericks are expected to be without Maxi Kleber tonight which could leave a minor uptick in minutes for Porzingis, though he already sees a full complement. The potential for upside is apparently in the 1.23 fantasy points per minute that Porzingis has put up across all situations this season. He is in a strong matchup against the depleted Lakers frontcourt and should be able to do whatever he wants on the offensive side of things. Porzingis is an excellent option with positive leverage on both sites.
On the FanDuel slate, Porzingis lands as the third-most frequently optimal power forward, with fellow stars Jayson Tatum and Zion Williamson occupying the top two spots. With that star power ahead of him, Porzingis is not getting the attention he merits on this slate, he stands out for a whopping 7.2 leverage score that makes him one of the most appealing plays on the board overall. Porzingis has a 25.6% optimal-lineup rate that is in-line with Williamson’s 26.9% but trails Tatum’s 34.0% mark by a wider margin. Utilizing Tatum and Porzingis instead of Tatum and Williamson seems like an easy first pivot, particularly when there is a $1,500 discount for making the move. Porzingis has a 26.5% boom-score probability against his relatively low salary on the blue site.
On DraftKings, Porzingis picks up center eligibility and lands in the optimal lineup in 14.1% of simulated slates. He is less of a bargain and has less obvious upside at the $9,000 price tag. That salary limits his boom-score probability to 7.5%, though Porzingis will only be rostered by the public in 5.2% of projected lineups, leaving a significant 8.9 leverage score on what is, at worst, a good raw points play on a somewhat short slate. With only six games and the ability to move some positioning around, getting to all three of Tatum, Porzingis, and Williamson is possible on DraftKings, though not necessarily a recommended approach.
Andre Drummond — Los Angeles Lakers
DraftKings — $7,300 — C | FanDuel — $6,900 — C
On the other side of the Mavericks matchup is Drummond. He is an excellent point-per-minute producer, he puts up a 1.42 mark across all situations this season. That rate would be a strong play on both sites, despite just a 28-minute projection, it would be more than enough for Drummond to pay off his meager salaries across the industry, with upside to a ceiling score. Drummond has averaged 1.17 fantasy points per minute since joining the Lakers, however, giving some reason for pause. Taking in the full picture, Drummond will be under-owned by the field, which is as good a point as any on which to make decisions about rostering him.
Simulated DraftKings slates see Drummond land in the optimal lineup 23.3% of the time, putting him behind only value play Daniel Theis in the category and making him the highest-end center for some raw point upside. Drummond has a 23.8% boom-score probability against his $7,300 salary on the site, suggesting he could have a ceiling game that rapidly becomes mandatory for access to the top of daily fantasy basketball standings tonight. He will be under-owned by the public, leaving him with a 9.3 leverage score that leads viable options on the DraftKings slate.
The FanDuel pricing is even more friendly, giving Drummond a huge 38.9% boom-score probability that is slate-leading. He finds himself in the optimal lineup in 20.0% of simulated slates for the site, which ranks 16th overall and first among centers. He will be under-owned by the public on the singular-center site as well and has a very appealing 5.0 leverage score rarely seen when only rostering one center at a time. Drummond is an excellent play for the price on FanDuel tonight.
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Dejounte Murray — San Antonio Spurs
DraftKings — $7,200 — PG | FanDuel — $7,200 — PG
Underrated Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray is a strong option across the industry at the position tonight. He has put up 1.11 fantasy points per minute across all situations this season and has been productive during the ongoing lineup tumult with the usually stable franchise. Murray is third on the team with a 23.4% usage rate since the departure of LaMarcus Aldridge, and he has plenty of opportunity for upside on the slate and is as strong an option as teammate DeMar DeRozan on both sites given the pricing and ownership discrepancies, albeit at different positions.
On FanDuel, Murray is in the optimal lineup in 26.0% of simulated slates and has a 25.9% boom-score probability at his fair price. Murray has plenty of upside on the slate and should be rostered in excess of the field. The public makes that easy by undervaluing Murray, as he has a 3.6 leverage score going into the late afternoon, leaving plenty of room to stretch out on the play.
On the DraftKings slate, Murray pops as one of the top overall plays on the board, given his 22.3% optimal-lineup rate. He has a 13.7% boom-score probability for the salary against a lower cap, but that mark is still one of the better in the category tonight. Murray will be under-appreciated by the public on DraftKings as well. Their projected 18.4% distribution will be well beyond his optimal rate, leaving Murray with an excellent 3.9 leverage score to exploit. This is a standout point guard play on a slate for which options at the position are a bit difficult find.
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