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NBA Optimal Lineup Leaders & Leverage Picks: DraftKings & FanDuel with Karl-Anthony Towns | Tuesday, April 27

Terry McBride

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Tonight's NBA DFS picks, news, notes & lineups for DraftKings and FanDuel, as well as look at the day's betting picks & player props 5/13/21.

A short Tuesday slate featuring just six games leads to chasing value and leverage down the salary spectrum tonight. There are several strong spots, pending news as always, but they will be highly popular, making roster differentiation a difficult trick to pull. The slate has several high-end stars to pay up for as well as some reasonable mid-range plays, so construction can go in several different directions. With six games on the slate, this article will 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).

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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.

Kevin Porter Jr. — Houston Rockets

DraftKings — $6,500 — PG/SG | FanDuel — $5,600 — SF

With the Rockets continually rolling out short-handed lineups, they are providing regular value pieces for NBA DFS use, depending on pricing and public ownership. Tonight’s slate is no different; nine Rockets players are on the injury report, though Christian Wood seems likely to play. Regardless of Wood’s status, the absence of all the guards and wing players should create significant opportunity for Porter to shine. Across all situations this season, Porter has 0.93 fantasy points per minute. In this specific configuration of the team, Porter averages a 0.96 rate but sees more opportunity and time on the court. Awesemo has a 33.2-minute projection on the player tonight, more than enough time for him to stand out on both sites.

On DraftKings, Porter lands at both guard positions with authority and has significant utility. Porter has a 26.8% optimal-lineup rate, good for fourth on the slate and second among point guards. Porter has a 28.0% boom-score probability, but will be under-owned by the public, perhaps burnt out on playing Rockets value. Porter is projected for just a 19.8% ownership share on the site, leaving him with a 7.0 leverage score that has significant appeal.

The FanDuel slate has a lower price tag on Porter than on the other side of the industry, making him explode to the very top of rankings. Porter lands in the optimal lineup in 51.0% of simulations for the blue site, leading the way among all positions. He stands out even further given the monster 13.6 leverage score, which also leads the way. This is despite a healthy 37.4% public ownership projection. Porter and his 48.6% boom-score probability are simply that strong a play on the site given the lack of quality options at small forward. He is a fundamental building block for tonight’s FanDuel slate and not to be avoided.


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Jaylen Brown — Boston Celtics

DraftKings — $8,400 — SG/SF | FanDuel — $8,100 — SF

Brown is the other top option on the board at the small forward position for FanDuel players before a cataclysmic plummet in optimal-lineup rate points to the other name-brand players at the position. Brown is in a strong position to deliver significant mid-range value tonight given the absence of teammates Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum. In 253 minutes without those two and Robert Williams, Brown has put up 1.34 fantasy point per minute this season, way up from his regular 1.14 mark. With that situation in play for tonight, Brown is an absolute smash spot at these prices on this specific slate.

On FanDuel, Brown ranks second overall with a 49.3% optimal-lineup rate. He slots in above Porter with his 51.4% boom-score probability. Brown is projected for 35.9 minutes and has a 4.9 leverage score, though the public is rostering him at 44.0%. He is an extremely strong play with positive leverage, and there is not more to look for than that for GPP play.

On the DraftKings slate, Brown adds the ever-important guard and forward multi-position eligibility, putting him in play at more than half of the available positions. Brown has a 37.2% optimal-lineup rate, which is 9 percentage points higher than the next player at any position on the site. Brown has a 38.3% boom-score probability and monster upside on this slate. The public is on the play at 34.6% projected ownership, but there is room for more as Brown still carries a 2.6 leverage score on DraftKings. This is one of the top plays across the industry tonight.


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Karl-Anthony Towns — Minnesota Timberwolves

DraftKings — $10,000 — C | FanDuel — $9,700 — C

Towns stands alone as the top option on the singular-center site, and he ranks as a strong option among the larger selection of centers on DraftKings. Towns averages 1.40 fantasy points per minute across all situations this season and is not priced for his overall upside or skill level. He is projected for 34.6 minutes tonight, giving him plenty of room to hit his ceiling score in an easy matchup against the Houston third string. The Rockets frontcourt should offer little resistance to Towns doing whatever he wants offensively tonight, regardless of whether Wood plays or not. Towns has a monster upside on both sites.

On DraftKings, the center ranks fifth among options at the position, coming in with an 18.1% optimal-lineup rate. He will be owned at a relatively appropriate rate by the public, coming up with a -2.7 leverage score, though he has a 29.3% boom-score probability. That last mark stands out, as high-priced star caliber players typically come in under that level based on the ceiling score required at the salary. Towns has appeal despite a slightly negative leverage score, and he should be affordable.

Towns is an even stronger option on the FanDuel slate. He leads all players at the position with a 26.0% optimal-lineup rate. He has a 41.9% boom-score probability, suggesting the massive upside available in the play at less than $10,000 salary. That Towns costs so little is reason enough to get to him on this slate. The public is on the play at a 26.6% clip, but with only a -0.6 leverage score, there should be room to push past that number. With a lack of high-end options at the position beyond Towns, it makes sense to get value elsewhere on FanDuel and pay up at center.


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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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