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NBA DFS Leverage Picks & Optimizer Plays: Hard to Ignore Marcus Smart’s Category Coverage

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NBA DFS Leverage Picks & Optimizer Plays: Hard to Ignore Marcus Smart's Category Coverage

Monday presents an eight-game slate and with the help of Stokastic’s NBA DFS ownership projections, this article will find the best high- and low-owned players that offer leverage for GPPs. Let’s get into the top NBA DFS leverage picks for Monday, Dec. 5.

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NBA DFS Leverage Picks & Optimizer Plays

High-End Tier

While Trae Young is projected to be one of the most rostered studs on both DraftKings and FanDuel tonight according to Stokastic’s projections, it is for very good for reason and he is someone we should be going overweight on. After sitting out Friday, Young has been removed from the Hawks’ injury report for tonight’s matchup with the Thunder, while John Collins (ankle) and De’Andre Hunter (hip) have been ruled out. In the 132 minutes Young has played with Collins and Hunter off the floor this season, his usage has skyrocketed 16.8 percentage points to an absurd 50.9%. To put in perspective how massive this rate is, Giannis Antetokounmpo currently leads the NBA in usage this season at 38.1%. On top of the insane usage rate, Young’s assist percentage also rises 4.7 percentage points to a team-high 45.5% with Collins and Hunter off the court. Young produces a whopping 1.7 DraftKings PPM in this situation and this Oklahoma City squad he is facing leads the league in pace. Atlanta’s implied team total is the second highest on the slate in this up-tempo spot (120.75 points) and Young’s ceiling is near 60 fantasy points in Stokastic’s Boom Bust Tool.

On the contrary, Ja Morant is slated for similar ownership to Young, but is a player that warrants a fade with the high popularity. The guard is playing his second game in two nights and is in a brutal matchup vs. the Heat, who rank eighth in defensive efficiency and 20th in pace. Morant’s upside is much lower than usual in this ugly spot and rostering him with the heavy ownership isn’t a wise move for GPPs.

Update: Morant (ankle) is listed as doubtful for Monday, making Tyus Jones a core play, despite this tough matchup vs. the Heat. In the three tilts Morant has missed this season, Jones has started at point for Memphis and delivered 35.3 DraftKings points in 34.3 minutes per game. Plus, with Jaren Jackson (rest) also ruled out, Dillon Brooks is an awesome value play for the Grizzlies. With Morant and Jackson Jr. off the court this season, Brooks’ usage rises 10.3 percentage points to a team-high 36.1%, helping him score 1.4 DKFP per minute. 

Similar to Young, Pascal Siakam is going to see attention tonight – slated for roughly 15% ownership on both DraftKings and FanDuel according to Stokastic’s projections – but is a player we should be overweight on in GPPs. The forward is fresh off a near triple-double of 58.5 DraftKings points Saturday vs. the Magic and will be at home tonight vs. the Celtics. Combine that Boston leads the league in offensive efficiency and ranks 19th in defensive efficiency, and they have been an elite spot to attack for fantasy purposes this season. The Celtics are on the second leg of a back-to-back set, which means they will be without Al Horford (rest), who is their best interior defender with Robert Williams III (knee) on the shelf. Handling a career-high 29.9% usage rate this season, Siakam is supplying 1.4 DraftKings PPM. This matchup with Boston carries the fourth highest total on the slate (227.5 points) and for the five occasions Siakam has competed in a total of at least 220 points this season, the forward is generating 55.3 DraftKings PPG.

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Value Tier

With Tyrese Haliburton (hip) out tonight, Stokastic is projecting TJ McConnell to be the most owned player on both DraftKings and FanDuel. While heavy ownership isn’t ideal, the guard is a free square at his inexpensive price tags and needs to be one of your core plays, assuming he is available, after missing last night’s loss to the Blazers due to a non-Covid illness. McConnell should start in place of Haliburton and play a minimum of 25 minutes in this matchup with the Warriors, that boasts the highest total on the slate (236.5 points). The veteran is contributing one DraftKings PPM this season and 26.6 DraftKings PPG for the last 10 times he has logged over 20 minutes. Andrew Nembhard is also unavoidable in this situation. The rookie is averaging 37.8 DraftKings points in a team-high 36 minutes per game across the Pacers’ last two and is locked into a 35–40-minute role with Haliburton unavailable. Nembhard generates 0.9 DraftKings PPM with Haliburton off the court and should easily beat his current price tags based off sheer volume.

If eating the Pacers’ chalk, finding some lower owned value plays to roster around McConnell and Nembhard is a must, bringing me to AJ Griffin. Given the rookie’s salaries have increased to new career highs, Griffin is expected to come with low ownership on both DraftKings and FanDuel, making this is a great time to attack. Getting the start Friday, with Young, Collins and Hunter sidelined, Griffin delivered 35.3 DraftKings points across 34 minutes. Young’s return tonight is obviously going to hurt Griffin’s usage, but the heavy playing time should continue for the rookie, and he should have zero issues exceeding five-times value, even at these new career high price points. Prior to Friday, Griffin had made two starts in place of Hunter this season, both of which included Young, and supplied 28.4 DraftKings points in 33 minutes per game in those contests. With Collins and Hunter off the floor, Griffin is amassing 0.9 DraftKings PPM with a 20.3% usage rate, in a sample size of 183 minutes.

Marcus Smart is also a compelling value play for GPPs tonight, with Stokastic forecasting the guard for less than 5% ownership on both DraftKings and FanDuel. As noted above, the Celtics will be without Horford tonight and Smart has been tremendous in the four contests the veteran has missed this season, amazing 40.3 DraftKings PPG. Overall, Smart’s production has risen to one DraftKings PPM in the 239 minutes he has played with Horford off the court this season. Also, Malcolm Brogdon (illness) is questionable, and his absence would be another significant boost for Smart, as his playing time would inevitably be huge if Boston was without Brogdon in this tight 1.5 spread against the Raptors.


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Situations to Monitor

As mentioned above, Brogdon is questionable tonight for the Celtics and not only would his absence help Smart, but it would make Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown great pay up options, that could get slightly overlooked, given they are going against a Raptors’ defense that ranks seventh in efficiency. With Horford and Brogdon off the court this season, Tatum leads Boston with a 34.6% usage rate and 1.6 DraftKings PPM, while Brown ranks second with a 31.3% usage rate and 1.3 DraftKings PPM.

Andrew Wiggins (adductor) and Jordan Poole (ankle) are both questionable tonight and if one or both sit, Stephen Curry will see a strong boost to his already huge rate and bring massive upside in this slate-high total vs. the Pacers (237 points). The sharpshooter’s usage rises to over 30% with either Wiggins or Poole off the floor this season and scores a jaw dropping 1.8 DraftKings PPM when both are off the court.

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