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NBA DFS Leverage Picks & Optimizer Plays: Marvin Bagley III Among Best Value Choices

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Josh Engleman brings you his NBA fantasy basketball show with strategy on how to build DraftKings & FanDuel NBA DFS lineups today, 3/31/2022

Thursday presents a three-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 Thursday, Nov. 17.

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NBA DFS Leverage Picks & Optimizer Plays

High-End Tier

The highest total of tonight’s three-game slate by a huge margin is the Kings vs. the Spurs (236.5 points). Sacramento will be at home, and this is a prime matchup for them, with San Antonio ranking second to last in defensive efficiency and ninth in pace. By seven points, the Kings’ implied team total is the highest on the board (121.75 points). Naturally, this is resulting in De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis projecting to be the most popular expensive options on the slate in Stokastic’s projections. Both are projecting as great targets in this smash spot, but the likelihood of them both going off is unlikely. For perspective, Fox and Sabonis have only both scored over 45 DraftKings collectively in four of 12 games together this season. The best strategy is to have exposure to both stars, but to limit only one per lineup. If forced to choose between Fox and Sabonis for which we should have more exposure to overall, Sabonis has the upper hand in this matchup that sets up perfectly for big men. The forward’s usage has increased to 23.2% over the last five games, resulting 47.5 DraftKings PPG, and the Spurs are yielding the second most points in the paint. This season, 77% of Sabonis’ field goal attempts have come in the paint and he should flirt with a triple-double in this gorgeous matchup.

A lower owned high-end option that is standing out in Stokastic’s projections is Jerami Grant. The forward is playing outstanding basketball right now, producing 47 DraftKings PPG across his last four starts. During this run, Grant’s usage has been at a strong 26.4% and he has knocked down three pointers at an absurd 61% clip on 33 attempts. The Blazers have won three of these four games with Grant in this expanded role, and they should continue to feature him tonight against a soft Nets’ defense that ranks 22nd in efficiency. Stokastic is forecasting Grant for less than 20% ownership on both DraftKings and FanDuel tonight, which is very appealing for a three-game slate.

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Value Tier

On the other side of the Kings vs. Spurs’ projected shootout, Tre Jones is projected as a top-five most rostered player on the slate. At over $6K on both DraftKings and FanDuel, the point guard warrants a fade, despite the strong game setting. Jones would need over 30 DraftKings points to reach five-times value at his current salaries, which is something he has only accomplished in six of 14 starts this season. Furthermore, Jones lacks real upside, only topping 40 DraftKings points once and his usage hasn’t been overly encouraging, ranking eighth on the Spurs at 18.1%. Dropping down to a lesser owned and cheaper Killian Hayes is a sharp choice for GPPs.

Cade Cunningham (shin) will remain out tonight, keeping Killian Hayes as the Pistons’ starting point guard for the third straight game. While he struggled his last time out with only 20.25 DraftKings points vs. the Raptors, Hayes topped 30 DraftKings in both of his first two starts for Cunningham, so there is certainly reason to suggest a bounce back performance tonight, especially when you factor in that Isaiah Stewart (toe) will also be unavailable. In the 145 minutes Hayes has played with Cunningham and Stewart off the court this season, Hayes has generated 0.9 DraftKings PPM with a 23.2% usage rate, which is a 5.2 percentage point upgrade from his season average.

Marvin Bagley III is also a compelling GPP play from the shorthanded Pistons, with Stokastic anticipating him to come with low ownership on both DraftKings and FanDuel. With Stewart getting injured Monday, Bagley logged 28 minutes and was the player that started the second half in place of Stewart. While Bagley only finished with 23.75 DraftKings points, the amount of playing time was extremely encouraging and he should have a better showing tonight with around 30 minutes as the interim starter for Stewart. Bagley is contributing one DraftKings PPM over the last two seasons and is averaging 31 DraftKings PPG for the last 10 occasions he has logged a minimum of 25 minutes.

Situations to Monitor

The Clippers are the most important team to monitor Thursday. Paul George (hand) and Kawhi Leonard (knee) are both questionable, while Luke Kennard (calf) has been ruled out. With Leonard being a late upgrade, it is likely he will make his return after a 12-game absence, but will almost certainly see very limited minutes. Now, if George is ruled out, Terrance Mann would likely see 25-30 minutes in this beautiful matchup vs. the Pistons, who rank dead last in defensive efficiency, and would stand out as one of the better punts for this short slate. In the 90 minutes Mann has played with George and Kennard off the court this season, he has received a 19.8% usage rate and supplied 0.83 DraftKings PPM.

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