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NBA DFS Leverage Picks & Optimizer Plays: Karl-Anthony Towns Worth Spending Up For Against Knicks

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NBA DFS picks today and fantasy basketball rankings for DraftKings and FanDuel Friday 3/4/22

With the NBA taking off Tuesday to encourage everyone to go vote, every NBA team is playing Monday, resulting in a rare 15-game slate and this article will analyze Stokastic’s ownership projections for the slate to see how to handle the high and low-owned players in order to gain leverage in GPPs. Let’s get into the top NBA DFS leverage picks for Monday, Nov. 7 including Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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NBA DFS Leverage Picks & Optimizer Plays

High-End Tier

With every team in the NBA competing tonight, no stud is expected to be overly popular on either DraftKings or FanDuel. The size of this slate is resulting in some studs seeing far too little attention for their upside tonight, creating some elite leverage opportunities.

First off, Karl-Anthony Towns is a mouthwatering play with Stokastic projecting the center for single-digit ownership on both DraftKings and FanDuel. The Wolves will be without Rudy Gobert (health protocols) for the second straight game and with him absent Saturday, Towns posted 51.25 DraftKings points in only 30 minutes of work in a blowout win over the Rockets. Tonight, the center should get back playing right around his season average of 35.2 minutes per game in a more competitive setting vs. the Knicks, with Minnesota only favored by 4.5-points. With Gobert off the floor this season, Towns’ usage has increased 4.7 percentage points to 31.4% and he has seen a 1.6 percentage point boost to his rebound rate, resulting in 1.4 DraftKings PPM. Both the Wolves and Knicks are top-five teams in terms of pace this season and this contest’s total is the fourth highest on the slate (233 points). Plus, the Wolves are at home and their implied team total is the fourth largest on the board (119.5 points). Towns has been 2.6 DraftKings PPG better on his home floor than when on the road over the last two seasons and has a ceiling well over 60 fantasy points tonight.

Checking in with an ownership projection around 5% for both sites, Stephen Curry is also an outstanding target tonight. The sharpshooter hasn’t played since last Thursday and the Warriors have lost five games in a row. Plain and simple, tonight’s matchup with the Kings is a must-win for Golden State and a well-rested Curry shouldn’t disappoint in this situation. With a 29.6% usage rate, the guard is amassing 1.6 DraftKings PPM this season. Curry has scored at least 57 DraftKings points in four of his past five starts and facing this Kings’ defense that ranks 23rd in efficiency, the Warriors’ implied team total is highest on the slate (121.75 points). When playing behind an implied team total of at least 120 points over the last two seasons, Curry has been dominant, producing 55.7 DraftKings PPG.

Tyrese Maxey is also a superb GPP option tonight. Joel Embiid (questionable, illness) was a full participant in shootaround this morning and is likely to return. The 76ers also get a difficult matchup vs. the Suns, who rank third in defensive efficiency. Combine these two factors and Stokastic is projecting Maxey for essentially no ownership tonight. While the matchup is a concern, Maxey still has a huge ceiling that is worth perusing with James Harden (foot) on the shelf. Albeit a limited sample of 50 minutes, Maxey has led Philadelphia in usage (37.1%) and assist percentage (30.4%) this season when he and Embiid have been on the court without Harden. Maxey supplies 1.3 DraftKings PPM in this situation and could be a real gamechanger for tournaments tonight.


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Value Tier

While ownership is spread out up top for this massive slate, there are some value plays that are expected to be very chalky. With Gobert out, Kyle Anderson is expected to get another spot start for the Wolves and is projected to be a top-three most rostered player on DraftKings and the easily the most owned player on FanDuel, with an ownership projection north of 60% in Stokastic’s projections. While Anderson was great sans Gobert on Saturday, posting 35.25 DraftKings in 30.4 minutes, he needs to be ignored considered the hefty ownership. Anderson has been a low usage his entire career and in the 70 minutes he has played sans Gobert this season, Anderson’s usage has barely increased to a modest 10.3%. Furthermore, it’s not guaranteed he sees around 30 minutes again, going against a Knicks’ club that starts to natural big men. In this matchup, giving Naz Reid more playing time is a logical move. Nonetheless, rating as a top-three worst option on the slate in terms of leverage score in Stokastic’s Boom Bust Tool, Anderson is an easy fade.

Sticking with this Wolves vs. Knicks’ matchup, Isaiah Hartenstein is also slated to be very chalky with Mitchell Robinson (knee) missing his second straight game. In Stokastic’s projections, Hartenstein is forecasted to rank first and second in terms of ownership on DraftKings and FanDuel, respectively. The center recorded 32.5 DraftKings points in the spot start for Robinson on Saturday, but his usage plummeted to a season-low playing with the Knicks’ starters (6.8%) and this was against a Celtics’ club that has struggled mightily on defense this season – 26th in efficiency – and was playing their game in two nights without Al Horford (back). While not having Gobert is a loss, the Wolves still rank 10th in defensive efficiency this season and directly matching up with Towns comes with plenty of foul trouble risk. Hartenstein could easily underwhelm and not live up to his season-high price tags tonight, and just like Anderson, is rating extremely poorly as a leverage target in Stokastic’s Boom Bust Tool.

A player that is by no means gaining enough attention for his upside tonight is Russell Westbrook. The former MVP has thrived as the Lakers’ sixth man, generating 38.9 DraftKings PPG in his last five and now, Los Angeles will be without LeBron James (foot) for the first time this season, presumably moving Westbrook to the first unit. Lonnie Walker (illness) is also out and while a limited sample of 28 minutes, Westbrook has scored 1.4 DraftKings PPM with James and Walker off the court this season, thanks to a team-high 34.1% usage rate, which is a 7.7 percentage jump from his average for the season. Going against a Jazz team that ranks 11th in pace and is on the second leg of a back-to-back, Westbrook should destroy his sub $7K salaries and is a stellar target with Stokastic projecting him for single-digit ownership on both DraftKings and FanDuel.

An extremely low-owned player in Stokastic’s projections that is worth a flier tonight is Mike Muscala. Aleksej Pokuševski (shoulder) will miss second game in a row, which should keep Muscala as a starter for the Thunder. The big man disappointed with only 15.75 DraftKings points in his first start Saturday with Pokusveski out, but he only saw 16 minutes of work in the blowout loss to the Bucks. In a more competitive environment tonight vs. the Pistons, with the Thunder only two-point favorites, which is the smallest spread of this 15-game slate, Muscala should see over 20 minutes of work and should effortlessly beat his low price tags. This season, Muscala is averaging 1.1 DraftKings PPM with a 25.6% usage rate, which ranks second on the Thunder, only trailing Shai-Gilgeous Alexander. With a ceiling near 30 fantasy points and an ownership projection around 5%, Muscala is the No.1 play on the slate in terms of leverage for both DraftKings and FanDuel in Stokastic’s Boom Bust Tool.

Situations to Monitor

Trae Young (questionable, shin) is the most important name to keep a close eye on tonight, as his absence would make a marvelous investment. With Young off the court, Murray’s usage has risen 5.6 percentage points to 31.6% and his assist rate has skyrocketed 12.7 percentage points to a team-best 43.5%, helping him provide 1.33 DraftKings PPM. In a high total of 225.5 points vs. the Bucks, Murray would be a strong investment for a triple double.

Another name to watch closely is Kevin Porter Jr. (illness), who was a late add to the injury report this morning, certainly putting serious doubt in his availability. If the guard sits, Jalen Green would see a notable upgrade to his role and could possibly be slept on, given the size of this slate. With Porter Jr. off the floor this season, Green’s usage increased 3.1 percentage points to a team-high 30.8%.

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