NBA DFS Leverage Picks & Optimizer Plays: Time to Fade Julius Randle? (January 31)

A five-game NBA DFS slate awaits tonight, and with Stokastic’s NBA DFS ownership projections, players can examine leverage data from Stokastic’s Boom/Bust Tool to find the best high- and low-owned players to help build lineups that can rise to the top of the GPP leaderboards. These are the top NBA DFS picks for leverage on Tuesday.

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NBA DFS Picks Leverage & Optimizer Plays | Jan. 31

High-End Tier

With the Lakers in town, stacking the Knicks will prove popular for Tuesday’s five-game slate. Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson are expected to be two of the top-five most rostered players on the slate For both DraftKings and FanDuel, according to Stokastic’s projections. Brunson, who costs less than $8,000 on both sites, can’t be ignored. The guard has topped 40 DraftKings points in 10 of his past 15 starts and should thrive with New York facing a much faster opponent. The Lakers rank second in pace this season. The Knicks rank just 22nd. When playing up in pace this season, Brunson has averaged 45 DraftKings points per game (16 games).

As for Randle, Anthony Davis’ presence in the paint makes this a below-average spot for opposing big men. That means fading Randle has merit tonight, especially on DraftKings, where he costs a whopping $10,100. Since joining the Knicks, Randle has scored less than 50 DraftKings in four of five matchups against Davis.

From a contrarian perspective, attacking a far less popular LeBron James on the other side of this marquee matchup in Madison Square Garden is a worthwhile risk. Stokastic projects the superstar to come with single-digit ownership on both DraftKings and FanDuel. James has exceeded 60 DraftKings points in seven of his past 10 starts and hasn’t played since Saturday after getting rested last night. The last four times James played after at least three days of rest, the future Hall-of-Famer generated 65 DraftKings points per game.


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Nikola Jokic could also get slept on tonight. He should draw around 15% ownership on both DraftKings and FanDuel, according to Stokastic’s projections, and is a stud you must get some exposure to. The back-to-back MVP will play the New Orleans Pelicans, who find themselves on an eight-game losing skid, at home tonight. The Nuggets boast the second-highest implied team total on the slate (119 points) and this contest’s total ranks second on the board (232.5 points). Jokic has destroyed the Pelicans for 65.6 DraftKings points per game in two matchups against the Pelicans and has amassed 64 DraftKings points per game when playing behind an implied team total of at least 115 points on his home floor (20 games).

Value Tier

Pat Connaughton should draw plenty of ownership tonight, especially on DraftKings, where Stokastic projects the wing for the most ownership on the slate. Although the heavy ownership isn’t ideal, Connaughton is a must-play tonight with this short slate lacking many appealing punts. The Bucks also own the highest implied total on the slate (127.5 points) by a wide margin. With Bobby Portis (knee) sidelined for the last three, Connaughton has played an expanded role to the tune of 32 DraftKings points in 32 minutes per game. The 30-year-old’s fantasy production ticks up to 0.84 DraftKings points per minute with Portis off the floor this season. He brings a ceiling of over 30 fantasy points against this Charlotte squad that ranks 27th in defensive efficiency and fifth in pace.

Hovering around 20% expected ownership in Stokastic’s projections, Larry Nance Jr. is another value play to target. Operating as Jonas Valanciunas’ primary backup, Nance Jr. has seen 25 minutes per game across his last six, which has translated into 23 DraftKings points per game during this time. Nance Jr. has contributed 0.9 DraftKings points per minute this season and could approach 30 minutes tonight if Valanciunas gets in foul trouble, which could happen in his matchup against Jokic. Valanciunas got into foul trouble against Jokic the last two times these teams met and played only 15.5 minutes per game. Nance Jr. will benefit the most if this trend continues and could effortlessly beat his current salaries.

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Slated for single-digit ownership on both DraftKings and FanDuel, according to Stokastic’s projections, Gordon Hayward, makes for an excellent GPP target tonight. The veteran forward has flashed solid upside since returning from an eight-game absence due to a hamstring injury by scoring over 27 DraftKings points in three of his first four starts back. This Hornets-Bucks matchup carries the highest total on the slate by over 10 points (244 points), and Hayward has amassed 27 DraftKings points per game when playing in contests with a total of at least 225 points this year (nine games). In Stokastic’s Boom Bust Tool, the forward rates as a top-five option on the slate in terms of leverage score for both DraftKings and FanDuel.

Situations to Monitor

Jamal Murray (injury management) is listed as questionable for rest purposes tonight. That’s despite the Nuggets playing an island game tonight. It feels likely that he’ll play, but if he doesn’t, Bruce Brown will become arguably the best value on the slate as the expected replacement starter. With the guard out this season, Brown has supplied 37 DraftKings points per game (eight games). Jokic would also receive a boost to his already huge projection, and Aaron Gordon would become an awesome target. With Murray off the court this season, Gordon’s usage has risen by 4.1 percentage points to 25.6%, lifting him to 1.2 DraftKings points per minute. Furthermore, with Murray out of the lineup this season, Gordon has been outstanding with 42.3 DraftKings PPG (four games).

Now, if Murray suits up, he will likely come with depressed ownership and be an elite option for GPPs. As of late, Murray has shown great upside by surpassing 40 DraftKings points in seven of his past 10 starts.

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