NBA DFS Lineup Optimizer Guide: Some Zion Williamson Math (January 10)

Tonight’s eight-game main slate on DraftKings is full of players listed as questionable: Rudy Gobert in a matchup against the Kristaps Porzingis-less Celtics, Dejounte Murray and Clint Capela for the Hawks, and De’Anthony Melton of the 76ers are a few of the major pieces of injury news that will shape our lineups the most leading up to lock. Need more NBA DFS lineup help? Check out our NBA DFS lineup generator or our industry-leading NBA DFS simulation tools.

NBA DFS Lineup Optimizer Guide: Key Decisions for Today (January 10)

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NBA DFS Lineup Optimizer Guide: Early Ball in the Bay

The time a game starts relative to the others is so important when factoring in late swap and our potential edge in that department. All those other pieces of news will break an hour or more before the 8:30 p.m. ET starting time of Pelicans and Warriors in the Bay. That to me makes Zion Williamson’s questionable tag for the Pelicans more pertinent than any other injury designation on the slate, as it could be the only unknown left after lock among the key injury designations on the slate.

Now, don’t confuse that with me saying that means I’ll get to the Pelicans in more lineups than any other team, because that isn’t accurate. But part of what the Boom/Bust Tool at Stokastic has taught both myself and subscribers alike over the years is the importance of leverage. Player X has this percent chance of setting the slate on fire and being optimal, Player Y is this percent over-owned — it’s a beautiful way of incapsulating a slate.

In fact, let’s take a look at the Boom/Bust Tool for the Pelicans assuming Williamson plays, which is currently factored into our projections at the moment:

That is not too appealing of a team to say the least the moment. But here’s the key point taken from the far-right column above: Every Pelicans player is positively leveraged at this very moment already. Not just one or two of them: Every. Single. One. Are they some type of smash plays that will work out a decent percentage of the time if Williamson plays? Absolutely not.

But let’s assume Williamson is indeed a 50/50 shot to play this evening. Finding a few extra lineup spots in your portfolio for C.J. McCollum and Brandon Ingram at lock and hope the news breaks your way seems like an easy way to add expected value to your night. If the news breaks before lock, that edge may or may not exist, but the idea is their ownership will not reflect their actual optimal percentage and thus make them under-owned. And if I get stuck with double or triple the field on McCollum and Ingram and Williamson does suit up, I would be more than fine with it. In fact, I’d be looking to pivot some of that exposure to Williamson himself.

However, when it comes to the potential value plays on the Pelicans, we have to weigh out the opportunity cost of missing out on early value compared to what the potential upside of that late value is. And in this particular case, there’s no doubt Herbert Jones, Naji Marshall and even Dyson Daniels would become more than viable should Williamson sit. But at their respective price points, I’m actually OK living without them, as Andrew Nembhard, Paul Reed and Jordan McLaughlin would still grade out as better plays straight up.

So my advice for scenarios like this one should Williamson still be questionable after lock? More McCollum + More Ingram = More Money in the Long-Term. Yay math.

NBA DFS Lineup Optimizer Guide: Nuke of the Night

It’s been an uninspiring start to the new year with Nuke of the Night — however, not my fault every coach apparently hates to start Chris Boucher with a passion. But tonight, we find recapture our 2023 groove and apply it to 2024 with one Miles Bridges of the Charlotte Hornets.

Bridges currently sits at 7.9% ownership on DraftKings with a slightly higher chance of being optimal at 8.3% in the Boom/Bust tool. So while that doesn’t grade out as some super smash play, he acts as direct leverage off teammate and highly-owned option $8,500 Terry Rozier (not that you can’t play the two together in some lineups).

Furthermore, with Bridges adding PF/C multi-positional eligibility for the first time this season, he seamlessly fits into lineups for me and could end up even lower-owned should Gobert sit and make Karl-Anthony Towns at $7,900 the PF/C mega-chalk. Add in that he’s facing the slightly uptempo Sacramento Kings on a back-to-back, and he makes for an appealing contrarian option on tonight’s NBA DFS slate

Eric Lindquist hails from Sioux Falls, South Dakota (yes, that’s the one with Mount Rushmore). A steady diet of three SportsCenters a day at an early age led to his obsession with sports, one that 30 years later is paying dividends for him as a successful DFS player and sports bettor. Despite over half a million dollars in net career earnings, he’s most passionate about helping others achieve their financial goals, an energy you can witness on the daily in his current role as a host and analyst at Stokastic. He’s a former Division I golfer at Iowa State, wishes he was a former Minnesota sports fan, and is a proud father to a 100-pound Bernese Mountain dog named Duke that wishes he could just eat people food instead of the crap he and his wife feed him on the daily.

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