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NBA DFS (Saturday, Dec. 11): Top Model Picks and Value Plays on DraftKings and FanDuel

The NBA Player Models are the lifeblood of our NBA product. They house our projections for each player, but that’s just the beginning of what you’ll find inside. You’ll also find our Trends tool and so much more.

Let’s dive into our models, going position-by-position, looking at guys with some of the highest Ceiling Projections, along with players who are standing out as values with our predictive Projected Plus/Minus metric.

Also, don’t forget that for large-field tournaments, you can utilize our Lineup Optimizer to effortlessly create up to 150 lineups, or use our Lineup Builder if you like to hand-build your teams.

Note: Projections and Leverages Scores/Ratings may change throughout the day after this article is posted. Consult the Player Models directly for any updates.

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Point Guard

Top Ceiling: Stephen Curry at Philadelphia 76ers – $11,600 DraftKings, $10,500 FanDuel

Stephen Curry has struggled lately and we certainly are not getting a discount on those struggles tonight. He has a negative Plus/Minus in eight of his last nine games. He has scored fewer than 40 DraftKings points in three out of his last five games. However, Curry has a chance at history tonight! He can become the All-Time leader in 3-pointers made. He needs 10 3-pointers to pass Ray Allen.

There is no doubt 10 3-pointers is a ton, but Curry has actually made 10 or more 3-pointers in 22 games throughout his career. In his 786 games played, that is only 2.7%. However, we all know he is going to be gunning for it. This matchup isn’t that ideal as the 76ers play at the slowest Pace in the league, while the Warriors play at the fifth fastest. Curry will also be playing against his brother Seth Curry. I normally don’t go down narrative street, but I can’t miss out on what could be a historic night in the NBA.


Top Value: Davion Mitchell at Cleveland Cavaliers – $3,200 DraftKings, $4,700 FanDuel

Davion Mitchell and the Sacramento Kings are coming off of a 124-123 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. That game had a ton of ownership. With this price, I could see even more ownership on Mitchell tonight. He had 10 points, one rebound, and four assists playing 26 minutes. The minutes for Mitchell have been very consistent. He is averaging 26.8 minutes per game in his last six games.

This matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers is extremely difficult. They rank third in Defensive Rating this season, and they have only allowed 101.5 points per game which is the second-best in the league. This will be a completely different game environment than what Mitchell had last night, but at this price, he is impossible to ignore. I would prioritize Mitchell on DraftKings, where he has a 97% Bargain Rating.

Shooting Guard

Top Ceiling: Donovan Mitchell at Washington Wizards – $9,000 DraftKings, $8,300 FanDuel

From one Mitchell to another, I love the upside in Donovan Mitchell tonight. Deciding between Mitchell and Bradley Beal for my top ceiling shooting guard was difficult. Despite being on a better team with more depth, Mitchell has a higher usage rate than Beal and has been much more consistent lately. Mitchell has had over 45 DraftKings points in five out of his last six games.

After a hot start, the Washington Wizards have lost four of their last six games, with their only two wins coming against the Timberwolves and Pistons. Over the last two weeks, the Wizards rank 26th in Defensive Rating and have allowed 112.4 points per game. Mitchell has had a positive Plus/Minus in five out of his last six games, and I think he makes for a great option again tonight.


Top Value: Armoni Brooks at Memphis Grizzlies – $4,000 DraftKings, $4,400 FanDuel

The Houston Rockets have been fantastic lately. They had won seven in a row before losing last night to the Milwaukee Bucks 123-114. Their winning streak was impressive as they did most of their damage without Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. Both are expected to be out tonight, which leads me to Armani Brooks. The rookie from Houston has been fantastic with his extra opportunities.

Since moving into the starting lineup, Brooks has recorded back-to-back games over 30 DraftKings points. He is averaging 17.5 points per game, five rebounds per game, and 3.5 assists per game. The Rockets continue to lead the league in Pace this season, and this matchup with the Grizzlies has a lot of fantasy goodness. This game has the second-highest total on the slate at 220.5 points. Brooks provides a lot of value tonight.

Small Forward

Top Ceiling: Zach LaVine at Miami Heat – $9,800 DraftKings, $9,200 FanDuel

The Chicago Bulls are decimated with injuries going into this road matchup against the Miami Heat. I won’t go too in-depth with who is out, but the main piece that won’t be playing tonight is DeMar DeRozan. That will open the door for a lot of Zach LaVine usage. In two games without DeRozan this season, LaVine is averaging 27.5 points per game, 3.5 rebounds per game, and 8.5 assists per game.

The Heat, without their top two defenders in Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, have really struggled defensively. With those two in the lineup, the Heat have a Defensive Rating of 103.2. Without them, they have a Defensive Rating of 115.3, which is a big difference. They still play at a very slow Pace, but LaVine will get as many shots as he can handle tonight. In those two games without DeRozan, LaVine has averaged 22 field goal attempts.

Note: Zach LaVine is only PG/SG eligible on FanDuel.


Top Value: Terence Davis vs. Philadelphia 76ers – $3,700 DraftKings, $5,700 FanDuel

Another Sacramento Kings value player that I really like tonight is Terence Davis. This is primarily a DraftKings play as Davis has a 99% Bargain Rating. He has had a positive Plus/Minus in seven straight games. He dealt with extreme foul trouble last night but still finished with 19 points on a season-high 17 field goal attempts and eight rebounds for 38 DraftKings points.

Similar to Davion Mitchell, this matchup is very difficult, but at this price, he is an awesome value play. Over his last four games, Davis is averaging 21.5 points per game with an average of +18.5 Plus/Minus. The Kings have gotten Maurice Harkless back from injury, but he didn’t play two games ago and only played three minutes last night. Davis has taken his spot in the starting lineup and ran with it.

Power Forward

Top Ceiling: Jaren Jackson Jr. vs. Houston Rockets – $7,500 DraftKings, $6,400 FanDuel

With so many Memphis Grizzlies players out tonight, there are a lot of mid-range players from this team that I like. However, the main player that I want from the Grizzlies in this uptempo game is Jaren Jackson Jr. With Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks off the floor, Jackson Jr. has a team-high +9.2% usage rate in 181 minutes this season using our On/Off tool. A little surprising for a big man.

Not only is his usage rate up with Brooks and Morant off the floor but so is his production. Jackson Jr. has a +6.6 DraftKings Plus/Minus. The Rockets lead the league in Pace this season, and they have allowed 111.5 points per game which is the fifth highest in the league. The one concern with Jackson Jr. is always foul trouble. If he can stay out of foul trouble, this is a great spot, especially on FanDuel, where he has a 96% Bargain Rating.


Top Value: Marvin Bagley at Cleveland Cavaliers – $3,700 DraftKings, $4,400 FanDuel

I really hope the Cleveland Cavaliers struggle on defense tonight because Marvin Bagley comes in as the third value Sacramento Kings player that I want to target. This game does have the highest total with 222.5 points. I wasn’t expecting to go right back to the Kings players again, but these prices, especially on DraftKings, are just absurd. Bagley has an 83% Bargain Rating and has had a positive Plus/Minus in three straight games.

Since returning from an illness, Bagley has averaged 13 points per game and nine rebounds per game. He has two double-doubles in his last three games and will be needed against this big and tough Cavaliers frontcourt. Bagley has been closing out games recently for the Kings, and I would expect more of the same tonight. The Cavaliers rank eighth in Rebounding Percentage, so Bagley will be needed.

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Center

Top Ceiling: Nikola Jokic at San Antonio Spurs – $11,900 DraftKings, $11,200 FanDuel

I wrote up how good of a play Stephen Curry was, but the player with the highest ceiling tonight is no doubt Nikola Jokic. In his last three games, Jokic has had a triple-double in each game, averaging 26 points per game, 12 rebounds per game, and 12 assists per game. During that stretch, he has also averaged 66.2 DraftKings points per game. We are seeing Jokic at his peak right now.

The Nuggets are one-point underdogs to the Spurs, which means we have a high likelihood of seeing 35+ minutes from Jokic tonight. He is my favorite spend-up option on the slate and also the safest. With how much value we have on the slate, there should be no troubles getting to Jokic in this spot. Jokic is averaging a career-high 1.78 DraftKings points per minute this season. Get him in your lineups.


Top Value: P.J. Tucker vs. Chicago Bulls – $3,100 DraftKings, $4,400 FanDuel

I could have easily recommended more Kings players with Alex Len or Tristan Thompson, who both could play more against the Cavaliers, but I needed to switch it up! P.J. Tucker isn’t always an enticing player to roster, but he seems to show up in big games, and tonight is a big one playing at home against the Chicago Bulls. With Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo off the floor, Tucker has an increase of +3.4 DraftKings Plus/Minus.

Tucker has a 96% Bargain Rating on DraftKings, where he is coming off of a 15 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists performance in his last game. He had a season-high 40.25 DraftKings points. This game has the lowest total on the slate but is a one-point spread. I love targeting Tucker in these types of games. He will be active, and this price tag is too low for the upside that he can bring.

The NBA Player Models are the lifeblood of our NBA product. They house our projections for each player, but that’s just the beginning of what you’ll find inside. You’ll also find our Trends tool and so much more.

Let’s dive into our models, going position-by-position, looking at guys with some of the highest Ceiling Projections, along with players who are standing out as values with our predictive Projected Plus/Minus metric.

Also, don’t forget that for large-field tournaments, you can utilize our Lineup Optimizer to effortlessly create up to 150 lineups, or use our Lineup Builder if you like to hand-build your teams.

Note: Projections and Leverages Scores/Ratings may change throughout the day after this article is posted. Consult the Player Models directly for any updates.

Start Your PRO Trial Today

Lineup builder and optimizer

Real-time DFS models

Data-driven analysis & tutorials

Point Guard

Top Ceiling: Stephen Curry at Philadelphia 76ers – $11,600 DraftKings, $10,500 FanDuel

Stephen Curry has struggled lately and we certainly are not getting a discount on those struggles tonight. He has a negative Plus/Minus in eight of his last nine games. He has scored fewer than 40 DraftKings points in three out of his last five games. However, Curry has a chance at history tonight! He can become the All-Time leader in 3-pointers made. He needs 10 3-pointers to pass Ray Allen.

There is no doubt 10 3-pointers is a ton, but Curry has actually made 10 or more 3-pointers in 22 games throughout his career. In his 786 games played, that is only 2.7%. However, we all know he is going to be gunning for it. This matchup isn’t that ideal as the 76ers play at the slowest Pace in the league, while the Warriors play at the fifth fastest. Curry will also be playing against his brother Seth Curry. I normally don’t go down narrative street, but I can’t miss out on what could be a historic night in the NBA.


Top Value: Davion Mitchell at Cleveland Cavaliers – $3,200 DraftKings, $4,700 FanDuel

Davion Mitchell and the Sacramento Kings are coming off of a 124-123 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. That game had a ton of ownership. With this price, I could see even more ownership on Mitchell tonight. He had 10 points, one rebound, and four assists playing 26 minutes. The minutes for Mitchell have been very consistent. He is averaging 26.8 minutes per game in his last six games.

This matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers is extremely difficult. They rank third in Defensive Rating this season, and they have only allowed 101.5 points per game which is the second-best in the league. This will be a completely different game environment than what Mitchell had last night, but at this price, he is impossible to ignore. I would prioritize Mitchell on DraftKings, where he has a 97% Bargain Rating.

Shooting Guard

Top Ceiling: Donovan Mitchell at Washington Wizards – $9,000 DraftKings, $8,300 FanDuel

From one Mitchell to another, I love the upside in Donovan Mitchell tonight. Deciding between Mitchell and Bradley Beal for my top ceiling shooting guard was difficult. Despite being on a better team with more depth, Mitchell has a higher usage rate than Beal and has been much more consistent lately. Mitchell has had over 45 DraftKings points in five out of his last six games.

After a hot start, the Washington Wizards have lost four of their last six games, with their only two wins coming against the Timberwolves and Pistons. Over the last two weeks, the Wizards rank 26th in Defensive Rating and have allowed 112.4 points per game. Mitchell has had a positive Plus/Minus in five out of his last six games, and I think he makes for a great option again tonight.


Top Value: Armoni Brooks at Memphis Grizzlies – $4,000 DraftKings, $4,400 FanDuel

The Houston Rockets have been fantastic lately. They had won seven in a row before losing last night to the Milwaukee Bucks 123-114. Their winning streak was impressive as they did most of their damage without Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. Both are expected to be out tonight, which leads me to Armani Brooks. The rookie from Houston has been fantastic with his extra opportunities.

Since moving into the starting lineup, Brooks has recorded back-to-back games over 30 DraftKings points. He is averaging 17.5 points per game, five rebounds per game, and 3.5 assists per game. The Rockets continue to lead the league in Pace this season, and this matchup with the Grizzlies has a lot of fantasy goodness. This game has the second-highest total on the slate at 220.5 points. Brooks provides a lot of value tonight.

Small Forward

Top Ceiling: Zach LaVine at Miami Heat – $9,800 DraftKings, $9,200 FanDuel

The Chicago Bulls are decimated with injuries going into this road matchup against the Miami Heat. I won’t go too in-depth with who is out, but the main piece that won’t be playing tonight is DeMar DeRozan. That will open the door for a lot of Zach LaVine usage. In two games without DeRozan this season, LaVine is averaging 27.5 points per game, 3.5 rebounds per game, and 8.5 assists per game.

The Heat, without their top two defenders in Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, have really struggled defensively. With those two in the lineup, the Heat have a Defensive Rating of 103.2. Without them, they have a Defensive Rating of 115.3, which is a big difference. They still play at a very slow Pace, but LaVine will get as many shots as he can handle tonight. In those two games without DeRozan, LaVine has averaged 22 field goal attempts.

Note: Zach LaVine is only PG/SG eligible on FanDuel.


Top Value: Terence Davis vs. Philadelphia 76ers – $3,700 DraftKings, $5,700 FanDuel

Another Sacramento Kings value player that I really like tonight is Terence Davis. This is primarily a DraftKings play as Davis has a 99% Bargain Rating. He has had a positive Plus/Minus in seven straight games. He dealt with extreme foul trouble last night but still finished with 19 points on a season-high 17 field goal attempts and eight rebounds for 38 DraftKings points.

Similar to Davion Mitchell, this matchup is very difficult, but at this price, he is an awesome value play. Over his last four games, Davis is averaging 21.5 points per game with an average of +18.5 Plus/Minus. The Kings have gotten Maurice Harkless back from injury, but he didn’t play two games ago and only played three minutes last night. Davis has taken his spot in the starting lineup and ran with it.

Power Forward

Top Ceiling: Jaren Jackson Jr. vs. Houston Rockets – $7,500 DraftKings, $6,400 FanDuel

With so many Memphis Grizzlies players out tonight, there are a lot of mid-range players from this team that I like. However, the main player that I want from the Grizzlies in this uptempo game is Jaren Jackson Jr. With Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks off the floor, Jackson Jr. has a team-high +9.2% usage rate in 181 minutes this season using our On/Off tool. A little surprising for a big man.

Not only is his usage rate up with Brooks and Morant off the floor but so is his production. Jackson Jr. has a +6.6 DraftKings Plus/Minus. The Rockets lead the league in Pace this season, and they have allowed 111.5 points per game which is the fifth highest in the league. The one concern with Jackson Jr. is always foul trouble. If he can stay out of foul trouble, this is a great spot, especially on FanDuel, where he has a 96% Bargain Rating.


Top Value: Marvin Bagley at Cleveland Cavaliers – $3,700 DraftKings, $4,400 FanDuel

I really hope the Cleveland Cavaliers struggle on defense tonight because Marvin Bagley comes in as the third value Sacramento Kings player that I want to target. This game does have the highest total with 222.5 points. I wasn’t expecting to go right back to the Kings players again, but these prices, especially on DraftKings, are just absurd. Bagley has an 83% Bargain Rating and has had a positive Plus/Minus in three straight games.

Since returning from an illness, Bagley has averaged 13 points per game and nine rebounds per game. He has two double-doubles in his last three games and will be needed against this big and tough Cavaliers frontcourt. Bagley has been closing out games recently for the Kings, and I would expect more of the same tonight. The Cavaliers rank eighth in Rebounding Percentage, so Bagley will be needed.

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Center

Top Ceiling: Nikola Jokic at San Antonio Spurs – $11,900 DraftKings, $11,200 FanDuel

I wrote up how good of a play Stephen Curry was, but the player with the highest ceiling tonight is no doubt Nikola Jokic. In his last three games, Jokic has had a triple-double in each game, averaging 26 points per game, 12 rebounds per game, and 12 assists per game. During that stretch, he has also averaged 66.2 DraftKings points per game. We are seeing Jokic at his peak right now.

The Nuggets are one-point underdogs to the Spurs, which means we have a high likelihood of seeing 35+ minutes from Jokic tonight. He is my favorite spend-up option on the slate and also the safest. With how much value we have on the slate, there should be no troubles getting to Jokic in this spot. Jokic is averaging a career-high 1.78 DraftKings points per minute this season. Get him in your lineups.


Top Value: P.J. Tucker vs. Chicago Bulls – $3,100 DraftKings, $4,400 FanDuel

I could have easily recommended more Kings players with Alex Len or Tristan Thompson, who both could play more against the Cavaliers, but I needed to switch it up! P.J. Tucker isn’t always an enticing player to roster, but he seems to show up in big games, and tonight is a big one playing at home against the Chicago Bulls. With Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo off the floor, Tucker has an increase of +3.4 DraftKings Plus/Minus.

Tucker has a 96% Bargain Rating on DraftKings, where he is coming off of a 15 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists performance in his last game. He had a season-high 40.25 DraftKings points. This game has the lowest total on the slate but is a one-point spread. I love targeting Tucker in these types of games. He will be active, and this price tag is too low for the upside that he can bring.