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NBA DFS (Wednesday, Dec. 8): 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: Steph Curry vs. Portland Trail Blazers – $11,400 DraftKings, $10,700 FanDuel

After a terrible three-game shooting slump, Curry broke out Monday with 31 points and seven triples on 50% shooting against Orlando. In that one, he posted a 31/8/3/2 line in just 31 minutes as the Warriors blew out the Magic.

Golden State is a massive 12.5-point favorite against the short-handed Blazers, so Curry is at risk of sitting out for at least part of the fourth quarter, however, our model projects him to play 35 minutes, slightly higher than his season average of 34.2.


Top Value: Dennis Smith at Golden State Warriors – $5,800 DraftKings, $5,500 FanDuel

With Damian Lillard (abdomen) and CJ McCollum (collapsed lung) out, and Anfernee Simons (ankle) questionable tonight, DSJ should be in line for another start tonight. Our model likes him as a salary-saving option at point guard, thanks to his still-affordable price.

Over his last two contests (both starts), DSJ has averaged 17.0 points, 6.5 assists, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.0 steals across 38.0 minutes. If that level of production continues, he could provide 7x or 8x value for DFS players on this slate.


Shooting Guard

Top Ceiling: James Harden at Houston Rockets – $11,200 DraftKings, $10,200 FanDuel

Is the revenge narrative a real thing? I’m not sure, but there’s no question James Harden will have some extra juice in a matchup with his former team tonight. If the personal motivation angle doesn’t do it for you, Houston has surrendered the most fantasy points to opposing point guards and the seventh-most to opposing shooting guards.

Despite sharing the court with the NBA’s leading scorer Kevin Durant, Harden’s ceiling remains sky-high. He’s eclipsed 60 fantasy points three times this season and 50 fantasy points seven times while posting four triple-doubles. In a matchup with the night’s highest over/under at 225.0, expect the former Rocket to take off in this favorable matchup.


Top Value: Ayo Dosunmu at Cleveland Cavaliers – $3,900 DraftKings, $4,800 FanDuel

Dosunmu started his first NBA game Monday, and he parlayed the opportunity into a productive line of 11 points, eight dimes, and six boards across a team-high 42 minutes.

With DeMar DeRozan (COVID-19) and Alex Caruso (hamstring) out again tonight, expect Dosunmu to see plenty of run against Cleveland. He’s a fine play on FanDuel, but he’s an even better play on DraftKings, where he sports an 88% Bargain Rating.


Small Forward

Top Ceiling: Kevin Durant vs. Houston Rockets – $11,300 DraftKings, $10,800 FanDuel

As mentioned above, Houston has been a sieve for fantasy points this season, surrendering the third-most fantasy points to opposing small forwards and the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing power forwards.

Brooklyn plays at home tonight, and Durant has been uber-productive at Barclays Center as of late, averaging 31.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.0 blocks over his last four home games. Brooklyn (10th in pace) gets a pace-up matchup against a Rockets team ranked first in pace.


Top Value: Norman Powell at Golden State Warriors – $4,800 DraftKings, $5,200 FanDuel

Anfernee Simons is questionable with an ankle injury, Damian Lillard remains out with an abdominal injury, and C.J. McCollum is out with a collapsed lung. That leaves Powell to operate as the team’s primary scoring option against the Warriors tonight.

With all three of those players out Monday against the Clippers, Powell erupted for 29 points on 31.5% usage over 44 minutes – all season highs. Powell should be leaned on heavily tonight, making him quite the bargain at his price tag.


Power Forward

Top Ceiling: Giannis Antetokounmpo at Miami Heat – $11,600 DraftKings, $11,200 FanDuel

After missing two games due to calf soreness, Giannis returned to Milwaukee’s starting lineup to post a strong 27/12/2/1 line across just 27 minutes of action in Monday’s win over Cleveland. Our model projects him for 33 minutes against Miami tonight.

Giannis’ ceiling is virtually unmatched. This season, he’s recorded 14 double-doubles and scored at least 21 points in all but four contests. He’s posted eight games with at least 30 points and three games with at least 40 points. He’s a better value on FanDuel but has a much higher leverage rating on DraftKings.


Top Value: Isaiah Stewart vs. Washington Wizards – $5,600 DraftKings, $5,300 FanDuel

Stewart’s start to the season has been less than stellar, but he’s come on as of late. Over his last three games, he’s averaged 10.3 points, 12.3 boards, and 1.7 blocks while recording two double-doubles.

Washington has been pretty generous in its frontcourt defense, allowing the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing centers and the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing power forwards. His Opponent Plus/Minus is noticeably inflated for this quality matchup, and our model likes him as a quality value play.

Note: Stewart is eligible at C on DraftKings and PF on FanDuel


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Center

Top Ceiling: Joel Embiid at Charlotte Hornets – $11,700 DraftKings, $10,400 FanDuel

Is any player more adequately set up to smash on tonight’s slate than Embiid? Across his last five games, the big man has been absolutely dominant, averaging 28.4 points, 14.4 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.8 blocks, 1.2 triples, and 1.0 steals while posting five straight double-doubles.

He went 43/15/7 against Charlotte on Monday in an overtime win where he scored the final eight points in regulation and Philly’s first six points in OT. He’ll face the same opponent tonight in a favorable rematch. Charlotte has surrendered the most fantasy points to opposing centers this season, and you shouldn’t think twice about paying up for Embiid when setting lineups.


Top Value: Precious Achiuwa vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – $4,600 DraftKings, $4,900 FanDuel

Achiuwa has been solid over his last two games, averaging eight points, 11 rebounds, two assists, a block, and a steal. In his last outing, he posted his first double-double since Oct. 25 10/14/2/1 against Washington.

Achiuwa is one of our model’s favorite values on tonight’s slate, thanks to his favorable price and advantageous matchup. Oklahoma City has surrendered the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing centers and most fantasy points to opposing power forwards this season, setting up Achiuwa for a productive outing.

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: Steph Curry vs. Portland Trail Blazers – $11,400 DraftKings, $10,700 FanDuel

After a terrible three-game shooting slump, Curry broke out Monday with 31 points and seven triples on 50% shooting against Orlando. In that one, he posted a 31/8/3/2 line in just 31 minutes as the Warriors blew out the Magic.

Golden State is a massive 12.5-point favorite against the short-handed Blazers, so Curry is at risk of sitting out for at least part of the fourth quarter, however, our model projects him to play 35 minutes, slightly higher than his season average of 34.2.


Top Value: Dennis Smith at Golden State Warriors – $5,800 DraftKings, $5,500 FanDuel

With Damian Lillard (abdomen) and CJ McCollum (collapsed lung) out, and Anfernee Simons (ankle) questionable tonight, DSJ should be in line for another start tonight. Our model likes him as a salary-saving option at point guard, thanks to his still-affordable price.

Over his last two contests (both starts), DSJ has averaged 17.0 points, 6.5 assists, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.0 steals across 38.0 minutes. If that level of production continues, he could provide 7x or 8x value for DFS players on this slate.


Shooting Guard

Top Ceiling: James Harden at Houston Rockets – $11,200 DraftKings, $10,200 FanDuel

Is the revenge narrative a real thing? I’m not sure, but there’s no question James Harden will have some extra juice in a matchup with his former team tonight. If the personal motivation angle doesn’t do it for you, Houston has surrendered the most fantasy points to opposing point guards and the seventh-most to opposing shooting guards.

Despite sharing the court with the NBA’s leading scorer Kevin Durant, Harden’s ceiling remains sky-high. He’s eclipsed 60 fantasy points three times this season and 50 fantasy points seven times while posting four triple-doubles. In a matchup with the night’s highest over/under at 225.0, expect the former Rocket to take off in this favorable matchup.


Top Value: Ayo Dosunmu at Cleveland Cavaliers – $3,900 DraftKings, $4,800 FanDuel

Dosunmu started his first NBA game Monday, and he parlayed the opportunity into a productive line of 11 points, eight dimes, and six boards across a team-high 42 minutes.

With DeMar DeRozan (COVID-19) and Alex Caruso (hamstring) out again tonight, expect Dosunmu to see plenty of run against Cleveland. He’s a fine play on FanDuel, but he’s an even better play on DraftKings, where he sports an 88% Bargain Rating.


Small Forward

Top Ceiling: Kevin Durant vs. Houston Rockets – $11,300 DraftKings, $10,800 FanDuel

As mentioned above, Houston has been a sieve for fantasy points this season, surrendering the third-most fantasy points to opposing small forwards and the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing power forwards.

Brooklyn plays at home tonight, and Durant has been uber-productive at Barclays Center as of late, averaging 31.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.0 blocks over his last four home games. Brooklyn (10th in pace) gets a pace-up matchup against a Rockets team ranked first in pace.


Top Value: Norman Powell at Golden State Warriors – $4,800 DraftKings, $5,200 FanDuel

Anfernee Simons is questionable with an ankle injury, Damian Lillard remains out with an abdominal injury, and C.J. McCollum is out with a collapsed lung. That leaves Powell to operate as the team’s primary scoring option against the Warriors tonight.

With all three of those players out Monday against the Clippers, Powell erupted for 29 points on 31.5% usage over 44 minutes – all season highs. Powell should be leaned on heavily tonight, making him quite the bargain at his price tag.


Power Forward

Top Ceiling: Giannis Antetokounmpo at Miami Heat – $11,600 DraftKings, $11,200 FanDuel

After missing two games due to calf soreness, Giannis returned to Milwaukee’s starting lineup to post a strong 27/12/2/1 line across just 27 minutes of action in Monday’s win over Cleveland. Our model projects him for 33 minutes against Miami tonight.

Giannis’ ceiling is virtually unmatched. This season, he’s recorded 14 double-doubles and scored at least 21 points in all but four contests. He’s posted eight games with at least 30 points and three games with at least 40 points. He’s a better value on FanDuel but has a much higher leverage rating on DraftKings.


Top Value: Isaiah Stewart vs. Washington Wizards – $5,600 DraftKings, $5,300 FanDuel

Stewart’s start to the season has been less than stellar, but he’s come on as of late. Over his last three games, he’s averaged 10.3 points, 12.3 boards, and 1.7 blocks while recording two double-doubles.

Washington has been pretty generous in its frontcourt defense, allowing the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing centers and the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing power forwards. His Opponent Plus/Minus is noticeably inflated for this quality matchup, and our model likes him as a quality value play.

Note: Stewart is eligible at C on DraftKings and PF on FanDuel


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Center

Top Ceiling: Joel Embiid at Charlotte Hornets – $11,700 DraftKings, $10,400 FanDuel

Is any player more adequately set up to smash on tonight’s slate than Embiid? Across his last five games, the big man has been absolutely dominant, averaging 28.4 points, 14.4 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.8 blocks, 1.2 triples, and 1.0 steals while posting five straight double-doubles.

He went 43/15/7 against Charlotte on Monday in an overtime win where he scored the final eight points in regulation and Philly’s first six points in OT. He’ll face the same opponent tonight in a favorable rematch. Charlotte has surrendered the most fantasy points to opposing centers this season, and you shouldn’t think twice about paying up for Embiid when setting lineups.


Top Value: Precious Achiuwa vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – $4,600 DraftKings, $4,900 FanDuel

Achiuwa has been solid over his last two games, averaging eight points, 11 rebounds, two assists, a block, and a steal. In his last outing, he posted his first double-double since Oct. 25 10/14/2/1 against Washington.

Achiuwa is one of our model’s favorite values on tonight’s slate, thanks to his favorable price and advantageous matchup. Oklahoma City has surrendered the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing centers and most fantasy points to opposing power forwards this season, setting up Achiuwa for a productive outing.