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.
Note: Projections and Leverages Scores/Ratings may change throughout the day after this article is posted. Consult the Player Models directly for any updates.
Top Ceiling: Trae Young at Sacramento Kings – $10,700 DraftKings, $10,500 FanDuel
To say Young has been hot as of late would be quite an understatement. He’s dished at least 11 dimes in each of his last three contests and just dusted the Trail Blazers on Monday.
Young went off for a career-high 56 against Portland to go with 14 dimes and four boards for 77.8 fantasy points on FanDuel and 85.0 on DraftKings. That’s the type of ceiling we can expect with Trae on a nightly basis, but he gets a boost tonight, facing a Kings team ranked 26th in defensive rating and eighth in pace.
Top Value: Keifer Sykes vs. Brooklyn Nets – $3,300 DraftKings, $3,700 FanDuel
Indiana has trotted out a skeleton crew in recent lineups, and that’s led to plenty of DFS value for the guys taking the court.
Keifer Sykes went for 22 points, six assists, four rebounds, four triples, and a steal across 35 minutes against the Knicks last night after going 10/5/3/1/1 over 35 minutes against the Cavs on Sunday.
Sykes has played well in two starts, but his value would evaporate if Malcolm Brogdon or Chris Duarte returned to the court following their stints in health and safety protocols. Both are GTD tonight, so be sure to check their status throughout the day.
Bonus: Kyrie Irving at Indiana Pacers – $8,900 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel
Kyrie is making his much-anticipated debut tonight, and his price is likely the lowest it will be all season. 26.9 points, 6.0 assists, 4.8 boards, 2.8 triples, and 1.4 steals while shooting 51/42/90 splits. It’s unclear what his role will be right out of the gate, but it’s reasonable to expect him to start, and our model projects him for 28 minutes. I won’t have any exposure in cash games, but you can be sure I’ll have him in multiple tournament lineups.
Top Ceiling: Donovan Mitchell at Denver Nuggets – $9,400 DraftKings, $8,600 FanDuel
Spida comes into this one riding a three-game stretch in which he’s averaged 29.3 points, 6.3 dimes, 5.0 boards, and 2.0 steals. With Rudy Gobert (shoulder) and Bojan Bogdanovic (finger) questionable tonight, Mitchell may have some additional offensive responsibilities on his hands.
Denver/Utah has a 223 over/under, and Spida gets a favorable Opponent Plus/Minus in this Western Conference showdown. At sub-$10K (and sub-$9K on FanDuel), he’s not only the highest ceiling option but a true value as well.
Top Value: Anfernee Simons vs. Miami Heat – $5,300 DraftKings, $5,500 FanDuel
Simons put on a show Monday as he battled Trae Young all night and posted a career-high 43 points to go with seven dimes and three boards.
Damian Lillard (abdomen) will be out tonight and has no timetable for return. Simons should continue to start in his absence, and if he continues to play at the level he did Monday, his price will quickly jump. Take advantage of the savings/ceiling combination on tonight’s busy slate.
Top Ceiling: Jayson Tatum vs. San Antonio Spurs – $10,300 DraftKings, $9,300 FanDuel
Our model gives Kevin Durant the highest ceiling on the slate, but with the return of Kyrie Irving, I’m not as comfortable paying up for him as I have been on previous slates. Instead, I’ll pivot to the player with the next highest ceiling, Jayson Tatum.
Tatum gets a huge Pace Differential and favorable Opponent Plus/Minus against a Spurs team that has surrendered 121.3 points per game over its last three contests (sixth-most in the NBA). He’s expected to return to the court tonight following a four-game absence in protocols, so double-check his status for confirmation prior to tip-off.
Top Value: Furkan Korkmaz at Orlando Magic – $4,700 DraftKings, $6,000 FanDuel
Korkmaz had a career night Monday, going for 24 points, 11 boards, six dimes, three triples, and a steal while recording his first career double-double.
Korkmaz should be in the starting lineup again tonight, with Tyrese Maxey still in the health and safety protocols. Orlando is fast-paced and poor on defense, giving Korkmaz a favorable Opponent Plus/Minus and a strong Pace Differential. He’s a solid value on FanDuel, but he’s an even bigger on DraftKings at just $4.7K.
Top Ceiling: Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. Toronto Raptors – $11,600 DraftKings, $11,600 FanDuel
You know the drill. Giannis is a top-ceiling option on nearly every slate in which he plays, and that won’t change tonight against Toronto.
The Greek Freak has scored at least 30 in four of his last five games. Over his last two, he’s posted a triple-double and teased another one. It’s a pace-down spot for Milwaukee, but he gets a favorable Opponent Plus/Minus.
Top Value: Trey Lyles vs. Charlotte Hornets – $4,700 DraftKings, $4,800 FanDuel
Lyles cleared protocols and returned to the court Monday following a three-game absence. Despite the strong play of Luka Garza, Lyles immediately slotted back into the starting lineup.
Lyles had a solid showing in that contest, and he’s now averaged an impressive 19.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.0 stocks, 2.5 assists, and 2.0 triples in two starts this season. With Isaiah Stewart (protocols) still out, Lyles should start once again. He gets a dream matchup for opposing centers tonight when Detroit faces Charlotte.
Top Ceiling: Joel Embiid vs. Orlando Magic – $11,200 DraftKings, $10,800 FanDuel
Our model gives Nikola Jokic (duh) the edge over Embiid on the slate, but I prefer Embiid tonight for a few reasons. First, he’s a bit cheaper on both sites, allowing you to get more favorable builds without losing the upside by taking the savings.
Second, Embiid has been on a heater recently. He posted his third career triple-double Monday against Houston with a 31/15/10 line, and he’s now scored at least 30 points in four straight and five of his last seven.
Finally, Embiid gets a soft Orlando defense that has been much more generous to opposing centers than Utah. Embiid is the play tonight.
Top Value: Daniel Gafford vs. Houston Rockets – $ 6,400 DraftKings, $6,600 FanDuel
Gafford has been big over the Wizards’ last four games, averaging 15.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks across 31.0 minutes while posting two double-doubles and three straight multi-swat efforts.
Tonight, Gaff gets one of the most exploitable defenses in the NBA when he faces the Rockets. Christian Wood has played just eight total minutes over the last two games due to a temper tantrum and suspension, while Alperen Sengun remains out due to an ankle injury.
Gafford gets a tremendous Opponent Plus/Minus and an excellent Pace Differential, making him one of the best values at his position tonight.