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NBA DFS (Friday, Dec. 9): 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 and On/Off tool, Vegas Dashboard, and so much more.

Let’s dive into our models for NBA DFS going position by position, looking at guys with some of the highest ceiling projections and players 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 Leverage Scores/Ratings may change throughout the day as news comes out after this article is posted. Consult the Player Models directly for any updates.

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Point Guard

Top Ceiling: Luka Doncic vs. Milwaukee Bucks – $13,000 DraftKings, $11,800 FanDuel

Friday’s monster 10-game slate is stuffed with superstar power to consider building around. Doncic has the highest salary of all players on DraftKings and the second-highest on FanDuel, but he also has the highest ceiling projection on the entire slate as he takes on the Bucks. His usage projection of 37.1% is the highest of any player on the slate, and he should be set to carry the load for Dallas as usual.

Doncic produced a triple-double, 50 FanDuel points, and 58.5 DraftKings points on Tuesday in his most recent game and has at least 50 FanDuel points in five straight games. During that short stretch, he has averaged 32.2 points, 9.8 assists, 8.2 rebounds, 1.8 steals and even 1.4 blocked shots per game. He started that stretch with a massive 41-point triple-double that earned him 83.4 FanDuel points and 88 DraftKings points, showing his ceiling could make him worth his lofty salary if he goes off like that.

Throughout the year, Doncic has been steadily outstanding and even outproduced salary-based expectations on FanDuel in three of his past four games. Especially on that site where he isn’t quite so pricey, he’s always a consideration as a cornerstone to build around.


Top Value: Monte Morris at Indiana Pacers – $5,300 DraftKings, $5,500 FanDuel

Morris and the Wizards visit the Pacers in a game that has the second-highest over/under on the slate. The Pacers play with the third-fastest Pace in the NBA, giving the Wizards the top Pace Differential on the slate. Partly as a result, Morris has the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus of any point guard on both DraftKings and FanDuel. The matchup should make him a great midrange play with plenty of upside since he spends so much time as Washington’s primary point guard.

After joining the Wiz this past offseason, Morris has started in all 22 of his games, averaging 27.6 minutes with a usage rate of 15.2%. He is averaging a career-high 5.2 assists per game to go with 9.5 points and 3.6 rebounds for 23.7 DraftKings points and 23.32 FanDuel points per game this season. He has taken a little more active scoring role in his past three games with at least 12 points in each contest, resulting in a very nice 17-point, eight-assist performance on Wednesday that netted him  33 DraftKings points and 31.4 FanDuel points against the Bulls.

He had 27 and 27.5 DraftKings points in his two previous meetings with the Pacers, and he should be able to return good value and reach at least that level again in this contest, with the potential for more if he continues his increased scoring role.

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Shooting Guard

Top Ceiling: Donovan Mitchell vs. Sacramento Kings – $8,700 DraftKings, $9,300 FanDuel

Mitchell went off for a massive game on Tuesday to help the Cavs defeat LeBron James in his return to Cleveland, and he has been dominating for the Cavs while living up to the hype as one of the offseason’s biggest acquisitions. On Tuesday, he dropped 43 points and added six rebounds, five assists, and four steals on his way to 67 DraftKings points and 67.7 FanDuel points.

While he hasn’t been regularly at that level of production, he has been consistently posting good numbers with at least 37 DraftKings points in eight of his past nine games. In those nine contests, he averaged 27.8 points, 3.4 assists, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.6 steals in 34.3 minutes per game. During those games, he has produced 1.21 DraftKings points per minute.

On both sites, his salary has dipped a little coming into this matchup against the Kings, who rank sixth in the NBA in Pace and ninth-worst in defensive rating. The matchup helps Spide have the second-highest ceiling projection of all shooting guards on DraftKings and the fourth-highest on FanDuel.


Top Value: Markelle Fultz vs. Toronto Raptors – $4,800 DraftKings, $4,600 FanDuel

Especially on FanDuel, where he can flex to either guard spot, Fultz is one of the best bargains on the entire slate. He has the highest Projected Plus/Minus of all point guards and of all shooting guards on FanDuel and brings the third-highest Projected Plus/Minus on the entire slate. On DraftKings, he has the fifth-highest projected Plus/Minus of all point guards, where he is only eligible at that position.

Fultz has jumped right into a key role for Orlando after missing the first 21 games of the season with a toe injury. The rest of the Magic’s roster is still dealing with a variety of ailments and injuries, which has led to Fultz quickly taking a sizable workload. He has started all five games he has played and produced a 21.5% usage rate in 25.0 minutes per game.

Even though the Magic won on Wednesday, Fultz had a rough outing, shooting just 0-for-4 from the field and posting just one point in 28 minutes. Prior to that letdown, though, he had outperformed salary expectations in three of four games and had his best game of the season on Monday with 20 points and 33.25 DraftKings points in a loss to the Bucks.

This matchup against the Raptors should set Fultz up for a bounce-back performance and make him a solid value guard to consider.

Small Forward

Top Ceiling: Kevin Durant vs. Atlanta Hawks – $10,500 DraftKings, $10,300 FanDuel

Durant has the highest ceiling projection at small forward on DraftKings and the second-highest on FanDuel behind only Giannis Antetkounmpo. He has been on a scoring binge over his past seven games while helping Brooklyn to go 5-2. Durant has scored at least 29 points in six of his past seven games.

While most of his fantasy production comes from his scoring, he has added 7.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists over those seven games and finished with at least 51 DraftKings points in four of his last five contests.

The Nets have the fourth-highest implied team total on the slate, and KD should be set up to post another big game against an Eastern Conference contender.


Top Value: Bogdan Bogdanovic at Brooklyn Nets  – $4,100 DraftKings, $4,400 FanDuel

With Dejounte Murray (ankle) sidelined for a few weeks, Bogdanovic will be set up for as much usage as he can handle as he returns from the knee injury that cost him the first 22 games of the season. Bogdanovic still has plenty of upside based on his ability and comes at a very affordable salary at SG and SF on this slate. He has the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus at shooting guard and small forward on DraftKings and the third-highest Projected Plus/Minus at each position on FanDuel.

He had 17 points off the bench in just his second game back and finished with 26.25 DraftKings points in that contest. He was even more involved on Wednesday against the Knicks but shot just 3-for-16 overall and 0-for-10 from long range. As that stat line indicates, he definitely still has some rust to shake off, but he is also going to be given the chance to produce in Atlanta’s current rotation.

Without Murray, AJ Griffin will likely stick in the starting five, but Bogdanovic will be able to serve as the main focus of the second unit. Especially with so many injuries in Atlanta, look for him to produce right away, including in this matchup with the Nets.

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Power Forward

Top Ceiling: Giannis Antetokounmpo at Dallas Mavericks – $12,300 DraftKings, $11,700 FanDuel

Giannis continues to regularly post monster numbers and comes into this slate with the highest ceiling projection at small forward on FanDuel and the second-highest at power forward. On DraftKings, he has the highest ceiling projection at power forward and comes in second-highest at center.

Since a bout of knee soreness resulted in a few down games in mid-November, he has returned to his nightly production of monster numbers with over 51 DraftKings points in nine consecutive games. He had five double-doubles in that nine-game stretch, averaging 34.7 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per contest. During that run, he had 30 points, 11 boards, and 51.75 DraftKings points in just 29 minutes in a win over the Mavs, and he could have a much more stuffed stat line if he logs closer to his typical 33-to-35 minutes in this contest.

Antetokounmpo’s usage projection of 34.4% is the fourth-highest on the slate, and his rates of 1.75 DraftKings points per minute and 1.69 FanDuel points per minute this season are the highest of any player on the board.


Top Value:

Deni Avdija at Indiana Pacers – $4,800 DraftKings, $5,500 FanDuel

Like his teammate Monte Morris (highlighted above), Avdija is in a good spot to take advantage of this matchup with the Pacers on Friday. The 21-year-old, in his third year, has the highest Projected Plus/Minus at both small forward and power forward on both DraftKings and FanDuel.

Avdija played 39 minutes on Wednesday and had 37 FanDuel points on 10 points, six assists, four steals, and five rebounds. He has averaged 1.5 steals per game over his past eight contests while also chipping in 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists. He doesn’t typically take a ton of shots, but his usage is enough that in expanded minutes, his multi-faceted production makes him a top value play.

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Center

Top Ceiling: Joel Embiid vs. Los Angeles Lakers – $11,500 DraftKings, $11,600 FanDuel

Embiid vs. Anthony Davis sets up to be a great matchup to enjoy, but on both sites, Embiid comes with the higher ceiling projection, even on FanDuel, where Davis has a higher salary. Embiid’s ceiling projection is the second-highest on the entire slate on each site as well, behind only Doncic’s.

Even the return of James Harden hasn’t lightened the load that the big man is carrying for the Sixers. In Embiid’s four games since returning from his own injury, he has averaged 30.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 2.0 steals, 1.8 blocked shots and 56 DraftKings points with a 37.7% usage rate in 35.0 minutes per game. He has had at least 30 points in three of those games and exceeded salary-based expectations on FanDuel in eight of his past 10 games.

Even with Davis playing exceptionally well, the Lakers are still a good matchup for opposing centers and play at the second-fastest Pace in the league, which should set up another big game for Embiid.


Top Value: Mason Plumlee vs. New York Knicks – $5,700 DraftKings, $5,500 FanDuel

Plumlee has the highest Projected Plus/Minus on the entire slate on FanDuel and the fourth-highest at center on DraftKings. Plumlee has out-produced his salary-based expectations in seven of his past 10 games on DraftKings and eight of his past 10 on FanDuel.

The former Duke star has double-digit rebounds in four straight contests, with three double-doubles during that span and six double-doubles in his last 11 games, bringing his total to 10 double-doubles on the season. Plumlee also typically chips in assists and defensive numbers as well.

Plumlee’s ceiling isn’t especially high, but he’s a very reliable mid-range play who regularly outperforms his price point and can let you pay up in other spots to get the stars you are seeking.

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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 and On/Off tool, Vegas Dashboard, and so much more.

Let’s dive into our models for NBA DFS going position by position, looking at guys with some of the highest ceiling projections and players 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 Leverage Scores/Ratings may change throughout the day as news comes out after this article is posted. Consult the Player Models directly for any updates.

Start Your PRO Trial Today

Lineup builder and optimizer

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Point Guard

Top Ceiling: Luka Doncic vs. Milwaukee Bucks – $13,000 DraftKings, $11,800 FanDuel

Friday’s monster 10-game slate is stuffed with superstar power to consider building around. Doncic has the highest salary of all players on DraftKings and the second-highest on FanDuel, but he also has the highest ceiling projection on the entire slate as he takes on the Bucks. His usage projection of 37.1% is the highest of any player on the slate, and he should be set to carry the load for Dallas as usual.

Doncic produced a triple-double, 50 FanDuel points, and 58.5 DraftKings points on Tuesday in his most recent game and has at least 50 FanDuel points in five straight games. During that short stretch, he has averaged 32.2 points, 9.8 assists, 8.2 rebounds, 1.8 steals and even 1.4 blocked shots per game. He started that stretch with a massive 41-point triple-double that earned him 83.4 FanDuel points and 88 DraftKings points, showing his ceiling could make him worth his lofty salary if he goes off like that.

Throughout the year, Doncic has been steadily outstanding and even outproduced salary-based expectations on FanDuel in three of his past four games. Especially on that site where he isn’t quite so pricey, he’s always a consideration as a cornerstone to build around.


Top Value: Monte Morris at Indiana Pacers – $5,300 DraftKings, $5,500 FanDuel

Morris and the Wizards visit the Pacers in a game that has the second-highest over/under on the slate. The Pacers play with the third-fastest Pace in the NBA, giving the Wizards the top Pace Differential on the slate. Partly as a result, Morris has the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus of any point guard on both DraftKings and FanDuel. The matchup should make him a great midrange play with plenty of upside since he spends so much time as Washington’s primary point guard.

After joining the Wiz this past offseason, Morris has started in all 22 of his games, averaging 27.6 minutes with a usage rate of 15.2%. He is averaging a career-high 5.2 assists per game to go with 9.5 points and 3.6 rebounds for 23.7 DraftKings points and 23.32 FanDuel points per game this season. He has taken a little more active scoring role in his past three games with at least 12 points in each contest, resulting in a very nice 17-point, eight-assist performance on Wednesday that netted him  33 DraftKings points and 31.4 FanDuel points against the Bulls.

He had 27 and 27.5 DraftKings points in his two previous meetings with the Pacers, and he should be able to return good value and reach at least that level again in this contest, with the potential for more if he continues his increased scoring role.

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Shooting Guard

Top Ceiling: Donovan Mitchell vs. Sacramento Kings – $8,700 DraftKings, $9,300 FanDuel

Mitchell went off for a massive game on Tuesday to help the Cavs defeat LeBron James in his return to Cleveland, and he has been dominating for the Cavs while living up to the hype as one of the offseason’s biggest acquisitions. On Tuesday, he dropped 43 points and added six rebounds, five assists, and four steals on his way to 67 DraftKings points and 67.7 FanDuel points.

While he hasn’t been regularly at that level of production, he has been consistently posting good numbers with at least 37 DraftKings points in eight of his past nine games. In those nine contests, he averaged 27.8 points, 3.4 assists, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.6 steals in 34.3 minutes per game. During those games, he has produced 1.21 DraftKings points per minute.

On both sites, his salary has dipped a little coming into this matchup against the Kings, who rank sixth in the NBA in Pace and ninth-worst in defensive rating. The matchup helps Spide have the second-highest ceiling projection of all shooting guards on DraftKings and the fourth-highest on FanDuel.


Top Value: Markelle Fultz vs. Toronto Raptors – $4,800 DraftKings, $4,600 FanDuel

Especially on FanDuel, where he can flex to either guard spot, Fultz is one of the best bargains on the entire slate. He has the highest Projected Plus/Minus of all point guards and of all shooting guards on FanDuel and brings the third-highest Projected Plus/Minus on the entire slate. On DraftKings, he has the fifth-highest projected Plus/Minus of all point guards, where he is only eligible at that position.

Fultz has jumped right into a key role for Orlando after missing the first 21 games of the season with a toe injury. The rest of the Magic’s roster is still dealing with a variety of ailments and injuries, which has led to Fultz quickly taking a sizable workload. He has started all five games he has played and produced a 21.5% usage rate in 25.0 minutes per game.

Even though the Magic won on Wednesday, Fultz had a rough outing, shooting just 0-for-4 from the field and posting just one point in 28 minutes. Prior to that letdown, though, he had outperformed salary expectations in three of four games and had his best game of the season on Monday with 20 points and 33.25 DraftKings points in a loss to the Bucks.

This matchup against the Raptors should set Fultz up for a bounce-back performance and make him a solid value guard to consider.

Small Forward

Top Ceiling: Kevin Durant vs. Atlanta Hawks – $10,500 DraftKings, $10,300 FanDuel

Durant has the highest ceiling projection at small forward on DraftKings and the second-highest on FanDuel behind only Giannis Antetkounmpo. He has been on a scoring binge over his past seven games while helping Brooklyn to go 5-2. Durant has scored at least 29 points in six of his past seven games.

While most of his fantasy production comes from his scoring, he has added 7.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists over those seven games and finished with at least 51 DraftKings points in four of his last five contests.

The Nets have the fourth-highest implied team total on the slate, and KD should be set up to post another big game against an Eastern Conference contender.


Top Value: Bogdan Bogdanovic at Brooklyn Nets  – $4,100 DraftKings, $4,400 FanDuel

With Dejounte Murray (ankle) sidelined for a few weeks, Bogdanovic will be set up for as much usage as he can handle as he returns from the knee injury that cost him the first 22 games of the season. Bogdanovic still has plenty of upside based on his ability and comes at a very affordable salary at SG and SF on this slate. He has the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus at shooting guard and small forward on DraftKings and the third-highest Projected Plus/Minus at each position on FanDuel.

He had 17 points off the bench in just his second game back and finished with 26.25 DraftKings points in that contest. He was even more involved on Wednesday against the Knicks but shot just 3-for-16 overall and 0-for-10 from long range. As that stat line indicates, he definitely still has some rust to shake off, but he is also going to be given the chance to produce in Atlanta’s current rotation.

Without Murray, AJ Griffin will likely stick in the starting five, but Bogdanovic will be able to serve as the main focus of the second unit. Especially with so many injuries in Atlanta, look for him to produce right away, including in this matchup with the Nets.

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Power Forward

Top Ceiling: Giannis Antetokounmpo at Dallas Mavericks – $12,300 DraftKings, $11,700 FanDuel

Giannis continues to regularly post monster numbers and comes into this slate with the highest ceiling projection at small forward on FanDuel and the second-highest at power forward. On DraftKings, he has the highest ceiling projection at power forward and comes in second-highest at center.

Since a bout of knee soreness resulted in a few down games in mid-November, he has returned to his nightly production of monster numbers with over 51 DraftKings points in nine consecutive games. He had five double-doubles in that nine-game stretch, averaging 34.7 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per contest. During that run, he had 30 points, 11 boards, and 51.75 DraftKings points in just 29 minutes in a win over the Mavs, and he could have a much more stuffed stat line if he logs closer to his typical 33-to-35 minutes in this contest.

Antetokounmpo’s usage projection of 34.4% is the fourth-highest on the slate, and his rates of 1.75 DraftKings points per minute and 1.69 FanDuel points per minute this season are the highest of any player on the board.


Top Value:

Deni Avdija at Indiana Pacers – $4,800 DraftKings, $5,500 FanDuel

Like his teammate Monte Morris (highlighted above), Avdija is in a good spot to take advantage of this matchup with the Pacers on Friday. The 21-year-old, in his third year, has the highest Projected Plus/Minus at both small forward and power forward on both DraftKings and FanDuel.

Avdija played 39 minutes on Wednesday and had 37 FanDuel points on 10 points, six assists, four steals, and five rebounds. He has averaged 1.5 steals per game over his past eight contests while also chipping in 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists. He doesn’t typically take a ton of shots, but his usage is enough that in expanded minutes, his multi-faceted production makes him a top value play.

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Center

Top Ceiling: Joel Embiid vs. Los Angeles Lakers – $11,500 DraftKings, $11,600 FanDuel

Embiid vs. Anthony Davis sets up to be a great matchup to enjoy, but on both sites, Embiid comes with the higher ceiling projection, even on FanDuel, where Davis has a higher salary. Embiid’s ceiling projection is the second-highest on the entire slate on each site as well, behind only Doncic’s.

Even the return of James Harden hasn’t lightened the load that the big man is carrying for the Sixers. In Embiid’s four games since returning from his own injury, he has averaged 30.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 2.0 steals, 1.8 blocked shots and 56 DraftKings points with a 37.7% usage rate in 35.0 minutes per game. He has had at least 30 points in three of those games and exceeded salary-based expectations on FanDuel in eight of his past 10 games.

Even with Davis playing exceptionally well, the Lakers are still a good matchup for opposing centers and play at the second-fastest Pace in the league, which should set up another big game for Embiid.


Top Value: Mason Plumlee vs. New York Knicks – $5,700 DraftKings, $5,500 FanDuel

Plumlee has the highest Projected Plus/Minus on the entire slate on FanDuel and the fourth-highest at center on DraftKings. Plumlee has out-produced his salary-based expectations in seven of his past 10 games on DraftKings and eight of his past 10 on FanDuel.

The former Duke star has double-digit rebounds in four straight contests, with three double-doubles during that span and six double-doubles in his last 11 games, bringing his total to 10 double-doubles on the season. Plumlee also typically chips in assists and defensive numbers as well.

Plumlee’s ceiling isn’t especially high, but he’s a very reliable mid-range play who regularly outperforms his price point and can let you pay up in other spots to get the stars you are seeking.

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