We’re back for our first Friday of action since the All-Star break, and tonight’s nine-game slate has a lot of juice. We’ve got some high implied point totals on tap and some excellent DFS values to be found.
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: Luka Doncic at Utah Jazz – $11,800 DraftKings, $11,200 FanDuel
In four games since Kristaps Porzingis was traded, Doncic has averaged 41.5 points, 12.3 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 5.5 triples. In that span, he scored at least 45 points and 68 fantasy points thrice.
The Mavs are six-point road dogs in this one, and Luka will need to carry the team on his back if Dallas wants to stay competitive. The matchup with Utah offers a big Pace Differential, adding even more benefit.
Top Value: Russell Westbrook vs. Los Angeles Clippers – $8,500 DraftKings, $7,000 FanDuel
In two games before the break, Russ averaged 18.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.5 dimes. He’ll need to take on a big workload tonight with Anthony Davis out and the Lakers fighting to stay in the playoff picture.
Russ has struggled this season, but at such a low price, it makes sense to have some exposure. His $7k salary is criminally low on FanDuel, and he earns a 98% Bargain Rating on that site. I’ll absolutely take a chance on Brodie in FanDuel tournaments and consider doing so on DraftKings as well.
Top Ceiling: Devin Booker vs. New Orleans Pelicans – $9,200 DraftKings, $9,000 FanDuel
With Chris Paul out for the foreseeable future, the Suns will need to rely on Devin Booker as the primary ballhandler and playmaker. He had a huge game Thursday, going for 25 points, 12 assists, five boards and six steals.
The dimes were a season-high, and the steals were a career-high as Booker made a huge impact on both ends of the court. He’s now accumulated 12 steals over his last three games, and his upside for scoring and assists has never been higher. Tonight’s matchup with the Pels has a respectable 227 over/under, and Booker is still reasonably priced, despite his 60-point upside.
Top Value: D’Angelo Russell vs. Philadelphia 76ers – $7,300 DraftKings, $7,500 FanDuel
Russell put on a show Thursday with a 37-point eruption that included 23 in the fourth quarter and the go-ahead triple with 1:23 to play. It was his highest-scoring total in over two years, and 3’Lo will look to build on the momentum heading into a clash with Philly tonight.
Anthony Edwards has scored a total of 21 points on 4-of-29 shooting over his last three games, which should open up some more opportunities for Russell to fill the needed scoring gap. In a game with a 228 over/under, our model likes Russell to provide plenty of value at his affordable salary.
Top Ceiling: LeBron James vs. Los Angeles Clippers – $10,600 DraftKings, $10,700 FanDuel
LBJ is questionable tonight, but we’ve got to assume he plays in another must-win contest for the Lakers. He averaged 29.0 points, 9.6 rebounds and 7.8 dimes in five games before the break, but his numbers will likely get a boost with Anthony Davis out of action.
With no AD, King James will need to shoulder the load on both ends of the court, and he’s done a good job of that this season. James has averaged 32.7 points, 9.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 2.9 stocks in 20 games without Davis this season, and there’s no reason he can’t hit or exceed those averages tonight.
Top Value: Cameron Johnson vs. New Orleans Pelicans – $4,800 DraftKings, $4,200 FanDuel
As mentioned above, Chris Paul is out indefinitely, so Phoenix will need some more quality minutes from guys like Johnson. The young forward stepped into the Suns’ starting lineup Thursday and posted 21 points, five dimes, four boards and a block across 31 minutes. His price is below $5k on both sites, and he makes total sense as a chalky salary-saver.
Top Ceiling: Pascal Siakam at Charlotte Hornets – $9,300 DraftKings, $9,400 FanDuel
It’s a tale as old as time. Target the Hornets in DFS contests, and pay particular attention to bigs facing Charlotte. Spicy P has averaged 21.9 points this season to go with career-highs in rebounds (8.7) and assists (5.2).
Tonight’s Eastern Conference clash offers Siakam a big Pace Differential and Opponent Plus/Minus. The over/under is 225.5, and Toronto is favored by just two points. In two prior matchups with Charlotte this season, Siakam averaged 24/10/10 with a block, good for 50.5 fantasy points.
Top Value: Jaxson Hayes at Phoenix Suns – $4,800 DraftKings, $4,900 FanDuel
Hayes has been picking it up as of late, and in 10 games prior to the break, he averaged 13.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.6 stocks. He’s been in and out of the starting five over the last month, but his minutes have remained pretty steady in the mid-20’s.
Our model projects him for 28 minutes tonight, and in six prior games with at least that many minutes, Hayes averaged 18.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 2.3 stocks. I’m willing to take a shot on that kind of upside for a guy with such a low salary.
Top Ceiling: Joel Embiid at Minnesota Timberwolves – $11,600 DraftKings, $11,000 FanDuel
Embiid showed off his dominance yet again with a 42/14/5/1 line in a close win over the Bucks before the break, and he led Team Durant in scoring with 36 at the All-Star Game. He’ll look to keep up the MVP-caliber play when Philly travels to Minnesota to face the high-scoring Timberwolves.
The over/under is set at 228 tonight, and Embiid gets a huge Pace Differential and strong Opponent Plus/Minus. In his only other meeting with the Wolves back in November, Embiid posted 42 points, 14 rebounds, three dimes, two blocks and a steal.
Top Value: Mo Bamba vs. Houston – $4,500 DraftKings, $4,500 FanDuel
Aside from a dud against Denver in which he only played 11 minutes, Bamba went into the All-Star break with averages of 11 points, nine boards, a block and a three in his last five appearances. He’s fallen off considerably from the gaudy numbers he posted early in the season, but Bamba still has 50-point upside due to his potency as a shot-blocker and three-point shooter. I won’t go near him in cash games, but he’s an excellent tournament pivot in a game with the highest over/under (232.5), facing an exploitable Rockets frontcourt.