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 300 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.
Top Ceiling: Damian Lillard at Philadelphia 76ers – $10,900 DraftKings, $10,800 FanDuel
Dame Time is all the time for the Trail Blazers right now, but help could be on the way with Anfernee Simons (ankle) questionable and Jusuf Nurkic not on the injury report. Lillard has been carrying a huge workload recently and should be in a good spot to continue his impressive run of production in Philadelphia.
He has the highest ceiling projection of all point guards on both DraftKings and FanDuel by a comfortable margin in what appears to be a favorable matchup. He and Nikola Jokic (discussed below) are the only two players on the entire slate that match 11 Pro Trends on FanDuel.
In his seven games since the All-Star break, Lillard has a massive 40.4% usage rate and has averaged 59.5 DraftKings points and 56.6 FanDuel points per game over that stretch. On the season, his production rate is 1.45 DraftKings points and 1.35 FanDuel points per minute, but he has vastly outproduced that pace in those seven games, averaging 1.63 DraftKings points and 1.55 FanDuel points per minute.
As Simons and Nurkic return and get up to full speed, his usage may tick down a touch, but for this slate, he’s still the best bit-ticket guard to build around since he brings such an immensely high ceiling.
Top Value: Reggie Jackson at San Antonio Spurs – $3,500 DraftKings, $4,300 FanDuel
Jackson has the highest Projected Plus/Minus of any player on the entire slate on DraftKings, where he’s dramatically under-priced. On FanDuel, he’s a little more expensive but still brings the sixth-highest Projected Plus/Minus of all point guards.
At the trade deadline, Jackson was traded from the Clippers to the Hornets, who bought him out. He joined the Nuggets to replace Boney Hyland as Jamal Murray‘s primary backup and has played seven games with his new squad. In those games, he has produced 15.5 DraftKings points and 14.9 FanDuel points in 20.9 minutes per game. He had one howler in that stretch against the Grizzlies but showed his upside with a nice bounceback game on Monday against the Raptors.
His best game with the Nuggets came in a blowout win in Houston, where he had nine points, eight assists, and 25 DraftKings points in 25 minutes. This game has the potential to follow a similar game flow, leaving plenty of late stats for Jackson to clean up. Using the new Game Flow section of the On/Off tool, you can see how Jackson and the Nuggets’ second unit carried the workload late in that contest.
The Nuggets have the highest implied team total on this 12-team slate as they visit the Spurs in what should be a juicy matchup. Jackson is a cheap way to get some exposure to the Nuggets and could end up soaking up a lot of minutes and usage if the game turns into a blowout.
Top Ceiling: Anthony Edwards vs. Brooklyn Nets – $9,500 DraftKings, $8,800 FanDuel
Edwards has the highest ceiling projection of all shooting guards on DraftKings and the second-highest on FanDuel. He’s also eligible at small forward on both sites and brings the highest ceiling projection at that position on both sites. He and the Timberwolves catch the Nets on the second game of their back-to-back and should be able to take advantage of the good matchup.
The Timberwolves moved D’Angelo Russell at the trade deadline to get Mike Conley as a better backcourt complement to Edwards. Edwards continues to be the focus of the offense, though, with a usage rate of 32.2% over his last eight games. He has carried even more of the load with a usage rate over 35% in each of his two most recent contests, resulting in 27 points against the Kings and 32 points against the 76ers. He supplemented his scoring with good peripheral numbers as well to average 39.9 FanDuel points and 43.4 DraftKings points in those two contests.
Minnesota enters Friday’s game in a tie with the Warriors and the Mavericks at 34-33. The three teams are just a half-game behind the Clippers for the No. 5 seed in the West, and it should be a race to the finish to avoid the Play-In Tournament and climb the standings in the wide-open West. For the Timberwolves to do that, they’ll need Edwards to continue his fantasy breakout season and go off in smash spots like this one.
Top Value: Delon Wright vs. Atlanta Hawks – $5,400 DraftKings, $5,600 FanDuel
Wright has the highest Projected Plus/Minus on the entire slate on FanDuel and brings the fourth-highest projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings at point guard. Wright and the Wizards are in a favorable matchup since their game with the Hawks has the highest over/under on the slate.
Even though Monte Morris (back) was able to return on Wednesday, Wright stayed in the starting lineup for the first of this two-game set against his former team. Wright played 31 minutes and had his typical balanced line to finish with 26.3 FanDuel points and 24.5 DraftKings points. He isn’t a high-volume scorer but has produced 28.0 DraftKings points and 28.1 FanDuel points per game over his past seven games while starting in place of Morris.
Wright has definitely been good enough to be a great value play for as long as he remains in the starting lineup and has exceeded salary-based expectations in nine of his 10 most recent contests.
Top Ceiling: Jimmy Butler vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – $8,600 DraftKings, $9,300 FanDuel
Butler brings the second-highest ceiling projection of all small forwards on DraftKings behind only Edwards, and the third-highest at the position on FanDuel. His Heat host the Cavs in a big Eastern Conference matchup this Friday night.
In each of his four most recent games, Butler has exceeded salary-based expectations, scoring over 25 points in three of those matchups and also posting a pair of double-doubles against the Hawks. In his past seven games, Butler has averaged 44 FanDuel points and 43.9 DraftKings points with a 25.7% usage rate.
He usually stuffs the stat sheet in defensive matchups like this and should be a solid centerpiece to pay up for on this slate.
Butler is popping in our new PrizePicks and Underdog Fantasy simulations table:
Top Value: Jaden McDaniels vs. Brooklyn Nets – $4,700 DraftKings, $5,400 FanDuel
The Timberwolves have been getting solid play from McDaniels all season, and he has been especially effective lately, outperforming salary-based expectations in seven of his 10 most recent matchups with an average Plus/Minus of 3.56 FanDuel points and 1.04 FanDuel points.
He has the highest Projected Plus/Minus of all small forwards and power forwards on both DraftKings and FanDuel.
McDaniels will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing showing on Tuesday against the Sixers when he managed just three points and 14.25 DraftKings points. He was rolling before that, though, averaging 14.2 points, 28.6 DraftKings points, and 27.1 FanDuel points over his previous five games. If he can get back to that level of production, he should be a great value on Friday.
Top Ceiling: Kristaps Porzingis vs. Atlanta Hawks – $9,100 DraftKings, $9,800 FanDuel
On Wednesday against the Hawks, Porzingis lit up the Hawks for 43 points while making 17 of his 22 shots from the field and piling up 59.75 DraftKings points and 55.5 FanDuel points. The Hawks squeaked out the two-point win but had no answers for Porzingis.
In Friday’s rematch, Porzingis has the second-highest ceiling projection at power forward on FanDuel and the highest ceiling projection at the position on DraftKings.
He has scored at least 22 points in each of his past six games, producing 1.25 DraftKings points and 1.19 FanDuel points per minute over that span and averaging 43.0 FanDuel points and 45.25 DraftKings points per game over that span.
Especially on DraftKings, where he’s barely over $9K, Porzingis makes a strong option to build around, given his recent success, in particular against the Hawks.
Top Value: De’Andre Hunter at Washington Wizards – $5,300 DraftKings, $5,000 FanDuel
On the other side of that high-scoring matchup, Hunter should be a strong value play as he continues his everyday starting role with the Hawks. Hunter is in the top seven in projected Plus/Minus at both forward spots on both DraftKings and FanDuel.
Hunter has scored at least 14 points in each of his five most recent games, including 15 points on Wednesday against the Wizards. He has shot over 50% from the field during that stretch with a 19.6% usage rate, which is right around his season average.
While he doesn’t bring the highest ceiling since he isn’t the team’s primary offensive option and doesn’t provide many non-scoring stats, he is still a very solid midrange play due to his established role in a high-scoring contest. He should be able to outproduce his salary-based expectations in this matchup.
Top Ceiling: Nikola Jokic at San Antonio Spurs – $11,700 DraftKings, $11,700 FanDuel
The top three ceiling projections on this whole slate belong to centers, but Jokic takes the top spot on both DraftKings and FanDuel by a narrow margin over Joel Embiid and Anthony Davis. Part of his higher ceiling projection is his outstanding matchup against the Spurs, who have the worst Defensive Rating in the NBA.
Jokic has been solid over his past five games, averaging just under a triple-double and producing 51.7 DraftKings points and 51.3 FanDuel points per contest. He had 47.5 and 60.5 DraftKings points and 45.2 and 61.6 FanDuel points in his back-to-back against the Spurs earlier this season, but that was also before the Spurs moved some of their frontcourt options at the trade deadline. They should be an even softer matchup for the Joker in this matchup.
The biggest risk with building around Jokic is the chance that the game turns non-competitive, resulting in fewer minutes. If you think that’s the way it plays out, Embiid or Davis are solid pivots, although their ceiling projections are a little lower than Jokic’s.
Top Value: Jakob Poeltl at Los Angeles Lakers – $6,900 DraftKings, $7,400 FanDuel
If you decide to pass on all three superstar centers or include a second big man in your roster construction, Poeltl is a great midrange play to consider as his Raptors visit the Lakers in the late game. He has the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus at center on FanDuel, behind only Jokic. On DraftKings, he has the sixth-highest projected Plus/Minus at the position.
He fell just short of a double-double with eight points and 11 rebounds on Wednesday, but he has been excellent overall since rejoining Toronto just before the All-Star break. He moved into the starting lineup 10 games ago, and he has produced 1.3 FanDuel points and 1.3 DraftKings points per minute over that span while playing 29 minutes per game.
The Lakers are thin up front on defense, giving Poeltl a +4.3 opponents’ Plus/Minus. Toronto also has the biggest pace Differential on the slate, so this should be a good opportunity to add some Poeltl power to your lineup.