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.
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: Ja Morant vs. Los Angeles Clippers – $10,100 DraftKings, $9,900 FanDuel
Before a light night tomorrow for the Final Four, the NBA has a massive 13-game slate on Friday. Morant has the highest ceiling projection of all point guards on this slate on FanDuel and the second-highest on DraftKings, just getting edged out by Stephen Curry. Morant has been more productive than Curry on a per-minute basis lately, and the Spurs may not be able to keep the game close enough for Steph to cook at his normal level, so I’ll lean toward Ja in this spot.
Morant has an important matchup with the Clippers on Friday night as both teams jockey for playoff position. The Grizzlies are No. 2 in the West, while the Clippers are No. 5 coming into the day.
After an eight-game suspension, Morant has quickly ramped back up. He came off the bench for two games and got Tuesday off but returned on Wednesday with a massive 36-point game in the first game of the back-to-back against the Clippers. He added nine assists in that game to finish with 57.5 DraftKings points and 55.3 FanDuel points. Since returning, he has produced 1.49 DraftKings points and 1.48 FanDuel points per minute with a 37.1% usage rate.
The Grizzlies-Clippers matchup has the second-highest over/under on the slate, and Memphis brings the fourth-highest Implied Team Total of all 26 teams in action. Building your lineup around the centerpiece of their offense is a great way to begin your roster construction Friday.
Top Value: T.J. McConnell vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – $5,700 DraftKings, $6,000 FanDuel
McConnell is in the top 10 of all point guards in Projected Plus/Minus on both DraftKings and FanDuel for this Friday since he is expected to step into an increased role with Tyrese Haliburton (ankle/elbow) and Chris Duarte (ankle) sidelined, and Myles Turner (ankle, questionable) potentially out as well.
With Haliburton off the floor, McConnell has produced 1.13 DraftKings points and 1.13 FanDuel points per minute since the All-Star break while logging a 22.1% usage rate in that scenario. In the seven games this month that McConnell played and Haliburton did not, McConnell has averaged 29.6 DraftKings points and 29.6 FanDuel points.
He has scored double-digit points in each of his past five games, averaging 12.2 points and 4.8 assists in 22.4 minutes per game over that span.
With a favorable matchup against the Thunder, who will also be short-handed, this could be a McConnell takeover game, and at least he should be involved enough to return a great return on investment at this price point.
Top Ceiling: Shaedon Sharpe vs. Sacramento Kings – $7,900 DraftKings, $7,700 FanDuel
The Trail Blazers continue to be a favorite of the model since there is so much usage available for all the available players due to Portland shutting down their entire starting lineup. Impressively, Sharpe has the highest ceiling projection of all shooting guards on DraftKings, even though there are nine players priced above him at the position. He has the third-highest ceiling projection at shooting guard on FanDuel, but it’s the highest ceiling projection for any player on the entire slate priced under $8K.
Sharpe moved into the starting lineup five games ago, and since then, he has exceeded salary-based expectations in four games with an Average Plus/Minus of 13.3 DraftKings points and 11.8 FanDuel points. Over that span, he has averaged 1.02 DraftKings points and 0.95 FanDuel points per minute with a 26.4% usage rate.
Due to all the absences on Friday, he’s projected for a 27.7% usage rate in this matchup against the Kings. The up-tempo contest should result in plenty of opportunities for Sharpe, and the 19-year-old rookie has shown he can pile up points in a hurry.
He had a ceiling game on Wednesday in this same matchup with 30 points, seven assists, and seven rebounds for 52.75 DraftKings points and 48.9 FanDuel points in 45 minutes. He played that massive workload even though his team lost by 40, so he seems to be locked into a large role regardless of the game script. You can see how he pulled that off with our Game Flow tool:
Top Value: Isaiah Joe at Indiana Pacers – $5,300 DraftKings, $5,500 FanDuel
The Thunder will be without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for this matchup, which should open up time for Joe to step into a larger role once again. Joe has the highest Projected Plus/Minus at shooting guard and the second-highest at small forward on DraftKings. On FanDuel, Joe is only available as a point guard, where he ranks in the top five of Projected Plus/Minus with the highest of any point guard priced under $6K.
Joe has started each of the last three games for the Thunder and has taken at least a dozen shots in each game (23.4% usage rate). He has produced 32.25 DraftKings points and 30.2 FanDuel points per game in those three contests at a rate of 1.03 DraftKings points and 0.97 FanDuel points per minute.
At those rates and usage, Joe should be a great value once again, especially in a game that could turn into a track meet against the Pacers.
Top Ceiling: Kawhi Leonard at Memphis Grizzlies – $9,900 DraftKings, $10,100 FanDuel
Without Paul George (knee), Kawhi will continue to have to carry the load for the Clippers. He’s questionable for this contest for personal reasons, so keep a close eye on the news leading up to tip-off. If he does play, he brings an extremely high ceiling against the Grizzlies. He has the second-highest ceiling projection at small forward and the fifth-highest at power forward on FanDuel. On DraftKings, he has the second-highest ceiling projection at small forward and the third-highest at power forward.
In his 13 games since the All-Star break, he has produced 1.36 DraftKings points per minute and 1.33 FanDuel points per minute with George off the floor, while he gets a 2.8 percentage point usage bump up to 29.5% without PG13.
He missed the first game of this two-game set in Memphis after 26 points, 44.75 DraftKings points, and 44.4 FanDuel points against the Bulls on Monday. If he returns for this game, he’ll be a great play to build around.
Top Value: Kevin Knox II vs. Sacramento Kings – $5,000 DraftKings, $5,000 FanDuel
Knox ranks in the top seven in Projected Plus/Minus on both DraftKings and FanDuel at both power forward and small forward. After being a fantasy non-factor for most of the season and virtually an afterthought addition in the Josh Hart trade, Knox has become relevant once again due to all the Blazers’ injuries and shutdowns.
As you can see in the Game Flow above, he started Wednesday in this matchup and posted a 12-point, 12-rebound double-double for 30 DraftKings points and 26.9 FanDuel points. He hasn’t been a very efficient scorer but has played over 32 minutes in each of his past two games.
Over the past three weeks, Knox has averaged 0.87 DraftKings points and 0.82 FanDuel points per minute in his expanded role, and he should be in a place to deliver good returns again Friday, especially if he’s in the starting lineup again.
Top Ceiling: Kristaps Porzingis vs. Orlando Magic – $9,500 DraftKings, $9,600 FanDuel
Porzingis has been carrying the workload for the Wizards over the past several games without Bradley Beal (knee) and Kyle Kuzma (ankle) sidelined, which remains the case on Friday for this juicy matchup with the Magic. Porzingis has the highest ceiling projection of all power forwards on FanDuel and the second-highest on DraftKings as a result. He also has the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus of all power forwards on FanDuel, where he is an especially good value.
In his past seven games, Porzingis has put up at least 40 DraftKings points six times while averaging 24.9 points, 45.2 DraftKings points, and 43.9 FanDuel points. In those games, he has a 30.3% usage rate and has produced 1.45 DraftKings points and 1.41 FanDuel points per minute.
His best game of that stretch was in his most recent contest on Tuesday. He led the Wizards in an upset of the Celtics with 32 points, 13 boards, and six assists for 64.25 DraftKings points and 62.6 FanDuel points.
Top Value: Tredon Watford vs. Sacramento Kings – $5,900 DraftKings, $6,100 FanDuel
The only power forward with a higher Projected Plus/Minus than Porzingis on FanDuel is Watford, who also has the highest Projected Plus/Minus at both power forward and center on DraftKings. In fact, Watford has the highest Projected Plus/Minus on the entire slate on both FanDuel and DraftKings.
Watford did miss the past two games with a sprained ankle and is questionable for this contest, but his ceiling and value is outstanding if he plays through the issue. Prior to leaving Sunday’s game with the injury, he had been crushing it, averaging 0.96 DraftKings points and 0.95 FanDuel points per minute. He had double-digit points in each of his seven games during that span, highlighted by a double-double against the Celtics at the start of that run and a massive game against the Jazz that resulted in 45.75 DraftKings points and 47.3 FanDuel points.
He can stuff the stat sheet in every category and forms a nice 1-2 tandem with Sharpe. If he’s back on Friday, he should be considered in just about every roster build.
Top Ceiling: Joel Embiid vs. Toronto Raptors – $11,100 DraftKings, $11,800 FanDuel
Embiid has the highest ceiling projection on the slate and is not on the injury report after returning from a one-game absence on Wednesday. He had 25 points and nine boards in his return against the Mavericks and continues to put up ridiculous numbers on a nightly basis.
In his 14 games this month, Embiid has averaged 56.0 DraftKings points and 54.6 FanDuel points on 35.0 points and 9.3 rebounds per contest His production rate of 1.68 DraftKings points and 1.64 FanDuel points per minute is off the charts and gives him an incredibly high ceiling if he decides to take over against Toronto.
Top Value: Sandro Mamukelashvili at Golden State Warriors – $5,000 DraftKings, $5,300 FanDuel
The Spurs are one of the wildest rotations to follow from game to game as they alternate their players in and out of the lineup rather than just shutting them down like Portland. While the rotation in the backcourt and on the wing is still a little uncertain for this matchup, it looks like a Mamu game since Zach Collins (foot) and Jeremy Sochan (knee) have been ruled out after playing in each of San Antonio’s two most recent games.
Each of the last three times Collins has sat, Mamukelashvili started, producing 22.75, 37.25, and 20.25 DraftKings points. He has been getting a decent workload even with Collins active, averaging 25.8 minutes per game with a 20.3% usage rate over his eight most recent games.
In those eight games, the 23-year-old from Seton Hall has produced 1.03 DraftKings points and 1.0 FanDuel points per minute while averaging 11.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per contest. He’s had a couple of ceiling games during that run, including on Wednesday, when he had 17 points, eight boards, five assists, and 34 DraftKings points against the Jazz.