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.
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Top Ceiling: Damian Lillard at Washington Wizards – $9,600 DraftKings, $9,200 FanDuel
The point guard position has a plethora of strong options on this eight-game slate. However, Damian Lillard stands out a little bit above the rest of the pack. Lillard has the highest projected ceiling at this position on both DraftKings and FanDuel at his sub-$10,000 salary. Over his last three games, Lillard is averaging a double-double with 30.3 points and 10 assists per game. He looks the best on FanDuel at his $9,200 salary, as Lillard has a 90% Bargain Rating and 10 Pro Trends.
What sets Lillard apart from the rest of his peers is his elite matchup against the Washington Wizards. The Bucks are implied for a slate-high 127.25 points as they are nearly double-double road favorites against the Wizards, who rank second in Pace and 25th in Defensive Rating. This is a great spot to take Lillard, especially given how well he has played recently.
Top Value: Reggie Jackson at Detroit Pistons – $5,000 DraftKings, $4,800 FanDuel
Reggie Jackson has done a great job filling the void for the Nuggets as Jamal Murray continues to recover from his hamstring injury. In his six games without Murray this season, Jackson is averaging 13.3 points while shooting 49.2% from the field. If you take away the Nuggets’ last game where they got rolled by the Cavaliers, Jackson has scored double-digit points in four-straight games and averaged 26.1 DraftKings points per game. At $5,000 and lower, he is a strong value play.
Projected to play 30 minutes tonight, Jackson is another guard who looks better on FanDuel with an 86% Bargain Rating. Losers of back-to-back road games, the Nuggets are nine-point road favorites against the Pistons implied for 116.5 points. Jackson has a positive Plus/Minus in eight of his last 12 games and is projected to have a positive Plus/Minus tonight.
Top Ceiling: Paul George at San Antonio Spurs – $8,600 DraftKings, $8,600 FanDuel
The second-highest rated player on DraftKings and FanDuel in our Cash Game Model is Clippers’ forward Paul George. Despite the Clippers’ mid-season addition of James Harden, George is still the player to target as he is averaging a team-high 24.5 points per game. George has recorded over 40 DraftKings points in nine of his 11 games played, displaying his consistency. He is second in the league, averaging a career-high 2.4 steals per game as he has 2+ steals in nine of his 11 games as well.
The Clippers are another team who are heavily favored on the road against the Spurs who rank 29th in Defensive Rating. This is a fantastic matchup for George as the Spurs are allowing a league-high 124.2 points per game while opponents are shooting 50% from the field and 40% from behind the arc. Exposure to the Clippers offense is a necessity on this slate.
Top Value: Brandin Podziemski vs. Houston Rockets – $4,400 DraftKings, $4,900 FanDuel
After his monster game against the Timberwolves, Brandin Podziemski is firmly a part of the Warriors rotation now. In his last three games, Podziemski is averaging 14.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 28.3 DraftKings points per game while shooting 48.4% from the field and 43.8% from deep. Despite Stephen Curry being back in the lineup, the Warriors lost backup point guard Gary Payton with a foot injury. Podziemski is projected to play 24 minutes, which is enough to pay off his salary.
Not only is the playing time ramping up, but Podziemski is priced lower than he has been in his last two games on DraftKings. At $4,400, he has a 70% Bargain Rating and is projected for 28% ownership. Podziemski is a great way to get exposure to the Warriors offense in a cheap way. Prioritize Podziemski on DraftKings, where he is $500 cheaper than he is on FanDuel.
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Top Ceiling: Jayson Tatum at Charlotte Hornets – $10,200 DraftKings, $10,200 FanDuel
Add the Celtics to the list of teams who are nearly a double-digit road favorite, as they will play the Hornets tonight. After back-to-back losses earlier this month, the Celtics have rattled off six-straight victories as they lead the league with an 11-2 record. Priced at $10,200 on both DraftKings and FanDuel, Jayson Tatum continues to be the player to target on the Celtics. He is leading the team in points, rebounds, steals, and usage rate while shooting a career-high 50.4% from the field.
The Hornets rank dead last in Defensive Rating at 121.4, while allowing 122.6 points per game. The Celtics are fully healthy which does damper Tatum’s ceiling, but he has already proven this season that he can still reach 50 and even 60 DraftKings points with this star-studded lineup. Tatum at 5% projected ownership on both sites, is a fantastic contrarian pay-up option.
Top Value: Norman Powell at San Antonio Spurs – $4,100 DraftKings, $4,500 FanDuel
Despite coming off the bench, Norman Powell has seen his playing time ramp up significantly over the last three games averaging 29 minutes per game over that time. It helps that Powell has been shooting the lights out with 53.3% from behind the arc. Powell is projected for a modest 28 minutes tonight and is projected to be one of the best values on this eight-game slate. Playing off the bench also helps in a potential blowout matchup. His salary is simply too cheap on both sites tonight.
Powell can take advantage of his sharp shooting in this matchup against the Spurs, who rank second-to-last in 3-pointers allowed with 15.2 per game. Over his last five seasons, Powell is averaging 2.2 3-pointers made per game which provides a nice boost to his value. Projected for over 25% ownership on both sites, Powell is a strong play in all formats at his price tag.
Top Ceiling: Giannis Antetokounmpo at Washington Wizards – $11,000 DraftKings, $11,000 FanDuel
Giannis Antetokounmpo is coming off the best game of the season with 40 points, 15 rebounds, and seven assists. He shot a ridiculous 18-for-26 from the field and totaled 75.75 DraftKings points. That was against the Mavericks, who rank 29th in most points allowed in the paint this season. Great news for Giannis as his matchup tonight is against the Wizards, who aren’t much better, ranking 27th this season. Giannis is in an incredible spot to put up another slate-winning performance.
Priced at $11,000 on both DraftKings and FanDuel, Giannis has the second-highest projected ceiling by a comfortable margin. Giannis ranks sixth in the league in scoring and just outside the top 10 in rebounds per game. The biggest decision on this slate is whether to pay for Giannis or Nikola Jokic. Giannis is cheaper but hasn’t displayed a consistent ceiling.
Top Value: Aaron Gordon at Detroit Pistons – $6,700 DraftKings, $6,900 FanDuel
Projected for a slate-high (at the time of writing) ownership on FanDuel, Aaron Gordon has picked up right where he left off last season, averaging 14 points and a career-high 6.8 rebounds per game. Gordon is shooting well over 50% from the field for the fourth consecutive season with the Nuggets. Playing alongside Nikola Jokic has catapulted his career and opened more avenues to display his scoring and rebounding upside. Priced under $7,000 on both sites, Gordon is the best mid-range play tonight.
Gordon is another player who has benefited from the absence of Jamal Murray. In his six games without Murray, Gordon is averaging a near double-double with 15 points and eight rebounds per game, while still shooting over 50% from the field. The Pistons have been solid defensively to start the season, but Gordon can still display an upside that is worth getting to.
Top Ceiling: Nikola Jokic at Detroit Pistons – $12,800 DraftKings, $12,800 FanDuel
By far, the highest-priced player on both sites is Nikola Jokic, who is $12,800 and is in a great matchup against the Pistons frontcourt, who just gave up 70 points in the paint last game. This spot would look even better if Jalen Duren misses his fifth straight game. With Jamal Murray off the floor, Jokic has a +1.36% usage rate and a +3.67 Plus/Minus this season. His salary has skyrocketed, but Jokic has been a triple-double machine recently, especially without Murray, who is likely still out.
Jokic has recorded a triple-double in three of his last six games, averaging 81.25 DraftKings points in those ceiling games. His other three games have been great, but getting those 80+ ceiling games is a massive advantage over the field. Jokic has the highest projected ceiling for a reason, and if Duren is out, this spot will look even better for the dominating big man.
Top Value: Mark Williams vs. Boston Celtics – $6,100 DraftKings, $6,500 FanDuel
Mark Williams has displayed a massive ceiling sporadically and has the highest Projected Plus/Minus at the center position tonight. If not getting Jokic in a lineup, Williams is the next best player to get exposure to. Williams already has a 20+ point and 20+ rebound game this season. He has scored double-digit points in seven of his last eight games and has three double-digit rebound games over that time. Against the Celtics’ massive frontcourt, Williams’s size will be essential tonight.
The Celtics are a fantastic rebounding and defensive team, so Williams is one of the few Hornets players worth getting exposure to in this matchup. Priced just above $6,000 on both sites, Williams can easily pay off his salary with another double-double performance. He is projected for around 20% ownership on both sites and always has a chance for upside.