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: Tyrese Haliburton vs. San Antonio Spurs – $9,400 DraftKings, $9,800 FanDuel
Despite Luka Doncic being on this slate, Tyrese Haliburton has the highest projected ceiling in our NBA Model for both DraftKings and FanDuel tonight. Priced under $10,000 on both sites, Haliburton is one of the best plays on the slate. In his last five games, Haliburton is averaging 24.2 points and 12.4 assists per game. Haliburton tied his career-high last game with 43 points as he shot 14-for-21 from the field, 8-for-12 from behind the arc, and made all seven free-throw attempts.
Haliburton and the Pacers are 8.5-point favorites against the Spurs, implied for a slate-high 123.75 points. This will be a fast-paced game environment as both teams rank in the top 10 in Pace this season. Despite having Victor Wembanyama, the Spurs also rank 26th in Defensive Rating. This is a phenomenal spot to back one of the best young point guards.
Top Value: Reggie Jackson vs. New Orleans Pelicans – $5,500 DraftKings, $4,200 FanDuel
With Jamal Murray out, Reggie Jackson will likely draw the start for the Nuggets tonight. He started the second half of their last game when Murray did not return from his hamstring injury. Jackson ended up with a season-high 25 minutes in that game, scoring 16 points, while shooting 6-for-10 from the field. He is projected to play 30 minutes tonight and be an elite value play on FanDuel. Jackson has the highest Projected Plus/Minus on the slate for FanDuel with a 96% Bargain Rating.
Jackson has had two 16-point games already through six games and has shot double-digit field goal attempts in his last two contests. Murray had the second-highest usage rate on the team, and without him, there is plenty of production and usage to go around. Jackson doesn’t look nearly as good of a play on DraftKings, so make sure to prioritize him on FanDuel tonight.
Top Ceiling: Zach LaVine vs. Utah Jazz – $7,600 DraftKings, $7,400 FanDuel
Another ceiling guard who looks fantastic on this slate with a respectable salary is Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine. He leads the team in scoring with 22.3 points per game, despite shooting 40.8% from the field and 31.5% from behind the arc. LaVine isn’t afraid to let it fly, and his shot will start falling sooner rather than later. He also leads the Bulls with nearly a 30% usage rate and has the second-highest projected ceiling for both sites. At these salaries, LaVine is impossible to ignore.
A big factor in why LaVine is popping so much in our NBA Model is this elite matchup against the Jazz. Through seven games, the Jazz rank 27th in Defensive Rating, allowing 118.7 points per game. Opponents are shooting 49% against them, which sets up perfectly for LaVine to have a more efficient shooting night.
He is simply too cheap on both sites in this spot.
Top Value: Talen Horton-Tucker at Chicago Bulls – $5,500 DraftKings, $6,000 FanDuel
On the flip side of this game, Jazz shooting guard Talen Horton-Tucker also looks like a great play at his salary. He has recorded a positive Plus/Minus on DraftKings in five of his last six games. In those positive contests, Horton-Tucker is averaging 12.8 points and 7.2 assists per game with a 23.8% usage rate. Last game Horton-Tucker shot a season-high 20 field goal attempts, but he has also been a fantastic distributor this season, averaging a career-high 5.9 assists per game.
Starting point guards against the Bulls this season have been dishing out assists like crazy. They are averaging 10.3 assists per game combined, which sets up perfectly for Horton-Tucker to potentially have a double-double in this matchup. He looks much better on DraftKings than FanDuel, as Horton-Tucker has the second-highest projected Plus/Minus for shooting guards.
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Top Ceiling: Jayson Tatum at Minnesota Timberwolves – $10,300 DraftKings, $10,400 FanDuel
Jayson Tatum is fifth in the league in scoring, with just over 30 points per game for the second straight season. Despite the offseason additions of Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday, Tatum has shown no signs of slowing down or being passive in this offense, as he leads the team with a 30.5% usage rate. Being priced over $10,000 on both sites and all of the Celtics players being healthy, Tatum’s projected ownership will continue to be low. He is coming in at sub-5% for both sites tonight.
The Timberwolves have slowed down their Pace this year and, in return, have the best Defensive Rating in the league. Despite the difficult matchup, Tatum has the highest projected ceiling at the small forward position. He will be a contrarian pay-up option for tonight’s slate, but one worth getting exposure to as he has averaged over 50 DraftKings points per game.
Top Value: DeMar DeRozan vs. Utah Jazz – $7,200 DraftKings, $7,500 FanDuel
The best value at small forward is actually DeMar DeRozan. He may be priced in the mid-tier, but DeRozan has the highest Projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings and FanDuel at the position tonight. DeRozan has 13 Pro Trends on FanDuel and 10 on DraftKings as his salary continues to dip due to his recent play. DeRozan is $1,000 cheaper on FanDuel tonight than he was for the season opener. That salary dip value is making him the highest-owned player at small forward, regardless of the site.
After shooting over 50% from the field in back-to-back seasons, DeRozan has seen his production dip to 43.9% this season. He is still averaging 21.4 points per game, but his numbers across the board have gone down. Similar to LaVine, DeRozan is in a great spot to get back on track tonight. However, it’s not recommended to play them together on this 12-game slate.
Top Ceiling: Giannis Antetokounmpo at Brooklyn Nets – $10,600 DraftKings, $10,300 FanDuel
Giannis Antetokounmpo has been one of the most disappointing studs to start the year, as he is averaging only 24 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game. All three totals are the lowest Giannis has produced since the 2016-17 season. A bounceback for Giannis is inevitable after averaging a career-high 31.3 points and 11.8 rebounds per game last season.
This is as good of a spot as any for Giannis, as the Nets will be without their starting center Nic Claxton for the foreseeable future. The Nets have allowed 52.3 points per game, which ranks 22nd in the league this season. Giannis is still shooting 54.5% from the field, but he is only attempting 15.4 field goals per game. Adding Damian Lillard has certainly impacted Giannis’ usage rate, but being this low-priced in a great scoring and rebounding matchup makes him enticing in this spot.
Top Value: Jalen Johnson at Oklahoma City Thunder – $5,600 DraftKings, $6,100 FanDuel
Regardless if he is starting or coming off the bench, Jalen Johnson continues to be a strong power forward value. Keep an on the Hawks’ starting lineup the closer we get to lock, as it will boost Johnson’s projection even more if he is in the starting lineup. The other option is Saddiq Bey, but Johnson provides more of a well-rounded game as he has back-to-back games with 11 rebounds. In Johnson’s last game, he had a massive 21-point, 11-rebound double-double for 42.75 DraftKings points.
The Thunder rank 22nd in Rebounding Percentage this season at 48.1%. They have allowed 13.2 offensive rebounds per game, which is the second-highest in the league. This could be a sneaky spot for Johnson to record his second-straight double-double. His scoring has also been awesome, as he is averaging a career-high 14.5 points per game in his third year.
Top Ceiling: Domantas Sabonis at Houston Rockets – $10,100 DraftKings, $9,900 FanDuel
Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid are on this slate, but Domantas Sabonis looks like by far the best pay-up option of the three stud centers. Sabonis currently leads the league with 14.2 rebounds per game while averaging a respectable 17.4 points and 5.8 assists per game, shooting 52.4% from the field. De’Aaron Fox remains out for the Kings, which will put more ball-handling duties onto Sabonis. With Fox off the floor this season, Sabonis has a +2.49% usage rate in 62 minutes played.
The Rockets have been another team worth targeting big men against, as they rank 23rd in Rebounding Percentage and below average in Defensive Rating. Specifically on FanDuel at $9,900, Sabonis is projected for over 30% ownership as his price tag has an 86% Bargain Rating. Sabonis is always a threat for a triple-double, especially with Fox out with an injury.
Top Value: Goga Bitadze vs. Dallas Mavericks – $4,700 DraftKings, $4,800 FanDuel
The player with the highest Projected Plus/Minus on both DraftKings and FanDuel tonight is Magic starting center Goga Bitadze. After being the stone minimum on DraftKings, Bitadze’s price skyrocketed to $4,700, but that still seems too cheap for him in this matchup. In his first start of the season last game, Bitadze was incredible with 10 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks, and two assists. He played 26 minutes in the Magic blowout victory and is projected to play 32 minutes tonight.
Not only is Bitadze’s salary still affordable, but this matchup against the Mavericks’ frontcourt is elite. They were last in the league in Rebounding Percentage last season and are trending toward being very poor again this season. The Mavericks have also allowed 58 points per game in the paint in their last three games. Bitadze will be the highest-owned player on the slate.