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.
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: De’Aaron Fox vs. Houston Rockets – $8,100 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel
On this short three-game slate, it is going to be near-impossible not to stack the Kings vs. Rockets game. This total is by far the highest on the slate at 240 points, with the Kings as five-point home favorites implied to score a whopping 122.5 points. These two played Friday night, with the Kings winning 126-114. De’Aaron Fox had a game-high 27 points, as he shot 11-for-18 from the field. He also added six rebounds and eight assists. The 49.5 DraftKings points that Fox scored was his third-highest output of the season.
Playing against the Rockets is the best spot for opposing players this season. They rank 29th in defensive rating, first in pace, and allow the most points to opposing teams with 116.8 per game. Fox continues to lead the Kings in scoring for the third straight season. He is averaging 24.5 points per game in his last eight games. Fox is the top option for the Kings, who are in the best spot on the slate tonight.
Top Value: Nah’Shon (Bones) Hyland vs. Utah Jazz – $3,600 DraftKings, $4,200 FanDuel
Value is difficult to come by on this slate, as the balanced build will be the most optimal approach. However, Bones Hyland needs to be in consideration as a pay-down option. He is an extremely boom-or-bust player, but when he booms he can win you a tournament. Hyland is coming off of the best game of his career last night. He had a double-double with 27 points and 10 rebounds. He finished with a career-high 50 DraftKings points.
That output certainly isn’t expected tonight, as the Nuggets won 133-96 over the Lakers and Hyland did much of his damage in garbage time. He played a season-high 33 minutes. Our Tournament Model has Hyland projected for only 18 minutes, which is normal. However, Hyland is a great way to get different while still having an incredibly high ceiling. This is the second-most intriguing game on the slate with a total of 223.5 points.
Top Ceiling: Donovan Mitchell at Denver Nuggets – $9,100 DraftKings, $8,400 FanDuel
Donovan Mitchell always stands out as a much better play on FanDuel than DraftKings. He has a 92% Bargain Rating again on FanDuel, where he has had a positive Plus/Minus in 16 of his last 20 games. Mitchell is one of the most aggressive players in the league, as his 33.0% usage rate ranks third in the league. He is averaging well over 20 points for the fifth straight season and has the highest ceiling among the guards.
The matchup in Denver is always a difficult spot. The Nuggets have only lost seven home games this season, which ranks third in the Western Conference. They are favored by 4.5 points tonight. Our model has Mitchell as the highest-rated player on DraftKings and the third-highest on FanDuel. The spot may be difficult, but the ceiling is there. Mitchell will be extremely popular tonight, especially on FanDuel.
Top Value: Jordan Poole at Minnesota Timberwolves – $5,400 DraftKings, $4,900 FanDuel
After a slow start to their four-game road trip the Warriors dismantled the Bulls 138-96 in their last game. They were a little undermanned going into that game, and now Stephen Curry is out tonight. Along with Curry, Draymond Green is also out. Using our On/Off tool, Jordan Poole has increased his usage rate by +6.8% with Curry and Green off the floor this season. He will be their main source of offense tonight.
The Timberwolves rank fifth in pace this season, while the Warriors rank 12th. Minnesota also struggles to guard behind the arc, as they allow the sixth-most 3-point attempts in the league. Poole is pouring in 2.6 3-pointers per game while shooting 33.9% from distance. He scored 22 points with five 3-pointers in their last game with a 33.3% usage rate. Poole has the highest projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel. He is a great value play.
Top Ceiling: Anthony Edwards vs. Golden State Warriors – $8,600 DraftKings, $8,200 FanDuel
Anthony Edwards is in a class of his own up top among the small forwards. He has by far the highest ceiling and floor while coming in at a relatively good price tag. Edwards has really started to cook recently. He has had a positive Plus/Minus in six straight games. During that stretch, he is averaging 25.2 points, 4.7 assists, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game. He can turn it on quickly and will need to in this matchup.
Playing the Warriors this season has not been kind to opposing teams. They lead the league in defensive rating and allow a league-best 101.6 points per game. In their last meeting with the Warriors, Edwards scored a career-high 48 points and went 16-for-27 from the field and 7-for-13 from downtown. He finished with 66.25 DraftKings points. The upside is there despite the difficult matchup against the Warriors.
Top Value: Jeff Green vs. Utah Jazz – $3,800 DraftKings, $4,800 FanDuel
The best value play by a comfortable margin on DraftKings is Nuggets forward Jeff Green. He has the highest projected Plus/Minus at +7.26 and has a 93% Bargain Rating. Since returning from the COVID protocols, Green has had a positive Plus/Minus in four of his last five games. He has averaged 26.1 DraftKings points per game during that time while coming off of a season-high 26 points and 39.75 DraftKings points.
Green has been much more aggressive scoring the ball lately. He has shot 61.7% from the field and has averaged 12.0 field-goal attempts per game in his last five games. Green even made four 3-pointers in his last game. He will likely play around 30 minutes tonight and stands out as a great value option.
Top Ceiling: Marvin Bagley vs. Houston Rockets – $5,600 DraftKings, $5,600 FanDuel
Similar to small forward, the power forward position doesn’t really have a ceiling option. However, based on Marvin Bagley‘s performance in their last game, you could argue he has the highest ceiling at the position. Bagley finished with a double-double on 26 points and 13 rebounds. He had 48.75 DraftKings points, which was the second-highest score he has had in his career.
We will need to monitor the status of Richaun Holmes the closer we get to lock. He is questionableto play tonight. He has only played five games since December 8th and hasn’t played in a game since December 31st due to injury and being in the COVID protocols. In those five games, he played a maximum of 29 minutes. Bagley should still play heavy minutes tonight, but it would be better if Holmes was out.
Top Value: Royce O’Neale at Denver Nuggets – $4,600 DraftKings, $5,300 FanDuel
Normally a popular player on short slates, Royce O’Neale still has an 83% Bargain Rating on DraftKings. After not scoring any points against the Timberwolves, O’Neale has averaged nine points in his last six games. He has also averaged six rebounds per game during that time and 24.4 DraftKings points per game. O’Neale always plays heavy minutes despite having an extremely low usage rate.
It is rare that O’Neale has a usage rate in the double digits, but he has had that twice over his last six games. During that time, he has averaged 35 minutes per game. Our model has O’Neale projected for 34 minutes tonight. He is a great way to round out your lineups tonight.
Top Ceiling: Nikola Jokic vs. Utah Jazz – $12,000 DraftKings, $10,900 FanDuel
There are only two players priced above $10,000 on DraftKings and one player on FanDuel. That would be Nuggets center Nikola Jokic. His ceiling is towering above the rest of the slate. He is coming off of a triple-double with 17 points, 12 rebounds, and 13 assists last night despite only playing 28 minutes. Jokic should be well-rested going against a familiar foe in Rudy Gobert. The question of the night will be to play or fade Jokic.
On FanDuel Jokic still provides incredible value at a 96% Bargain Rating. He has had a positive Plus/Minus in 14 of his last 19 games. This is a fantastic rebounding matchup between Jokic and Gobert. Gobert leads the league averaging 15.1 rebounds, while Jokic is second with 13.9 rebounds per game. The Nuggets have won their last two games by an average of 34.5 points per game, so Jokic has only had to play 28 minutes in both games. He is projected to play 34 minutes tonight in what should be a much more competitive game.
Top Value: Christian Wood vs. Orlando Magic – $8,000 DraftKings, $7,300 FanDuel
The player that is most intriguing to get to from the Rockets side is Christian Wood. In their last meeting against the Kings, Wood led the Rockets with 26 points while shooting 8-for-15 from the field and 4-for-7 from downtown. He added eight rebounds and finished with 43 DraftKings points. He dealt with extreme foul trouble in the first half and still ended up with a very impressive stat line. I expect another great outcome tonight.
The Kings rank 27th in defensive rating and have allowed 113.6 points per game, which is the third-highest in the league. They also rank 26th in rebounding percentage and have allowed a league-high 52.7 points per game in the paint. Wood has a 92% Bargain Rating and Opponent Rating on FanDuel. That is where I prefer to get my exposure, as he is only center-eligible on DraftKings, which makes it tougher.
Note: Christian Wood is only center-eligible on DraftKings.