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: Chris Paul vs. Los Angeles Clippers – $8,000 DraftKings, $8,500 FanDuel
There are just three games on tap for Thursday night before the NBA goes into the All-Star break, but there are still plenty of good fantasy options to consider. At point guard, the top ceiling projection belongs to Paul on FanDuel, while he gets just edged out by Jrue Holiday on DraftKings. Paul gets the nod for me since he has been the more reliable option and gets a good matchup against his former team, the Clippers.
While the Suns still aren’t at full strength since Kevin Durant (knee) is still sidelined, Paul has been running the offense efficiently and often carrying plenty of the scoring load, even with Devin Booker back in action. CP3 has at least eight assists in six straight games while averaging 12.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 11.7 assists, and 2.5 steals in 33.5 minutes per game.
Paul has exceeded salary-based expectations on FanDuel in five of those six contests and eight of his past 10 games with an average Plus/Minus of +5.79.
On Tuesday, Paul posted a massive double-double with 17 points, 19 assists, five rebounds, and two steals for 53.5 FanDuel points and 55.75 DraftKings points in an 11-point win over the Kings. Paul is definitely comfortable running this show, and he should head into the break with another good night as the Suns get primed for their playoff push.
Paul’s fantasy prop sits at 36.5 on Monkey Knife Fight. You can get a $100 sign-up bonus on Monkey Knife Fight by signing up through our promo link.
Top Value: Mike Conley vs. Washington Wizards – $5,200 DraftKings, $6,200 FanDuel
The Timberwolves’ new starting point guard leads the way in Projected Plus/Minus at the position on both DraftKings and FauDuel. He’s a little like Paul in that he is more of a true point guard than a scorer, but he has been a lovely fit in Minnesota and brings an affordable salary in the game with the highest over/under on the slate.
Conley played only 26 minutes in Memphis during his Minnesota debut as the Wolves were blown out, but he logged a more typical 32 minutes on Monday in Dallas as the Wolves bounced back with a win. In that game, Conley had 12 points, nine assists, 30.1 FanDuel points, and 31.75 DraftKings points.
That performance was on par with his typical level of contributions in Utah, where he had over 28 DraftKings points in 10 straight games before being traded. Over those games, he averaged a solid 12.9 points and 8.3 assists. Now that he’s with his new club and settled into his role, we can expect similar numbers moving forward.
In this matchup at this price, Conley is an excellent option to build around at point guard if you decide not to pay up for Paul or Holiday to invest in the other superstars highlighted below.
Top Ceiling: Anthony Edwards vs. Washington Wizards – $9,000 DraftKings, $9,400 FanDuel
Whenever Minnesota is in a game that is expected to be high-scoring, Edwards is worth a look. Especially with so few options on Thursday, he is someone you have to consider since he brings the second-highest ceiling projection on the slate. He also comes at a decent salary, offers positional flexibility at shooting guard and small forward, and will be playing in the game with the highest over/under.
Edwards has shown all season long that there is a lot to love about his game, and he has carried the load for the Timberwolves during Karl-Anthony Towns‘ (calf) extended absence. He seemed to gel well with Conley on Monday, scoring 32 points and finishing with 38.75 DraftKings points in Minnesota’s road win in Dallas. With Conley more of a distributor than D’Angelo Russell, Edwards’ scoring may go up while his assists tick down a bit. In fact, he only had one assist on Monday after dishing out eight assists in the most recent game before Conley’s arrival.
Even with a slight shift in role, Edwards brings a high enough ceiling to be a strong option in this matchup against the Wizards, who he lit up for 29 points and 43 DraftKings points earlier this season.
Top Value: Alex Caruso vs. Milwaukee Bucks – $3,400 DraftKings, $4,700 FanDuel
Caruso has the highest Projected Plus/Minus of all shooting guards on DraftKings. On FanDuel, where he costs a little more, he ranks second at point guard and fourth at shooting guard.
The Caru-show will get a primetime slot in this matchup with the Bucks in the first game of TNT’s doubleheader. While he doesn’t dominate any specific statistic, he does contribute in a variety of ways every time he’s on the floor.
On Wednesday, he started in place of DeMar DeRozan (thigh) while returning from his own absence due to left midfoot soreness. He finished with 22.9 FanDuel points and 22 DraftKings points in his 30 minutes against the Pacers while scoring five points with three assists, three steals, a blocked shot, and two rebounds.
Especially if he gets another start on Thursday, Caruso should again be an excellent cheap play who will fill in countable stats. His defensive contributions are hard to measure at times in a box score, but he gets enough minutes and chances to be worth a look.
Top Ceiling: Kyle Kuzma at Minnesota Timberwolves – $7,900 DraftKings, $7,700 FanDuel
There are several strong options at small forward, including Edwards, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, DeRozan (if he plays), and Giannis Antetokounmpo. That said, don’t overlook Kuzma, who comes in under $8K and still brings a top-four ceiling projection at the position on both DraftKings and FanDuel.
Kuzma just returned from a four-game absence due to a sprained ankle, but he looked sharp on Tuesday. He played 36 minutes in a road rout of the Blazers and piled up 33 points, nine rebounds, two assists, and 50.75 DraftKings points.
Before missing those games, Kuzma had a few down games, but the time off seems to rejuvenate him. If he can build on that momentum in this favorable spot, he’ll provide an excellent ceiling at a reasonable price tag.
Top Value: Khris Middleton at Chicago Bulls – $5,500 DraftKings, $6,000 FanDuel
Middleton has the highest Projected Plus/Minus at both shooting guard and small forward on FanDuel, and he trails only Conley overall. On DraftKings, Middleton is even more affordable and checks in with the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus at small forward behind bargain option Jaden McDaniels.
Middleton has been starting to show a return to form, exceeding salary-based expectations in five of his past six contests. He has scored at least 13 points and produced at least 25 FanDuel points in each of those contests while averaging 18.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 0.5 steals for 30.6 FanDuel points and 32.2 DraftKings points in 22 minutes per game.
Middleton had a nice 16-point, 11-rebound double-double on Tuesday and has played over 24 minutes in his past two games as he continues to increase his workload. As long as that trend continues headed into the break, Middleton should be a good bet to outproduce his salary in this good spot against the Bulls.
Giannis Antetokounmpo at Chicago Bulls – $12,700 DraftKings, $12,500 FanDuel
On any slate of almost any size and in almost any matchup, Giannis is a great ceiling play. On this limited three-game slate, he stands far above the rest of the field in ceiling projection, outpacing his closest competitor by over 17 DraftKings points and 18 FanDuel points. With so much more upside than any other player in action, it will be very hard to build a lineup without him.
The Bucks have the highest Implied Team Total on the slate and have won 11 straight games after dispatching the pesky backup Celtics on Tuesday. Giannis returned from injury 11 games ago and has led his team on this impressive run and will look to go into the All-Star break on a high note with one more victory.
On Tuesday, Giannis fell just one assist short of a triple-double with 36 points, 13 boards, and nine assists for 67.75 DraftKings points. He has over 60 DraftKings points in seven of his 10 most recent contests while averaging 38.6 points, 13.4 rebounds, and 6.2 assists.
He had 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 57.75 DraftKings points in the first meeting between these teams this season and went off for an even more impressive 45 points, 22 rebounds, and 84 DraftKings points in their most recent meeting just after Christmas.
As long as the Bulls do enough to keep this game competitive, Giannis should be poised for another monster number on Thursday before heading to Salt Lake City to captain one of the All-Star teams.
Top Value: Patrick Williams – $4,500 DraftKings, $4,700 FanDuel
On the other side of that matchup and at the opposite end of the salary spectrum, Williams should be set up for some extra work if the Bulls decide to be cautious with DeRozan and give him another game off before the break. Williams has the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus at power forward on FanDuel, behind only Giannis.
Williams has been a little more involved in the offense recently, taking at least 10 shots in four of his past five games. He had 11 points on Wednesday with two steals, two assists, and two rebounds over 29 minutes. His 20.5 DraftKings points and 21.4 FanDuel points aren’t astounding, but he regularly chips in that level of production, which is acceptable at this salary.
With DeRozan off the court this season, Williams gets a usage bump from 15.9% to 16.6% and averages 0.72 DraftKings points and 0.68 FanDuel points per minute. The Bulls are also playing for the second night in a row, so keep a close eye on the latest news to see who they may decide to give the night off, leaving more work for Williams and other remaining starters.
Top Ceiling: Kristaps Porzingis at Minnesota Timberwolves – $9,200 DraftKings, $9,100 FanDuel
Porzingis has the highest ceiling projection at center on FanDuel and the second-highest on DraftKings behind Giannis. He has a good matchup in some respects since the Wizards own the highest Pace Differential on the slate as they visit Minnesota. While facing Rudy Gobert is not usually viewed as an “easy” matchup, the Wolves have been very generous to opposing centers this season and have allowed big games to shooting bigs like Porzingis.
In fact, Porzingis dropped 41 points against Minnesota in their earlier matchup this season, adding four boards, three assists, three blocks, and two steals on his way to 64.3 FanDuel points and 63.0 DraftKings points. The Wizards totaled 142 points in that matchup, though, so he may not reach that level again since the Wizards’ season average is only 113.6 points per game.
Poringis comes in with good form, having scored at least 28 points in three of his past four games. He had 52.5 DraftKings points against the Trail Blazers on Tuesday and 57.75 DraftKings points against the Hornets last Wednesday, showing how high his ceiling can be if he gets it going again in this rematch with Minnesota.
Top Value: Rudy Gobert vs. Washington Wizards – $6,200 DraftKings, $7,600 FanDuel
With just six teams in play, there isn’t a lot of projected value in the center spot. Porzingis, Nikola Vucevic, and Brook Lopez are solid options, but none of them are cheap. Gobert has been limited by a groin injury which has him regularly listed as questionable and has resulted in some rough outputs. However, he still has the highest Projected Plus/Minus at center on DraftKings and the second-highest on FanDuel.
He did look much better against Dallas on Tuesday, producing 21 points, 14 rebounds, and 40 DraftKings points in 30 minutes. It was his first double-double of the month after he finished January with four double-doubles in five games.
If he’s healthy, he should be able to put together another good game in this matchup, especially since it seems like he’ll benefit from Conley running the point. Minnesota could be cautious with him heading into the All-Star break, but as long as he continues to play through the injury, he should be a solid mid-range target at center.
If you decide to go ultra-cheap, the only real option coming into the day is Andre Drummond. If Gobert is ruled out, Naz Reid would also become an outstanding option.
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