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NBA DFS (Thursday, Feb. 17): Top Model Picks and Value Plays on DraftKings and FanDuel

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.

Let’s dive into our models, going position-by-position, looking at guys with some of the highest Ceiling Projections, along with players who are standing out as values with our predictive Projected Plus/Minus metric.

Also, don’t forget that for large-field tournaments, you can utilize our Lineup Optimizer to effortlessly create up to 150 lineups, or use our Lineup Builder if you like to hand-build your lineups.

Note: Projections and Leverages Scores/Ratings may change throughout the day after this article is posted. The NBA DFS landscape changes quickly. Consult the Player Models directly for any updates as we get closer to lock.

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Point Guard

Top Ceiling: Luka Doncic vs. New Orleans Pelicans – $12,400 DraftKings, $11,300 FanDuel

Doncic came back down to earth a bit with a sub-50 point performance against the Heat last time out, but he should have a far better matchup on his hands come Thursday against an average-at-best Pelicans defense. The All-Star’s Usage Projection is the highest you’ll find at point guard by a wide margin, topping 37%.


Top Value: Jalen Green vs. Los Angeles Clippers – $4,700 DraftKings, $4,300 FanDuel

We will talk a lot about bad defenses in this breakdown, but the Clippers deserve a shoutout for ranking 25th in efficiency rating over the last two weeks. Green has been logging heavy minutes in the previous month, routinely seeing at least 30, but he’s only hit $5K once since Jan. 10. We’ve got another great chance to play him here in a solid matchup, and our model makes him a comfortable 5X play.

Shooting Guard

Top Ceiling: Khris Middleton vs. Philadelphia 76ers – $7,800 DraftKings, $7,400 FanDuel

The Sixers have cooled on defense, ranking 15th in the last two weeks with 112.2 points allowed per 100 possessions, and Middleton should be in an excellent position to capitalize on Thursday night. Grayson Allen is expected to miss this one, and Pat Connaughton and George Hill have already been ruled out — opening up a boatload of minutes. Our NBA Models set Middleton’s ceiling comfortably over 50 fantasy points.


Top Value: Luke Kennard vs. Houston Rockets – $3,200 DraftKings, $4,400 FanDuel

There’s no more value to squeeze out of Kennard on FanDuel, but he’s a great option on DraftKings at just above the minimum. By our projections, he should be around a 6X play with a +5.09 Projected Plus/Minus, and it’s easy to get behind him after going for over 24 fantasy points in 24 minutes last time out against the Suns. We have him projected for the same 24 minutes on Thursday in an elite matchup.

Small Forward

Top Ceiling: Jimmy Butler vs. Charlotte Hornets – $8,800 DraftKings, $9,100 FanDuel

Butler is questionable for this game, but reports are that he’s expected to go against Charlotte. If that’s the case, he will be the best high-ceiling option at small forward where Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t available. We project him for heavy run — at least 35 minutes — and that should be more than enough time to do damage against a struggling Hornets defense.


Top Value: Eric Gordon vs. Los Angeles Clippers – $3,800 DraftKings, $4,100 FanDuel

I mentioned attacking the Clippers defense earlier, and I think this is another excellent way to get in on the fun. The former Clippers sharpshooter has been efficient when he’s been on the floor, rarely dipping below 15 points and climbing over 20 numerous times. Our model sets Gordon at a +9.11 Projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings, which is the top mark on the slate.

Power Forward

Top Ceiling: Giannis Antetokoumpo vs. Philadelphia 76ers – $12,100 DraftKings, $11,500 FanDuel

The Bucks have played at the fourth-quickest pace over their last six games, and each game has gone over thanks to their poor performance on defense. That should help this one turn into a high-scoring and close affair, which are perfect conditions to play Antetokounmpo. We already touched on the Sixers’ lackluster defense earlier, and Antetokoumpo is the highest-upside play on the entire slate per our Models.


Top Value: Serge Ibaka vs. Philadelphia 76ers – $4,000 DraftKings, $4,100 FanDuel

Ibaka has yet to get going with his new team, but one thing that is apparent after watching his first two games in Milwaukee is that he’ll get plenty of opportunities. The veteran big has seen 27.5 minutes per game in those two contests, going over 16 fantasy points both times. We project him for 24 minutes, which could even be a little conservative, and given that time on the court, he should be a fantastic value option at this price with a 6X projection.

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Center

Top Ceiling: Joel Embiid vs. Milwaukee Bucks – $11,800 DraftKings, $11,400 FanDuel

I alluded to it earlier, but the Bucks have allowed nearly 116 points per 100 possessions in the last two weeks, making them one of the worst defenses in basketball over that span. This matchup should be easy pickings for Embiid, who had produced five straight games of 60 fantasy points or more before running into a tough Celtics defense last time out. With how Milwaukee is looking at the moment, it’s easy to get behind Embiid’s projected ceiling of over 70 points, which is the highest on the slate at center.


Top Value: Isaiah Hartenstein vs. Houston Rockets – $3,600 DraftKings, $3,900 FanDuel

The Rockets have been one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA this year and one of the league’s softest interior defenses to boot. Hartenstein is priced under $4K in this juicy matchup, and he should see decent playing time given his recent games. Hartenstein has been incredibly efficient in the last two games, going for over a fantasy point per minute, and we have him set for 17 minutes on Thursday. With that, he should be able to hit value at the very least.

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.

Let’s dive into our models, going position-by-position, looking at guys with some of the highest Ceiling Projections, along with players who are standing out as values with our predictive Projected Plus/Minus metric.

Also, don’t forget that for large-field tournaments, you can utilize our Lineup Optimizer to effortlessly create up to 150 lineups, or use our Lineup Builder if you like to hand-build your lineups.

Note: Projections and Leverages Scores/Ratings may change throughout the day after this article is posted. The NBA DFS landscape changes quickly. Consult the Player Models directly for any updates as we get closer to lock.

Start Your PRO Trial Today

Lineup builder and optimizer

Real-time DFS models

Data-driven analysis & tutorials

Point Guard

Top Ceiling: Luka Doncic vs. New Orleans Pelicans – $12,400 DraftKings, $11,300 FanDuel

Doncic came back down to earth a bit with a sub-50 point performance against the Heat last time out, but he should have a far better matchup on his hands come Thursday against an average-at-best Pelicans defense. The All-Star’s Usage Projection is the highest you’ll find at point guard by a wide margin, topping 37%.


Top Value: Jalen Green vs. Los Angeles Clippers – $4,700 DraftKings, $4,300 FanDuel

We will talk a lot about bad defenses in this breakdown, but the Clippers deserve a shoutout for ranking 25th in efficiency rating over the last two weeks. Green has been logging heavy minutes in the previous month, routinely seeing at least 30, but he’s only hit $5K once since Jan. 10. We’ve got another great chance to play him here in a solid matchup, and our model makes him a comfortable 5X play.

Shooting Guard

Top Ceiling: Khris Middleton vs. Philadelphia 76ers – $7,800 DraftKings, $7,400 FanDuel

The Sixers have cooled on defense, ranking 15th in the last two weeks with 112.2 points allowed per 100 possessions, and Middleton should be in an excellent position to capitalize on Thursday night. Grayson Allen is expected to miss this one, and Pat Connaughton and George Hill have already been ruled out — opening up a boatload of minutes. Our NBA Models set Middleton’s ceiling comfortably over 50 fantasy points.


Top Value: Luke Kennard vs. Houston Rockets – $3,200 DraftKings, $4,400 FanDuel

There’s no more value to squeeze out of Kennard on FanDuel, but he’s a great option on DraftKings at just above the minimum. By our projections, he should be around a 6X play with a +5.09 Projected Plus/Minus, and it’s easy to get behind him after going for over 24 fantasy points in 24 minutes last time out against the Suns. We have him projected for the same 24 minutes on Thursday in an elite matchup.

Small Forward

Top Ceiling: Jimmy Butler vs. Charlotte Hornets – $8,800 DraftKings, $9,100 FanDuel

Butler is questionable for this game, but reports are that he’s expected to go against Charlotte. If that’s the case, he will be the best high-ceiling option at small forward where Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t available. We project him for heavy run — at least 35 minutes — and that should be more than enough time to do damage against a struggling Hornets defense.


Top Value: Eric Gordon vs. Los Angeles Clippers – $3,800 DraftKings, $4,100 FanDuel

I mentioned attacking the Clippers defense earlier, and I think this is another excellent way to get in on the fun. The former Clippers sharpshooter has been efficient when he’s been on the floor, rarely dipping below 15 points and climbing over 20 numerous times. Our model sets Gordon at a +9.11 Projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings, which is the top mark on the slate.

Power Forward

Top Ceiling: Giannis Antetokoumpo vs. Philadelphia 76ers – $12,100 DraftKings, $11,500 FanDuel

The Bucks have played at the fourth-quickest pace over their last six games, and each game has gone over thanks to their poor performance on defense. That should help this one turn into a high-scoring and close affair, which are perfect conditions to play Antetokounmpo. We already touched on the Sixers’ lackluster defense earlier, and Antetokoumpo is the highest-upside play on the entire slate per our Models.


Top Value: Serge Ibaka vs. Philadelphia 76ers – $4,000 DraftKings, $4,100 FanDuel

Ibaka has yet to get going with his new team, but one thing that is apparent after watching his first two games in Milwaukee is that he’ll get plenty of opportunities. The veteran big has seen 27.5 minutes per game in those two contests, going over 16 fantasy points both times. We project him for 24 minutes, which could even be a little conservative, and given that time on the court, he should be a fantastic value option at this price with a 6X projection.

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Center

Top Ceiling: Joel Embiid vs. Milwaukee Bucks – $11,800 DraftKings, $11,400 FanDuel

I alluded to it earlier, but the Bucks have allowed nearly 116 points per 100 possessions in the last two weeks, making them one of the worst defenses in basketball over that span. This matchup should be easy pickings for Embiid, who had produced five straight games of 60 fantasy points or more before running into a tough Celtics defense last time out. With how Milwaukee is looking at the moment, it’s easy to get behind Embiid’s projected ceiling of over 70 points, which is the highest on the slate at center.


Top Value: Isaiah Hartenstein vs. Houston Rockets – $3,600 DraftKings, $3,900 FanDuel

The Rockets have been one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA this year and one of the league’s softest interior defenses to boot. Hartenstein is priced under $4K in this juicy matchup, and he should see decent playing time given his recent games. Hartenstein has been incredibly efficient in the last two games, going for over a fantasy point per minute, and we have him set for 17 minutes on Thursday. With that, he should be able to hit value at the very least.