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.
Also, don’t forget that for large-field tournaments, you can utilize our Lineup Optimizer to effortlessly create up to 300 lineups, or use our Lineup Builder if you like to hand-build your teams.
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: Luka Doncic at Los Angeles Lakers – $12,800 DraftKings, $12,200 FanDuel
On both DraftKings and FanDuel, Doncic has the highest ceiling projection on the entire slate by a comfortable margin. His salary is so elevated at this point that he’s challenging to build around, but if you are looking at who provides the highest possible point total, it’s impossible to look past Luka. That’s especially true in this matchup against the Lakers. It results in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.8, which is higher than all the other elite guard options.
Doncic faced the Lakers on Christmas and posted 60.25 DKFP on 32 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists. That would be an outstanding night for most players, but it is actually one of his more pedestrian performances lately. Over his past nine games, Doncic has averaged 40.8 points, 10.9 rebounds, 8.8 assists, and 1.7 steals per game for 73.6 DraftKings points and 69.9 FanDuel points over 39.4 minutes. His usage rate over that nine-game stretch is 41.3%, and his usage rate has been over 40% in his five most recent contests.
He doesn’t offer the best value at this salary, but if you can make the cap space work, no one has a better chance of going off and breaking the slate than Luka, especially in a road game in Los Angeles against the defensively-challenged Lakers. The Lakers play fast with the second-fastest Pace in the NBA, which gives Luka and the Mavs the highest Pace Differential of any team on this slate.
Top Value: Gabe Vincent vs. Milwaukee Bucks – $4,000 DraftKings, $4,100 FanDuel
Most of the top value options on this slate come from either the Heat in their home game against the Bucks or the Nets in their home game against the Celtics. With Miami, it’s always important to keep a close eye on the injury report since they seem to manipulate that to confuse things. Still, based on projections this morning, Vincent is one of several Heat options set up for a busy night against the Bucks due to the absences of Tyler Herro (Achilles) and Kyle Lowry (knee).
Vincent brings the highest Projected Plus/Minus at point guard and shooting guard on FanDuel and the second-highest at both positions on DraftKings. He’s projected for a 17.8% usage rate with a massive workload of over 36 minutes. Vincent’s workload and minutes have been limited for most of the season, but he has usually stepped up when called upon.
He struggled with his shot and turnovers in his start on Tuesday but still produced 19.8 FanDuel points and 23 DraftKings on 13 points, four assists, four rebounds, and a steal. That seems like his floor since the rest of his games with more work have resulted in better numbers. At this salary, even that level of production is a strong return.
He has a high ceiling if his shots start dropping, but at the very least, he should return solid value since his workload is projected to be so heavy.
Top Ceiling: Donovan Mitchell at Portland Trail Blazers – $9,900 DraftKings, $9,400 FanDuel
The Cavaliers visit the Trail Blazers in one of the two late games on this six-game slate. Mitchell has the highest ceiling projection at shooting guard on DraftKings and the fifth-highest on FanDuel, where more of the elite point guards also have shooting guard eligibility.
Spida has been showing off his ceiling lately, dropping 71 points and 102.5 DraftKings points last week against the Bulls and following that up with a strong 46-point performance in his return to Utah on Tuesday. Mitchell has over 44 DraftKings points in four of his past six games while averaging 33.7 points, 6.7 assists, and 4.7 rebounds.
Mitchel has the second-highest usage projection of all shooting guards on DraftKings and should be able to put up a big number against the Trail Blazers if he continues to shoot the ball so effectively.
Top Value: Victor Oladipo vs. Milwaukee Bucks – $5,900 DraftKings, $5,800 FanDuel
Along with Vincent, Oladipo will have to step up without Herro and Lowry. He has the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus at both point guard and shooting guard on both FanDuel, and on DraftKings, he is in the top six at both positions. Since shooting guard is a little thinner on DraftKings, Oladipo also brings the third-highest ceiling projection at the position, even though there are nine shooting guards priced higher than him.
In his six games since New Year’s Eve, Oladipo has averaged 17.2 points, 4.3 assists, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.8 steals in 31.7 minutes per game. He has posted over 27 DraftKings points in each of those contests, highlighted by a big game against the Jazz in which he posted 45.75 DraftKings points on 23 points, five rebounds, five assists, and three steals. In each of those six games, Oladipo has also taken at least 10 shots from the field and posted at least a 17% usage rate.
With Herro and Lowry off the floor, Oladipo has a 26.8% usage rate in his past six games and has produced 1.22 DraftKings points and 1.21 FanDuel points per minute. He has long been seen as a high-risk “if healthy” option, but the Heat are giving him a long look to prove that he is ready to contribute to their rotation down the stretch.
Top Ceiling: Jayson Tatum at Brooklyn Nets – $10,500 DraftKings, $10,700 FanDuel
While we don’t get the dream matchup between Tatum and Kevin Durant due to KD’s knee injury, Tatum still gets to face his former teammate Kyrie Irving and the rest of the red-hot Nets. Tatum has the second-highest ceiling projection of all small forwards on DraftKings and the fourth-highest on FanDuel behind Jimmy Butler and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Tatum has scored at least 25 points in 13 straight contests, with over 30 points in each of his past three. He added 10 rebounds to his 31 points on Wednesday for 54.5 DraftKings points against the Pelicans, which was his second straight game with over 50 DraftKings points. He also had over 50 DraftKings points in the first meeting between these teams this season, finishing with 29 points, 11 boards, four steals, and an assist.
In his sixth year in the league, Tatum has emerged as a legitimate MVP candidate and continues to provide an excellent ceiling almost every time he’s on the slate.
Top Value: Royce O’Neale vs. Boston Celtics – $4,500 DraftKings, $5,100 FanDuel
On the other side of that big Eastern Conference matchup, the Nets will have to compensate for the loss of Durant and his 33.4% usage over his past 14 games. One of the most versatile pieces the Nets have is O’Neale, who is available as a shooting guard on DraftKings but as a small forward and power forward on FanDuel. He brings an excellent Projected Plus/Minus on both sites, ranking in the top five at each of his eligible positions.
O’Neale is typically a player who doesn’t take or need a lot of field goal attempts to return good fantasy value. He stuffs the stat sheet in non-scoring categories and could be a great value if he gets a few extra scoring opportunities in Durant’s absence.
In his past six games, O’Neale has already logged over 32 minutes per game, averaging 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game to go with his 8.8 points. He has exceeded salary-based expectations in five of his past six games, so he should be an even stronger play with extra usage.
Top Ceiling: Jimmy Butler vs. Milwaukee Bucks – $9,700 DraftKings, $9,200 FanDuel
Butler has the third-highest ceiling projection at power forward on DraftKings and the second-highest at FanDuel. Without Lowry and Herro, he’ll have to carry the load against the Bucks and typically steps up in marquee matchups like this.
Without Lowry and Herro on Tuesday, Butler had 35 points, seven rebounds, four assists, four steals, three blocks, 62.75 DraftKings points, and 68.4 FanDuel points in a win over the Thunder. He has exceeded salary-based expectations in seven of his past 10 games with an average Plus/Minus of +4.6.
Butler’s defensive numbers make him slightly more productive on FanDuel, so it’s surprising that he’s cheaper on that site. As a result, he has the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus of all power forwards and the highest Projected Plus/Minus of all small forwards on the slate, showing he brings great value in addition to his top ceiling.
Top Value: T.J. Warren vs. Boston Celtics – $3,900 DraftKings, $4,900 FanDuel
While O’Neale will help take some of Durant’s workload, he’s not much of a scoring threat, so other Nets’ contributors will also have to step into larger workloads. One option that brings more score-first potential is Warren, who seems highly underpriced, especially on DraftKings. He brings the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings at power forward and the third-highest at small forward while also providing a nice ceiling projection of just under 34 DraftKings points.
After missing last season, Warren has been working his way back to full strength since December 2. He scored double-digit points in seven of his past nine games, averaging 11.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 23 minutes per game. He may not be ready for a full workload yet, but he played over 31 minutes in one of those contests, so he may not be that far away.
Without KD, the Nets will need all the offense they can get, and Warren is one of the players who can score points in bunches when at his best.
Top Ceiling: Joel Embiid vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – $11,700 DraftKings, $11,400 FanDuel
Embiid has the second-highest ceiling projection on the entire slate and should be in a smash spot against the Thunder, who have allowed the fifth-most DraftKings points per game to opposing centers this season.
Embiid knocked off the rust after a three-game absence in 24 minutes against the Pistons, quickly piling up 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 55.75 DraftKings points.
He faced OKC on New Year’s Eve and had a triple-double and 59.75 DraftKings points in just 29 minutes. He is a double-double machine with triple-double upside and should be able to go off if he’s anywhere near 100%.
Top Value: Nic Claxton vs. Boston Celtics – $6,000 DraftKings, $7,300 FanDuel
Claxton should be another good source of value from Brooklyn, and he brings the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus at center on DraftKings and the fifth-highest on FanDuel. He’s considered probable due to a left shoulder impingement but should be a solid option if that doesn’t become a bigger deal than expected.
Claxton has exceeded salary-based expectations in six of his nine most recent games, averaging 12.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, and an impressive 3.3 blocked shots per game. He has at least three swats in six straight games, and that defensive production makes him more valuable on FanDuel, which explains his higher salary on that site.
He had 14 rebounds, nine points, and 35.3 FanDuel points in his first matchup this season with the Celtics, and he should be more involved in the offense without Durant soaking up all the usage. He’s a solid pick for a double-double and good defensive stats in this matchup, and he’s a very solid midrange play to consider at center if you can’t pay all the way up for Embiid.
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