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 150 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: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander vs. Denver Nuggets – $9,700 DraftKings, $10,800 FanDuel
Even though there are only two games on the slate, several solid PG options are available. Gilgeous-Alexander has a slightly higher ceiling and median projection than Stephen Curry, so he gets the nod in this spot. He’s projected for a slightly higher usage rate and four more minutes in his matchup with the Nuggets in the later game.
Gilgeous-Alexander is an especially strong play on DraftKings, where he’s cheaper, but he can be an excellent anchor for your lineup on either site. In his six games this season, he has averaged 54.4 DraftKings points on 31.5 points, 6.8 assists, 4.8 rebounds, 2.5 steals, and 1.3 blocks in his 36 minutes per game. He has produced 1.51 DraftKings points per minute, the third-highest mark of any player on this slate, behind only Curry and Nikola Jokic. Since he’s playing more minutes than Steph on a regular basis, his totals have been slightly higher.
The Thunder have won four straight games since SGA returned from a one-game absence, and Gilgous-Alexander has posted over 55 DraftKings points in three of those five games, including a pair of games in which he reached over 63 DraftKings points, showing just how high his ceiling is any time he’s on the floor.
Additionally, Gilgous-Alexander is the only point guard on the slate who matches eight Pro Trends on FanDuel and nine on DraftKings.
Top Value: Jamal Murray vs. Houston Rockets – $5,600 DraftKings, $5,600 FanDuel
Murray has the highest projected Plus/Minus at point guard on the slate for both DraftKings and FanDuel. In fact, no other point guard on DraftKings even has a positive projected Plus/Minus, and the Nuggets’ starter is almost 2.0 points clear of the rest of the field. He is also projected for the most Points/Salary on both sites.
After missing last season with an ACL injury, Murray is averaging 23.85 DraftKings points and 22.76 FanDuel points in 26.7 minutes per game over his first six games. While his usage hasn’t been as high as Steph’s or SGA’s, he usually provides very solid numbers in points and assists. He has at least five assists in three of his past five games and at least 13 points in four.
If you can’t spend up for one of the top point guards on the slate due to other salary commitments, Murray is a solid midrange play who can bring good returns at this price.
Top Ceiling: Josh Giddey vs. Denver Nuggets – $7,000 DraftKings, $7,300 FanDuel
With the time and usage share uncertainty at SG between Jordan Poole and Klay Thompson, I think Giddey is the better option from the top of the salary structure on this slate. He has the third-highest ceiling projection at shooting guard on both DraftKings and FanDuel and the highest median projection at the position on DraftKings, where the options are slightly more limited.
Giddey had been sidelined for three games with an ankle injury but returned on Tuesday. While he didn’t light it up in his return (shooting just 3-for-12), he still produced 26.25 Draftkings Points and 27.2 FanDuel points in his 25 minutes. Giddey had seven points and 10 assists, so a double-double is a strong possibility if he can shoot the ball better as he gains confidence following the injury.
Giddey can fill up the stat sheet in multiple categories when he’s at his best, and that diverse production makes him a play with both a high ceiling and a relatively safe floor. That multi-faceted production has helped him produce 1.16 DraftKings points per minute this season, the highest mark of any SG on this slate. He also leads the position on this slate with six Pro Trends on DraftKings, while he matches five Pro Trends on FanDuel.
Top Value: Jalen Williams vs. Denver Nuggets – $4,700 DraftKings, $4,800 FanDuel
Even with Giddey back in the lineup, Williams still logged 22 minutes on Tuesday against the Magic, so the rookie should continue to get plenty of playing time even when Giddey is available. Williams moved into the starting five on Tuesday for the first time in his career and produced six points, two steals, and 10.25 DraftKings points. He’s projected to log over 25 minutes again in this contest, bringing plenty of potential.
The 21-year-old was the Thunder’s No. 12 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft and was expected to play a prominent role this season before suffering a right orbital fracture that required surgery in the season-opener. He returned last Saturday and showed his upside with 13 points, four steals, three assists, three rebounds, a block, and 29.75 DraftKings points.
At this point in his journey, he’s not quite cheap or reliable enough to be an every-night option on larger slates. Still, with just two games in play on Thursday without many affordable SG options, Williams brings enough upside to be worth a shot under $5K, especially if he gets another start.
Top Ceiling: Andrew Wiggins at Orlando Magic – $6,800 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel
Wiggins has been one of the most productive Warriors this season and is off to a strong start, averaging 35.55 DraftKings points and 36.25 FanDuel points in 33.4 minutes per game. He has played in all eight of the Warriors’ games while posting a 77% Consistency Rating, the highest mark of any small forward on the slate.
Wiggins was especially hot on Tuesday in Miami, making 8-of-12 shots from the field and a season-high four three-pointers. He finished that contest with 39 DraftKings points, a level he has been able to reach in over half of his games. He had a little mini-slump at the start of the Warriors’ current road trip but seems to have shaken that off.
Top Value: Bol Bol vs. Golden State Warriors – $6,200 DraftKings, $5,800 FanDuel
Bol is a good play however you categorize him for this slate. The Magic have the highest Pace Differential since Golden State plays with the third-fastest pace in the league. In this pace-up spot, the 22-year-old should be set to continue what could be his breakout season. On FanDuel, Bol is eligible only at center, but on DraftKings, he’s both a small forward and power forward. He has the fourth-highest projected Plus/Minus at center on FanDuel and the fourth-highest rating at small forward on DraftKings.
In his past five games, Bol has averaged over 20 minutes and moved into the starting five three games ago. He has produced 13.6 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.8 blocks, and 31.45 DraftKings points per game over those five contests.
Bol has a double-double with over 35 DraftKings points in his two most recent games, and getting him at this salary is a great option.
Top Ceiling: Paulo Banchero – $8,200 DraftKings, $8,500 FanDuel
The No. 1 overall pick from last year’s draft has been impressive and brings the highest projected ceiling at power forward on both DraftKings and FanDuel. He has scored at least 15 points in each of his eight games, averaging 21.8 points to go with 7.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.0 blocks, and 39.05 DraftKings points per contest in 33.4 minutes per game. Banchero’s 1.17 DraftKings points per minute are second only to his teammate Bol’s per-minute production at power forward, and his 1.14 FanDuel points per minute leads all power forwards on FanDuel.
Top Value: Aleksej Pokusevski vs. Denver Nuggets – $4,600 DraftKings, $5,000 FanDuel
Pokusevski’s role has shifted around a bit in the early part of the season as the Thunder tweak their rotation and give players different looks in different rotations. At this price point at power forward, though, his potential is unmatched on this slate.
Poku is coming off his best game of the season on Tuesday when he had 16 points, nine rebounds, three blocks, and two steals for 38.75 DraftKings points. His multi-faceted production makes him worthy of strong consideration, but he is a little high-risk since his minutes can come and go. For upside, though, there aren’t any other value forwards that match his ceiling.
Top Ceiling: Nikola Jokic at Oklahoma City Thunder– $11,400 DraftKings, $11,500 FanDuel
Not shockingly, Jokic brings the highest ceiling and median projection on this slate, just like he does to about every slate he is on. Jokic has produced 1.52 DraftKings points per minute with a 23.3% usage rate. That usage is actually a significant drop from his 31.9% last year and indicates the Nuggets have more pieces around him contributing. He’s still getting his points, though, averaging 21.0 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 9.0 assists for 51.78 DraftKings points per contest. With those numbers, he’s producing 1.59 FanDuel points per minute, which is more than half a point more per minute than any other center on this slate.
The matchup against the Thunder’s undersized and undermanned frontcourt could set up a massive night for Jokic. He had 66 DraftKings points on 19 points, 16 rebounds, and 13 assists when these two teams met a couple of weeks ago, so the ceiling is apparent.
He matches 10 Pro Trends on FanDuel and eight on DraftKings.
Top Value: Kevon Looney at Orlando Magic – $4,100 DraftKings, $4,400 FanDuel
Looney has the second-highest projected Plus/Minus of all centers on this slate and the third-highest on FanDuel. He is projected to play over 20 minutes, but he could get even more time since the Magic usually play a bigger lineup.
At the start of this road trip for Golden State, Looney fell just one rebound short of a double-double while posting a season-high 29.25 DraftKings points and 29.8 FanDuel points. He has that kind of ceiling if he logs closer to 30 minutes due to the matchup, and he’s a very affordable way to get some virtually guaranteed production.
He’s a steady contributor in the Warriors’ starting five, averaging 5.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 3.4 assists in his 22.9 minutes per game. He isn’t a high-usage player, which limits his ceiling, but his reliable floor makes him valuable on this limited slate.
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