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: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander vs. Los Angeles Clippers – $9,500 DraftKings, $10,300 FanDuel
Even with only four games on the slate, PG is stacked tonight with multiple elite options. While building around Luka Doncic or Ja Morant is almost always a good strategy, don’t overlook what Gilgeous-Alexander is doing in OKC.
Although he has been limited to just three games, Gilgeous-Alexander has been excellent when available for the Thunder, averaging 54.2 DraftKings points and 55.6 FanDuel points on 31.0 points, 6.7 assists, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.3 steals per game.
SGA shot 50% in the Thunder’s first of two consecutive games against the Clippers and posted 63.25 DraftKings points at a rate of 1.71 per minute. He has at least a 20.9% usage rate in all three games this season and has taken at least 22 shots in each of those contests. With Josh Giddey (ankle) still sidelined, Gilgeous-Alexander should again dominate the usage in Thursday’s rematch with his former team, setting up another revenge game narrative.
Especially on DraftKings, where he’s very underpriced, SGA is a great place to start your lineups. He matches nine Pro Trends on both DraftKings and FanDuel, and his projected ceiling is second only to Luka’s at PG.
Top Value: Tre Mann vs. Los Angeles Clippers – $5,600 DraftKings, $5,400 FanDuel
Mann is the other major beneficiary of Giddey’s continued absence and has been stepping up as a significant value play. Like SGA, he had a massive game on Tuesday, producing 25 points, four assists, four rebounds, and two steals for 40.5 DraftKings points. He had a season-high 27.6% usage rate in that contest and showed an excellent rapport with Gilgeous-Alexander and the rest of the Thunder’s starting unit.
On DraftKings, Mann checks in on this slate with the second-highest projected Plus/Minus at the position, while he has the third-highest projected Plus/Minus among FanDuel PGs. The Thunder should continue to give plenty of opportunity to their young potential stars like Mann, and he’s an excellent value play to play in tandem with SGA or to use as a lower-cost play at PG.
Top Ceiling: Desmond Bane at Sacramento Kings – $7,000 DraftKings, $7,400 FanDuel
Bane brings a great ceiling at SG at a non-elite price point. He has the highest rating on DraftKings and the second-highest on FanDuel, behind only Paul George, who has added risk in his return. Bane brings lots of upside to what should be a great matchup against the Kings. The Grizzlies have the highest implied team total on the slate by a wide margin, according to our Vegas Dashboard.
He has exceeded salary expectations in three of his four games this season, including a monster game against the Nets in which he went off for 57.25 DraftKings points and 54.7 FanDuel points on 38 points, seven assists, a steal, and a block in just 32 minutes. With John Konchar (shoulder) questionable, Bane could be in line for even more minutes in this contest.
Bane brings so much upside that he has the highest projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings and the second-highest projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel, even though his salary is far from the bottom of the barrel. He has the second-highest projected ceiling on the slate at SG on DraftKings and the fifth-highest on FanDuel, where there are a few more elite guards eligible at both PG and SG.
Top Value: Kevin Huerter vs. Memphis Grizzlies – $4,900 DraftKings, $5,300 FanDuel
Huerter has started all three games this season for the Kings and produced over 30 DraftKings points in his first two contests before a rough night shooting (3-of-14 from the field) in Golden State. He should be poised to bounce back in this game and brings the highest ceiling of any SG under $5K on DraftKings.
He significantly outperformed salary expectations in each of those first two starts and has a solid 19.2% usage rate while also chipping in solid production in the peripheral categories. The Kings are still searching for their new rhythm, but Huerter should be a big part of their plan with his multi-faceted fantasy production.
Top Ceiling: Kevin Durant vs. Dallas Mavericks – $10,000 DraftKings, $9,700 FanDuel
The frontcourt is thinner than the backcourt on this slate, and Durant has the highest ceiling by a wide margin despite the Nets’ early-season struggles. On FanDuel, there’s a little more positional flexibility with George and Jimmy Butler, but on DraftKings, Durant’s ceiling projection of 61.5 is more than 14 points higher than every other SF on the slate.
Durant has started the season with at least 27 points in each of his four games to help him produce at least 45 DraftKings points and at least 43 FanDuel points in each contest. He hasn’t reached 50 in either scoring format yet, but that has mostly been due to a slightly reduced rebound rate. The boards should start to come as the season continues, and the rest of his production is already at a very high level.
KD has the second-highest usage projection on the slate and matches 12 Pro Trends on FanDuel and 10 Pro Trends on DraftKings.
Top Value: Caleb Martin at Golden State Warriors – $4,600 DraftKings, $4,100 FanDuel
Martin is coming off his best game of the season on Wednesday in Portland, but this isn’t just chasing points — he’s been a solid value play all season that finally hit in that contest. Aside from a game he missed due to a suspension, Martin has started every game for the Heat this year, averaging 27.2 minutes per game. His per-minute production throughout his career in multiple categories shows that he should be a solid play if he’s getting that much run, and he has averaged 24.2 FanDuel points and 23.3 DraftKings points in his four games.
He went off for 40.1 FanDuel points and 38.5 DraftKings points on Wednesday, with a season-high 16 points and eight rebounds to go with four steals and three assists. When on his game, Martin can stuff every category on the stat sheet, and it looks like the workload will be there as the team’s starting PF.
This matchup should fit his positionless, gritty style well, so look for him to continue his success against Golden State. He has the second-highest projected Plus/Minus of any SF under $5K on FanDuel and the third-highest projected Plus/Minus in that same group on DraftKings.
Top Ceiling: Jimmy Butler at Golden State Warriors – $8,600 DraftKings, $8,100 FanDuel
Butler has the second-highest ceiling at PF on DraftKings, behind only the more expensive Durant, and the third-highest ceiling at PF on FanDuel. He only had to play 28 minutes on Wednesday in a blowout win in Portland, so there isn’t too much fatigue concern on the second night of Miami’s back-to-back. In his 28 minutes, he still produced 34.25 DraftKings points on 17 points, five rebounds, five assists, and a pair of steals.
Butler matches 10 Pro Trends on DraftKings and 12 Pro Trends on FanDuel, and no player on the entire slate has a higher total of Pro Trends. Butler’s usage and production are projected to tick back up after Wednesday’s lighter night in what should be a competitive and very entertaining matchup against the Warriors.
Top Value: Keegan Murray vs. Memphis Grizzlies – $5,500 DraftKings, $5,200 FanDuel
Murray has the highest projected Plus/Minus of any PF on DraftKings and the second-highest on FanDuel. The No. 4 overall pick in the draft missed the Kings’ first game but has played significant minutes off the bench in the two games since. He debuted with 19 points, five boards, two assists, and two blocks for 32.75 DraftKings points in 33 minutes against the Clippers and followed that up with 38 minutes, 16 points, and 24 DraftKings points the following night.
Murray will be making his first NBA start in this matchup with Memphis. The game projects to be high-scoring, and Murray is expected to be heavily involved. He’s projected for just over 36 minutes and an 18.37% usage rate, giving him a solid floor and ceiling for his price tag.
Top Ceiling: Ivica Zubac at Oklahoma City Thunder – $6,500 DraftKings, $6,500 FanDuel
Zubac dominated against an undermanned Thunder front line on Tuesday, and he brings a great ceiling to the rematch on Thursday at a very reasonable salary. He had 10 points, 14 boards, and seven blocked shots for a massive 49.8 FanDuel points and 45.5 DraftKings points. Since that production wasn’t heavily based on scoring, the possible return of George shouldn’t impact it too much, even though a seven-block performance will be hard to duplicate.
In his four games this season, Zubac has averaged 9.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks in 28.9 minutes per game for a production rate of 1.11 DraftKings points per minute. Since he’s getting expanded playing time as the Clippers’ starting center in the early going, he should again bring plenty of upside to this contest.
He has the second-highest ceiling projection at center on both FanDuel and DraftKings.
Top Value: Maxi Kleber at Brooklyn Nets – $4,000 DraftKings, $3,900 FanDuel
Kleber is usually a solid cheap play and always has the upside of going off if he catches fire from outside. He has averaged 25 minutes off the bench through his first three games this season and has outperformed his salary expectations in his two most recent performances with 23.6 and 17 FanDuel points.
He’s forming a nice tandem coming off the bench with Christian Wood, but his total output can vary from game to game. However, on this slate, he brings a good enough floor to be a cost-saving option to consider in order to pay up at other spots.
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