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: Ja Morant at Denver Nuggets – $10,400 DraftKings, $10,700 FanDuel
With Stephen Curry out due to injury, Ja Morant is the clear-cut top pay-up guard option on this five-game slate. Morant was ejected in the first half last game after shooting 3-of-10 from the field and only scoring six points. Over the last three games, including the ejection, Morant has shot 35.3% from the field and 11.1% from behind the arc. However, he does have three double-doubles and three triple-doubles in his last nine games, proving his ceiling.
The Grizzlies had won seven-straight games before their loss last game after the Morant ejection. They are a small one-point favorite on the road against the Nuggets, who rank 27th in Defensive Rating (114.8), entering tonight’s games. The Nuggets are also allowing 26.4 assists per game, which is tied for the fourth-highest in the league. Expect a bounce-back game from a rested Morant, who has the second-highest ceiling on the slate.
Top Value: Alex Caruso at Miami Heat – $3,900 DraftKings, $4,600 FanDuel
The best value point guard on the slate is Alex Caruso, who has the second-highest projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings and the third-highest on FanDuel. Mostly known for his defense, Caruso leads the Bulls in steals with 1.5 per game and has averaged at least one steal in every season except when he was a rookie. Caruso can stuff the stat sheet in a variety of ways and is still way too cheap on DraftKings, where he has an 88% Bargain Rating.
On FanDuel, where steals are worth more fantasy points, Caruso can still provide a good source of value on such a small slate. The Bulls are implied for the second-lowest total on the slate at 108.75 points, but getting exposure to Caruso at this low salary mitigates the risk of a Bulls’ dud performance. Caruso has made three 3-pointers over his last two games and does have a steal in seven straight.
He may not score double-digit points, but he can still provide value.
Top Ceiling: Jordan Poole at New York Knicks – $8,100 DraftKings, $8,300 FanDuel
Jordan Poole has seen his price increase price really increase on both sites recently, but he is deserving of playing without Stephen Curry. Over the last two games without Curry, Poole has averaged 36 points and five assists per game while shooting 55.8% from the field and 45% from downtown. During that time, he has a 35.1% usage rate while averaging 47 DraftKings points per game. He has the highest ceiling at shooting guard despite not being the highest-priced.
Using our On/Off Tool, Poole has a team-high +6.7% usage rate and a +4.2 DraftKings Plus/Minus in 500 minutes without Curry this season. Despite their victory last game, the Warriors are still 3-14 on the road this season. Meanwhile, the Knicks are rolling, winning seven-straight games, and ranking inside the top 10 in Defensive Rating. It’s a tough spot for Poole, but playing without Curry, his usage rate and production explodes and that is what we are targeting tonight.
Top Value: Alec Burks vs. Utah Jazz – $4,600 DraftKings, $5,100 FanDuel
The playing time between Jaden Ivey, Killian Hayes, and Alec Burks has been close to equal over the past four games, which makes this a very intriguing spot to get exposure to Burks, who is the cheapest of the trio. Burks still has been or boom or bust player, but over the last four games he is averaging 14.3 points and 3.8 rebounds per game while shooting 52.8% from the field and 46.7% from behind the arc and that includes a game where he only had seven points.
The Pistons continue to have the worst record in the league at 8-24 but are only 2.5-point home favorites against the Jazz. Over the last month or so, the Jazz have really taken a downward spiral after their hot start and now rank 25th in Defensive Rating entering tonight’s games. Burks will continue to come off the bench, but he is still projected to play around 22 minutes and is one of the better ways to get exposure to this game that has a 229.5 total.
Top Ceiling: DeMar DeRozan at Miami Heat – $8,200 DraftKings, $8,400 FanDuel
DeMar DeRozan, at this salary on both DraftKings and FanDuel, feels like a good value. He is averaging over 40 DraftKings points per game while eclipsing that threshold in 12 of his last 15 games, with his high during that time being 63 DraftKings points four games ago. DeRozan leads the team in scoring yet again, with over 25 points per game in back-to-back seasons while shooting over 50% from the field. He also has a team-high 4.7 assists per game.
The Bulls are struggling, losing four-straight games, with their last game allowing 150 points to the Timberwolves. Despite the Bulls’ struggles, DeRozan has been very impressive in his 14th season. DeRozan continues to be one of the best mid-range shooters in the league, making this a good matchup for him as the Heat lead the league in the least amount of points scored in the paint this season. If the Bulls are going to be competitive, it will be on the back of DeRozan.
Top Value: Jonathan Kuminga at New York Knicks – $4,900 DraftKings, $4,200 FanDuel
Not only is Stephen Curry out for the Warriors, but so is Andrew Wiggins, while Donte DiVincenzo is listed as doubtful with an illness. That will pave the way for second-year pro Jonathan Kuminga to get more playing time tonight. Kuminga has the highest projected Plus/Minus on the slate for FanDuel at his $4,200 salary. He has a 96% Bargain Rating on FanDuel and is projected to be one of the highest-owned players on the slate.
There is still risk involved with Kuminga seeing as though he only played five minutes off the bench last game. He has fallen in and out of the rotation for the majority of the year, but with so many injuries, one would think Kuminga has to get playing time. Kuminga was dealing with a bit of an injury, so that could be why he only played five minutes last game. Regardless, we have Kuminga projected for 25 minutes, and he looks like a great value, especially on FanDuel.
Top Ceiling: Julius Randle vs. Golden State Warriors – $9,100 DraftKings, $9,000 FanDuel
One of the main reasons the Knicks are on their recent heater has been the play of power forward Julius Randle. Over the last three games, Randle has had three-straight double-doubles averaging 25 points and 13 rebounds per game. Carry that to his last six games, and Randle is averaging 28.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 52.7 DraftKings points per game. He has been simply unstoppable while scoring from all over the field and dominating the glass.
Normally a Warriors matchup is one to avoid, but not this season. They are playing at the league’s fastest Pace and allowing 116.6 points per game, which ranks as the fifth-highest in the league. Without Curry playing for the Warriors, the Knicks are 4.5-point home favorites. Randle has scored 20 or more points in eight of his last 10 games against the Warriors while averaging 10.7 rebounds per game. Expect Randle to continue playing well in this matchup.
Top Value: Patrick Williams at Miami Heat – $4,200 DraftKings, $4,500 FanDuel
Another Bulls value worth getting exposure to is power forward Patrick Williams. He is one of the best values on both sites as he continues to play heavy minutes. In six of his last seven games, Williams has played 30 or more minutes and has scored double-digits in every game that he eclipsed 30 minutes. He has also made two 3-pointers in three-straight games. Williams doesn’t have to do a lot to exceed value at this cheap price tag on both sites.
Williams has scored over 20 DraftKings points in five of his last seven games. He has shown the upside of reaching 30+, and that may be on the table tonight against a Heat team that really struggles to rebound the ball. They rank 26th in Rebounding Percentage this season while allowing 34.3 defensive rebounds per game. There is an outside shot of Williams pulling down double-digit rebounds tonight. It’s a great matchup for a very cheap player.
Top Ceiling: Nikola Jokic vs. Memphis Grizzlies – $11,800 DraftKings, $12,500 FanDuel
The highest ceiling player on the slate for both sites in our Tournament Model comes at the center position with back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic. He is coming off a ridiculous 40-point, 27-rebound, and 10-assist performance last game becoming just the third player in NBA history to post a 40-25-10 stat line. He scored a career-high 95.8 DraftKings points while shooting 13-of-26 from the field. Having that high of a ceiling, Jokic is easily the priority on this small five-game slate.
The Nuggets are still playing without Michael Porter Jr. tonight, while Jamal Murray is listed as questionable. There is a chance we could see peak Jokic like last season, where he played without Porter Jr. and Murray and averaged a career-high 1.84 DraftKings points per minute. That would make up for the tough matchup against the Grizzlies, who rank in the top five in both points allowed in the paint and Defensive Rating this season.
Even in a tough spot, Jokic is matchup-proof.
Top Value: Deandre Ayton vs. Washington Wizards – $7,600 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel
Last but certainly not least, we get to the highest projected Plus/Minus play on DraftKings tonight, Deandre Ayton. He is the second-highest on FanDuel behind Kuminga, making Ayton arguably the best play on the slate for both sites. Ayton missed two games in a row before a dominating 21-point, 11-rebound performance in 26 minutes against the Lakers. During that game, Ayton shot 9 of 11 from the field, and it is expected his minutes will ramp up tonight.
Before his injury, Ayton put up back-to-back games of 25+ points and 12+ rebounds against a tough Pelicans frontcourt. Now Ayton draws a fantastic matchup against the Wizards, who have lost 10 straight games and have allowed a whopping 68 points per game in the paint over their last three games. Ayton has a chance to put up another monster game, especially playing without Devin Booker. Expect the Suns offense which is implied for a slate-high 117.75 points, to run through Ayton.
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