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 at Los Angeles Lakers – $10,800 DraftKings, $10,600 FanDuel
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a season-low 26 DraftKings points last night as the Thunder got dominated by the Warriors by 27 points. He shot 6 of 16 from the field with only four assists and zero rebounds. Luckily Gilgeous-Alexander will get a chance to redeem himself right away tonight against the Lakers with the highest point total on the slate at 237.5 points. This is their first of three meetings as both teams try to climb out of the Western Conference cellar.
Arguably the most improved player in the NBA this season, Gilgeous-Alexander earned his first trip to the All-Star Game, which is well deserved. Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging a career-high 31 points per game while shooting 50.8% from the field and over 90% from the charity stripe. Even including his most recent dud, Gilgeous-Alexander has scored 30+ points in six of his last eight games.
He is the most expensive guard on the slate, which is also well deserved.
Top Value: Edmond Sumner vs. Phoenix Suns – $4,100 DraftKings, $5,300 FanDuel
The price tag on DraftKings decreased by $400 for Edmond Sumner despite another game where he scored over 20 points. In back-to-back games as a starter, Sumner is averaging 26 points and 38.4 DraftKings points while attempting 18 field goals per game. Sumner has by far the highest projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings and the second-highest on FanDuel. His $4,100 DraftKings salary is resulting in a 97% Bargain Rating.
Kyrie Irving was traded to the Mavericks, while Kevin Durant and Seth Curry remain out due to injury opening the door for the Nets to view their young talent. The Suns are starting to get healthy and are 5.5-point road favorites against the Nets, who have a slate-low 109.5 implied team total. Despite the low total, Sumner is projected to play over 32 minutes, which is more than enough time to pay off his cheap salary on both DraftKings and FanDuel.
Top Ceiling: Anthony Edwards at Denver Nuggets – $10,000 DraftKings, $9,400 FanDuel
The last two games have been mediocre for the Western Conference All-Star snub, but Anthony Edwards still has a high ceiling anytime he takes the floor. In year three, Edwards has taken another big step forward, averaging career-highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and field goal percentage from the field and the perimeter. Not having Karl-Anthony Towns has allowed Edwards to take this Timberwolves team and run with it.
This matchup won’t be as juicy as the last game, where the Nuggets sat nearly all of their starters, and the Timberwolves took advantage with a 30-point victory. Edwards scored 20 points but played the lowest amount of minutes in a game since early January. Despite seeing an increase in salary on both sites, Edwards has a 96% Bargain Rating on FanDuel at $9,400.
For the Timberwolves to be competitive in a nine-point spread, Edwards needs to be great.
Top Value: Cam Thomas vs. Phoenix Suns – $5,200 DraftKings, $6,500 FanDuel
Sticking with the Nets’ value, Cam Thomas has gone nuclear with his extended opportunity. Similar to Sumner, Thomas looks way better on DraftKings, priced $1,300 cheaper than FanDuel with a 98% Bargain Rating. In his last two games, Thomas is averaging an absurd 45.5 points per game while shooting 31 of 52 (59.6%) from the field and 11 of 16 (68.8%) from behind the arc. He made seven 3-pointers last night against the stout defense of the Clippers.
Over that two-game span, Thomas has a 44% usage rate while scoring 57.75 and 58 DraftKings points. He is on quite the heater and will likely be one of the highest-owned players on DraftKings despite the difficult matchup against the Suns. Mikal Bridges is one of the best defenders in the league, as the Suns defense overall ranks eighth in Defensive Rating this season.
Prioritize Thomas on DraftKings with the 3-point bonus and the disrespected salary.
Top Ceiling: LeBron James vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – $11,200 DraftKings, $10,300 FanDuel
LeBron James is chasing history and finally has a realistic chance to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most points in NBA history. James needs 36 points to pass Kareem, and he has two home games to do it. He is extremely calculated, so it wouldn’t be surprising if James is waiting to eclipse the record next game against the Bucks. Kareem spent his first six seasons with the Bucks before joining the Lakers in 1975 for the remainder of his career.
James is also questionable to play, so make sure to monitor the news dashboard in case he does not play. If James is in, he may mess around and get the record tonight against the Thunder who are playing on a back-to-back. This game is going to be very fast-paced as the Lakers and Thunder both rank inside the top three in pace this season. Prioritize James on FanDuel, where he is $900 cheaper than DraftKings and has a 98% Bargain Rating.
Top Value: Herbert Jones vs. Atlanta Hawks – $4,900 DraftKings, $5,400 FanDuel
The forward position is starving for value on this six-game slate. However, Herbert Jones looks like the best of the bunch as he has the highest projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings and the second-highest on FanDuel at the small forward position. Zion Williamson remains out, which provides a significant boost to Jones. Using our On/Off Tool, Jones has a team-high +4.1 DraftKings Plus/Minus with Williamson off the floor in 734 minutes this season.
After losing 10 straight games, the Pelicans have won back-to-back games and are 1.5-point home favorites against the Hawks tonight. Playing against great guards like Trae Young and Dejounte Murray, Jones will need to play heavy minutes due to his outstanding defense. He is tied for the fourth-most steals in the league with 1.7 per game this season and has 13 steals in his last four games.
The price is right for Jones to thrive without Williamson.
Top Ceiling: Julius Randle at Orlando Magic – $10,200 DraftKings, $9,100 FanDuel
Julius Randle is another player who looks much better on FanDuel than DraftKings with his $9,100 price tag. He actually has the second-highest projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel at the power forward position despite being so expensive. Randle has a 98% Bargain Rating with 13 Pro Trends solidifying how great of a play he is tonight. He is averaging a career-high in points at 24.7 per game and rebounds with 10.8 per game this season.
The Magic have been much better as of late but still rank 21st in Defensive Rating. In their first matchup at the end of October, Randle had his way with the Magic frontcourt scoring 25 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. He shot 12 of 19 from the field in that game and even provided four assists. The Magic rank sixth in fewest points allowed in the paint this season, but Randle has shown the ability to score at all three levels.
Randle looks fantastic on FanDuel and a strong contrarian pay-up option on DraftKings.
Top Value: Xavier Tillman at Chicago Bulls – $4,600 DraftKings, $5,300 FanDuel
Xavier Tillman is one of two value big men that has power forward and center eligibility on FanDuel but is center-only eligible on DraftKings. He ranks third on both sites in projected Plus/Minus at the center position, as he has seven-straight games with a positive Plus/Minus. Over that span, Tillman has been extremely close to a double-double several times but has yet to capture that bonus. He has filled in perfectly in the absence of Steven Adams.
Since entering the starting lineup seven games ago, Tillman has scored over 25 DraftKings points in five of those games while averaging 24.8 per game. The Bulls are starting to heat up but still rank in the bottom 10 of rebounding percentage this season.
Could this finally be the spot Tillman records first double-double in his last two years?
Top Ceiling: Nikola Jokic vs. Minnesota Timberwolves – $11,600 DraftKings, $11,600 FanDuel
Priced at $11,600 on both DraftKings and FanDuel, Nikola Jokic is probable to play tonight after missing the last game against the Timberwolves due to a hamstring injury. For the first time in his career, Jokic is averaging a triple-double with 24.8 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 10.1 assists per game while shooting a career-high 63.2% from the field. Jokic has also recorded a triple-double in nine of his last 11 games while averaging 66.4 DraftKings points per game over that span.
Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert is questionable to play with a groin injury that he has been dealing with consistently. He has played through it the past two games but only logged 26 and 18 minutes. If Gobert is out or limited, that will make this matchup look even better for Jokic. The Timberwolves rank 28th in Rebounding Percentage, and with Jokic averaging a career-high 10.1 assists, we can safely assume he is in line for another triple-double tonight.
The overs could be intriguing bets at Underdog Fantasy — where his points, rebounds, and assists are set at 24.5, 12.5, and 10.5.
Top Value: Isaiah Hartenstein at Orlando Magic – $4,400 DraftKings, $5,000 FanDuel
Coming in fourth on both DraftKings and FanDuel with the highest projected Plus/Minus is Knicks backup center, Isaiah Hartenstein. The Knicks are still starting second-year pro Jericho Sims, but it is Hartenstein who is the primary target in DFS. Hartenstein has been a rebounding machine over the past week, with four consecutive games reaching double-digit rebounds. He only has one game with double-digit points, but the rebounding upside is there.
Hartenstein has also shown the ability to play heavy minutes when needed. Even though it would be awesome if he started, there is still upside in his minutes off the bench. Four games ago, Hartenstein played 40 minutes off the bench against the Lakers and finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds while shooting 7 of 10 from the field. This salary on both sites is too cheap for the upside Hartenstein can provide, especially with dual eligibility on FanDuel.
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