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: Luka Doncic at Los Angeles Clippers – $12,600 DraftKings, $12,400 FanDuel
The point guard position is flooded with elite talent on this seven-game slate. There are seven players priced $10,000+ on DraftKings, and five of them are point guard eligible only. Two of them are questionable to play – Luka Doncic and Stephen Curry. Curry has been out for almost a month, so even if he plays his minutes will likely be monitored. If he plays, Doncic is the best option on the slate, as he is coming off of his ninth triple-double in his last game.
It is much easier to discuss Doncic because if he is unable to play, the easy pivot is going down to Spencer Dinwiddie, who had 21 points and eight assists last game without Doncic. It is critical to monitor our news dashboard on the status of Doncic and several other expensive players. Despite playing against the Clippers who rank sixth in Defensive Rating, Doncic can still reach a ceiling and be the highest scorer player on the slate.
If he is playing, Doncic remains an elite option.
Top Value: Gabe Vincent vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – $3,300 DraftKings, $4,000 FanDuel
With several Heat players either already ruled out or questionable to play, point guard Gabe Vincent has a great chance to return value being priced near the stone minimum on both sites. Our models have Vincent projected for over 30 minutes as Kyle Lowry is unable to play tonight. Vincent hasn’t been that productive this season, but playing 30+ minutes at $3,300 on DraftKings and $4,000 on FanDuel is hard to pass up when looking for a salary saver.
The Heat are 4.5-point home favorites despite Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo being questionable. This game features two teams playing a completely different style. The Thunder rank third in Pace this season, while the Heat are playing at the third-slowest Pace. Forcing the Heat to play faster is a big reason why this game has a 224.5-point total. If Herro is out, Vincent looks even better at his cheap price tag across the industry.
Top Ceiling: James Harden vs. Detroit Pistons – $10,400 DraftKings, $10,300 FanDuel
James Harden is one of the many guards on FanDuel that have point guard and shooting guard eligibility. DraftKings is a different story with only point guard eligibility, but Harden finds himself in an elite matchup against the Pistons after posting his second triple-double of the season against them last game. The 76ers won by 12 points as Harden finished with 20 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds despite only playing 28 minutes of action.
In a rematch, the 76ers are now playing at home as nearly double-digit favorites. Joel Embiid is questionable to play after missing three-straight games. Harden’s production would take a hit with Embiid back, but if he sits, Harden has one of the highest ceilings on the slate. Using our On/Off Tool, Harden has a team-high +5.8% usage rate and a +7 DraftKings Plus/Minus when Embiid is out. H
arden looks much better on FanDuel but could find himself as one of the best options on the board if Embiid is unable to play tonight.
Top Value: Duane Washington Jr. at Golden State Warriors – $4,200 DraftKings, $4,700 FanDuel
Losers of nine of their last 10 games, the Suns are flying downhill quicker than a luge sled. Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Cameron Payne are out, while Landry Shamet and Deandre Ayton are questionable. Duane Washington Jr. has yet to start a game for the Suns this season but has played 25 minutes in back-to-back games. During that time, Washington Jr. is averaging 19 points, five assists, and 29.1 DraftKings points per game with a 41.3% usage rate.
Washington Jr. ranks in the top five on DraftKings and FanDuel for the highest projected Plus/Minus on the slate. He is an exceptional value with such a high usage rate. Even if he continues coming off the bench, Washington Jr. will more than likely be one of the highest-owned players on both sites. The Suns are double-digit road underdogs against a Warriors team who is 17-4 at home. Even if they get blown out, the Suns are running out of bodies to play, which solidifies the playing time for Washington Jr.
Top Ceiling: Kawhi Leonard vs. Dallas Mavericks – $8,700 DraftKings, $8,400 FanDuel
Kawhi Leonard is starting to look more and more like the Kawhi Leonard from before. His minutes are no longer an issue and he will be playing without Paul George once again. With no game after until Friday, Leonard can unleash his energy in this Western Conference clash against the Mavericks. Last game without George, Leonard had 29 points, seven rebounds, and four assists while attempting 23 field goal attempts and scoring 48.8 DraftKings points.
Despite a game total of 221.5 points, Leonard still looks like a strong play in the upper mid-range pricing tier. He remains cheaper on FanDuel, where he has an 84% Bargain Rating and is one of the few forwards worth paying up for. The Clippers have lost six-straight games and need to bounce back against a Mavericks team that ranks 22nd in Defensive Rating this season.
Expect Leonard to get all of the usage that he can handle with George out of the lineup.
Top Value: Hamidou Diallo at Philadelphia 76ers – $3,500 DraftKings, $4,400 FanDuel
Another value option that is priced much cheaper on DraftKings than FanDuel is Pistons’ guard Hamidou Diallo. He has guard and forward eligibility on both sites making him a strong value play. Pistons leading scorer Bojan Bogdanovic is out for tonight, opening the door for more playing time and production for Diallo. When given the opportunity, Diallo has played very well, as he is shooting a career-high 53.3% from the field. Over the last seven games when Diallo is averaging 10.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game while shooting a ridiculous 65.3% from the field.
The Pistons continue to be one of the doormats for the Eastern Conference as they come into this game as 11.5-point underdogs. They are implied for 108.25 points, which is tied for the lowest on the slate with the Suns. Diallo played a season-high 27 minutes against the 76ers last game as we have him projected for 26 in the same matchup tonight. Similar to Washington Jr., Diallo ranks in the top five on both sites for the highest Projected Plus/Minus.
Top Ceiling: Jimmy Butler vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – $8,900 DraftKings, $9,000 FanDuel
Normally it is Jimmy Butler who sits for the Heat, but now Kyle Lowry is out while both Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro are listed as questionable. Hosting the Thunder, who are 5-13 on the road, Butler is poised for a breakout game as potentially the last Heat player standing. Butler’s 21.6 points per game are the most he has scored since his first season with the Timberwolves in the 2017-’18 season. It helps that he is shooting a career-high 51.6% from the field.
The Thunder have an extremely weak interior defense that ranks 24th in points allowed in the paint with 52.2 per game. That bodes well for Butler, who is leading the Heat with 13.6 drives while attempting only 2.1 3-pointers per game. Not only is Butler shooting well, but he is averaging a combined 10 rebounds and assists per game. Priced at $9,000 or lower on both DraftKings and FanDuel, Butler could be the best play on the slate if Adebayo and Herro sit.
Top Value: Isaiah Stewart at Philadelphia 76ers – $5,100 DraftKings, $5,600 FanDuel
Isaiah Stewart is another Pistons value piece worth getting exposure to on this seven-game slate. He had a double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds last game while shooting 7 of 15 from the field. This matchup may look a little different the second time around if Joel Embiid plays, but Stewart is still an elite value projected to play over 35 minutes again tonight. He has the highest Projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings and the second-highest on FanDuel.
Stewart will benefit from the absence of rookie center Jalen Duren, Marvin Bagley, and Bojan Bogdanovic all unable to play. His 15 field goal attempts last game tied his season high as he had a 25.6% usage rate. For playing alongside high-usage guards, that is nice to see. In his third season in the league, Stewart is averaging a career-high 11.8 points while playing 28.5 minutes per game.
This spot looks 10x better if Embiid is unable to play.
Top Ceiling: Joel Embiid vs. Detroit Pistons – $11,200 DraftKings, $11,600 FanDuel
It is impossible not to like Joel Embiid in this spot against the weak Pistons frontcourt playing without their rookie Jalen Duren. The big question is will Embiid play? He has missed three-straight games with a foot injury but is currently listed as questionable tonight. Outside of Doncic, it is Embiid who holds the second-highest ceiling on both sites in our Tournament Model. Embiid is second to Doncic in scoring this season, averaging a career-high 33.5 points per game.
The Pistons are getting demolished in the paint allowing 54.6 points per game, which ranks as the fourth-highest in the league. Without Duren in the paint, they are also getting destroyed on the glass. If Embiid is able to suit up even in limited minutes, he can rack up an easy double-double and be a player needed in tournaments. If, for some reason, Embiid can’t play, look to Pascal Siakam for the pay-up center in a great matchup against a weak Hornets defense.
Top Value: Deandre Ayton at Golden State Warriors – $7,500 DraftKings, $7,700 FanDuel
Leading the slate with the highest projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel is Suns center Deandre Ayton. He is yet another player who is questionable to play tonight with a sore ankle. If he is unable to go, backup center Jock Landale would emerge as one of the better values on the slate. Over the last three games, Ayton has averaged a massive double-double with 17.3 points and 14.3 rebounds per game while putting up over 40 DraftKings points in each game.
Over the last three games, the Warriors are allowing 58.7 points per game in the paint, which ranks as the fourth-highest in the league during that time. The Warriors also rank 19th in Rebounding Percentage as they have allowed 44.4 rebounds per game. If Ayton is able to play, he can easily add to his double-double totals. In his two games against the Warriors this season, Ayton is averaging 15 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. He is simply priced too cheap on both DraftKings and FanDuel with Chris Paul and Devin Booker out of the lineup.
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