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NBA DFS (Tuesday, Oct. 18): Top Model Picks and Value Plays on DraftKings and FanDuel

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.

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Point Guard

Top Ceiling: Stephen Curry vs. Los Angeles Lakers – $9,400 DraftKings, $10,000 FanDuel

The reigning NBA Finals MVP Stephen Curry gets another ring tonight as the Warriors face another familiar foe in the Los Angeles Lakers. These two teams opened up the season last year, and the Warriors won 121-114 behind Curry’s 21 points and 10 assists. Curry only shot 5-21 from the field in that opener, but that turned out to be the story all season. He finished the season averaging a career-low 43.7% from the field and 38.0% from behind the arc.

Luckily in DFS, a bad field goal percentage doesn’t matter. It’s all about volume, and Curry led the Warriors yet again in usage rate with 30.9% per game last season. The Warriors have a slate-high 116 implied point total, so getting exposure to Curry’s high ceiling in tournaments is a necessity.

Curry is better utilized on DraftKings with the 3-pointers made bonus due to the fact that he led the league with 4.5 3-pointers made per game last season.


Top Value: Tyrese Maxey at Boston Celtics – $5,000 DraftKings, $6,500 FanDuel

Tyrese Maxey has the highest projected Plus/Minus and a 98% Bargain Rating on DraftKings. Maxey made an incredible leap from year one to year two, where he averaged 17.5 points per game, which was over double the average of his rookie season. He picked up right where he left off as he had above a 30% usage rate in the preseason. During those four games, Maxey had 11.5 field goal attempts while only averaging 17.4 minutes per game.

Obviously, James Harden and Joel Embiid need the ball in their hand plenty in this 76ers offense, but Maxey has proved he can still be successful playing alongside these two All-Stars. Maxey led the 76ers last season in transition points per game, and even though the Celtics defense is arguably the best in the league, they allowed a 15.7% transition frequency.

Especially on DraftKings, Maxey is a great value option on this slate.

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Shooting Guard

Top Ceiling: Jaylen Brown vs. Philadelphia 76ers – $8,000 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel

Despite being $900 less than Harden on both sites, Jaylen Brown has the highest ceiling at shooting guard tonight. Brown is specifically a great value on FanDuel, where he is $1,800 cheaper than teammate Jayson Tatum. He has averaged over 20 points per game for three-straight seasons and averaged a career-high in assists and usage rate last season. Having a usage rate similar to Tatum makes Brown a very intriguing option tonight.

Brown has had some big-time performances against the 76ers over his last eight games. During that time, Brown has averaged 25.8 points per game with a 33.4% usage rate. He led the Celtics in scoring during the NBA Finals, so hopefully, Brown can pick up right where he left off.

Getting exposure to Brown is relatively easy on this slate, but his ownership may remain a little lower than it should be due to the cheap salaries for the studs.


Top Value: Derrick White vs. Philadelphia 76ers – $4,100 DraftKings, $4,400 FanDuel

Another Celtics guard who looks like a strong value on this slate is Derrick White. Coming to the Celtics midway through the season last year, White was a key contributor off of the bench, helping the Celtics reach the NBA Finals. He had several double-digit scoring games during the Celtics’ playoff run. White will likely start for the foreseeable future with Robert Williams out due to injury. Being a starter gives White secure minutes, which is huge for a value play.

The Celtics did add Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon this offseason and still have Marcus Smart and Payton Pritchard in their backcourt, which will provide some competition. However, our models has White still projected for over 30 minutes tonight. With so many really great stud options on this slate, taking the savings with White on both sites in a stars and scrubs lineup build is a great strategy.

Small Forward

Top Ceiling: Jayson Tatum vs. Philadelphia 76ers – $9,000 DraftKings, $9,800 FanDuel

Sticking with the Celtics, let’s look at their best option, Jayson Tatum. Every year that Tatum has been in the league, he has increased his points, rebounds, and assists per season. Last season he averaged a career-high 26.9 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 4.4 assists. After tasting what it is like to be in the NBA Finals last year and coming up short, it wouldn’t shock me if Tatum continued to improve on his seasonal numbers this year.

In his last four games against the 76ers, Tatum has averaged a double-double with 22.8 points and 12 rebounds per game. The 76ers ranked 20th in rebounding percentage last season, so another double-double is firmly on the table for Tatum again tonight. His salary on both sites doesn’t provide much value, but Tatum has an incredible ceiling when his shots are falling.

Tatum had the seventh-highest usage rate in the league last season.


Top Value: Austin Reaves at Golden State Warriors – $3,400 DraftKings, $3,900 FanDuel

Yet again, the Los Angeles Lakers tertiary options are rather weak but will play significant minutes where they need to be considered. Forward Austin Reaves will likely come off the bench, but he is priced near the stone minimum on both sites and is projected to play nearly 30 minutes. Reaves ranks in the top three of projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings and FanDuel, making him one of the best salary-savers on the slate.

In his rookie season, Reaves played over 23 minutes per game and averaged 7.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. In the last game of the season, Reaves had a massive triple-double with 31 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists. Obviously, the Lakers were sitting all of their starters, but it was at least nice to see what kind of talent Reaves can display.

He is a very cheap way to get exposure to the highest-total game on the slate.

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Power Forward

Top Ceiling: LeBron James at Golden State Warriors – $9,200 DraftKings, $10,800 FanDuel

What is with this LeBron James price tag on DraftKings? The Lakers superstar has a 99% Bargain Rating as he is coming off of one of the best statistical seasons in his career. James averaged over 30 points per game for the first time since the 2007-’08 season. He only played 56 total games, but when James was on the court he was very effective. At this DraftKings salary, James feels like a stone-cold lock in cash games and a great tournament option.

For what it’s worth, the Lakers led the league in Pace during the preseason. James may be on the back nine of his career, but he will most certainly show up tonight. Last season on opening night, James had a double-double of 34 points and 11 rebounds while shooting 56.5% from the field and 45.5% from behind the arc.

James is the most expensive player on FanDuel but comes in third in pricing on DraftKings, where he is preferred.


Top Value: Draymond Green vs. Los Angeles Lakers – $5,800 DraftKings, $6,300 FanDuel

A motivated Draymond Green is a player worth getting to tonight and most of the season. After the Warriors paid Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins, Green’s hopes for a max contract with the Warriors came to a screeching halt. His punch heard around the world on Poole, I’m sure, didn’t help his case to stay with the team long-term. However, as far as tonight goes, Green is an incredible tournament option on both DraftKings and FanDuel.

Green was hurt for most of last season, but when he played, he averaged seven or more points, rebounds, and assists for the second-straight year. Adding to his success, Green averaged a career-high 52.5% shooting from the field. He always has a chance at a double-double and an outside shot at a triple-double in the right game environment.

The Warriors may be as deep as they have ever been, but Green is still what makes this team elite.

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Center

Top Ceiling: Joel Embiid at Boston Celtics – $9,900 DraftKings, $10,700 FanDuel

Finally, we get to the centers and the best player on the slate, according to our in-house projections Joel Embiid. Paying up for Embiid is the best route to take on this opening two-game slate. He led the league in scoring with 30.6 per game and ranked second in usage rate with 36.9%. Despite being the highest-priced option on DraftKings and second-highest on FanDuel, Embiid has the highest ceiling with the most projected minutes played.

Usually, a matchup against the Celtics’ frontcourt is a nightmare, but they will be without Robert Williams for a bit making this a juicy spot to target the 76ers big man. Embiid has historically dominated the Celtics throughout his career. In 18 total games, Embiid is averaging 26.1 points, 12.1 rebounds, and 51.8 DraftKings points per game.

He has a double-double in 14 of those 18 games and should feast on this depleted Celtics frontcourt tonight.


Top Value: Al Horford vs. Philadelphia 76ers – $4,900 DraftKings, $6,000 FanDuel

One of those Celtics frontcourt options is veteran Al Horford, who is our value center for this slate. Using our On/Off tool, Horford ranked second on the Celtics in DraftKings Plus/Minus with Williams off the floor last season. The concern with Horford against Embiid is certainly foul trouble. If Horford were to get too many fouls, the Celtics would turn to Blake Griffin, and that isn’t too appealing either. The value on Horford is what stands out the most.

Horford has spent the last three seasons with three different teams, including one full year playing alongside Embiid with the 76ers. Playing nearly 30 minutes per game last season, Horford averaged 7.7 rebounds per game which were the most he has had since the 2013-’14 season. Even more impressive is Horford has averaged double-digit points per game in all 15 seasons of his career.

Horford simply knows how to get it done, and tonight should be no different.

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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.

Start Your PRO Trial Today

Lineup builder and optimizer

Real-time DFS models & projections

Data-driven analysis & tutorials

Point Guard

Top Ceiling: Stephen Curry vs. Los Angeles Lakers – $9,400 DraftKings, $10,000 FanDuel

The reigning NBA Finals MVP Stephen Curry gets another ring tonight as the Warriors face another familiar foe in the Los Angeles Lakers. These two teams opened up the season last year, and the Warriors won 121-114 behind Curry’s 21 points and 10 assists. Curry only shot 5-21 from the field in that opener, but that turned out to be the story all season. He finished the season averaging a career-low 43.7% from the field and 38.0% from behind the arc.

Luckily in DFS, a bad field goal percentage doesn’t matter. It’s all about volume, and Curry led the Warriors yet again in usage rate with 30.9% per game last season. The Warriors have a slate-high 116 implied point total, so getting exposure to Curry’s high ceiling in tournaments is a necessity.

Curry is better utilized on DraftKings with the 3-pointers made bonus due to the fact that he led the league with 4.5 3-pointers made per game last season.


Top Value: Tyrese Maxey at Boston Celtics – $5,000 DraftKings, $6,500 FanDuel

Tyrese Maxey has the highest projected Plus/Minus and a 98% Bargain Rating on DraftKings. Maxey made an incredible leap from year one to year two, where he averaged 17.5 points per game, which was over double the average of his rookie season. He picked up right where he left off as he had above a 30% usage rate in the preseason. During those four games, Maxey had 11.5 field goal attempts while only averaging 17.4 minutes per game.

Obviously, James Harden and Joel Embiid need the ball in their hand plenty in this 76ers offense, but Maxey has proved he can still be successful playing alongside these two All-Stars. Maxey led the 76ers last season in transition points per game, and even though the Celtics defense is arguably the best in the league, they allowed a 15.7% transition frequency.

Especially on DraftKings, Maxey is a great value option on this slate.

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Shooting Guard

Top Ceiling: Jaylen Brown vs. Philadelphia 76ers – $8,000 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel

Despite being $900 less than Harden on both sites, Jaylen Brown has the highest ceiling at shooting guard tonight. Brown is specifically a great value on FanDuel, where he is $1,800 cheaper than teammate Jayson Tatum. He has averaged over 20 points per game for three-straight seasons and averaged a career-high in assists and usage rate last season. Having a usage rate similar to Tatum makes Brown a very intriguing option tonight.

Brown has had some big-time performances against the 76ers over his last eight games. During that time, Brown has averaged 25.8 points per game with a 33.4% usage rate. He led the Celtics in scoring during the NBA Finals, so hopefully, Brown can pick up right where he left off.

Getting exposure to Brown is relatively easy on this slate, but his ownership may remain a little lower than it should be due to the cheap salaries for the studs.


Top Value: Derrick White vs. Philadelphia 76ers – $4,100 DraftKings, $4,400 FanDuel

Another Celtics guard who looks like a strong value on this slate is Derrick White. Coming to the Celtics midway through the season last year, White was a key contributor off of the bench, helping the Celtics reach the NBA Finals. He had several double-digit scoring games during the Celtics’ playoff run. White will likely start for the foreseeable future with Robert Williams out due to injury. Being a starter gives White secure minutes, which is huge for a value play.

The Celtics did add Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon this offseason and still have Marcus Smart and Payton Pritchard in their backcourt, which will provide some competition. However, our models has White still projected for over 30 minutes tonight. With so many really great stud options on this slate, taking the savings with White on both sites in a stars and scrubs lineup build is a great strategy.

Small Forward

Top Ceiling: Jayson Tatum vs. Philadelphia 76ers – $9,000 DraftKings, $9,800 FanDuel

Sticking with the Celtics, let’s look at their best option, Jayson Tatum. Every year that Tatum has been in the league, he has increased his points, rebounds, and assists per season. Last season he averaged a career-high 26.9 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 4.4 assists. After tasting what it is like to be in the NBA Finals last year and coming up short, it wouldn’t shock me if Tatum continued to improve on his seasonal numbers this year.

In his last four games against the 76ers, Tatum has averaged a double-double with 22.8 points and 12 rebounds per game. The 76ers ranked 20th in rebounding percentage last season, so another double-double is firmly on the table for Tatum again tonight. His salary on both sites doesn’t provide much value, but Tatum has an incredible ceiling when his shots are falling.

Tatum had the seventh-highest usage rate in the league last season.


Top Value: Austin Reaves at Golden State Warriors – $3,400 DraftKings, $3,900 FanDuel

Yet again, the Los Angeles Lakers tertiary options are rather weak but will play significant minutes where they need to be considered. Forward Austin Reaves will likely come off the bench, but he is priced near the stone minimum on both sites and is projected to play nearly 30 minutes. Reaves ranks in the top three of projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings and FanDuel, making him one of the best salary-savers on the slate.

In his rookie season, Reaves played over 23 minutes per game and averaged 7.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. In the last game of the season, Reaves had a massive triple-double with 31 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists. Obviously, the Lakers were sitting all of their starters, but it was at least nice to see what kind of talent Reaves can display.

He is a very cheap way to get exposure to the highest-total game on the slate.

Get a 100% Deposit Match up to $100!

Sign up and deposit up to $100

Your deposit will be fully matched

New users only

Power Forward

Top Ceiling: LeBron James at Golden State Warriors – $9,200 DraftKings, $10,800 FanDuel

What is with this LeBron James price tag on DraftKings? The Lakers superstar has a 99% Bargain Rating as he is coming off of one of the best statistical seasons in his career. James averaged over 30 points per game for the first time since the 2007-’08 season. He only played 56 total games, but when James was on the court he was very effective. At this DraftKings salary, James feels like a stone-cold lock in cash games and a great tournament option.

For what it’s worth, the Lakers led the league in Pace during the preseason. James may be on the back nine of his career, but he will most certainly show up tonight. Last season on opening night, James had a double-double of 34 points and 11 rebounds while shooting 56.5% from the field and 45.5% from behind the arc.

James is the most expensive player on FanDuel but comes in third in pricing on DraftKings, where he is preferred.


Top Value: Draymond Green vs. Los Angeles Lakers – $5,800 DraftKings, $6,300 FanDuel

A motivated Draymond Green is a player worth getting to tonight and most of the season. After the Warriors paid Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins, Green’s hopes for a max contract with the Warriors came to a screeching halt. His punch heard around the world on Poole, I’m sure, didn’t help his case to stay with the team long-term. However, as far as tonight goes, Green is an incredible tournament option on both DraftKings and FanDuel.

Green was hurt for most of last season, but when he played, he averaged seven or more points, rebounds, and assists for the second-straight year. Adding to his success, Green averaged a career-high 52.5% shooting from the field. He always has a chance at a double-double and an outside shot at a triple-double in the right game environment.

The Warriors may be as deep as they have ever been, but Green is still what makes this team elite.

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Center

Top Ceiling: Joel Embiid at Boston Celtics – $9,900 DraftKings, $10,700 FanDuel

Finally, we get to the centers and the best player on the slate, according to our in-house projections Joel Embiid. Paying up for Embiid is the best route to take on this opening two-game slate. He led the league in scoring with 30.6 per game and ranked second in usage rate with 36.9%. Despite being the highest-priced option on DraftKings and second-highest on FanDuel, Embiid has the highest ceiling with the most projected minutes played.

Usually, a matchup against the Celtics’ frontcourt is a nightmare, but they will be without Robert Williams for a bit making this a juicy spot to target the 76ers big man. Embiid has historically dominated the Celtics throughout his career. In 18 total games, Embiid is averaging 26.1 points, 12.1 rebounds, and 51.8 DraftKings points per game.

He has a double-double in 14 of those 18 games and should feast on this depleted Celtics frontcourt tonight.


Top Value: Al Horford vs. Philadelphia 76ers – $4,900 DraftKings, $6,000 FanDuel

One of those Celtics frontcourt options is veteran Al Horford, who is our value center for this slate. Using our On/Off tool, Horford ranked second on the Celtics in DraftKings Plus/Minus with Williams off the floor last season. The concern with Horford against Embiid is certainly foul trouble. If Horford were to get too many fouls, the Celtics would turn to Blake Griffin, and that isn’t too appealing either. The value on Horford is what stands out the most.

Horford has spent the last three seasons with three different teams, including one full year playing alongside Embiid with the 76ers. Playing nearly 30 minutes per game last season, Horford averaged 7.7 rebounds per game which were the most he has had since the 2013-’14 season. Even more impressive is Horford has averaged double-digit points per game in all 15 seasons of his career.

Horford simply knows how to get it done, and tonight should be no different.

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