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 300 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: Luka Doncic vs. Atlanta Hawks – $12,400 DraftKings, $12,400 FanDuel
After missing last game due to a minor ankle injury, Luka Doncic is probable to play tonight and has the highest ceiling by far in our Tournament Model for both DraftKings and FanDuel. Doncic had a disappointing last game and still put up over 40 DraftKings points. In the three games prior, he averaged a triple-double with 37.3 points, 11.7 rebounds, 10 assists, and 72.9 DraftKings points per game. He is projected to outscore the next closest player by nearly double-digit points.
Priced at $12,400 on both sites, Doncic has seen his salary decrease on DraftKings for no apparent reason. He is leading the league in both points and usage rate, as he is averaging a ridiculous 63.8 DraftKings points per game. This is going to be a high-scoring slate, with five of the nine games having a projected total higher than 223 points. Add this game to the list as the Mavericks are 2.5-point road favorites, implied for a pretty high 118.25 points.
Top Value: Jose Alvarado vs. Miami Heat – $4,400 DraftKings, $5,000 FanDuel
Leading off our value section is Pelicans point guard Jose Alvarado. He has the highest Projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings for point guards and the third-highest on FanDuel. The Pelicans are playing without Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, and Herbert Jones is listed as doubtful. Using our On/Off Tool, Alvarado has a +4.6 DraftKings Plus/Minus with all three of those players not on the floor, making Alvarado a fantastic value on both sites tonight.
Alvarado’s playing time continues to ramp up, as he has played 30 and 34 minutes in the last two games. He is a value player who stuffs the stat sheet and doesn’t rely on his scoring. Over the last seven games, Alvarado is averaging 11.4 points, 4.4 assists, 3.4 rebounds, and a +6.27 DraftKings Plus/Minus per game.
The Heat rank eighth in Defensive Rating, but Alvarado’s salary is too cheap for how much and how well he is playing lately.
Top Ceiling: Anthony Edwards at Denver Nuggets – $8,700 DraftKings, $8,600 FanDuel
In his third year in the league, Anthony Edwards continues to take that next step forward in his development. He is averaging a career-high in points, rebounds, assists, field goals, and 3-point shooting percentages. Edwards is listed as questionable, but he has yet to miss a game all season. Teammate Rudy Gobert is also questionable after leaving early in both of their last two games. Keep an eye on the news dashboard for both Edwards and Gobert.
Karl-Anthony Towns remains out due to injury, which has allowed Edwards to be even more productive. Edwards has increased his production while averaging a team-high +1.9% usage rate without Towns on the floor this season. If Gobert is ruled out, that will open up even more driving lanes for Edwards. He has a +8.2 DraftKings Plus/Minus when both Towns and Gobert are off the floor. If he is playing, make sure to get exposure to the explosive Timberwolves guard.
Top Value: Caris LeVert at Memphis Grizzlies – $5,100 DraftKings, $5,200 FanDuel
Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell suffered an injury last game and is doubtful to play tonight, which paves the way for more production and usage rate for Caris LeVert. With Mitchell off the floor, LeVert has a +2.8% usage rate and a +3.7 DraftKings Plus/Minus in a team-high 512 minutes. Ricky Rubio is back to help the Cavaliers’ backcourt, but we still have LeVert projected to play 36 minutes and be one of the best values on the slate.
LeVert enters tonight with the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel and the fourth-highest on DraftKings. The Cavaliers rank dead last in Pace, but the Grizzlies rank fourth (101.99), entering tonight’s games. Despite the Grizzlies being heavy home favorites, LeVert still ranks out as a strong play on both DraftKings and FanDuel.
He has guard and forward eligibility on both sites, which helps him fit into optimal lineup builds.
Top Ceiling: Lauri Markkanen vs. Los Angeles Clippers – $9,400 DraftKings, $8,200 FanDuel
The small forward position has a plethora of question marks. The Clippers are playing on a back-to-back, so Paul George has already been ruled out. Kawhi Leonard‘s status is up in the air, as well as Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen. Our NBA Model currently has Leonard out and Markkanen in, so we will go with that, but make sure to check their status the closer we get to lock. It helps they are playing against each other, so we should know soon enough.
Markkanen has missed the last two games and is questionable to play tonight. In his first season with the Jazz, Markkanen is averaging a career-high 24.6 points while shooting 52% from the field and 41.4% from behind the arc. In the last two games that Markkanen has played, he has scored 50+ DraftKings points while averaging a huge double-double with 26.5 points and 14 rebounds per game. Prioritize Markkanen on FanDuel where he is $1,200 cheaper than DraftKings and has a 98% Bargain Rating with 11 Pro Trends.
Top Value: Norman Powell at Utah Jazz – $6,000 DraftKings, $6,000 FanDuel
Priced at $6,000 on both DraftKings and FanDuel, Norman Powell will get a significant boost if both George and Leonard are ruled out. Powell has started in five games this season and has averaged 27.3 minutes per game in that scenario. He may be called upon again to start, which would make him look even better in this spot. Powell has averaged over 15 points per game for the sixth-straight season and has averaged 19 points per game in his last six games.
Powell is a scoring-dependent fantasy producer but will benefit from playing against the Jazz, who rank 26th in Defensive Rating (115.2) this season. They have allowed 116.9 points per game and also rank just outside the top 10 in Pace. This game features one of the lowest totals on the slate, but Powell is in a great spot to return value.
Keep an eye on Leonard’s status, as that would significantly help Powell’s projection, as shown in our NBA Model.
Top Ceiling: LeBron James vs. Sacramento Kings – $11,500 DraftKings, $11,400 FanDuel
The best game environment to target on this nine-game slate is this matchup between the Lakers and Kings. This game has the largest total on the slate at 245 points, with the Lakers being 4.5-point home underdogs. LeBron James continues to outlast Father Time as he is averaging 29.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, and seven assists per game. He is a little over 300 points shy of the All-Time scoring record held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, which he could break before All-Star Weekend.
James has been on an absolute tear recently to try and keep the Lakers’ season afloat. Anthony Davis remains out until early February, and James is doing all he can for this team. Over the last seven games, James is averaging 37 points, 9.7 rebounds, 8.6 assists, and 64.3 DraftKings points per game. The Kings rank 24th in Defensive Rating and 27th in points per game in the paint allowed.
King James should feast in this matchup tonight.
Top Value: Robert Covington at Utah Jazz – $3,600 DraftKings, $4,500 FanDuel
Another Clippers value who looks fantastic in this spot is Robert Covington. He leads the slate on DraftKings with the highest projected Plus/Minus as he is only $3,600 and has a 92% Bargain Rating. Covington has been in and out of the Clippers lineup all season but has played 23+ minutes in four of his last six games and has returned a positive Plus/Minus in five of those six. At this salary, Covington doesn’t need to do much to return value.
Our NBA Model has Covington projected to play 24 minutes, which is making him one of the best plays on both sites. Three of the best fantasy producers in the league are playing tonight, so we need the salary savings to fit them in. Covington can provide that salary relief as he is priced barely over the minimum.
Top Ceiling: Nikola Jokic vs. Minnesota Timberwolves – $11,400 DraftKings, $11,500 FanDuel
It is impossible not to go back to Nikola Jokic, especially after his salary dropped $600 on DraftKings but stayed the same on FanDuel from last night. Jokic has been on an absolute tear recently, with four triple-doubles in his last five games while averaging 23.2 points, 13.2 rebounds, 11.8 assists, and 64 DraftKings points per game. He is shooting an absurd 74.2% from the field while adding a few blocks and steals along the way.
Jokic could find himself in an even better spot tonight as Rudy Gobert is questionable to play after barely being able to play in his last two games with an injury. If Gobert can’t play, Jokic will get the opportunity to dominate the paint against Naz Reid and Luka Garza. I’ll take the back-to-back MVP in that matchup all day long. Prioritize Jokic on DraftKings, where he is likely to be the highest-owned player on the slate, but he is a great play on both sites.
Top Value: Mason Plumlee at Houston Rockets – $6,300 DraftKings, $7,200 FanDuel
Mason Plumlee‘s salary on both DraftKings and FanDuel may be a sticker shock, but he has been playing too well to ignore recently. He has played over 30 minutes in six-straight games while averaging a massive double-double with 16.7 points, 13 rebounds, and 40 DraftKings points per game during that time. Rookie Mark Williams is playing around 15 minutes per game, but it is Plumlee’s center position for now, and tonight will be a matchup he can exploit.
Rockets center Alperen Sengun has been on a tear recently, which sets up for a great matchup for both centers in this Rockets vs. Hornets game. These are the two worst teams in the league, as this game total sits at 237.5 points, which is the third-highest on the slate.
Jokic is the clear-cut best center play on both DraftKings and FanDuel, but Plumlee has the highest Projected Plus/Minus on both sites making him a strong consideration as well.
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