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NBA DFS (Wednesday, Jan. 25): 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 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.

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Point Guard

Top Ceiling: Damian Lillard vs. Utah Jazz – $10,300 DraftKings, $10,100 FanDuel

Damian Lillard is playing some of the best basketball of his career lately. Over the last seven games, Lillard is averaging 36.6 points with a 34.2% usage rate per game. During that stretch, he has four double-doubles with assists, including each of his last three games. With four games totaling over 60 DraftKings points over that time, getting Lillard barely over $10,000 on both DraftKings and FanDuel feels like a strong value.

Not as much as the Trail Blazers, but the Jazz have been struggling recently as well. Their Defensive Rating has dipped to 114.9, which is tied for the fifth-lowest in the league. Lillard has been blessed with some very good matchups in his last few games, and tonight is no different. There are a few higher-priced players on this slate, but don’t forget about Lillard when building lineups.

The matchup and recent play make Lillard a strong tournament option.

If you aren’t in a state with legal betting, Monkey Knife Fight has Lillard’s over/under for points sitting at 32.5.


Top Value: T.J. McConnell at Orlando Magic – $6,000 DraftKings, $6,700 FanDuel

For the second-straight day, Pacers guard T.J. McConnell leads the way as the best value on the slate. He has a double-digit Projected Plus/Minus on both DraftKings and FanDuel. In back-to-back starts, McConnell has averaged 19 points, 11 assists, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.5 steals per game while shooting 58.6% from the field. He has recorded one triple-double and one double-double while also averaging over 50 DraftKings points per game.

The Magic rank 24th in Defensive Rating this season. They are allowing 25.8 assists per game, which is tied for the seventh-highest in the league. With Tyrese Haliburton sidelined, McConnell is the main distributor, which has proven to be a great position on this team. Haliburton has averaged double-digit assists this season, while McConnell has back-to-back games with 10+ assists.

McConnell has a great chance to make it three-straight games with a double-double.

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Shooting Guard

Top Ceiling: Anthony Edwards at New Orleans Pelicans – $9,500 DraftKings, $9,200 FanDuel

Similar to Lillard, Wolves guard Anthony Edwards will likely be overlooked but has been playing incredibly lately. Even with Rudy Gobert back in the lineup, Edwards scored over 30 points last game. He has also recorded 3+ steals in four of his last five games. Karl-Anthony Towns remains out tonight, and using our On/Off Tool, Edwards has a team-high +1.7% usage rate, climbing to 30.9% per game when Towns is off the floor this season.

Despite an 8-15 road record, the Timberwolves are only two-point underdogs against the Pelicans. For the Timberwolves to be competitive, it will need to be on the back of Edwards. In his third year in the league, Edwards is averaging career-highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals, field goals,s and 3-point percentage. The Pelicans rank eighth in Defensive Rating, but Edwards has a 32.5% usage rate per game over his last eight games, making him nearly matchup-proof with that type of volume.


Top Value: Bruce Brown at Milwaukee Bucks – $5,200 DraftKings, $5,200 FanDuel

Priced at $5,200 with guard and forward eligibility on both DraftKings and FanDuel, Bruce Brown looks like a strong source of value on this 10-game slate. This is a back-to-back for the Nuggets, as they were without Bones Hyland and Michael Porter Jr. last night. Brown has averaged 35 minutes in his last two games, and our NBA Model has him projected for a modest 32.4 minutes, but still a strong value rating.

The best team in the Western Conference is eight-point road underdogs against the Bucks with a 112.25-point total, which is the second-lowest on the slate. Despite the difficult matchup, Brown has proven to be consistent in the Nuggets’ starting lineup. He has scored double-digit points in six-straight games while shooting 54% from the field. Brown continues to stuff the stat sheet in a variety of ways solidifying his value on tonight’s slate.

Small Forward

Top Ceiling: LeBron James vs. San Antonio Spurs – $11,700 DraftKings, $11,100 FanDuel

Playing on a back-to-back, LeBron James‘ status may need to be monitored in our news dashboard. He is questionable basically every slate, but this is a game the Lakers need to win to keep climbing the Western Conference standings. The Spurs rank last in Defensive Rating (119.9), entering tonight’s games as they are allowing a league-high 122 points per game. A great matchup for James to continue his quest for the most points in league history.

There is a chance that Anthony Davis returns tonight, but we know how this works with the injury-prone Davis. Even if he plays, expect him to be limited, as he has missed 19 straight games. Having Davis back would hurt James’ scoring output but increase his potential to rack up easy assists. Regardless if Davis plays or not, James is in a fantastic matchup against a Spurs defense that has been hemorrhaging points all season long.


Top Value: Deni Avdija at Houston Rockets – $4,000 DraftKings, $5,000 FanDuel

Even though Deni Avdija came off the bench last night, he was still able to record a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. He added three assists and three steals on his way to 39 total DraftKings points. Kristaps Porzingis remains out, while Rui Hachimura has been dealt to the Lakers for second-round draft picks. With those two off the floor this season, Avdija has a +7.2 DraftKings Plus/Minus in 241 total minutes.

The General Manager of the Wizards even mentioned after trading Hachimura, that the team needs more minutes for Avdija, who is averaging a career-high in rebounds and assists while scoring 8.1 points per game in his third season in the league. The more minutes, the better for Avdija, especially in this matchup against the Rockets, who rank 28th in Defensive Rating while allowing 117.4 points per game.

Prioritize Avdija on DraftKings, where he is $1,000 cheaper than FanDuel and has a 95% Bargain Rating.

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Power Forward

Top Ceiling: Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. Denver Nuggets – $11,500 DraftKings, $11,400 FanDuel

It is hard to tell if Giannis Antetokounmpo is on a minutes restriction or not because they absolutely dismantled the Pistons Monday night 150-130. The 150 points were tied for the second-highest point total for a team this season, as Giannis had 29 points, 12 rebounds, and over 50 DraftKings points in only 27 minutes. It was only the sixth game all season where Giannis, Jrue Holiday, and Khris Middleton all played in the same game.

Even though Holiday and Middleton are likely playing, Bobby Portis is out, which will boost Giannis’ rebounding upside. Giannis is averaging a career-high 30.9 points per game and is second in the league in rebounding with 11.9 per game. Despite Nikola Jokic dominating the paint, the Nuggets are allowing 52.1 points per game in the paint this season which is the sixth-highest in the league. Great spot for the Greek Freak, especially if he is not on a minutes limit.


Top Value: Keegan Murray vs. Toronto Raptors – $5,000 DraftKings, $5,500 FanDuel

Kings rookie Keegan Murray has turned the corner and solidified himself as one of the best rookies in this 2022 Draft Class. Murray has helped the Kings rise to the third-best record in the Western Conference while averaging 12.3 points per game. Over the last four games, Murray has seen his playing time increase to 37.3 minutes as he is scoring 18 points, grabbing 9.3 rebounds and making 3.8 3-pointers per game over that stretch.

This matchup against the Raptors has one of the highest totals on the slate at 238.5 points, with the Kings being 3.5-point home favorites. The road Raptors have been pitiful this season with a 6-15 record. Overall, they are allowing opponents to shoot 48.8% from the field, which is tied for the third-highest in the league. The Raptors may be healthy, but this is still a matchup to exploit. Light the Beam with Murray as the power forward value option.

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Center

Top Ceiling: Nikola Jokic at Milwaukee Bucks – $11,400 DraftKings, $11,600 FanDuel

Another star playing on a back-to-back who finally returned from injury is Nuggets center Nikola Jokic. He missed two games before returning last night and picking up right where he left off. Jokic recorded his sixth triple-double in his last seven games, while averaging 24.6 points, 12.6 rebounds, and 11.7 assists per game during that time. If he is able to play, Jokic is one of the best pay-up options on the slate for both DraftKings and FanDuel.

The Bucks are a great rebounding team and defending the paint, but this is Jokic we are talking about here. This is the first matchup between the Greek Freak and Joker this season. In their last two meetings, Jokic had back-to-back triple-doubles while shooting 68.8% from the field. The Nuggets may be seven-point road underdogs, but Jokic has shown massive upside regardless of the matchup. Tonight should be no different against the Bucks’.


Top Value: Xavier Tillman at Golden State Warriors – $3,200 DraftKings, $4,600 FanDuel

With Steven Adams out for the next 3-5 weeks, Xavier Tillman will likely move into the starting lineup for the Grizzlies. Tillman has the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings and the third-highest on FanDuel. Despite being $1,400 more expensive on FanDuel, Tillman has power forward and center eligibility making him easier to fit into lineups. However, prioritize Tillman on DraftKings, where he has a 98% Bargain Rating.

Tillman played 30 minutes in his start last game and stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals, and one block for 25.5 DraftKings points. He may not play 30 minutes again, but Tillman is a fantastic salary saver against the Warriors, who lead the league in Pace (103.2) this season. Tillman will likely be one of the highest-owned players on both sites, but it is deserving seeing as his price tag has yet to catch up with Adams being out.

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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 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.

Start Your PRO Trial Today

Lineup builder and optimizer

Real-time DFS models & projections

Data-driven analysis & tutorials

Point Guard

Top Ceiling: Damian Lillard vs. Utah Jazz – $10,300 DraftKings, $10,100 FanDuel

Damian Lillard is playing some of the best basketball of his career lately. Over the last seven games, Lillard is averaging 36.6 points with a 34.2% usage rate per game. During that stretch, he has four double-doubles with assists, including each of his last three games. With four games totaling over 60 DraftKings points over that time, getting Lillard barely over $10,000 on both DraftKings and FanDuel feels like a strong value.

Not as much as the Trail Blazers, but the Jazz have been struggling recently as well. Their Defensive Rating has dipped to 114.9, which is tied for the fifth-lowest in the league. Lillard has been blessed with some very good matchups in his last few games, and tonight is no different. There are a few higher-priced players on this slate, but don’t forget about Lillard when building lineups.

The matchup and recent play make Lillard a strong tournament option.

If you aren’t in a state with legal betting, Monkey Knife Fight has Lillard’s over/under for points sitting at 32.5.


Top Value: T.J. McConnell at Orlando Magic – $6,000 DraftKings, $6,700 FanDuel

For the second-straight day, Pacers guard T.J. McConnell leads the way as the best value on the slate. He has a double-digit Projected Plus/Minus on both DraftKings and FanDuel. In back-to-back starts, McConnell has averaged 19 points, 11 assists, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.5 steals per game while shooting 58.6% from the field. He has recorded one triple-double and one double-double while also averaging over 50 DraftKings points per game.

The Magic rank 24th in Defensive Rating this season. They are allowing 25.8 assists per game, which is tied for the seventh-highest in the league. With Tyrese Haliburton sidelined, McConnell is the main distributor, which has proven to be a great position on this team. Haliburton has averaged double-digit assists this season, while McConnell has back-to-back games with 10+ assists.

McConnell has a great chance to make it three-straight games with a double-double.

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Shooting Guard

Top Ceiling: Anthony Edwards at New Orleans Pelicans – $9,500 DraftKings, $9,200 FanDuel

Similar to Lillard, Wolves guard Anthony Edwards will likely be overlooked but has been playing incredibly lately. Even with Rudy Gobert back in the lineup, Edwards scored over 30 points last game. He has also recorded 3+ steals in four of his last five games. Karl-Anthony Towns remains out tonight, and using our On/Off Tool, Edwards has a team-high +1.7% usage rate, climbing to 30.9% per game when Towns is off the floor this season.

Despite an 8-15 road record, the Timberwolves are only two-point underdogs against the Pelicans. For the Timberwolves to be competitive, it will need to be on the back of Edwards. In his third year in the league, Edwards is averaging career-highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals, field goals,s and 3-point percentage. The Pelicans rank eighth in Defensive Rating, but Edwards has a 32.5% usage rate per game over his last eight games, making him nearly matchup-proof with that type of volume.


Top Value: Bruce Brown at Milwaukee Bucks – $5,200 DraftKings, $5,200 FanDuel

Priced at $5,200 with guard and forward eligibility on both DraftKings and FanDuel, Bruce Brown looks like a strong source of value on this 10-game slate. This is a back-to-back for the Nuggets, as they were without Bones Hyland and Michael Porter Jr. last night. Brown has averaged 35 minutes in his last two games, and our NBA Model has him projected for a modest 32.4 minutes, but still a strong value rating.

The best team in the Western Conference is eight-point road underdogs against the Bucks with a 112.25-point total, which is the second-lowest on the slate. Despite the difficult matchup, Brown has proven to be consistent in the Nuggets’ starting lineup. He has scored double-digit points in six-straight games while shooting 54% from the field. Brown continues to stuff the stat sheet in a variety of ways solidifying his value on tonight’s slate.

Small Forward

Top Ceiling: LeBron James vs. San Antonio Spurs – $11,700 DraftKings, $11,100 FanDuel

Playing on a back-to-back, LeBron James‘ status may need to be monitored in our news dashboard. He is questionable basically every slate, but this is a game the Lakers need to win to keep climbing the Western Conference standings. The Spurs rank last in Defensive Rating (119.9), entering tonight’s games as they are allowing a league-high 122 points per game. A great matchup for James to continue his quest for the most points in league history.

There is a chance that Anthony Davis returns tonight, but we know how this works with the injury-prone Davis. Even if he plays, expect him to be limited, as he has missed 19 straight games. Having Davis back would hurt James’ scoring output but increase his potential to rack up easy assists. Regardless if Davis plays or not, James is in a fantastic matchup against a Spurs defense that has been hemorrhaging points all season long.


Top Value: Deni Avdija at Houston Rockets – $4,000 DraftKings, $5,000 FanDuel

Even though Deni Avdija came off the bench last night, he was still able to record a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. He added three assists and three steals on his way to 39 total DraftKings points. Kristaps Porzingis remains out, while Rui Hachimura has been dealt to the Lakers for second-round draft picks. With those two off the floor this season, Avdija has a +7.2 DraftKings Plus/Minus in 241 total minutes.

The General Manager of the Wizards even mentioned after trading Hachimura, that the team needs more minutes for Avdija, who is averaging a career-high in rebounds and assists while scoring 8.1 points per game in his third season in the league. The more minutes, the better for Avdija, especially in this matchup against the Rockets, who rank 28th in Defensive Rating while allowing 117.4 points per game.

Prioritize Avdija on DraftKings, where he is $1,000 cheaper than FanDuel and has a 95% Bargain Rating.

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Power Forward

Top Ceiling: Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. Denver Nuggets – $11,500 DraftKings, $11,400 FanDuel

It is hard to tell if Giannis Antetokounmpo is on a minutes restriction or not because they absolutely dismantled the Pistons Monday night 150-130. The 150 points were tied for the second-highest point total for a team this season, as Giannis had 29 points, 12 rebounds, and over 50 DraftKings points in only 27 minutes. It was only the sixth game all season where Giannis, Jrue Holiday, and Khris Middleton all played in the same game.

Even though Holiday and Middleton are likely playing, Bobby Portis is out, which will boost Giannis’ rebounding upside. Giannis is averaging a career-high 30.9 points per game and is second in the league in rebounding with 11.9 per game. Despite Nikola Jokic dominating the paint, the Nuggets are allowing 52.1 points per game in the paint this season which is the sixth-highest in the league. Great spot for the Greek Freak, especially if he is not on a minutes limit.


Top Value: Keegan Murray vs. Toronto Raptors – $5,000 DraftKings, $5,500 FanDuel

Kings rookie Keegan Murray has turned the corner and solidified himself as one of the best rookies in this 2022 Draft Class. Murray has helped the Kings rise to the third-best record in the Western Conference while averaging 12.3 points per game. Over the last four games, Murray has seen his playing time increase to 37.3 minutes as he is scoring 18 points, grabbing 9.3 rebounds and making 3.8 3-pointers per game over that stretch.

This matchup against the Raptors has one of the highest totals on the slate at 238.5 points, with the Kings being 3.5-point home favorites. The road Raptors have been pitiful this season with a 6-15 record. Overall, they are allowing opponents to shoot 48.8% from the field, which is tied for the third-highest in the league. The Raptors may be healthy, but this is still a matchup to exploit. Light the Beam with Murray as the power forward value option.

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Center

Top Ceiling: Nikola Jokic at Milwaukee Bucks – $11,400 DraftKings, $11,600 FanDuel

Another star playing on a back-to-back who finally returned from injury is Nuggets center Nikola Jokic. He missed two games before returning last night and picking up right where he left off. Jokic recorded his sixth triple-double in his last seven games, while averaging 24.6 points, 12.6 rebounds, and 11.7 assists per game during that time. If he is able to play, Jokic is one of the best pay-up options on the slate for both DraftKings and FanDuel.

The Bucks are a great rebounding team and defending the paint, but this is Jokic we are talking about here. This is the first matchup between the Greek Freak and Joker this season. In their last two meetings, Jokic had back-to-back triple-doubles while shooting 68.8% from the field. The Nuggets may be seven-point road underdogs, but Jokic has shown massive upside regardless of the matchup. Tonight should be no different against the Bucks’.


Top Value: Xavier Tillman at Golden State Warriors – $3,200 DraftKings, $4,600 FanDuel

With Steven Adams out for the next 3-5 weeks, Xavier Tillman will likely move into the starting lineup for the Grizzlies. Tillman has the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings and the third-highest on FanDuel. Despite being $1,400 more expensive on FanDuel, Tillman has power forward and center eligibility making him easier to fit into lineups. However, prioritize Tillman on DraftKings, where he has a 98% Bargain Rating.

Tillman played 30 minutes in his start last game and stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals, and one block for 25.5 DraftKings points. He may not play 30 minutes again, but Tillman is a fantastic salary saver against the Warriors, who lead the league in Pace (103.2) this season. Tillman will likely be one of the highest-owned players on both sites, but it is deserving seeing as his price tag has yet to catch up with Adams being out.

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