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: Damian Lillard at Boston Celtics – $11,500 DraftKings, $11,200 FanDuel
Coming off his second triple-double of the season, Damian Lillard is once again a great pay-up option. Despite shooting 10 of 28 from the field last game, Lillard had 31 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists while finishing with 74.75 DraftKings points. Lillard continues to play at an elite level as he is averaging a career-high 32.4 points per game with a 33.8% usage rate. He has also shown peripheral upside as Lillard is no longer just a scoring point guard.
The Trail Blazers are double-digit road underdogs against the Celtics who have one of the best defenses in the league. These two teams will play each other twice in the next five games, so we’ll see what type of upside Lillard has in this spot. To his benefit, Anfernee Simons remains out with an ankle injury, which provides Lillard with a significant boost.
With Simons off the floor, Lillard is averaging a team-high +5.2% usage rate and a +7.4 DraftKings Plus/Minus.
Top Value: Alex Caruso at Denver Nuggets – $3,400 DraftKings, $4,800 FanDuel
Alex Caruso has been in and out of the Bulls’ starting lineup but has started recently, even with the Bulls being fully healthy. In the 24 games that he has started this season, Caruso is averaging over 20 DraftKings points while playing 26.3 minutes per game. We have Caruso projected for 26 minutes tonight as he has the highest Projected Plus/Minus at the point guard position on DraftKings, where he is only $3,400 with a 98% Bargain Rating.
After back-to-back home losses, the Bulls will take their talents on the road against the Nuggets, who have the best record in the Western Conference and a league-best 30-4 home record. The Bulls are 8.5-point underdogs, implied for only 109.75 points, which is the third-lowest on the slate. With all that being said, getting to Caruso on DraftKings is an avenue to pay up for all of the studs.
He can stuff the stat sheet and score fantasy points in a variety of ways.
Top Ceiling: Luka Doncic at New Orleans Pelicans – $11,800 DraftKings, $11,800 FanDuel
Luka Doncic has shooting guard eligibility on FanDuel, and with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander out for the Thunder, there are no other guards that have nearly as high of a ceiling as Doncic or Damian Lillard. Doncic poured in 29 points and captured 10 rebounds last night in their four-point victory against the Jazz. His salary has come down $200 on both DraftKings and FanDuel, but he still leads the league in scoring averaging a career-high 33.4 points per game.
Despite having the second-slowest pace (96.7), entering tonight, this matchup against the Pelicans has the second-highest total on the slate at 234 points. Playing alongside Kyrie Irving has decreased Doncic’s assist output, but his scoring and usage rate remains the same. In 10 games with Irving, the Mavericks are averaging 123.2 points per game compared to 112.5 without him.
The Pelicans are good defensively, but Doncic can feast on any team.
Top Value: Isaiah Joe at Phoenix Suns – $4,400 DraftKings, $4,400 FanDuel
Priced at $4,400 on both sites, Isaiah Joe is shooting guard only eligible on DraftKings and point guard eligible only on FanDuel. He also leads the slate with the highest projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel and the second-highest on DraftKings. The value of choice for this slate has to be on the Thunder as they are playing without All-Star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. With Gilgeous-Alexander off the floor this season, Joe is averaging a +5.9 DraftKings Plus/Minus.
The Thunder are 13-point road underdogs despite winning three-straight games. Even with a 110.25 implied total, there is plenty of production to go around without Gilgeous-Alexander, who leads the team in scoring and usage rate. In nine games without Gilgeous-Alexander, Joe has doubled up his scoring output to 15.9 points per game while shooting 52.7% from the field. In his first season with the Thunder, Joe has become a knock-down 3-point shooter with a 44.4% from behind the arc.
He has by far the highest ownership projection on FanDuel and the second-highest on DraftKings.
Top Ceiling: Kevin Durant vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – $9,800 DraftKings, $10,100 FanDuel
In the three games since joining the Suns and being healthy, Kevin Durant has seen his minutes and production increase each and every game. Last game Durant played 40 minutes and scored 37 points while shooting 12 of 17 from the field. Over that three-game span, Durant is shooting a blistering 69% from the field and 53.8% from behind the arc. Projected to play 36 minutes tonight, Durant is a priority on DraftKings with a falling price tag.
The Thunder rank 26th in rebounding percentage (48.6%) this season, which bodes well for Durant, who is averaging 7.3 rebounds per game with the Suns. Being 13-point favorites, this game could easily get out of hand, but Durant is still a very worthy pay-up option. The Suns have the highest implied total on the slate at 123.25 points, it all depends on which player is going to shine.
Let’s bank on the newcomer Kevin Durant in his first home game with the Suns.
Top Value: Aaron Wiggins at Phoenix Suns – $3,500 DraftKings, $5,300 FanDuel
DraftKings pricing has been very suspect recently, and Aaron Wiggins is another perfect example. He is $3,500 with the highest Projected Plus/Minus, the highest projected ownership, and the highest Bargain Rating at 99% on the slate. FanDuel is a completely different scenario, with Wiggins priced at $5,300 with only shooting guard eligibility. He has another Thunder player who will get extra usage rate and production without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the lineup.
Not only is Gilgeous-Alexander out, but so is Jalen Williams. With Williams out, Wiggins drew the start last game against the Warriors and played 33 minutes accumulating 22 DraftKings points. He scored 27 points three games ago, displaying his upside, and is projected to play 32 minutes tonight.
The Thunder may get destroyed in this matchup, but Wiggins is worth getting exposure to on DraftKings at a very low price tag.
Top Ceiling: Jayson Tatum vs. Portland Trail Blazers – $10,300 DraftKings, $11,100 FanDuel
After sitting out the last game due to a back-to-back, Jayson Tatum is in the lineup against the Trail Blazers with the third-highest ceiling projection on FanDuel and the fourth on DraftKings. In his sixth year in the league, Tatum has continued his upward trajectory as he is averaging a career-high 30.3 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game. He has scored 40+ points in two of his last three games and is poised for another ceiling performance tonight.
Among the highest-priced options on DraftKings, Tatum has the highest Bargain Rating at his $10,300 salary. He also has 9 Pro Trends on both DraftKings and FanDuel, solidifying him as a great option for both sites. The Trail Blazers rank 27th in Defensive Rating and 23rd in Rebounding Percentage. As double-digit favorites, Tatum looks like a strong play in all formats. Expect him and Damian Lillard to go shot-for-shot with each other in this matchup.
The higher projection on Underdog Fantasy seems intriguing in this spot.
Top Value: De’Andre Hunter at Washington Wizards – $4,500 DraftKings, $5,300 FanDuel
The best game environment to target is this Eastern Conference clash between the Hawks and Wizards. The Hawks are 3.5-point road favorites as this game features the highest total on the slate at 236 points. This may be one of the first times where everyone is healthy for both sides. With healthy rosters, there may not be any players that pop out as strong options, but De’Andre Hunter has the highest projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings for all small forwards.
Hunter has started all 55 games he has played this season, and his salary remains relatively cheap on both DraftKings and FanDuel. He ranks third on the team behind Trae Young and Dejounte Murray in scoring while averaging a career-high 15.6 points per game. Hunter hasn’t provided much in the peripherals department, but this is a relatively good scoring matchup for him.
He is a cheap way to get exposure to this high-upside game environment.
Top Ceiling: Nikola Jokic vs. Chicago Bulls – $11,600 DraftKings, $11,900 FanDuel
Over the last six games, we have seen a variety of outcomes from Nikola Jokic, who has three games under 50 DraftKings points and two over 70 DraftKings points. Jokic continues to average a triple-double with 24.4 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 10 assists per game while shooting a career-high 63.4% from the field and 40.4% from behind the arc. The Nuggets are 25-0 this season when Jokic performs a triple-double, so let’s see if they both can make it 26-0 tonight.
Jokic has the highest projected ceiling on both DraftKings and FanDuel in our NBA Model. There are several pay-up options, but Jokic is the best option in his matchup against Nikola Vucevic and the Bulls frontcourt. The Bulls have been great at defending the paint this season, but Jokic is a different beast. He has been much better playing at home, and with a full arsenal of weapons to pass to now that everyone is healthy, another triple-double seems inevitable for Jokic.
Top Value: Al Horford vs. Portland Trail Blazers – $5,500 DraftKings, $5,700 FanDuel
Clearly, the best power forward and center option for value on FanDuel is Al Horford. Similar to Jayson Tatum, Horford sat out the second leg of the back-to-back last game but is good to go for tonight. In his last game, Horford had a fantastic game where he scored 20 points and had a season-high 14 rebounds. He made six 3-pointers in two of his last three games as his scoring has started to ramp up. Horford has averaged 13.9 points per game in his last eight games.
The Trail Blazers have been much more susceptible to points in the paint than points allowed on the perimeter. They have allowed 52.9 points per game in the paint, which ranks 25th in the league, while they rank fifth, allowing only 32.1 3-point attempts per game. They also struggled on the glass, which provides even more upside for Horford, who has recorded a double-double in two of his last three games. This is a great spot for the veteran Celtics big man.
Horford is also showing up in our new PrizePicks and Underdog Fantasy simulations table: