NBA Draft

NBA DFS (Thursday, Jan. 13): 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 tool and so much more.

Let’s dive into our models, going position-by-position, looking at guys with some of the highest Ceiling Projections, along with players who are 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 lineups.

Note: Projections and Leverages Scores/Ratings may change throughout the day after this article is posted. The NBA DFS landscape changes quickly. Consult the Player Models directly for any updates as we get closer to lock.

Point Guard

Top Ceiling: Stephen Curry vs. Milwaukee Bucks – $11,200 DraftKings, $10,400 FanDuel

This will be a pace-up game for the Warriors against the Bucks, who love to push the ball in transition. With extra possessions should come some stellar production from Curry, who our model gives a ceiling at or around 70 fantasy points depending on the site. He’s trending up, too, coming off a triple-double in a 38-minute stint against Memphis.


Top Value: Dennis Smith, Jr. vs. Denver Nuggets – $4,000 DraftKings, $4,400 FanDuel

Smith has been a big disappointment over the last six games, and that’s depressed his price to a perfect buy-low spot. Smith is still an important member of this Trail Blazers rotation, seeing more than 17 minutes in two of the last three. With Anfernee Simons joining C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard on the sidelines, Smith should hit the 8X range according to our model.

Shooting Guard

Top Ceiling: James Harden vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – $10,700 DraftKings, $10,000 FanDuel

He may only be shooting guard-eligible on FanDuel, but Harden deserves a shout against his former team. He’s less than 24 hours removed from a 61-fantasy point outing against a stout Bulls defense and draws a soft matchup vs. the Thunder. The assists have been coming in bunches lately, and there’s no reason to believe he can’t replicate that performance on Thursday. Our model sets his ceiling just below 70 points.


Top Value: DeAndre Bembry vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – $3,500 DraftKings, $4,000 FanDuel

It’s going to be hard to avoid the same teams on such a short slate, and Bembry has a chance to leave his mark on this one. Like Harden, he draws a great defensive matchup with a +0.95 Opponent Plus/Minus on FanDuel, but unlike Harden, he’ll likely be on the floor at the end of this game with the expectation of a lopsided affair. While Bembry’s usage rate and production have varied, he’s still out-performed our projections in five of the last 10.

Small Forward

Top Ceiling: Brandon Ingram vs. Los Angeles Clippers – $8,900 DraftKings, $8,100 FanDuel

The Clippers have slipped on defense lately, ranking 14th in points allowed per 100 possessions in the last two weeks, and they continue to be one of the worst teams in basketball on the glass. Ingram should be in a favorable spot here, and while his price is very different on both sites, his ceiling should be the same, checking in just short of 60 fantasy points.


Top Value:

Top Ceiling: Kessler Edwards vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – $3,600 DraftKings, $3,600 FanDuel

Edwards made a significant impact against Chicago on Wednesday night with nearly 20 fantasy points in 28 minutes, and at this price, he’s a hard man to pass up. Our projections have him as the top small forward value on the board with a robust +9.03 Projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings and +11.56 on FanDuel.

Power Forward

Top Ceiling: Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. Golden State Warriors – $11,300 DraftKings, $11,300 FanDuel

The Warriors may be one of the best defensive teams in basketball, but that hasn’t scared off our model, which is projecting Antetokounmpo to have the highest ceiling on the slate. We project the Greek Freak for a beefy Usage Rate of over 30%, which should be more than enough to top Thursday’s slate.


Top Value: Trendon Watford vs. Denver Nuggets – $3,200 DraftKings, $3,500 FanDuel

Watford is a center on DraftKings and a power forward on FanDuel, but he will be a supreme value play on this slate at either position. The Trail Blazers will likely be without Cody Zeller and are already down Larry Nance Jr. up front and Norm Powell on the wing. Watford has averaged around 13 minutes per game over the last three, and those minutes should provide him a solid floor. Our projections make him a 7X play.

Center

Top Ceiling: Nikola Jokic vs. Los Angeles Clippers – $12,500 DraftKings, $11,500 FanDuel

The only person that comes close to Antetokounmpo on this slate is Jokic — to no one’s surprise. He draws a favorable matchup with the Trail Blazers, looking at a +1.82 Opponent Plus/Minus on DraftKings. Jokic’s ceiling is closing in on 80 points according to our projections, and that is a number he’s flirted with twice in the last eight games.


Top Value: Bobby Portis vs. Golden State Warriors – $6,900 DraftKings, $6,200 FanDuel

Believe it or not, Portis is going to be the best bang for your buck on Thursday. While his price is higher than we’d typically go for a value play, it’s hard to ignore our model’s solid 6X projection on both sites. He’s logged 32 or more minutes in each of the past three games, making him a safer commodity than the other players projected for around 6X, who may struggle to see the floor.

Photo Credit: Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: James Harden

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