NBA DFS (Saturday, Jan. 22): Top Model Picks and Value Plays on DraftKings and FanDuel
NBA Player templates are the cornerstone of our NBA product. They house our projections for every player, but that’s just the beginning of what you’ll find inside. You’ll also find our Trends tool and more.
Let’s dive into our patterns, position by position, looking at the guys with some of the highest ceiling projections, as well as the players that stand out as values with our predictive projected over/under metric.
Also, remember that for large field tournaments you can use our Lineup Optimizer to effortlessly create up to 150 lineups, or use our Lineup Builder if you like to create your teams by hand.
Note: Leverage projections and scores/ratings may change throughout the day after the publication of this article. Check player models directly for any updates.
Upper Cap: Darius Garland vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – $9,000 DraftKings, $8,600 FanDuel
The emergence of Darius Garland in its second season. play without Collin Sexton really got Garland to his ceiling. Sexton is done for the season with an injury. In 31 games without SextonGarland increased his score by +5.6 points and his usage rate by +5.7 per game.
The Cavaliers are 12-point home favorites against the Thunder, who have lost nine of their last 10 games. Despite the 14-30 record, the Thunder rank 13th in defensive ratings and have only allowed opponents to shoot 44.5% from the field, which ranks 10th in the league. However, Garland has really taken off lately. In his last six games, he’s averaging 20.7 points, 12.7 assists and 50.3 DraftKings points per game.
Best value: Cameron Payne vs. Indiana Pacers – $4,600 DraftKings, $4,100 FanDuel
The value guard that jumps the most on FanDuel is Cameron Payne, with the Suns sitting 12-point home favorites against the Pacers, who could be without most of their starting lineup tonight. Payne leads all leaders on FanDuel in over/under throw. Payne has been very productive off the bench lately, averaging 13.5 points while shooting 53.7% from the field and 42.9% from behind the arc.
Every time the Suns are projected as double-digit favorites, the status of Chris Paul is still in question as the veteran playmaker can take a day off. With or without Paul in the lineup, the Suns should roll in this game. The Pacers rank 21st in defensive rating and have allowed opponents to shoot 46.5% from the field, which ranks 21st in the league. Payne has the advantage if Paul sits and/or this play blows up.
Upper Cap: Devin Booker vs. Indiana Pacers – $8,900 DraftKings, $9,200 FanDuel
Sticking with the Suns is the shooter with the highest ceiling on the slate Devin Booker. He’ll randomly have a game where he just decides it’s his night. It happened two games ago against Spurs. Booker scored 48 points shooting 18 of 33 from the field and 5 of 13 from downtown. He had 71.75 DraftKings points and a 46.2% usage rate.
I can’t expect this result every game, but we know Booker has this type of play in his arsenal. Booker is a very streaky player, and he’s been on fire lately. Over the past four games, Booker has averaged 35.3 points while attempting 25.3 field goal attempts per game. During this period, it averaged a utilization rate of 37.9%. If Booker keeps that aggressive mindset, he’s in for a monster game tonight.
Best Value: Aaron Wiggins at Cleveland Cavaliers – $3,700 DraftKings, $4,300 FanDuel
Targeting a player on the Thunder with an implied total of just 98.5 points against one of the best defensive teams in the league isn’t ideal, but Aaron Wiggins deserves consideration at this price. Wiggins has had a Positive Over/Under on DraftKings in 10 of his last 14 games. The rookie is a recent debut and has averaged 31 minutes per game in his last three games.
The Cavaliers rank third in defensive rating and points allowed, as they have given up an average of just 102.8 points per game. The Thunder will struggle as a 12-point road underdog, but Wiggins provides a way to pay for the only true stallion on the slate. He had over 20 points a few times during that recent 14-game streak. Wiggins is a sneaky piece who could excel despite the tough game.
Upper cap: Khris Middleton vs. Sacramento Kings – $8,700 DraftKings, $8,700 FanDuel
One of the most consistent players in the league recently has been the Bucks forward Kris Middleton. He has produced a positive/less positive in nine consecutive games on FanDuel. During that time, he only had one game where he failed to reach 40 FanDuel points. Middleton isn’t Giannis, but he’s a cheaper way to get exposure to that Bucks team playing in the game with the highest total at 233.5 points.
Middleton fills the stat sheet in many categories, but scoring is what he does best. Over that nine-game streak, Middleton is averaging 23.9 points while attempting 16.3 field goals per game. He only had two games during that span where he failed to score 20 or more points and two games where he failed to shoot under 15 field goals. He should have no problem filling it against the Kings, who rank 27th in defensive ratings and allow opponents to shoot 46.9% from the field, which ranks third in the league.
Best Value: Chris Duarte at Phoenix Suns – $5,200 DraftKings, $6,700 FanDuel
It’s a game of anticipation like the Pacers could be without Malcolm Brogdon and Caris The Green for the second game in a row. In the Pacers’ last game without Brogdon and LeVert, Chris Duarte led them to an upset win over the Warriors on the road. He had 27 points shooting 10 for 16 from the field and added seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. It was the second time in his last three games that Duarte had scored more than 47 DraftKings points. Watch the status of Brogdon and LeVert tonight.
Duarte may be hard to reach on FanDuel regardless of the Pacers’ injuries, but on DraftKings he has a 97% deal rating. Even if one or both of Brogdon and LeVert play, Duarte makes for a solid value play on DraftKings. It’s a game very similar to the Warriors’ last game. The Suns rank second in defensive rating and sixth in pace. Can the Pacers shock the NBA world again with an upset victory? Duarte will be involved in some way and will likely play even if this game gets out of control.
Upper Cap: Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. Sacramento Kings – $12,100 DraftKings, $11,400 FanDuel
Giannis Antetokounmpo is in a class of its own in this three-game roster. He is the only player priced above $10,000 on both sites tonight. This slate honestly comes down to play or kill Giannis. Our model, unsurprisingly, has Giannis with the tallest ceiling in slate. Over the past seven games, Giannis has thrived, averaging 31.3 points, 10.9 rebounds and 58.9 DraftKings points per game.
This game is incredible for Giannis in particular. The kings authorized a league record 52.6 points per game in the paint this season. Painting is where Giannis lives. He’s averaging 15.4 points per game in the paint, which is tied with Nikola Jokic for the top of the league. The Bucks have the highest implied total at 120.75 points, and Giannis will dominate in the paint even more than normal tonight.
Best Value: Richaun Holmes at Milwaukee Bucks – $4,600 DraftKings, $5,500 FanDuel
Richaun Holmes has power forward and center eligibility on FanDuel, but only center eligibility on DraftKings tonight. He has the highest projected over/under on DraftKings, but there are a ton of great value center options. After missing eight games through injury, Holmes is finally back and his minutes are starting to pile up. He played 28 minutes in his last game and had 10 points, three rebounds and four blocks.
This price, especially on DraftKings, is just too cheap for the upside Holmes can provide. They’re 10-point road underdogs, but even with 10 points, that’s the closest gap on the slate. The playing environment should be fast as the Kings and Bucks are both in the Pace top eight.
Note: Richaun Holmes is only eligible for C on DraftKings.
Upper cap: Jarrett Allen vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – $7,600 DraftKings, $7,600 FanDuel
Trivial Question – Who leads the league in paint dabs this season? I can’t imagine many people responding with Jarrett Allen. Surprisingly, Allen leads the league with 12.4 dabs of paint per game. This undersized Thunder frontcourt is ready for an uphill battle against Allen and Evan Mobley. Deciding between the two is tough, but Allen has the higher ceiling in our pattern tonight.
FanDuel is a better place to line up Mobley as it has a trading rating of 95%. For the season, Allen has been more consistent between the two as he averages a double-double with 16.3 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. He has a distinct rebounding advantage in this game, as the Thunder are allowing a record 48.6 rebounds per game. The Thunder also allow their opponents to average 6.2 blocks per game, which is the second highest in the league. Allen will dominate the paint.
Best value for money: Goga Bitadze at Phoenix Suns – $4,300 DraftKings, $6,000 FanDuel
The central value on this slate is loaded again. JaVale McGee jump with Deandre Ayton released, but it’s been a little disappointing lately. Goga Bitadze is the value play that really can’t be ignored, as the Pacers will be without Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner. Bitadze started the final game in the Pacers’ upset win over the Warriors and played 31 minutes before being sent off in the fourth quarter. He finished with 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Bitadze was also on pace to play more minutes.
Without Ayton, Bitadze will go to work against McGee and Bismack Biyombo for most of the night. The Suns don’t struggle in many areas defensively, but they are below par bouncing the ball. The Suns rank 22nd in rebounds allowed as they give up 45.5 per game. Bitadze will play enough minutes where he can flirt with a double-double despite the tough all-around match.