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 vs. San Antonio Spurs – $10,100 DraftKings, $10,200 FanDuel
The NBA starts the work week with a solid seven-game slate stuffed with significant star power. Portland is finishing off a back-to-back by hosting the Spurs in a great matchup, and as long as Lillard plays, he should be a great option. He brings the top ceiling projection at point guard on both DraftKings and FanDuel and ranks in the top four for the entire slate on both sites.
Lillard has performed above salary-based expectations on FanDuel in eight straight games with an average Plus/Minus of 10.5 FanDuel points over that span. He averaged 35.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 7.6 assists, and 0.9 steals over those eight contests with three double-doubles, including Sunday night against the Lakers. In that game, Dame dropped 49 DraftKings points and 45.2 FanDuel points on 24 points, 10 assists, and six rebounds in 40 minutes.
He has carried a heavy workload, and as long as he doesn’t get the night off, he should be in a great spot to succeed again. He and the Trail Blazers have the highest Pace Differential of any team on the slate, meaning they should have more possessions than usual. They also have the highest Implied Team Total, and the game has the second-highest over/under on the slate.
The Spurs also rank last in the NBA in Defensive Rating on the season and over their past 15 games, and San Antonio has been a terrific matchup for point guards all season.
Top Value: Derrick White at Orlando Magic – $5,400 DraftKings, $5,500 FanDuel
White has the highest Projected Plus/Minus at point guard on FanDuel and ranks third on the entire slate on that site. On DraftKings, he has the third-highest Projected Plus/Minus at point guard and the highest at shooting guard.
White is expected to play a much more significant role than usual since Marcus Smart (ankle) and Malcolm Brogdon (personal) have already been ruled out for this favorable matchup with the Magic. White started 19 of Boston’s past 20 games, and his usage rate climbs from 16.1% to 17.6% with Smart and Brogdon off the floor.
The Celtics have won nine straight after narrow wins over the Warriors and Raptors, although White struggled in both games, shooting just 4-of-18 from the floor with an average of just 12.6 DraftKings points. He was rolling before those two down games, though, with over 25 FanDuel points in three of his previous four. Last Monday, he had a great game with 19 points, eight assists, 33.6 FanDuel points, and 35.75 DraftKings points against the Hornets, and he brings a similar ceiling in his expanded role against the Magic.
Top Ceiling: Anthony Edwards at Houston Rockets – $9,300 DraftKings, $8,900 FanDuel
Edwards has been outstanding for Minnesota while Karl-Anthony Towns (calf) has been sidelined and has become a strong fantasy option every time he takes the floor. He has the third-highest ceiling projection on the entire slate at FanDuel and the fourth-highest on DraftKings. At shooting guard on both sites, he has the highest ceiling projection and is also among the leaders in Projected Plus/Minus since he has been putting up such great numbers lately that he still seems a little underpriced.
The Timberwolves should be in a good spot in Houston against the defensively-challenged Rockets. Only the Spurs have a worse Defensive Rating over their past 15 games, and Houston’s Defensive Rating is third-worst on the season. During those 15 games, the Rockets have gone a woeful 1-14 but have offered some flashes of fantasy value in addition to being a great matchup to attack.
Edwards enjoyed the matchup on Saturday, going off for 44 points, six rebounds, four assists, three steals, and three blocked shots to produce 70.2 FanDuel points and 71 DraftKings points. He has now exceeded salary-based expectations on FanDuel in five of his past six games while averaging 28.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 2.2 steals per game.
The No. 1 overall pick from the 2020 NBA Draft has shown his potential for greatness and should again be a great building block to use in your lineup on Monday.
Top Value: Collin Sexton vs. Charlotte Hornets – $4,400 DraftKings, $5,000 FanDuel
The Jazz should be a good source of value against the Hornets on Monday night. They have the third-highest Implied Team Total and should have no trouble putting up points. Sexton is one good place to look for value at shooting guard since he brings the third-highest Projected Plus/Minus at the position on DraftKings and the highest of any shooting guard at $5K or under on FanDuel.
Sexton missed five games to start 2023 with a hamstring issue but has played at least 22 minutes in each of his four games since returning. Over that stretch, he has averaged 16.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 2.3 assists for 23.1 DraftKings points.
His role as “instant offense” off the bench gives him opportunities to score points in bunches and should set him up well to return value on this slate, especially on DraftKings.
Top Ceiling: DeMar DeRozan vs. Atlanta Hawks – $8,900 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel
Apparently, a trip to France was enough for everyone to forget how good DeRozan is since his salary is very low for his first game back in the States as he leads the Bulls against the Hawks in a game that has the third-highest over/under on the slate.
DeRozan’s salary is particularly exploitable on FanDuel, where he has the highest Projected Plus/Minus on the entire slate. He also brings the fourth-highest ceiling projection at small forward and power forward on DraftKings. On FanDuel, he has the second-highest ceiling projection at shooting guard and the fourth-highest at small forward.
DeRozan missed three straight games before the trip with a quad strain but didn’t face any minutes restrictions in his return, playing 38 minutes against the Pistons and posting 26 points, nine rebounds, five assists, two steals, and a block for 48.3 FanDuel points.
Not counting the game in which he left with his injury, DeRozan has posted over 38 FanDuel points in five of his past six games. He also reached that level in each of his two games against the Hawks this season, finishing with 28 points, six rebounds, five assists, and 44.7 FanDuel points in their most recent contest after going off for 34 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists, and 60.6 FanDuel points in their meeting earlier in December.
Top Value: Kenyon Martin Jr. vs. Minnesota Timberwolves – $5,000 DraftKings, $5,300 FanDuel
Martin has been a good streaming option for much of the season, but he has emerged as a nightly option while the Rockets have been without Kevin Porter Jr. (foot) and Jabari Smith Jr. (ankle, questionable). He brings the highest Projected Plus/Minus at small forward and the second-highest at power forward on DraftKings. He also brings the fifth-highest Projected Plus/Minus at both positions on FanDuel.
The Rockets have given Martin five straight starts, and he has played over 30 minutes in each game. He started alongside Smith for the first four of those contests before Smith missed Saturday’s game against Minnesota. He has a higher ceiling if Smith stays out but is still an option to consider even if the rookie returns.
Martin has scored at least 11 points in five of his past seven games, averaging 14.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 29.7 minutes per contest. He hasn’t quite reached a double-double yet but has at least seven rebounds in four straight games, including two where he fell just one rebound short.
In the first game of this two-game set with the Wolves, he had 15 points, nine boards, 26.8 FanDuel points, and 28.25 DraftKings points in 30 minutes of action. Especially if Smith remains sidelined, Martin should again be a strong value play in a game that features plenty of points.
Top Ceiling: Jayson Tatum at Orlando Magic – $10,900 DraftKings, $11,100 FanDuel
Power Forward is where two of the biggest fantasy superstars overlap, and for this slate, the projections give Tatum a slight edge over Giannis Antetkounmpo as both return to action. Tatum rested on Saturday after his monster effort against the Warriors, but Giannis was sidelined longer, missing five games with a knee issue.
Both are strong plays as they bring the highest ceiling projections on the whole slate on both DraftKings and FanDuel. Still, Tatum’s ceiling, median, and floor projections are slightly higher, and he also costs less on both sites. It seems like an excellent place to play Tatum and give Antetkounmpo a chance to get his legs under him before getting back on board his train of elite production.
Tatum will likely have to carry more playmaking responsibility with Smart and Brogdon sidelined, so his scoring may be slightly down while his assists are up. When Smart and Brogdon are off the floor this season, Tatum’s usage has ticked down a bit, but his fantasy production increases from 1.4 DraftKings points per minute to 1.47 DraftKings points per minute.
In each of his last two games, Tatum was spectacular, posting 71.25 DraftKings points with a dazzling 51-point display against the Hornets last Monday and following that up with 72.75 DraftKings points in Thursday’s rematch with the Warriors. He needed 48 minutes to pile up 34 points, 19 rebounds, six assists, and three steals in that overtime victory, but he should be recovered from that herculean effort after getting Saturday off.
The Celtics dropped back-to-back games at TD Garden to the Magic earlier this season. Even though it could be a trap game with the Heat coming up on Tuesday, don’t expect Tatum and the C’s to let up as they try to avenge those earlier defeats.
Top Value: Keegan Murray vs. Memphis Grizzlies – $4,400 DraftKings, $5,300 FanDuel
Murray and the Kings host the Grizzlies in what should be a fascinating late game, and Murray is expected to outperform salary-based expectations, giving him the highest Projected Plus/Minus at power forward on DraftKings and the second-highest at the position on FanDuel.
While the No. 4 overall pick from last year’s draft has shown promise all season, he has found his stride over the past 10 games. He has exceeded salary-based expectations on both FanDuel and DraftKings in nine of those contests by averaging 27.2 DraftKings and 25.8 FanDuel points on 14.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in 31.7 minutes per game.
Murray showed off his ceiling with a massive 51 DraftKings points on 29 points and 14 rebounds in 37 minutes last Friday against the Thunder. While he probably won’t hit that ceiling with regularity, he does get enough work in his current role that he should be able to bring at least a solid return with the upside for a lot more in this matchup with Memphis.
Top Ceiling: Domantas Sabonis vs. Memphis Grizzlies – $10,600 DraftKings, $10,100 FanDuel
Another strong option from the Kings in this matchup is Sabonis, who brings the highest ceiling projection at center on FanDuel and second-highest on DraftKings behind only Giannis. The 26-year-old has had a tremendous first full season in Sacramento, averaging 18.8 points, 12.6 rebounds, and 48.25 DraftKings points in 34.4 minutes per game.
He struggled a little bit on Saturday on the second night of a back-to-back but had been on a very nice roll with over 50 DraftKings points in seven of his previous eight games. During those eight contests, he produced 19.8 points and 13.9 rebounds per game. One of those games was an impressive ceiling effort against the Rockets in which he added 16 assists to his 15 rebounds and 19 points for 73.25 DraftKings points.
This will be his fourth matchup with the Grizzlies this season, and he had 18 points, 14 boards, and 45 DraftKings points in their most recent meeting, which was on New Year’s Day in Memphis.
Top Value: Jalen Duren vs. Milwaukee Bucks – $4,500 DraftKings, $5,700 FanDuel
Duren has the highest projected Plus/Minus at center on DraftKings and the fourth-highest at the position on FanDuel, where he’s a little more priced up. Like the Bulls, Duren and the Pistons will be playing their first game since their trip to France, but they’ll have the tough task of hosting Giannis and the Bucks.
In France, Duren returned after a five-game absence due to an ankle injury. The rookie came off the bench but still managed an impressive 11 points, 12 rebounds, 33.9 FanDuel points, and 34 DraftKings points in just 18 minutes of action. He is expected to return to the starting lineup for this game since Isaiah Stewart (shoulder) will be sidelined by the same shoulder issue that cost him three games earlier this month.
Before his ankle injury, Duren had started 15 straight games for the Pistons. During that stretch, he averaged 9.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 28.7 minutes per game. He seemed to be finding a good rhythm toward the end of that run, with over 25 DraftKings points in five of his last seven games before the injury.
Especially on DraftKings, Duren is a great value play if he gets back into the starting lineup, but he’s worth a look on FanDuel if you don’t want to pay up for an elite center like Sabonis. Even though Duren is more expensive on FanDuel, he still brings the highest Projected Plus/Minus of any player under $6K, and no center cheaper than him comes with a higher ceiling projection.
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