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.
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. Denver Nuggets – $9,500 DraftKings, $8,800 FanDuel
Lillard is coming off back-to-back 41-point performances and has carried the Blazers to a 3-0 start out of the gate. He only needed 34 minutes to drop 52.25 DKFP against the Lakers on Sunday, highlighted by a pivotal three-pointer to give his team the lead late. The 33-year-old has averaged 1.31 DraftKings points per minute and 49.5 DraftKings points per game over his first three contests of the season by making 47.1 percent of his shot attempts and 36.4 of his three-point attempts.
After being sidelined most of last season, Lillard is quickly reestablishing himself as one of the elite guards in the NBA, and he comes at a solid salary on this slate, especially on FanDuel. He has stepped right back in as the focal point of Portland’s offense, with a 36.0% usage rate over the first three games and exactly 25 shot attempts in each of his past two contests.
He’ll be in a good matchup against the Nuggets, who have given up big games to PGs this season. The matchup also gives Lillard the second-highest pace differential on the board, meaning it’s a spot he should get more possessions than usual. Lillard matches 10 Pro Trends on DraftKings and 11 Pro Trends on FanDuel, more than any other PG on either site.
Top Value: Tre Jones at Minnesota Timberwolves – $5,000 DraftKings, $5,400 FanDuel
Jones continues to present good value as he takes over at PG for the Spurs this season. On this slate, he has the highest ceiling of any PG under $6K on both DraftKings and FanDuel. On DraftKings, he also has the highest projected Plus/Minus at the position.
His minutes per game have just about doubled since last season, and he has averaged 27.83 DKFP per contest on 16.3 points, 3.3 assists, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game. As long as he remains so cheap and in such an important role for the Spurs, Jones will continue to be a regular in this top PG value slot.
Top Ceiling: Jalen Green vs. Utah Jazz – $6,300 DraftKings, $6,300 FanDuel
While James Harden always deserves consideration as a high-ceiling SG, Green gets my pick here since he comes at an incredibly affordable salary for the upside he brings. Harden is the only player with a higher ceiling projection, but Green owns the ninth-highest salary at SG on DraftKings and the 14th-most expensive price tag on FanDuel. Green is in the matchup with the highest over/under on the day in what should be a fantasy explosion between the Rockets and the Jazz. Getting exposure to this contest will be critical, and Green has shown he can go off with monster games already this season.
The No. 2 overall pick from the 2021 draft has started his second season with averages of 23.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.0 steals for 35.98 DKFP in 33 minutes per game. He has averaged 20 shots attempts per game and led the team in scoring in each of the past two games, but there’s still room for improvement if he returns to last year’s shooting percentages. Green has too high a ceiling to pass on at this midrange salary point and leaves you plenty of salary cap room to target other stars.
Top Value: Devin Vassell at Minnesota Timberwolves – $5,400 DraftKings, $5,800 FanDuel
At some point this season, the Spurs’ salaries should adjust to their new usage levels following Dejounte Murray’s departure. However, we still haven’t reached that point, especially in this matchup against the Timberwolves. No opponent has been more generous to opposing SG this season than the Timberwolves, so Vassell should be set up for more success.
He comes in with the highest Projected Plus/Minus at the position on DraftKings and the highest ceiling of any SG under $6K on both DraftKings and FanDuel.
After a mediocre season opener, Vassell posted 41.25 and 35.0 DraftKings points in the Spurs’ road wins over the Pacers and 76ers. He averaged 22.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.5 steals in those two games, and his 22.6% usage rate should continue to give him the opportunities to return significant value.
Top Ceiling: Jayson Tatum at Chicago Bulls – $9,900 DraftKings, $10,500 FanDuel
There are two elite SF/PF plays on this slate, but I’m giving Tatum a slight edge over Kevin Durant due to Tatum’s strong start to the season. Their projections are almost identical, with Tatum in line for slightly more projected usage. He also has outproduced Durant by 0.10 DraftKings points per minute in their games so far this year and gets a slightly better matchup against the Bulls, who rank in the top third of the league in fantasy points allowed to SF in all formats.
Tatum’s numbers are up across the board in his first three games this season, as he has averaged 34.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.7 blocked shots, all of which would be career bests. His extra work on the defensive end this offseason is paying off, and he will be even more valuable if blocks and steals become a nighly contribution. He also has the highest PER by a wide margin at an impressive 34.52 so far this season.
He is projected for the highest usage rate, median projection, and ceiling projection of any SF on this slate.
Top Value: Kenyon Martin Jr. vs. Utah Jazz – $4,100 DraftKings, $4,200 FanDuel
Martin is a very affordable way to get exposure to the Rockets-Jazz game and comes with a very high ceiling at a price barely over $4K. With Bruno Fernando (knee) and Jae’Sean Tate (ankle) already ruled out for Monday’s contest, Martin should get an extended run once again. With those two players sidelined, Martin started on Saturday and produced 23.75 DKFP in 29 minutes on 14 points, five rebounds, and two assists.
While he isn’t a usage hog when on the floor, he typically finds ways to contribute and should fit in nicely in the expected up-tempo flow of this game. He has outperformed his salary expectations by over 5.0 DraftKings points in his past two contests and should be set up to do the same again.
Top Ceiling: Lauri Markkanen at Houston Rockets – $6,400 DraftKings, $7,600 FanDuel
The Jazz have started the season surprisingly hot, going 3-0 by knocking off the Nuggets, Timberwolves, and Pelicans, who are all expected to be playoff teams. Now they’ll finish off a back-to-back with a trip to Houston. Markkanen has been one of their reasons for success, posting solid double-doubles with over 50 DraftKings points in the past two games. He had a season-high 31 points on Sunday while hitting 9-of-17 shots from the field against the Pelicans.
Markkanen jumps off the page, especially at such a reasonable salary on DraftKings. He has the second-highest Rating, the second-highest median projection, and the second-highest ceiling projection of any PF under $7K on the slate, as well as the second-highest projected Plus/Minus of any PF on DraftKings.You have to pay a little more for him on FanDuel, but he still comes with a positive projected Plus/Minus and a Rating just outside the top 10 at the position.
Top Value: Isaiah Jackson vs. Philadelphia 76ers – $4,500 DraftKings, $4,600 FanDuel
Jackson made his much-anticipated move into the starting lineup on Saturday and saw his minutes bump from 15 to 22. He did battle some foul trouble, which will always be his risk factor, but he also delivered five blocks to go with five rebounds, eight points, and an assist for 25.75 DraftKings.
Looking under $5K at PF on this slate, Jackson has the highest ceiling in that group on DraftKings and the third-highest Rating on FanDuel. He also has the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus in that tier on DraftKings and the fifth-highest on FanDuel.
Top Ceiling: Joel Embiid vs. Indiana Pacers – $10,500 DraftKings, $10,300 FanDuel
While I think Jackson is an excellent value play, this matchup is ideal for Embiid, who is in a smash spot at home against Indiana. No player on the entire slate is projected for a higher ceiling or has a higher rating on both DraftKings and FanDuel. His projections are so high that he has the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel and the ninth-highest on DraftKings. That normally points to players who are very under-priced, which showcases just how high his ceiling is in this matchup.
Embiid has averaged 27 points, 13.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists,1.3 blocks, and 52.3 DraftKings points in his first three games of the season, and he’ll be focused on doing whatever it takes to get Philly in the win column in this contest. There are several elite players at center tonight, and going with a twin-towers pay-up lineup makes sense. If you do though, Embiid has to be considered the top option due to his unmatched ceiling.
Top Value: Kelly Olynyk at Houston Rockets – $5,200 DraftKings, $4,800 FanDuel
The only player above Embiid in projected Plus/Minus on both FanDuel and DraftKings is Olynyk, who has been outstanding in his expanded role in Utah in the early going. After being hampered by foul trouble against the Nuggets on opening night, Olynk dropped 21 points and 39.75 DraftKings points against the Timberwolves, followed by 20 points and 33.75 fantasy points against the Pelicans. He has always been a strong contributor in non-scoring stats as well, and his usage should allow him to keep producing in this matchup against his former team.
Olynyk’s +12.07 Projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel is more than twice as high as any other player on the slate, and his Rating puts him in the top 10 at a stacked position. On DraftKings, he’s also owns a top-10 Rating while bringing a slate-leading +7.09 Projected Plus/Minus.
Whether you’re into the revenge narrative or not, Kelly O is ready to go and should be a great value play at either PF or C to fill in your rosters Monday.
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