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 for NBA DFS on Saturday, Mar. 26, 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 Leverages Scores/Ratings may change throughout the day after this article is posted. Consult the Player Models directly for any updates.
Top Ceiling: Darius Garland vs. Chicago Bulls – $10,200 DraftKings, $9,400 FanDuel
Despite losing back-to-back games, the Cavaliers remain sixth in the Eastern Conference in large part due to the play of Darius Garland. The salary continues to skyrocket, but his play has been remarkable since returning from injury. In the month of March, Garland is averaging 25.7 points and 11.3 assists while playing 39.6 minutes per game. He has nine double-doubles in 12 games.
In those 12 games, Garland has recorded a positive Plus/Minus in 10 of them. This game against the Bulls features the second-lowest total on the slate. Even with their 42-31 record, the Bulls rank 21st in Defensive Rating this season. Garland still remains too cheap on FanDuel where he has a 94% Bargain Rating. He is a great way to get a different at the top of the pricing tier.
Top Value: Tyus Jones vs. Milwaukee Bucks – $5,100 DraftKings, $5,300 FanDuel
We know the deal by now. With Ja Morant out, play Tyus Jones. It is as simple as that. Jones has started in four of the Grizzlies last five games. During those starts, he is averaging 12 points, 8.3 assists, and 30.2 DraftKings points per game. The best part is this game is projected to be close. Jones lost several minutes as the Grizzlies have won those four games by an average of 24.8 points.
The salary on Jones seems a little too cheap despite playing against the Bucks defense. Jones will be so heavily involved as this game has the highest total on the entire slate at 233.5 points. The Grizzlies are still two-point home favorites without Morant. If you need a larger sample size, Jones is averaging 28.6 DraftKings points per game in 18 games without Morant this season.
Top Ceiling: Kyrie Irving at Miami Heat – $10,900 DraftKings, $10,600 FanDuel
Even though his last four games have been sporadic, Kyrie Irving has been electric during that time. The Nets have gone 3-1 over that stretch with Irving averaging 43.8 points and 65.6 DraftKings points per game while shooting 60.1% from the field and 60.9% from behind the arc. Irving has made an absurd seven 3-pointers per game with a 34.1% usage rate. He has been incredible.
The best part is Irving will be able to play home games now moving forward! However, tonight the Nets have a tough test on the road against the Heat. The Nets are getting a little bit healthier with Seth Curry and Goran Dragic able to play, but Irving has been playing so well, he is impossible to ignore. Don’t be intimidated that the salary has come up, it is very much deserving.
Top Value: RJ Hampton vs. Sacramento Kings– $4,200 DraftKings, $4,100 FanDuel
RJ Hampton can be a difficult player to roster at times. He plays several minutes per game, but he hasn’t had a game where he had a 20% usage rate or higher since the start of March. Having Jalen Suggs out will help Hampton. He has recorded back-to-back games scoring over 20 DraftKings points. He may be the best salary saver on a slate filled with high-priced options.
This Magic and Kings game having the lowest total on the slate at 221.5 points seems a little off. Both teams rank in the top 10 of Pace this season. The Kings are also terrible defensively where they rank 28th in Defensive Rating, allowing 115.8 points per game, which is the most on the slate by far. Two bad teams playing against each other normally creates fantasy goodness.
Top Ceiling: Kevin Durant at Miami Heat – $11,600 DraftKings, $10,900 FanDuel
Another ceiling player from the Nets that we can get to tonight is Kevin Durant. He is priced a little more than Irving, but he has played great in his last three games. During that time, Durant is averaging 36.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game while shooting 50% from the field. He also recorded a 36.1% usage rate while playing 38.7 minutes per game over that stretch.
Deciding between Durant and Irving is difficult, especially in this matchup against the Heat. They allow the fourth-most 3-point attempts per game which may lead to more exposure to Irving than Durant given how well he is shooting it from distance. However, Durant is one of the best pure scorers this league has ever seen, so he is matchup-proof. It’s a toss up between Durant and Irving.
Top Value: Will Barton vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – $5,300 DraftKings, $4,800 FanDuel
The Nuggets are such a weird team to look at from a fantasy perspective. It is literally Nikola Jokic and then a massive drop off to their next player. However, that big decrease in pricing provides some value, especially in this spot against the Thunder. Will Barton is listed as small forward eligible on FanDuel where he is coming in as a great value play in our Tournament Model.
The largest spread of the entire slate is the Nuggets by 15-points at home over the Thunder. They are implied for a slate-high 122.5 points, but it is hard to envision this game staying close. The Thunder won their last game, but lost their previous 10 in a row. Their Defensive Rating has been downhill ever since the All-Star Break. Great spot to get cheap exposure to a high total.
Top Ceiling: Giannis Antetokounmpo at Memphis Grizzlies – $11,800 DraftKings, $11,400 FanDuel
The biggest news on this slate is the status of Giannis Antetokounmpo. He along with his teammates Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton have been in and out of the Bucks lineup for about a week now. Holiday has already been ruled out, while Giannis is questionable and Middleton is probable. Monitor the news on Giannis obviously, but this is a great spot for him against the Grizzlies.
The Bucks are slight road underdogs, but there is no Morant and this total is the highest on the slate. The Grizzlies have been solid defensively, especially with Steven Adams planting his flag in the middle of the paint. Over the last 11 games he has played since the All-Star Break, Giannis has one game where he scored under 52 DraftKings points. He is as consistent as they come.
Top Value: Kevin Love vs. Chicago Bulls – $5,100 DraftKings, $4,600 FanDuel
Certainly did not expect Kevin Love to be leading the way on both DraftKings and FanDuel with the highest projected Plus/Minus tonight. Using our On/Off Tool, Love has the second-highest usage rate and has played the second-most minutes with Jarrett Allen and Collin Sexton off the floor this season. He has scored over 30 DraftKings points in three of his last four games.
After previously speaking to the Bulls defense, they also allow the seventh-most points in the paint this season with 49.5 per game. Both Love and Evan Mobley are so versatile, they will attack the best possible matchup in the interior. If Love gets any of the Bulls power forwards and not Nikola Vucevic guarding him, look for a huge night. The salary is way too cheap for how he is playing lately.
Top Ceiling: Nikola Jokic vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – $12,000 DraftKings, $11,600 FanDuel
Nikola Jokic is yet another pay-up option that we have at our disposal tonight. Normally this is a spot to absolutely hammer Jokic as the Nuggets are 15-point home favorites. Hard to see the Thunder keeping this game close, but if they do Jokic exposure will be necessary. He is the highest-priced player on DraftKings and FanDuel tonight, so naturally his ceiling is very high.
This is preached often whenever Jokic is on the slate, but he provides the biggest upside compared to anyone else in the league. The only player who recorded a game over 90 DraftKings points was Jokic who did it twice. He continues to lead the league with a ridiculous 1.83 DraftKings points per minute If the Thunder keep it close, we could see another massive Jokic performance.
Top Value: Andre Drummond at Miami Heat – $5,800 DraftKings, $5,500 FanDuel
Besides Love, one of the best values on both DraftKings and FanDuel is Andre Drummond. With the Nets getting healthier, that may move Drummond’s playing time around a little more than usual, but he will need to play several minutes against Bam Adebayo for the Heat. Our model has Drummond projected for 25 minutes, but he is averaging 1.28 DraftKings points per minutes this season.
This matchup is way worse for Drummond than the other Nets players as the Heat allow a league-best 40.8 points in the paint this season. They are also an extremely good rebounding team. However, the matchup feels baked into the salary for Drummond tonight as he is quite cheap on both sites. Regardless of the matchup, the upside Drummond has every slate is massive.
Pictured Above: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets
Photo Credit: Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images