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NBA DFS (Saturday, March 5): Top Model Picks and Value Plays for 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 tools 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 teams.

Note: Projections and Leverages Scores/Ratings may change throughout the day after this article is posted. Consult the Player Models directly for any updates.

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Point Guard

Top Ceiling: Dejounte Murray at Charlotte Hornets – $10,800 DraftKings, $9,600 FanDuel

The best game environment on the entire slate is this matchup with the Spurs and Hornets. The total is set at a slate-high 240.5 points with the Hornets as minimal home favorites. Both teams rank in the top four in Pace. The Hornets rank 22nd in Defensive Rating, allowing the third-most points in the league with 114.5 per game. They also allow the second-most rebounds and assists per game.

Dejounte Murray is a great ceiling option as he will be the best player on the floor. Murray is second to Nikola Jokic for most triple-doubles this season with 12. He has a great chance to build on that total tonight in this fantastic matchup. In 12 games without former teammate Derrick White, Murray has averaged a double-double with 26.1 points, 10 assists, and 8.6 rebounds per game. He has a 30% usage rate and has averaged 57.4 DraftKings points per game. Murray is a great pay-up option on this slate.


Top Value: Gabe Vincent vs. Philadelphia 76ers – $4,900 DraftKings, $4,900 FanDuel

This clash between the Heat and 76ers features the top two teams in the Eastern Conference. The Heat are one-point home favorites as this total is the lowest on the slate at 220.5 points. Kyle Lowry continues to sit due to personal reasons which will put Gabe Vincent into the starting lineup again tonight. In 22 starts this season, Vincent is averaging 13.1 points and 26.7 DraftKings points per game.

After scoring 40.8 DraftKings points against the Bucks, Vincent followed that up with only 10 points against the Nets. He has played 32 or more minutes in his last three games. Since James Harden has been in town the 76ers have increased their pace played from 95.1 to 98.9. Not a major bump, but a step in the right direction from a fantasy standpoint. The Heat have a ton of players questionable tonight, which could bump Vincent even more. Don’t be intimidated by his last game, the value is still very high.

Shooting Guard

Top Ceiling: James Harden at Miami Heat – $11,700 DraftKings, $10,400 FanDuel

Speaking of James Harden he has by far the highest ceiling of anyone at the shooting guard position. His salary has skyrocketed since joining the 76ers, but he has played very well with his new team. In four games with the 76ers, Harden is averaging 26.8 points, 12 assists, and 7.5 rebounds per game. During that time Harden is shooting 59.2% from the field and 50% from behind the arc.

Harden has also shown triple-double upside with the 76ers as he had one against the Knicks putting up an incredible 80 DraftKings points! He has taken notes from Joel Embiid who leads the league with 11.6 free throw attempts per game. Since joining the 76ers, Harden has 10.3 free throw attempts per game while making 90.2%. Where the Heat struggle the most is with their perimeter defense. They allow the third-most 3-point attempts and are tied for the fourth-most 3-point makes per game.


Top Value: Malik Beasley vs. Portland Trail Blazers – $3,200 DraftKings, $3,600 FanDuel

Priced barely above the minimum on both DraftKings and FanDuel is Timberwolves shooting guard Malik Beasley. He can get scorching hot from the perimeter as he has shown lately. Beasley has made six and five 3-pointers in his last two games. His value increases due to Anthony Edwards out of the lineup. In eight games without Edwards this season, Beasley is averaging 19.4 points while attempting 16.8 field goals per game. A remarkable 73.2% of those attempts have come from behind the arc.

The Trail Blazers have been a disaster ever since Jusuf Nurkic was injured and they traded away their entire roster. They rank 28th in Defensive Rating this season, allowing 112.7 points per game. The Trail Blazers also get torched from the perimeter as they allow the second-best 3-point percentage in the league at 37.1%. Beasley is way too cheap on both sites for this matchup.

Small Forward

Top Ceiling: LeBron James vs. Golden State Warriors – $10,200 DraftKings, $10,300 FanDuel

It is very difficult to put too much stake into the Lakers right now. They have lost seven of their last eight games as they are slowing falling in the Western Conference playoff picture. It feels like only a matter of time until they sit LeBron James for the season. Until they do, we need to move forward as if he is playing. It may be tough as James has failed to score 52 or more DraftKings points since the All-Star Break. However, he is still playing without Anthony Davis which increases his ceiling.

In 24 games without Davis this season, James is averaging 31.6 points and nine rebounds per game while shooting 52.8% from the field. This matchup against the Warriors is very difficult. They lead the league in Defensive Rating, allowing only 104.3 points per game. The Lakers are home underdogs in this spot, but James still has a ceiling. The big question is, can you trust it?

Top Value: CJ Elleby at Minnesota Timberwolves – $4,100 DraftKings, $3,900 FanDuel

Watching CJ Elleby play basketball can be tough on the eyes, but he still remains at a relatively cheap price on both sites and is playing a ton of minutes for the Trail Blazers. The injury situation for the Trail Blazers is insane. Josh Hart and Justice Winslow are just a few names at the forward position that will secure the playing time for Elleby tonight. Our Tournament Model has Elleby projected for 31 minutes making him the best value play at the small forward position for DraftKings.

The Trail Blazers have gotten blasted the past three games and are heavy road underdogs against the Timberwolves. Even in the most recent blowout to the Suns, Elleby still finished the game and played 35 minutes. He may be blowout proof again tonight with so many injuries. The Timberwolves play at the third-fastest pace in the league so that should help Elleby and his wild playing style.

Power Forward

Top Ceiling: Jimmy Butler vs. Philadelphia 76ers – $8,700 DraftKings, $8,200 FanDuel

Jimmy Butler is listed as questionable to play tonight, so monitor the news on his status before deploying him in this spot against his former team. Butler is coming off of arguably his worst game of the season last time out as he shot 2-14 and only had six points. This mid-range price tag on Butler still provides a lot of room for a ceiling, especially playing without Kyle Lowry. In 14 games without Lowry this season, Butler has increased his peripherals as he is averaging 19.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game.

The 76ers have allowed 126.5 points per game since the addition of James Harden. Butler can thrive in this type of game where the stakes are heightened. The ceiling hasn’t been there lately, but he does have four triple-doubles under his belt without Lowry on the floor. If for some reason Butler is out, load up on his teammate Bam Adebayo who would be in an exceptional spot.


Top Value: Drew Eubanks at Minnesota Timberwolves – $4,600 DraftKings, $3,900 FanDuel

Drew Eubanks is listed as power forward eligible on FanDuel, so we’ll keep him here. Eubanks has the highest projected Plus/Minus of anyone on the slate as he has had back-to-back promising games averaging 26.8 DraftKings points per game. Both games resulted in a massive blowout, but Eubanks was still able to record an average of +7.9 DraftKings Plus/Minus over that time.

The Jusuf Nurkic injury for the Trail Blazers has provided a significant boost to Eubanks. The playing time is secured and the upside at this price is tough to ignore. The Timberwolves have been solid defending the paint this season, but historically really struggle against opposing centers. Eubanks is another great Trail Blazers play in what should be a popular game environment to target.

Center

Top Ceiling: Karl-Anthony Towns vs. Portland Trail Blazers – $10,200 DraftKings, $9,300 FanDuel

The obvious choice here was Joel Embiid, but he has only averaged 53.8 DraftKings points since James Harden has joined the 76ers. Embiid also has the much tougher matchup against the Heat who allow the fewest number of points in the paint this season. Take the savings with Karl-Anthony Towns in this fantastic matchup against the Trail Blazers. Over the last three games, the Trail Blazers have lost by an average of 33 points as they have given up 125.3 points per game. Good luck stopping Towns.

Using our On/Off Tool, Towns has the highest usage bump on the Timberwolves with Anthony Edwards off the floor this season. He is averaging 27.9 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 50.1 DraftKings points per game in that scenario. The Timberwolves are implied for 123.5 points which is the second-highest on the slate. Towns has incredible upside in this matchup against a very weak Trail Blazers frontcourt.

Top Value: Mo Bamba at Minnesota Timberwolves – $5,300 DraftKings, $4,600 FanDuel

Center is loaded per usual, but Mo Bamba is standing out as one of the best options not only at center, but on the slate in general. The Magic will be playing yet again without fellow frontcourt player Wendell Carter Jr. who is out due to an illness. Using our On/Off Tool, Bamba has a team-high +3.3% usage rate and +7.7 DraftKings Plus/Minus with Carter Jr. not on the floor this season.

It has been surprising, but the Magic have actually won three of their last four games. They still have the worst record in the league, but they did beat the Raptors on the road last night. The Grizzlies present a much tougher matchup, but their fast pace allows for a great fantasy environment. Bamba continues to rank tied for fourth in the league with 1.8 blocks per game. The Grizzlies are tied for the league-high in allowing 6.3 blocks per game. Bamba has an incredibly high ceiling without Carter Jr. tonight.

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 tools 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 teams.

Note: Projections and Leverages Scores/Ratings may change throughout the day after this article is posted. Consult the Player Models directly for any updates.

Start Your PRO Trial Today

Lineup builder and optimizer

Real-time DFS models

Data-driven analysis & tutorials

Point Guard

Top Ceiling: Dejounte Murray at Charlotte Hornets – $10,800 DraftKings, $9,600 FanDuel

The best game environment on the entire slate is this matchup with the Spurs and Hornets. The total is set at a slate-high 240.5 points with the Hornets as minimal home favorites. Both teams rank in the top four in Pace. The Hornets rank 22nd in Defensive Rating, allowing the third-most points in the league with 114.5 per game. They also allow the second-most rebounds and assists per game.

Dejounte Murray is a great ceiling option as he will be the best player on the floor. Murray is second to Nikola Jokic for most triple-doubles this season with 12. He has a great chance to build on that total tonight in this fantastic matchup. In 12 games without former teammate Derrick White, Murray has averaged a double-double with 26.1 points, 10 assists, and 8.6 rebounds per game. He has a 30% usage rate and has averaged 57.4 DraftKings points per game. Murray is a great pay-up option on this slate.


Top Value: Gabe Vincent vs. Philadelphia 76ers – $4,900 DraftKings, $4,900 FanDuel

This clash between the Heat and 76ers features the top two teams in the Eastern Conference. The Heat are one-point home favorites as this total is the lowest on the slate at 220.5 points. Kyle Lowry continues to sit due to personal reasons which will put Gabe Vincent into the starting lineup again tonight. In 22 starts this season, Vincent is averaging 13.1 points and 26.7 DraftKings points per game.

After scoring 40.8 DraftKings points against the Bucks, Vincent followed that up with only 10 points against the Nets. He has played 32 or more minutes in his last three games. Since James Harden has been in town the 76ers have increased their pace played from 95.1 to 98.9. Not a major bump, but a step in the right direction from a fantasy standpoint. The Heat have a ton of players questionable tonight, which could bump Vincent even more. Don’t be intimidated by his last game, the value is still very high.

Shooting Guard

Top Ceiling: James Harden at Miami Heat – $11,700 DraftKings, $10,400 FanDuel

Speaking of James Harden he has by far the highest ceiling of anyone at the shooting guard position. His salary has skyrocketed since joining the 76ers, but he has played very well with his new team. In four games with the 76ers, Harden is averaging 26.8 points, 12 assists, and 7.5 rebounds per game. During that time Harden is shooting 59.2% from the field and 50% from behind the arc.

Harden has also shown triple-double upside with the 76ers as he had one against the Knicks putting up an incredible 80 DraftKings points! He has taken notes from Joel Embiid who leads the league with 11.6 free throw attempts per game. Since joining the 76ers, Harden has 10.3 free throw attempts per game while making 90.2%. Where the Heat struggle the most is with their perimeter defense. They allow the third-most 3-point attempts and are tied for the fourth-most 3-point makes per game.


Top Value: Malik Beasley vs. Portland Trail Blazers – $3,200 DraftKings, $3,600 FanDuel

Priced barely above the minimum on both DraftKings and FanDuel is Timberwolves shooting guard Malik Beasley. He can get scorching hot from the perimeter as he has shown lately. Beasley has made six and five 3-pointers in his last two games. His value increases due to Anthony Edwards out of the lineup. In eight games without Edwards this season, Beasley is averaging 19.4 points while attempting 16.8 field goals per game. A remarkable 73.2% of those attempts have come from behind the arc.

The Trail Blazers have been a disaster ever since Jusuf Nurkic was injured and they traded away their entire roster. They rank 28th in Defensive Rating this season, allowing 112.7 points per game. The Trail Blazers also get torched from the perimeter as they allow the second-best 3-point percentage in the league at 37.1%. Beasley is way too cheap on both sites for this matchup.

Small Forward

Top Ceiling: LeBron James vs. Golden State Warriors – $10,200 DraftKings, $10,300 FanDuel

It is very difficult to put too much stake into the Lakers right now. They have lost seven of their last eight games as they are slowing falling in the Western Conference playoff picture. It feels like only a matter of time until they sit LeBron James for the season. Until they do, we need to move forward as if he is playing. It may be tough as James has failed to score 52 or more DraftKings points since the All-Star Break. However, he is still playing without Anthony Davis which increases his ceiling.

In 24 games without Davis this season, James is averaging 31.6 points and nine rebounds per game while shooting 52.8% from the field. This matchup against the Warriors is very difficult. They lead the league in Defensive Rating, allowing only 104.3 points per game. The Lakers are home underdogs in this spot, but James still has a ceiling. The big question is, can you trust it?

Top Value: CJ Elleby at Minnesota Timberwolves – $4,100 DraftKings, $3,900 FanDuel

Watching CJ Elleby play basketball can be tough on the eyes, but he still remains at a relatively cheap price on both sites and is playing a ton of minutes for the Trail Blazers. The injury situation for the Trail Blazers is insane. Josh Hart and Justice Winslow are just a few names at the forward position that will secure the playing time for Elleby tonight. Our Tournament Model has Elleby projected for 31 minutes making him the best value play at the small forward position for DraftKings.

The Trail Blazers have gotten blasted the past three games and are heavy road underdogs against the Timberwolves. Even in the most recent blowout to the Suns, Elleby still finished the game and played 35 minutes. He may be blowout proof again tonight with so many injuries. The Timberwolves play at the third-fastest pace in the league so that should help Elleby and his wild playing style.

Power Forward

Top Ceiling: Jimmy Butler vs. Philadelphia 76ers – $8,700 DraftKings, $8,200 FanDuel

Jimmy Butler is listed as questionable to play tonight, so monitor the news on his status before deploying him in this spot against his former team. Butler is coming off of arguably his worst game of the season last time out as he shot 2-14 and only had six points. This mid-range price tag on Butler still provides a lot of room for a ceiling, especially playing without Kyle Lowry. In 14 games without Lowry this season, Butler has increased his peripherals as he is averaging 19.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game.

The 76ers have allowed 126.5 points per game since the addition of James Harden. Butler can thrive in this type of game where the stakes are heightened. The ceiling hasn’t been there lately, but he does have four triple-doubles under his belt without Lowry on the floor. If for some reason Butler is out, load up on his teammate Bam Adebayo who would be in an exceptional spot.


Top Value: Drew Eubanks at Minnesota Timberwolves – $4,600 DraftKings, $3,900 FanDuel

Drew Eubanks is listed as power forward eligible on FanDuel, so we’ll keep him here. Eubanks has the highest projected Plus/Minus of anyone on the slate as he has had back-to-back promising games averaging 26.8 DraftKings points per game. Both games resulted in a massive blowout, but Eubanks was still able to record an average of +7.9 DraftKings Plus/Minus over that time.

The Jusuf Nurkic injury for the Trail Blazers has provided a significant boost to Eubanks. The playing time is secured and the upside at this price is tough to ignore. The Timberwolves have been solid defending the paint this season, but historically really struggle against opposing centers. Eubanks is another great Trail Blazers play in what should be a popular game environment to target.

Center

Top Ceiling: Karl-Anthony Towns vs. Portland Trail Blazers – $10,200 DraftKings, $9,300 FanDuel

The obvious choice here was Joel Embiid, but he has only averaged 53.8 DraftKings points since James Harden has joined the 76ers. Embiid also has the much tougher matchup against the Heat who allow the fewest number of points in the paint this season. Take the savings with Karl-Anthony Towns in this fantastic matchup against the Trail Blazers. Over the last three games, the Trail Blazers have lost by an average of 33 points as they have given up 125.3 points per game. Good luck stopping Towns.

Using our On/Off Tool, Towns has the highest usage bump on the Timberwolves with Anthony Edwards off the floor this season. He is averaging 27.9 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 50.1 DraftKings points per game in that scenario. The Timberwolves are implied for 123.5 points which is the second-highest on the slate. Towns has incredible upside in this matchup against a very weak Trail Blazers frontcourt.

Top Value: Mo Bamba at Minnesota Timberwolves – $5,300 DraftKings, $4,600 FanDuel

Center is loaded per usual, but Mo Bamba is standing out as one of the best options not only at center, but on the slate in general. The Magic will be playing yet again without fellow frontcourt player Wendell Carter Jr. who is out due to an illness. Using our On/Off Tool, Bamba has a team-high +3.3% usage rate and +7.7 DraftKings Plus/Minus with Carter Jr. not on the floor this season.

It has been surprising, but the Magic have actually won three of their last four games. They still have the worst record in the league, but they did beat the Raptors on the road last night. The Grizzlies present a much tougher matchup, but their fast pace allows for a great fantasy environment. Bamba continues to rank tied for fourth in the league with 1.8 blocks per game. The Grizzlies are tied for the league-high in allowing 6.3 blocks per game. Bamba has an incredibly high ceiling without Carter Jr. tonight.