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. Golden State Warriors – $10,700 DraftKings, $10,000 FanDuel
Damian Lillard has the second-highest ceiling in our NBA Model on this nine-game slate. His salary remains at $10,000+ on both DraftKings and FanDuel. Having one of his better seasons in the league, Lillard is averaging a career-high 30.8 points per game while shooting 46.5% from the field. He has a 32.4% usage rate and has recorded a positive Plus/Minus on FanDuel in 13 of his last 16 games. Over that span, Lillard is averaging an absurd 36.9 points per game.
Playing against the Warriors usually brings out the best in Lillard, but unfortunately, Stephen Curry won’t be on the floor to go shot-for-shot with the All-Star. Lillard’s career-high 61 points came against the Warriors in 2020. He scored 34 points in their first meeting and is projected for another strong performance tonight. The Warriors lead the league in Pace (103.2) while allowing 118.2 points per game.
Prioritize Lillard on FanDuel, where he has a 97% Bargain Rating.
Underdog Fantasy currently has Lillard’s points prop set at 35.5, which is certainly intriguing.
Top Value: Gabe Vincent vs. Indiana Pacers – $4,300 DraftKings, $4,200 FanDuel
With Kyle Lowry and Victor Oladipo out for the Heat, Gabe Vincent will likely draw his seventh start of the season. In his previous six games when starting, Vincent is averaging 16.2 points per game while shooting 50.7% from the field. Vincent has the highest Projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings and the third-highest on FanDuel among all players. He is projected to play a little over 32 minutes making Vincent a strong value option on both sites.
The Heat are six-point home favorites against a Pacers team that has lost 12 of their last 14 games. Even with Tyrese Haliburton back in the lineup, the Heat have the clear advantage in this spot. The Pacers rank 22nd in defensive rating, fourth in pace, and are allowing the seventh-highest points with 116.9 per game. The Heat will be a great source of value for this slate, but everything starts with Vincent, who is point guard and shooting guard eligible on DraftKings and FanDuel.
Top Ceiling: Kyrie Irving at Los Angeles Clippers – $10,600 DraftKings, $9,800 FanDuel
No one knows what to expect from Kyrie Irving in his first game with the Mavericks, which makes him a strong tournament play. He feels overpriced on both DraftKings and FanDuel in this difficult matchup against the Clippers but will get the luxury of playing without Luka Doncic. Irving forced his way out of another team after averaging over 27 points, five rebounds, and five assists for the Nets. The talent is still there, and he’ll have all of the usage he can handle tonight.
The Mavericks are implied for only 106.25 points, which is the second-lowest total on the slate, as they are eight-point road underdogs. Expect a very slow-paced game as both the Mavericks and Clippers rank in the bottom six of Pace this season. Our NBA Model has Irving projected to play 36 minutes with a 33% usage rate.
Regardless of the matchup, Irving needs to have a strong performance to keep the Mavericks competitive in this spot without Doncic.
Top Value: Jordan Poole at Portland Trail Blazers – $7,100 DraftKings, $7,600 FanDuel
Not much of a salary saver, but Jordan Poole is one of the best values on the slate. Poole had his first double-double of the season last game, pouring in 21 points and dishing out 12 assists in only 29 minutes as the Warriors routed the Thunder. He has the highest Projected Plus/Minus at the shooting guard position on DraftKings, where he is projected to be one of the highest-owned players on the slate in this juicy matchup against the Trail Blazers.
Stephen Curry remains out for the Warriors, which provides a significant boost to Poole’s production. Using our On/Off Tool, Poole has a team-high +5.4% usage rate and a +2.2 DraftKings Plus/Minus in over 1,000 minutes with Curry off the floor this season. The Trail Blazers rank 27th in Defensive Rating (115.8) entering tonight’s games.
Points are going to be scored in bunches in this game. Poole looks fantastic at this mid-range salary on both DraftKings and FanDuel.
Top Ceiling: Kawhi Leonard vs. Dallas Mavericks – $9,700 DraftKings, $10,200 FanDuel
Silent superstar Kawhi Leonard has been very good as of late and always seems to come in under-owned. The Clippers have won eight of their last 10 games, and Leonard is a big reason why. During that stretch, Leonard is averaging 28.8 points per game and has shot 50% or better from the field in nine of his last 13 games. He had 33 points in his last matchup against the Mavericks while shooting 9 of 12 from the floor and a perfect 12-for-12 from the charity stripe.
Losing premier defender Dorian Finney-Smith has to hurt the Mavericks, who already rank 24th in Defensive Rating this season. Leonard and Paul George are one of the best duo’s in the league. Even though they cap each other’s ceiling, they each remain at a price tag worth getting exposure to in tournaments.
Less than 3% projected ownership on both DraftKings and FanDuel is absurd for how well Leonard has been playing recently.
Top Value: Caleb Martin vs. Indiana Pacers – $4,800 DraftKings, $4,800 FanDuel
Both Caleb Martin and Haywood Highsmith look like strong value plays at the small forward position. Martin has the more established playing time, so he will get the nod over Highsmith. During the last five games, Martin has a double-digit positive Plus/Minus on both sites in three of those games. Over that span, Martin is averaging 12.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. He has started all 44 games this season while averaging a career-high in points, rebounds, and assists.
Priced at $4,800 on both DraftKings and FanDuel, Martin has double-double upside at a small forward position that is tough to come by. The Pacers are allowing opponents to shoot 37.2% from behind the arc this season, which is tied for the third-highest in the league. Martin can get it cooking from the perimeter, even playing alongside high-usage players like Tyler Herro and Jimmy Butler.
Pay up a little more for Martin with his solidified playing time.
Top Ceiling: Jayson Tatum vs. Philadelphia 76ers – $11,200 DraftKings, $11,000 FanDuel
After a slow start last game, Jayson Tatum turned it on and captured yet another double-double with 34 points and 11 rebounds. Jaylen Brown was out and is probable to play tonight, but his name has been in a lot of trade talks once again, so make sure to monitor our news dashboard, as the trade deadline is tomorrow. Tatum looks like a strong pay-up option regardless if Brown plays or not in this epic Eastern Conference clash against the 76ers.
Tatum seems to thrive in big games, and tonight features a battle against two of the best teams in the league. In their last meeting, where the Celtics won 126-117, Tatum finished with 35 points and 12 rebounds while shooting 13 of 20 from the field. Similar to Leonard, Tatum is coming in with very low ownership due to this tough matchup against the 76ers.
However, getting a player averaging 30+ points and a career-high in rebounds seems worthy of a flier on this slate.
Top Value: Kelly Olynyk vs. Minnesota Timberwolves – $4,700 DraftKings, $4,900 FanDuel
Kelly Olynyk has put up back-to-back games with 23 and 24 DraftKings points, which makes him a great value play priced under $5,000 on both DraftKings and FanDuel. Jarred Vanderbilt is questionable with a back injury and has also been a name to watch in the trade market. If Vanderbilt is out, Olynyk will likely climb in ownership for both sites as his scoring and rebounding production increases without Vanderbilt on the floor.
Even with Rudy Gobert in the paint hauling down 11.4 rebounds per game, the Timberwolves rank 28th in Rebounding Percentage this season. They are also playing on a back-to-back where they got destroyed by the Nuggets while allowing 74 points in the paint. The Jazz are 5.5-point home favorites, with this total sitting at 236.5 points, which is the second-highest on the slate.
Olynyk has a chance to pull down a double-double in this spot.
Top Ceiling: Joel Embiid at Boston Celtics – $11,500 DraftKings, $11,500 FanDuel
Currently questionable, Joel Embiid has the highest ceiling in our NBA Model for this nine-game slate. Priced at $11,500 on both sites, he also is the most expensive option in this difficult matchup against the Celtics frontcourt that is allowing the seventh-fewest points in the paint with 48.1 per game. They are also a top 10 rebounding team, but it’s hard to stop one of the most dominating centers in the league, averaging a league and career-high 33.4 points per game.
In their previous matchup, Embiid had a huge double-double with 26 points, 15 rebounds and five assists, while shooting 50% from the field. Like Tatum, Embiid thrives in big games. He had 47 points, 18 rebounds and 87.5 DraftKings points against Nikola Jokic in their last meeting. The questionable tag seems to be precautionary as it is unlikely Embiid sits this game out. Hard to ignore this Embiid upside regardless of the tough matchup.
Top Value: Walker Kessler vs. Minnesota Timberwolves – $5,700 DraftKings, $7,200 FanDuel
Walker Kessler is another Jazz big man who would benefit if Jarred Vanderbilt was unable to play again. Kessler has played a team-high 1,104 minutes with Vanderbilt off the floor and has also increased his scoring and rebounding rate. Prioritize Kessler on DraftKings, where he is $1,500 cheaper and has a 99% Bargain Rating. His minutes are all over the place, but Kessler has shown a massive upside in this matchup, even with Rudy Gobert playing.
In three games against the Timberwolves, Kessler is averaging a double-double with 10.7 points and 11 rebounds per game while shooting 70% from the field. In their last matchup, Kessler went nuclear with 20 points and 21 rebounds in 31 minutes. Our NBA Model has Kessler projected for 28 minutes, but that can always ramp up depending on how he is playing.
It is tough to fit Kessler on FanDuel, but he feels like a priority on DraftKings tonight.
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