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. New Orleans Pelicans – $11,900 DraftKings, $11,000 FanDuel
It was safe to say that after attempting 38 field goal attempts and 14 free throws on Sunday, Damian Lillard snapped back to reality with a relatively poor performance of only 25 points. The Trail Blazers were up by double-digits before getting outscored 75-40 in the second half on their way to losing by 18 points to the Warriors. This is the second leg of a back-to-back and their third game in four nights, but still, no one tops Lillard’s ceiling at this moment.
Playing without Anfernee Simons, Jusuf Nurkic, and Josh Hart (traded), Lillard has seen his production catapult into insane numbers. With those three players off the floor this season, Lillard has a team-high +11.7% usage rate and a +20.2 DraftKings Plus/Minus. Lillard’s salary has shot way up on both DraftKings and FanDuel, but his ceiling is impossible to ignore, especially averaging 33.9 points per game with much better shooting percentages when playing at home.
Top Value: Dennis Schroder at Oklahoma City Thunder – $5,400 DraftKings, $5,900 FanDuel
Leading the way with the highest Projected Plus/Minus at the point guard position on both DraftKings and FanDuel is Lakers point guard Dennis Schroder. The Lakers are playing without LeBron James, Anthony Davis and newly acquired D’Angelo Russell paving the way for extra usage and production for Schroder. Last night Schroder recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists.
The Lakers are one-point road favorites against the Thunder, who will continue to be without All-Star point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. It is going to be difficult to get away from all of the Lakers value on this nine-game slate. Schroder is projected to be the highest-owned player on DraftKings and FanDuel. At his cheap salary, Schroder is easy to fit into all lineup builds and is projected to play around 33 minutes as the Lakers’ primary ball handler.
Top Ceiling: Terry Rozier vs. Phoenix Suns – $7,200 DraftKings, $8,200 FanDuel
The Hornets have won five-straight games but are double-digit home underdogs tonight against the Suns, who will get their first look at a Kevin Durant lineup as the superstar is making his debut. Unfortunately, the Hornets will be without LaMelo Ball for the rest of the season due to a broken ankle. Terry Rozier is the clear beneficiary of Ball’s absence as he has a +3.7% usage rate and a +2.9 DraftKings Plus/Minus with Ball off the floor in a team-high 1,035 minutes.
Without Ball, Rozier is averaging over 40 DraftKings points per game as his scoring, rebounding, and assist numbers all increase. He has 11 Pro Trends on FanDuel and nine on DraftKings, which is the second-highest on both sites. At this mid-range salary, Rozier is going to be one of the best plays on the slate. Averaging a career-high 21.4 points and 4.8 assists per game, prioritize Rozier on DraftKings, where he has a 94% Bargain Rating.
Top Value: Malik Beasley at Oklahoma City Thunder – $4,500 DraftKings, $5,300 FanDuel
Another Lakers value guard that looks promising in this spot is sharpshooter Malik Beasley. He has recorded a positive Plus/Minus in four of his six games with the Lakers, as he can fill it up from the perimeter. Not only can Beasley score, but he has also accumulated 1.8 steals per game with his new team in only 25.5 minutes a night. $4,500 on DraftKings is simply too cheap for a player projected to play over 33 minutes in a great game environment.
This is another great matchup for Beasley to get it cooking from downtown. The Thunder have allowed 12.8 3-pointers made per game, which is tied for the seventh-most in the league. Over 70% of Beasley’s field goal attempts with the Lakers and the Jazz this season have come from behind the arc. He has the highest projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings, where he is best suited due to the 3-point bonus. Beasley can be played alongside Schroder as well.
Top Ceiling: Jayson Tatum vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – $10,600 DraftKings, $10,700 FanDuel
After back-to-back poor performances, Jayson Tatum has seen his salary dip back under $11,000, making him much more in play despite a difficult matchup against the Cavaliers. Jaylen Brown is back after missing the last game, but Tatum still has the highest ceiling among all small forwards on this slate. He has the ability to perform against anyone and is averaging 29 points and 9.5 rebounds per game against the Cavaliers this season in his two games.
The Cavaliers rank third in defensive rating and last in pace. This matchup has the second-lowest total on the slate at 218.5 points, as the Celtics are five-point home favorites. Tatum is averaging nearly three more points per game at home than on the road this season while shooting 47.1% from the field compared to 44.8% on the road. Ownership in this game, in general, will be extremely low, making Tatum a great contrarian pay-up option.
Top Value: Gordan Hayward vs. Phoenix Suns – $6,400 DraftKings, $6,700 FanDuel
Gordan Hayward has been extremely efficient recently as the veteran will benefit as well with the absence of LaMelo Ball. He has shot 50% or better in eight-straight games and 13 of his last 15. After a few mediocre games in early February, Hayward is averaging 21.7 points per game in his last six games while contributing peripherals, and he even has two steals in five of his last seven games. Hayward has been stuffing the stat sheet, and tonight should be no different.
The Suns lost several key defenders in their trade for Kevin Durant that included Cameron Johnson and Mikal Bridges. Even with a double-digit spread, getting exposure to Hayward in the mid-range is another great avenue for this slate. Hayward is projected to be one of the highest-owned on both DraftKings and FanDuel, given how well he has played lately.
The Hornets need Hayward’s scoring to be competitive in this matchup.
Top Ceiling: Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. Orlando Magic – $12,300 DraftKings, $11,800 FanDuel
Giannis Antetokounmpo has the highest ceiling in our NBA Model for both DraftKings and FanDuel. This is a back-to-back for Giannis after putting up a 33-point, 15-rebound performance in only 28 minutes. He averaged over two DraftKings points per minute last game and is projected to play 32 minutes. That was the first time Giannis played full minutes since February 14th, so make sure to monitor our news dashboard to make sure he is healthy tonight.
The Magic rank middle of the pack in defensive rating but have been fantastic defending the paint and crashing the glass. However, the Bucks have won a league-high 15-straight games as they have a league-best 44-17 record. Spending up for Giannis comes down to how good the value plays are and this slate has a plethora of them.
Don’t be intimidated by the minutes played, Giannis can accumulate fantasy points quicker than anyone in the league.
Top Value: Jarred Vanderbilt at Oklahoma City Thunder – $4,900 DraftKings, $5,900 FanDuel
Back to Jarred Vanderbilt we go as another Lakers player looks phenomenal in this matchup playing without LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Vanderbilt had a tough game last night, scoring only four points and pulling down eight rebounds. The positive is the minutes were there as he played 29, which was his highest since joining the team. We have Vanderbilt projected for 29 minutes again, which is making him the highest Projected Plus/Minus power forward on both sites.
Vanderbilt’s salary came up $800 on DraftKings, and he is still one of the better values on the slate. He has a chance to repeat his 15-point, 17-rebound performance on Sunday against this Thunder frontcourt that lacks size. This season, the Thunder rank 26th in Rebounding Percentage (48.5%) and 21st in points allowed in the paint with 51.3 per game. A double-double is firmly on the table, which is hard to find at this cheap salary.
Top Ceiling: Joel Embiid at Miami Heat – $11,200 DraftKings, $12,000 FanDuel
Joel Embiid has a chance for revenge against the Heat after losing to them by two points in their last game. This is a matchup where Embiid has struggled in the past, but he easily has the top ceiling among all centers with Anthony Davis getting ruled out. Embiid is averaging a career-high 33 points per game while shooting 53.2% from the field. Tough matchup or not, it is difficult to avoid a low-owned stud like Embiid on this nine-game slate.
The Heat have allowed the fewest points in the paint this season with 44.9 per game. Embiid still managed to put up a 27-point, 12-rebound double-double in their matchup on Monday night. He hasn’t scored fewer than 25 points since the triple-double he recorded against the Thunder on December 31st. Embiid is as consistent as they come and deserves consideration despite the difficult matchup against Bam Adebayo and the Heat.
Editor’s note: Embiid was recently downgraded to questionable after this piece was written.
Top Value: James Wiseman vs. Chicago Bulls – $4,800 DraftKings, $5,800 FanDuel
James Wiseman has seen his minutes trending up since joining the Pistons. Since joining the team, Wiseman is averaging 13 points and eight rebounds while shooting 59% from the field in only 23.5 minutes per game. The Pistons will be without their starting frontcourt in Jalen Duren and Isaiah Stewart, which will likely mean that Wiseman draws his third start for the team. His salary hasn’t quite caught up to the playing time, especially on DraftKings, where he is $1,000 cheaper.
Wiseman has the highest Projected Plus/Minus at the center position for both sites and could easily post another double-double in this matchup with the extra playing time. He has been very active with the Pistons recording a 22.1% usage rate. Projected to play a season-high 28 minutes, Wiseman looks like a great salary saver. Having power forward and center eligibility on DraftKings makes him a priority, as he can easily fit into cash and tournament lineups.