NBA DFS Picks Breakdown (Sunday, Mar. 12): Embiid the Beast

Sunday features a four-game main slate starting at 6:00 p.m. ET.

Let’s dive into some of the top plays on the slate using the FantasyLabs tools and metrics.

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 lineups.

Note: Projections and Leverages Scores/Ratings may change throughout the day after this article is posted. The NBA DFS landscape changes quickly.

Consult the NBA Player Models directly for any updates as we get closer to lock.

Use our PrizePicks promo code LABS for a $100 sign-up bonus on NBA player props.

NBA DFS Point Guard Picks


Damian Lillard is dealing with calf tightness, but with the Trail Blazers 1.5 games out of the play-in tournament with only 15 games left on the schedule, he won’t sit this one out. Lillard’s salary on DraftKings has dropped considerably, but he is still the highest-priced option. Despite back-to-back mediocre performances, Lillard has an incredibly high ceiling. He recorded a triple-double Monday, displaying his upside at a price tag $1,000 more than what he is now.

The Pelicans rank eighth in defensive rating this season, but Lillard had no trouble in this matchup in their last meeting, scoring 41 points while shooting 12 of 22 from the field. He uncharacteristically finished the game with zero assists, but he has accumulated at least six in his last five games, averaging nine per game. The pay-up options are limited for this slate, but Lillard provides a sense of security as a great play in all lineup formats.


With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander likely out on the second leg of a back-to-back, Isaiah Joe will be the value guard of choice. Joe has the second-highest projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel for all players at his cheap $4,400 price tag. He has a 93% Bargain Rating and is projected to be the highest-owned player on the slate. DraftKings is a little bit of a different story, as he is only eligible at shooting guard, but he is still one of the best salary savers.

Luckily for the Thunder, who have won four of their last five games, they don’t need Gilgeous-Alexander to suit up against the pitiful Spurs defense. The Spurs rank last in defensive rating (119.5) while allowing a league-high 122.3 points per game. Opponents are shooting a ridiculous 50.8% from the field and 39.5% from behind the arc against San Antonio. Prioritize Joe on FanDuel, but he is a great value option on both sites who is projected to start and play around 27 minutes.

Fast Break

Even though James Harden has been inconsistent scoring the ball, he is averaging a league-high 10.8 assists per game. Harden recorded his second 20-assist game of the season and of his career Monday, and he has recorded nine rebounds in three consecutive games. A triple-double is firmly on the table for Harden in this matchup against the Wizards, who rank 19th in defensive rating. Joel Embiid is the 76ers top option, but Harden can provide fantasy points in a variety of ways and deserves consideration as one of the best point guard plays on the slate.

NBA DFS Shooting Guard Picks


The shooting guard position is one of the worst on DraftKings, as there are so many guards with point guard-only eligibility. Bradley Beal is the clear-cut best option, as he has scored over 45 DraftKings points in five consecutive games. Most of his production comes from scoring the ball, but he has also averaged 6.4 assists and 5.8 rebounds per game over that span. He will need to be productive with the Wizards as eight-point road underdogs.

The veteran shooting guard is averaging a team-high 23.4 points per game while shooting over 50% from the field for the first time in his career. Beal’s efficiency has paid dividends, and he is also shooting 52.4% in three games against the 76ers this season. With the Wizards trying to make the Eastern Conference playoffs, Beal has started to take over. He has averaged a 34.84% usage rate over the last five games, which makes him an intriguing tournament play.


Spurs shooting guard Devin Vassell has the highest projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings and the third-highest on FanDuel among all players. Since returning from a two-month long injury, Vassell has seen his playing time increase in each of his three games played while averaging 15 points and a 24.3% usage rate per game. Vassell is projected to play 31 minutes and be one of the best value plays on both DraftKings and FanDuel on Sunday.

Keldon Johnson is questionable after playing 36 minutes on Friday night. Make sure to keep an eye on his status, as Vassell would get a significant boost without Johnson in the lineup. The Spurs may be three-point home underdogs, but this game features the best fantasy environment and the highest total on the slate at 237.5 points. Vassell has an opportunity to capture a plethora of fantasy points, and this spot would be even better without Johnson.

Fast Break

Josh Giddey is arguably in the best spot of anyone on this slate with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander out and this juicy matchup against the Spurs. He has real triple-double upside, as Giddey has the highest projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel. Priced at $8,000 on both sites, Giddey is going to be very popular, but it is deserving. Since the start of March, Giddey has four games with nine or more assists and is second in the league behind Tyrese Haliburton with 20.6 potential assists per game. There is incredible upside for Giddey as long as Gilgeous-Alexander isn’t playing.

NBA DFS Small Forward Picks


As bad as the shooting guard position is, small forward may be even worse if Brandon Ingram is unable to play, but Jalen Williams has quickly become one of the best rookies in this class. Over the last five games, Williams is averaging 44.3 DraftKings points per game, as his salary continues to rise. He has also shot well over 50% from the field in eight-straight games while recording at least two steals in seven of those eight games.

Playing against the Spurs offers so much upside, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The Spurs are allowing opponents to capture 8.5 steals per game, which ranks as the second-highest in the league. Williams is a fantastic play on DraftKings, and with the steal potential, he is a strong play on FanDuel at a difficult position. Williams also has the highest projected Plus/Minus at the small forward position for both sites.


Trey Murphy III is one of several Pelicans players who would benefit if Brandon Ingram is ruled out again. He has scored 15 or more points in four consecutive games and remains relatively cheap, priced in the mid-range on both sites. In his second year in the league, Murphy is averaging career highs in every statistic while playing 29.7 minutes per game. However, he is projected to play 35 minutes tonight, which is why he is popping as a great value.

The Pelicans are really struggling coming down the home stretch. They have lost 18 of their last 24 games and are currently on the outside looking in at the play-in tournament in the Western Conference. As slight home underdogs, the Pelicans are still implied for 114.75 points against the Trail Blazers, who have the fourth-worst defensive rating. Expect Murphy to continue his scoring streak, especially if Ingram is still unable to play.

Fast Break

Kyle Kuzma is averaging a career-high 21.4 points per game in his second year with the Wizards. His rebounding has increased substantially with the Wizards compared to the Lakers. This matchup against the 76ers is a better rebounding spot than it may seem. They are tied for the seventh-worst rebounding percentage (49.3%), and Kuzma has recorded 7.7 rebounds per game against the 76ers in three meetings. The best part about getting Kuzma exposure is that he is playing heavy minutes and attempting a career-high 18 field goals per game this season.

You can take full advantage of Kuzma’s rebounding opportunity by taking the over on his Underdog Fantasy line of 28.5 points, rebounds, and assists.

NBA DFS Power Forward Picks


Despite shooting poorly the past two games, Julius Randle still has the highest projected ceiling at the power forward position. One of the biggest reasons is that Jalen Brunson could be sitting out again with a nagging foot injury. Randle has a team-high +9.2 DraftKings Plus/Minus and a 3.3% usage-rate increase with Brunson off the floor this season. If his shot starts to fall again, Randle can easily pay off this salary on both sites.

The Knicks have lost three consecutive games after winning a season-high nine straight. This is a back-to-back for the Knicks after losing to the Clippers yesterday by 11 points. Now they draw a surging Lakers team that is playing very well recently. Despite the Lakers recent success, they are still allowing 52.3 points per game in the paint. This is a great bounce-back spot for Randle, especially if Brunson isn’t able to play again tonight.


Jaxson Hayes is another Pelicans value option who has seen his playing time increase rapidly over the last two weeks. Zion Williamson and Larry Nance Jr. remain out, providing an avenue for Hayes, who has made the most of his recent uptick in minutes. Hayes played a season-high 32 minutes last night and recorded a near double-double with 11 points and eight rebounds. He shot 5 of 8 from the field and also recorded two blocks.

One of the main reasons Hayes has played so much recently has been the downfall of starting center Jonas Valanciunas. He has played a total of 23 minutes in his last two games, as the Pelicans have elected to go with more athleticism in their frontcourt. That bodes well for Hayes, especially in this matchup against the Blazers. They are allowing 52.8 points per game in the paint and have a 49.3% rebounding percentage, both of which rank 24th in the league.

Fast Break

Kristaps Porzingis is another high-upside Wizards option who can also benefit from the 76ers’ poor rebounding. Averaging a career-high 23.2 points per game while shooting 49.5% from the field, Porzingis can stretch the court and make Joel Embiid a little uncomfortable on the perimeter. He has averaged nearly a double-double with 28.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game in this matchup this season. Porzingis has put up over 50 DraftKings points in three of his last five games and leads the slate on FanDuel with 11 Pro Trends.

NBA DFS Center Picks


The player with the highest ceiling in our model and the highest price tag on both DraftKings and FanDuel is 76ers center Joel Embiid. Over the last four games, Embiid is averaging 37.8 points and 59.3 DraftKings points per game while shooting 60% from the field. Embiid has made double-digit field goals in each of his last seven games, and he continues to lead the league in scoring and free throws made with 10.2 per game.

In his only matchup against the Wizards frontcourt this season, Embiid recorded a massive double-double with 48 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 17 of 32 from the field. He had a crazy high 49.2% usage rate in that game, and he has the third-highest usage rate per game this season. No one has the ceiling that Embiid does on this four-game slate, making him the best pay-up option on both sites with plenty of value to afford him.


Mitchell Robinson is one of the better value plays on the board as long as he can stay out of foul trouble. That may be tough going up against Anthony Davis, but Robinson has recorded a positive Plus/Minus in seven of his last nine games on DraftKings. Over that span he has five double-doubles while averaging 8.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. He has the highest projected Plus/Minus on both DraftKings and FanDuel.

The Lakers are allowing the fifth-most rebounds at 45.7 per game. Outside of Davis, the Lakers don’t really have a great rebounding team, especially with LeBron James out. Robinson may not have the scoring upside, but he can easily reach double-digit rebounds in this matchup. Priced in the lower mid-range, Robinson is going to be a great option on both sites, as he is projected to play 31 minutes and has a 90% Bargain Rating on DraftKings.

Fast Break

Speaking of Anthony Davis, he is easily the next-best center option outside of Joel Embiid. In 14 games with LeBron James out, Davis has averaged a huge double-double with 28.1 points and 14.7 rebounds per game. Over that span, Davis has also recorded a 32.9% usage rate and averaged 56.1 DraftKings points per game. The Knicks are one of the better interior defensive teams in the league, but Davis is playing at a different level recently. Look for another explosive game from Davis as the Lakers try to climb the Western Conference standings.

2023-03-12 16:36:14