We changed up the format of the Cheat Sheet this year. Rather than just focusing in on matchups, we’ll break down more spots to target and give you the lay of the land at each position to best help you craft your lineup. By the end of the article, you will have all the info you need to craft your NBA lineup for that evening’s slate, as long as you follow along with lineup news on DK Live.
Here are the spots that jump out on Wednesday’s 11-game slate:
Target worth paying up for: De’Aaron Fox ($7,700) at Phoenix Suns (24th)
Right off the bat, you’ll notice this isn’t a typical 11-game slate. All the star power is at the center position, leaving pretty affordable studs at the other four positions. Fox is my favorite place to pay up at PG in what should be the most rapid paced game of the night (O/U 233). Fox should be good for 32 or more minutes against what was one of the worst defenses in the NBA last season. A tight point spread also limits blowout risk.
Best value: Derrick Rose ($4,400) at Indiana Pacers (2nd)
Rose is in a great spot in his Pistons debut and could even be Detroit’s featured scorer. With Blake Griffin (hamstring/knee) out, there’s plenty of opportunity open on the offensive end. Rose didn’t play much in preseason and enters the season pretty healthy. In the one preseason game the former MVP did see 24 minutes, he dropped 18 points to go along with five assists and two boards. Reggie Jackson (back) also is banged up, which could help feature Rose more. At $4,400, I’m not worried about the matchup.
There’s a lot of good value at PG, but if you’re playing Fox, it could make sense to stack him with Ricky Rubio ($5,800). It’s projected to be the highest scoring game of the night, and both guys should have the ball in their hands plenty. Rubio put up good numbers down the stretch in Utah and should play much more to his strengths with this fast Suns team. Ja Morant ($6,600) is another interesting mid-priced option against Miami, as it looks like the Grizzlies will hand him the keys to speed up that offense.
You probably will wind up fitting two or three PGs in your lineup, but don’t go as far as to use your UTIL spot here.
Target worth paying up for: Devin Booker ($8,700) vs. Sacramento Kings (17th)
SG is probably a pay-down spot on this slate, or maybe even where you stash your third PG, with a play like Rose having SG eligibility. If you do want to pay up, though, consider going with Booker over Rubio for the scoring upside. Rubio is the PG the Suns long had been after, with the reasoning being to have a guy who can get Booker the ball in position to score. Booker’s affordably priced for a game with so much fantasy potential and always has 50-plus DKFP upside.
Best value: Tyler Herro ($4,800) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (7th)
With Dion Waiters suspended, Herro is expected to get the start at SG in his NBA debut. While the matchup is nothing special, Herro still is priced for the bench role he was anticipated to play. He’s not the best value on board but makes for a solid GPP play. While the Booker comparison is far overhyped, both Kentucky products can shoot the lights out. If Herro gets hot from downtown, he easily could exceed value.
DeMar DeRozan ($7,200) is really the only option outside of Booker worth paying up for. His matchup against the Knicks in enticing but also has blowout potential. If you’re not paying up, I’m looking at going for a value play here, most likely by playing a PG with SG eligibility in this slot for cash games.
Target worth paying up for: Jeremy Lamb ($5,800) vs. Detroit Pistons (14th)
Unless you really like DeRozan, I see no reason to pay for a SF on this slate. This position is loaded with plays for $5,000 or less, so the most expensive place I’m looking is at the Pacers. They still need to get perimeter production while Victor Oladipo gets closer to returning from his serious knee injury. That leaves two newcomers: Lamb and TJ Warren ($5,400). I think both are solid mid-priced targets as sizable home favorites against a shorthanded Pistons squad.
Best value: Isaac Bonga ($3,600) at Dallas Mavericks (13th)
While there are a handful of values at SF, Bonga is the most obvious one. He’s going to start at SF for the Wizards, and at $3,600, you really can’t beat that. We haven’t seen much of him in his career, but this is a big opportunity for Bonga, and you just can’t beat the price in cash games.
We’re going with value here. The guards and bigs (specifically center) are spend-up spots, which means we need to save elsewhere. Fortunately, the SF position doesn’t event tempt us with options to pay up for. It’s an easy position to eat some chalk and save salary.
Target worth paying up for: Domantas Sabonis ($6,900) vs. Detroit Pistons (10th)
Every spot to pay up more than $7,000 at PF either comes with notable risk or the player is just far too overpriced. That leaves Sabonis, who is one of the most productive players in the NBA on a per-minute basis. He gets a good matchup against the Griffin-less Pistons, who he averaged 37.4 DKFP against in 25.3 minutes per game last season. Assuming he has an expanded role this year after his contract extension, there’s 40-DKFP upside here.
Best value: Markieff Morris ($3,600) at Indiana Pacers (12th)
Morris had back issues coming into this one but will start at PF in place of Griffin. He should be one of the most popular plays on the slate, so you can consider fading him in tournaments since there is some injury risk here. But in cash games, you should be eating the chalk on ‘Kieff. He should have a sizable role in this game for just $3,600.
Again, there’s tons of PF value for less than $5,000 here, all of which I think is safe to target. The difference with PF is that there are viable options to pay up for, where as SF doesn’t offer much. The PF position will come down to your preference. I prefer to pay up at one of the guard spots and roster value here. But if you want PG value to afford a play like Sabonis, that should be fine.
Target worth paying up for: Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,100) vs. Brooklyn Nets (30th)
KAT’s in a smash spot here, priced affordably in one of the better center matchups in the league. The Nets ranked dead last in the NBA in DKFP allowed to centers last season, and KAT’s versatility makes him the perfect play in this matchup. While you might want to consider looking to pay up for other centers in GPPs, Towns is safe chalk in tournaments and nearly a must-play in cash. A 50-DKFP baseline is a good place to start here.
Best value: None
Don’t even think about wasting a center position looking for value. Potentially, the five top plays on this slate are solely center eligible, which means between the center and utility spots, we’re fitting only two. Make sure you’re paying up for both.
So outside of KAT, we have Nikola Jokic ($9,600) at POR, Joel Embiid ($9,800) vs. BOS, Nikola Vucevic ($8,600) vs. CLE, Andre Drummond ($8,400 – with Griffin out) at IND and Rudy Gobert ($8,300) vs. OKC. All six of these guys are strong center plays, and none of them have PF eligibility, so the most you can fit in any lineup is two. I’m starting with KAT in cash and prefer Jokic to the rest, but whichever one you can fit should be a good play. If you make multiple tournament lineups, mixing and matching these guys is a must.
Key news to monitor on DK Live:
Blake Griffin (hamstring/knee) OUT
Mitchell Robinson (ankle) OUT
Dwight Powell (hamstring) OUT
Dion Waiters (suspension) OUT
Troy Brown (calf) OUT
Reggie Bullock (back) OUT
Ben Simmons (back) ETP
Reggie Jackson (back) PROBABLE
Get all the news and analysis up to the minute on DK Live.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.