We changed up the format of the cheat sheet this year. Rather than just focusing on matchups, we’ll breakdown more spots to target, and try and give you the lay of the land at each position to best help you craft your lineup. Hopefully by the end of the article, you should 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 Thursday’s three-game slate:
Target worth paying up for: James Harden ($9,700) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (4th)
I was very curious to see how Harden and Russell Westbrook ($8,900) would be priced as teammates, and the answer is that they’re very affordable. From what we saw in the preseason, Harden should be in the lead role, and we might not be able to capitalize on him for under $10,000 for long. Harden averaged over 60 DKFP against Milwaukee last year, and he brings easy 6X upside here.
Best value: Patrick Beverley ($4,600) at Golden State (16th)
Beverley shot just 1 out of 7 for two points in the opener against the Lakers, but he filled out the stat sheet with 10 boards and six assists — 24.5 DKFP. That’s a pretty nice floor for shooting that poorly. Assuming he hits some more shots, Beverley was spectacular against the Warriors in the postseason last year. He topped 42 DKFP in each of the final three games of the series, and he has a lot of upside in this spot. The matchup against Stephen Curry ($9,400) will get him up.
Curry’s an interesting play. He’ll now be the featured guy for the Warriors once again, which gives him upside, but he’s almost the same price as Harden. D’Angelo Russell ($7,800) is also worth considering. This is probably the deepest position on the slate, and a lot of these plays carry PG/SG eligibility. So with UTIL included, we may want to consider slotting four PGs into lineups. Derrick Rose ($5,400) jumps $1,000 in salary since Wednesday, but he put up a solid 32 DKFP. He’s in consideration again, in a much better matchup against the Hawks.
Target worth paying up for: Lou Williams ($6,700) at Golden State (3rd)
Lou-Will went for almost 40 DKFP against the Lakers in the opener. While he’s expensive for a bench role, his value is going to remain high until Paul George (shoulders) plays this season. Williams also played well in the matchup against GSW in the postseason, scoring over 40 DKFP in three of the six games. One was a 50-DKFP outing, and another a 60-DKFP outing, so there’s a high ceiling here.
Best value: DeAndre Bembry ($3,200) at Detroit Pistons (4th)
Bembry’s just a really cheap rotational piece here. While Atlanta drafted two perimeter players in the top-10, it also moved on from Taurean Prince. We should still see 20-25 minutes here for Bembry, and he has SF eligibility if you want to load up on PG.
Again, I’ll probably stay away from the true SG plays. I’ll want to stack the PGs, and try and find someone like Bembry that you can use the SF/F position on. Williams is the only exception I’ll consider, but it takes a unique lineup construction to get to him.
Target worth paying up for: Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,300) at Houston Rockets (3rd)
The Greek Freak is pretty cheap here, and I won’t argue if you want to make him the focal point of your lineup. But stacking the high-upside guards leaves limited salary, and I think Giannis has more concerns than the PG plays. He played just 33 minutes per game last year, and while some of that was from facing poor competition, he averaged 34.4 minutes in two matchups against the Rockets. I think I’d prefer the savings on Kawhi Leonard ($9,100), but he’s also tough to roster. As spectacular as Kawhi was, he stayed under 50 DKFP in the matchup against the Lakers.
Best value: Luke Kennard ($4,700) vs. Atlanta Hawks (30th)
Kennard went off for 39.25 DKFP in the opener against the Pacers, and he is still worth his big $1,400 salary bump. Kennard was over $5,000 at the end of last season, and that was with more offensive options healthy for Detroit. The Hawks are very poor defensively, and if Markieff Morris (hand) does miss this one, Kennard’s in an even better spot.
This is probably a value spot for me, with Kennard and Bembry popping as the early targets. The Hawks have a few other really cheap rotational options to consider, and Glenn Robinson III ($3,200) is another rotational piece we can consider for the overhauled roster of the Warriors.
Target worth paying up for: Montrezl Harrell ($6,100) at Golden State Warriors (8th)
Harrell saw 38 minutes off the bench on Tuesday, so we can trust him to get a lot of work even though he doesn’t start. He was a huge presence in the paint, which should translate well to a matchup against the Warriors, who really lack bigs. Harrell topped 40 DKFP in the first two games of the series in Golden State last year.
Best value: Markieff Morris ($4,200) vs. Atlanta Hawks (30th)
Morris was a slight letdown for value on Wednesday, but he was one of the highest owned players in cash games. As long as he plays through a hand injury, he should be in a similar spot on this slate. The Hawks are a matchup upgrade compared to the Pacers, which leaves a higher upside. If Morris is ruled out, guys like Kennard and Rose become even more attractive.
I like going for the mid-range value of Harrell here. But if spending up at other spots means you need value, it’s all there. The Pistons and Hawks standout as the teams with the most pay-down spots at forward.
Target worth paying up for: Andre Drummond ($8,300)
Drummond dominated Indy on Wednesday, going for 32 points, 23 boards, two assists, three steals and four blocks — his 78.25 DKFP led the 11-game slate. He also played 41 minutes in that game, so maybe he sees a little less time on the second night of a back-to-back. But the matchup against the Hawks couldn’t be more favorable, and the injury report leaves Drummond in a featured role.
Best value: Marquese Chriss ($3,200) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (14th)
While Willie Cauley-Stein (foot) is out, the Warriors will be very thin upfront. That means minutes for Chriss, who’s barely an NBA player. But he’s a rebounder and shot-blocker that can put up some numbers for his salary. He’s worth considering.
It’s almost impossible not to pay up for Drummond, and the UTIL spot is a night for guards. That means playing other centers likely needs to be in the PF/F spots. Fade Drummond for value at your own risk.
Key news to monitor on DK Live:
Blake Griffin (hamstring/knee) OUT
Paul George (shoulders) OUT
Willie Cauley-Stein (foot) OUT
Markieff Morris (hand) QUESTIONABLE
Reggie Jackson (back) PROBABLE
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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.