The purpose of the NBA Cheat Sheet is to inform you each day of the best and worst matchups at each position and to break down some fantasy basketball players in notable spots to perform. We’ll use defense vs. position statistics, and at the bottom, you’ll find some quick-hitting notes on lineup building.
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Defense vs. Position
Point Guard Matchups
BEST – Milwaukee Bucks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – The Cavaliers somehow manage to keep getting unthinkably worse on the defensive end. They rank 29th vs. the PG position and will have to handle Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,800) on this slate. Coming in at one of his lowest price points of the season and having scored 63 DKFP against the Cavs already, I’m loving this spot for The Greek Freak. Malcolm Brogdon ($5,700) is also a potential play here.
WORST – Los Angeles Clippers vs. San Antonio Spurs – The Spurs are the NBA’s top team vs. opposing PGs, and the Clippers don’t boast much firepower at the position to begin with. Patrick Beverley ($5,800) and Austin Rivers ($4,900) are both tough options to trust.
Shooting Guard Matchups
BEST – Milwaukee Bucks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – Yup, the Cavaliers also rank dead last in the league against SGs. Add the likes of Khris Middleton ($7,000) and Tony Snell ($3,600) into the mix of viable options in this game.
WORST – Sacramento Kings vs. Oklahoma City Thunder — OKC ranks only behind Boston defending the SG spot this season, which leaves the Kings’ wings in a difficult position. Buddy Hield ($4,400) is very affordable given his recent production, so I understand the temptation to roster him. Just understand that the matchup is a difficult one, as is the case for Bogdan Bogdanovic ($4,400), who should be totally off the radar.
Small Forward Matchups
BEST – Milwaukee Bucks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers — Yes, yet again we have the Cavaliers sitting in the worst spot. It’s that bad. You know all the plays by now, as I’ve mentioned them above. Until Cleveland proves itself, we can just keep targeting all the perimeter positions on the opposite side. The Charlotte Hornets, Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards also rank in the bottom-four against SFs, so there are some other areas to target.
WORST – Utah Jazz vs. Philadelphia 76ers — The Jazz and Sixers are two of the better teams at defending the SF spot, but it’s Philly that ranks atop the NBA. Joe Ingles ($4,900) and Rodney Hood ($4,700) have had productive games here and there but haven’t proven to have high ceilings thus far. In a poor matchup, it shouldn’t be difficult to lay off them on this slate.
Power Forward Matchups
BEST – New Orleans Pelicans vs. Indiana Pacers — The Pacers have been terrible against bigs this season — even when Myles Turner plays. They rank last against PFs and 20th against centers, which leaves both DeMarcus Cousins ($11,500) and Anthony Davis ($11,200) as elite plays in strong matchups. I hate to not have a strong opinion on the two, but I think both are nearly equal plays. If you make me choose, I’ll roll with AD, though.
WORST – Memphis Grizzlies vs. Portland Trailblazers — The Blazers are fantastic defensively up front, ranking first against both PFs and Cs. This isn’t a great spot for any of the bigs, but given what Brandan Wright’s ($3,400) role has been recently vs. his salary, you have to consider him despite the matchup.
BEST – Washington Wizards vs. Dallas Mavericks — It would surprise me if the Mavericks aren’t the worst team defending centers from end to end this season. They just can’t get a rebound to save their lives and are easily bullied around in the paint. Marcin Gortat ($5,500) should have his way at home tonight, making for a nice mid-priced value option. Averaging 29.3 DKFP, he already has been often exceeding value.
WORST – Memphis Grizzlies vs. Portland Trailblazers — A banged up Marc Gasol ($7,700) is out of play for me against the league’s premier defense vs. bigs. Another big name I don’t love tonight is the Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis ($9,400), who’s priced up after a couple of career games. While I think he’s really good, he’s typically $1K cheaper, which scares me away against a Hornets team that’s much improved defending bigs.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying For
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,800) — A priced-down Giannis against a Cavaliers defense that can’t get a stop is a perfect opportunity to target on Tuesday’s slate. I actually like stacking him with an option like Middleton and just going all in against the Cavs. They’re consistently allowing monster fantasy production across the board.
Save Big Bucks by Drafting
Robert Covington ($5,300) — Covington doesn’t have the matchup, playing in Utah, but he should have the opportunity. He’s averaging 33 minutes and 36 DKFP over his last two games. Reaching 26-27 DKFP to get to value shouldn’t be an issue, especially with Joel Embiid resting tonight.
Next Man Up
Dario Saric ($4,300) – And because Embiid will be sidelined tonight, that opens up a larger role for Saric. Already topping 21 DKFP in three of his last four, he has a great chance for a big game with more time on the floor. I also think Ben Simmons ($8,800) has simply been too good to ignore with his price coming down in a game Embiid will miss. Simply put, I think the opportunity opening up here for Philly outweighs the poor matchup.
Also with the news that Domantas Sabonis has now been ruled out, this could be a game Myles Turner ($7,100) sees his minutes jump, while Thaddeus Young ($5,700) should have to produce more as well.
*DKFP = DraftKings Fantasy Points
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.