Houston Rockets v Cleveland Cavaliers

The NBA Cheat Sheet is an article that will come your way five days a week all season with the goal of breaking down the best and worst fantasy basketball matchups/spots at each position.

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Wednesday brings us a jam-packed 12-game slate, with an array of different types of plays. We’ve reached the point of the season where some targets are appealing because their teams are going all out for playoff positioning, and others are just packing it in and resting players. Here’s what stands out:

Defense vs. Position

Point Guard Matchups


Washington Wizards vs. Chicago Bulls, 29th
Minnesota Timberwolves at Dallas Mavericks, 28th
Denver Nuggets vs. San Antonio Spurs, 27th

Jamal Murray ($5,900) only played 29 minutes Tuesday with the Nuggets getting blown out by the Warriors, and 22 minutes in his previous game Sunday. He should be fresh Wednesday for a matchup against the Spurs, who he averages 36 DKFP against in three matchups this season. If you’re looking for value at PG, Jordan McRae ($3,700) has played 20 or more minutes in three straight games for the Wizards, scoring 24-plus DKFP in two of those outings.


Atlanta Hawks vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 1st
Detroit Pistons vs. Indiana Pacers, 2nd
Boston Celtics at Miami Heat, 3rd

I’m going to fade each of these spots, outside of the value potential of the Celtics resting any top-end players. Trae Young ($8,400) is also a fade here, scoring just 27.25 DKFP a night earlier in San Antonio and facing a tough back-to-back matchup against Philly.

Shooting Guard Matchups


Philadelphia 76ers at Atlanta Hawks, 30th
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Charlotte Hornets, 29th
Charlotte Hornets at New Orleans Pelicans, 26th

This Pelicans-Hornets matchup should be played at a rapid pace between a couple of teams more or less out of the playoff mix. I’d look to play the cheaper options in this game, along the lines of Jeremy Lamb ($5,400) or Ian Clark ($4,300).


Phoenix Suns vs. Utah Jazz, 1st
Memphis Grizzlies at Portland Trail Blazers, 2nd
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Memphis Grizzlies, 3rd

Because the Grizzlies and Trail Blazers are down so many bodies, they actually offer some of the best value on the slate. I’ll touch on one of my top plays on Portland in the quick hits segment later, but Delon Wright ($6,500) and Tyler Dorsey ($4,800) have been seeing huge roles with Memphis and are worth considering in any matchup.

Small Forward Matchups


Charlotte Hornets at New Orleans Pelicans, 30th
Dallas Mavericks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, 29th
Philadelphia 76ers at Atlanta Hawks, 28th

Joel Embiid will continue to rest, while it sounds like Jimmy Butler’s back injury will keep him sidelined, according to the team. So Ben Simmons ($9,500) and Tobias Harris ($7,500) will be the only to studs in action for Philly, and they have a terrific matchup against the Hawks just a night after Atlanta played the Spurs to the wire. I’d lean Simmons as the best play of the two, averaging more than 57 DKFP in three games against Atlanta so far this season.


Indiana Pacers at Detroit Pistons, 1st
Detroit Pistons vs. Indiana Pacers, 2nd
Chicago Bulls at Washington Wizards, 3rd

With Wes Matthews out for Indiana, we can get some value on the Pacers’ wings. Slight bumps should be given to both Bojan Bogdanovic ($6,500) and Tyreke Evans ($4,500), but I have a play in the quick hits I prefer more in this spot. Out of these two plays, I’d go with the savings on Evans — he scored 25.75 DKFP in 27 minutes against the Pistons on Monday.

Power Forward Matchups


Orlando Magic vs. New York Knicks, 30th
Philadelphia 76ers at Atlanta Hawks, 29th
Chicago Bulls at Washington Wizards, 27th

Tobias Harris also works to slot in at PF if you want to stack him with Simmons, but we have some solid mid-priced value here. Jonah Bolden ($5,000) has played 30 or more minutes in consecutive games for Philly, going for 43.5 DKFP against the Timberwolves in one of those outings. The Bulls are down so many bodies they are signing random names and tossing them into their rotation for heavy minutes. Jakarr Sampson ($4,800) played 30 minutes in his debut with Chicago, scoring 34.75 DKFP against the Knicks.


Phoenix Suns vs. Utah Jazz, 1st
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Memphis Grizzlies, 2nd
Memphis Grizzlies at Portland Trail Blazers, 3rd

The Suns have some injury concerns of their own, and Josh Jackson ($5,800) took full advantage against the Cavs on Monday — 52 DKFP in 34 minutes. He should se a similar role in this game and has averaged 31.6 DKFP in a pair of games against Utah already this year.

Center Matchups


Utah Jazz at Phoenix Suns, 30th
Toronto Raptors at Brooklyn Nets, 29th
Washington Wizards vs. Chicago Bulls, 28th

Center is stockpiled with options as always, but a target to pay up for could be Rudy Gobert ($8,500). Gobert’s scored 45-plus DKFP in five consecutive games and has averaged 46.3 DKFP in three games against the Suns this season. With DeAndre Ayton (ankle) ruled out, Gobert could have an even easier time shredding Phoenix on the interior.


Atlanta Hawks vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 2nd
Boston Celtics at Miami Heat, 3rd
Brooklyn Nets vs. Toronto Raptors, 4th

Al Horford ($6,500) just went for a 54-DKFP triple-double against Miami on Monday night, so it’d be tough to say he’s a fade on this slate as long as he plays. Horford averages a solid 37 DKFP in three games against Miami on the season.

Lineup Quick Hits

Superstar Worth Paying For

James Harden ($11,400)— Harden only had to play 29 minutes Tuesday in a rout of the Kings in Sacramento. That should leave him pretty fresh for a big game in Los Angeles against the Clippers. Having dropped 63 DKFP the only time he faced L.A. this season, Harden clearly has the highest ceiling on the slate and is worth paying up for. Houston’s still battling for seeding in the West, so there should be plenty of motivation at this stage of the year.

Save The Big Bucks By Drafting …

Rodney Hood ($3,900) — Hood’s been a play I’ve continued to write up, and he came through for us Monday. Hood broke out of a shooting slump, and it resulted in 33 DKFP in 29 minutes against Minnesota. With his salary only up $100, Hood should continue to see around 30 minutes per game and 10-plus field goal attempts.

Next Man Up

Aaron Holiday ($3,700)— Holiday is the Pacers’ perimeter play I referenced earlier. With Matthews out of the lineup, Holiday played 25 minutes agains the Pistons on Monday. He managed 20.75 DKFP in that game but has shown the ability to go off for bigger games — he only attempted four shots in that game after getting up eight in just 19 minutes in his previous game.

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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.