Fantasy Basketball Cheat Sheet: Best, Worst NBA Matchups for December 5

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 matchups/spots at each position.

It’s crucial to have all the latest lineup and injury news when constructing your fantasy basketball lineups. Make sure you’re following @DKLive for every update, and also feel free to hit me up on Twitter with any comments or questions — @JulianEdlow.

Here’s what stands out on Wednesday’s 10-game slate:

Defense vs. Position

Point Guard Matchups

BEST

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Los Angeles Clippers, 30th
Oklahoma City Thunder at Brooklyn Nets, 29th
Atlanta Hawks vs. Washington Wizards, 28th

There’s a lot to consider here, starting with Mike Conley ($8,700), who despite having a terrific matchup, is just way too expensive to pay up for. Trae Young ($6,000) is in a nice spot with his salary depleted and facing a poor Washington defense that’ll be without John Wall (personal). And then there’s Russell Westbrook ($11,200), who could be forgotten about with all the star power on this slate. He makes for a nice GPP consideration.

WORST

Charlotte Hornets at Minnesota Timberwolves, 2nd
Denver Nuggets at Orlando Magic, 3rd
Detroit Pistons at Milwaukee Bucks, 5th

Kemba Walker ($8,100) always has to be considered given the season he’s having, but I’m not targeting him in this spot. He’s cooled down since that insane scoring hot streak, and the Timberwolves have been one of the best defensive teams in the NBA since parting ways with Jimmy Butler. I’d fade Kemba at this price tag, but you can consider targeting anyone from Denver’s backcourt since Gary Harris (hip) will remains sidelined.


Shooting Guard Matchups

BEST

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Dallas Mavericks, 30th
Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers, 28th
Washington Wizards at Atlanta Hawks, 27th

Bradley Beal ($8,400) is in an obvious spot to potentially be the top play on this slate given Wall’s status. Beal dropped 54 DKFP on the Knicks on Monday night, and he now will see a massive spike in usage in an even better matchup against the Hawks. This is basically as favorable of a matchup as you could imagine.

WORST

Orlando Magic vs. Denver Nuggets, 1st
Oklahoma City Thunder at Brooklyn Nets, 3rd
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors, 4th

The Cleveland backcourt should get some love on this slate with limited options in the rotation and a paced-up matchup against the Warriors. George Hill ($3,700) and Alec Burks ($4,000) are in the bargain bin for this slate.


Small Forward Matchups

BEST

Charlotte Hornets at Minnesota Timberwolves, 30th
Dallas Mavericks at New Orleans Pelicans, 28th
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Dallas Mavericks, 27th

I don’t love this spot for the Hornets, but at this salary, we can consider Miles Bridges ($4,100) with how well he’s been playing lately. The 29 minutes he played on Sunday against the Pelicans was a big step for the rookie, en route to 33 DKFP.

WORST

Atlanta Hawks vs. Washington Wizards, 2nd
Oklahoma City Thunder at Brooklyn Nets, 4th
Brooklyn Nets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, 5th

I’m not all that afraid of rostering Paul George ($8,300) at this salary against Brooklyn. PG-13 was in a perceived bad matchup on Monday against Detroit, and he wound up with 42 DKFP in 31 minutes. He can exceed value in this spot. The Hawks are the place to go for value against the Wizards. Taurean Prince (ankle) is sidelined for this one, leaving Kent Bazemore ($4,400) and DeAndre Bembry ($3,700) in position to see expanded roles.


Power Forward Matchups

BEST

Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 29th
Washington Wizards at Atlanta Hawks, 27th
Dallas Mavericks at New Orleans Pelicans, 24th

Philly’s had real issues defending the PF position, so I like targeting some Raptors in this spot. Serge Ibaka ($5,800) continues to see extended minutes in recent games, leaving him as a safer play. Pascal Siakam ($6,100) has been one of the most improved players in the NBA this season, evident by his salary. This duo combined for over 59 DKFP in their first game against the Sixers this season.

WORST

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Dallas Mavericks, 1st
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors, 2nd
Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers, 3rd

This is a good position to fade in the Warriors-Cavaliers game, but the Pelicans carry obvious upside. They always find themselves in high scoring games, and the PF position is loaded with three of their four studs. Nikola Mirotic ($7,200) was an unfortunate scratch on Monday due to an illness, so pay attention to his status on this slate. If he’s out again, Julius Randle ($7,100) would be a strong play again, after scoring almost 55 DKFP starting in Mirotic’s place. As always, the red-hot Anthony Davis ($11,500) is in a good spot to roster regardless.


Center Matchups

BEST

Oklahoma City Thunder at Brooklyn Nets, 30th
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Los Angeles Clippers, 29th
San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers, 27th

As is the case almost every day at center, you can feel free to capitalize on all three of these matchups. All three of these teams have been terrible defending big men this season, so Steven Adams ($6,700), LaMarcus Aldridge ($7,800) and Marc Gasol ($8,600) are definitely great plays. Each of them could be considered in cash or GPP.

WORST

Orlando Magic vs. Denver Nuggets, 1st
Brooklyn Nets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, 3rd
Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers, 4th

In the battle of Nikolas, Nikola Vucevic ($8,700) is at least worth mentioning with a 53.6-DKFP average over his last five games. I think there are better plays on this slate, but Vucevic is fine if you want a hot tournament play that should be a little off the radar.


Lineup Quick Hits

Superstar Worth Paying For

LeBron James ($10,500) — After having no plays in the $10,000-plus range on Tuesday’s slate, Wednesday’s slate brings us six players over that price point. With almost too much star power, I think I’d prefer to lean on LeBron. James is averaging over 63 DKFP in two games against the Spurs this season, and San Antonio is on the second night of a back-to-back.

Save The Big Bucks By Drafting …

Dewayne Dedmon ($3,900) — Dedmon has been playing really well lately, in including 30 DKFP in 31 minutes against the Warriors in his last outing. The Wizards are terrible on defense this season, and with Dwight Howard out, they’re one of the worth rebounding teams in the NBA. Dedmon is a very cheap source for value with a great shot at producing.

Next Man Up

Washington Wizards — Wall sitting out changes the whole slate. Beal should benefit the most and is a terrific play. The rest of the cheap backcourt plays can all be considered value, with Austin Rivers ($3,400) expect to jump into the starting lineup in one of the best PG matchups in the league against Young.

*DKFP = DraftKings Fantasy Points


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