Fantasy Basketball Cheat Sheet: Best, Worst Matchups for January 14

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.
 
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 Monday’s six-game slate:
 

Defense vs. Position

Point Guard Matchups

BEST
 
Portland Trail Blazers at Sacramento Kings, 29th
New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Clippers, 28th
Los Angeles Clippers vs. New Orleans Pelicans, 27th
 
Damian Lillard ($8,800) checks in at a pretty affordable salary and a nice pace-of-play bump against the Kings. Lillard was held in check with 41.5 DKFP in his first matchup against Sacramento this season, but he shot just 1-for-9 from downtown. Assuming he’s closer to his average shooting the ball in this game, he has a great chance to exceed value.

WORST
 
Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics, 6th
Memphis Grizzlies at Houston Rockets, 7th
Sacramento Kings vs. Portland Trail Blazers, 13th

D’Angelo Russell ($6,500) is someone I don’t mind rostering in this situation. You might notice the 11.25-DKFP dud against the Celtics just a week ago, but he also has scored 43 or more DKFP in five of his past seven games. Russell’s been a far better player at home this season overall, leaving him in position for some revenge against the C’s. This is way too much of a discount on a player that would run you $7,900 within his past five games.


Shooting Guard Matchups

BEST
 
Los Angeles Clippers vs. New Orleans Pelicans, 27th
Sacramento Kings vs. Portland Trail Blazers, 24th
New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Clippers, 14th
 
Lou Williams ($6,700) stands out as a really strong play here. He’s had a couple of down games against the Pelicans this season, but the pace plays right into his style of play — nearly 240 projected points. Lou-Will has a pretty safe floor in this one, but it’s also as good a matchup as any for him to reach his 50-plus DKFP ceiling.

WORST
 
Detroit Pistons at Utah Jazz, 1st
Boston Celtics at Brooklyn Nets, 2nd
Charlotte Hornets at San Antonio Spurs, 4th
 
This is a difficult slate to find value on, so I don’t want to say with 100 percent confidence I’m fading this spot. That said, I have no interest in any SG plays in these spots, so hopefully the slate allows me to stay off them. The Pistons and Hornets have been playing terribly on the road of late, both carrying blowout potential out west.


Small Forward Matchups

BEST
 
Los Angeles Clippers vs. New Orleans Pelicans, 29th
Portland Trail Blazers at Sacramento Kings, 28th
New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Clippers, 26th
 
Danilo Gallinari ($7,200) and Al-Farouq Aminu ($5,000) make for considerations in these matchups, especially since the slate isn’t offering as many edges in the early going. Gallo’s been on a really consistent run, reaching value in seven of his past 10 outings. Averaging more than 37 DKFP against New Orleans in two games this season, he’s in position to keep that streak going. Aminu is generally a safe play due to his minutes, but his outbursts are as tough to predict as anyone. I prefer playing Gallo, but if you can’t afford him, Aminu is a decent fallback plan.

WORST
 
Detroit Pistons at Utah Jazz, 1st
Utah Jazz vs. Detroit Pistons, 3rd
Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics, 4th
 
The injuries on Utah over the past week have made the Jazz one of the best teams to target value on. While salaries have adjusted to a degree, there’s still plenty of strong plays here — Joe Ingles ($6,100), Jae Crowder ($4,500), Royce O’Neale ($4,700), Kyle Korver ($3,800).


Power Forward Matchups

BEST
 
Boston Celtics at Brooklyn Nets, 25th
Utah Jazz vs. Detroit Pistons, 20th
New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Clippers, 17th
 
The value on Utah carries over to almost every position. Derrick Favors ($5,300) should see a little bump in value, thanks to a slight increase in his minutes the past couple games. Anthony Davis ($11,600) is in a good spot to pay up for. He faces a Clippers frontcourt that he averages 63.5 DKFP against through two outings this year.

WORST
 
Detroit Pistons at Utah Jazz, 2nd
Houston Rockets vs. Memphis Grizzlies, 4th
Charlotte Hornets at San Antonio Spurs, 6th
 
I’m not really looking to take advantage of any plays in this spot. Blake Griffin ($9,400) is coming off 70 DKFP on Saturday but could be in a spot for a letdown game after getting his revenge against the Clippers. It’s tough to justify not finding a way up to AD if you’re going to play Griffin.


Center Matchups

BEST

Boston Celtics at Brooklyn Nets, 30th
New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Clippers, 28th
Portland Trail Blazers at Sacramento Kings, 25th

You can slot AD in at center if you choose, but Portland and Boston both offer strong plays here as well. Jusuf Nurkic ($8,600) has been hot lately, and let’s not forget he torched this team for 82.75 DKFP at the start of the new year. Al Horford ($6,200) is a good way to save some salary while maintaining some upside. Horford is coming off 40.25 DKFP in Orlando and scored 34.25 DKFP a week ago against the Nets in just 24 minutes.

WORST
 
Sacramento Kings vs. Portland Trail Blazers, 8th
Memphis Grizzlies at Houston Rockets, 11th
Charlotte Hornets at San Antonio Spurs, 12th
 
Plenty of really good center plays on this slate, which is tough to say about any other position. You likely will want to try and fit multiple centers in your lineups, but the good matchups provide enough plays. We shouldn’t need to dip down to matchups that aren’t as favorable.


Lineup Quick Hits

Superstar Worth Paying For

James Harden ($12,400) — I came extremely close to saying this is the night we finally can roster another stud over Harden. AD is in a smash spot, and I think he should be a terrific play if you want to go that route. Meanwhile, Harden has a down spot on paper against Memphis, but that hasn’t hurt him so far this season — he’s averaging more than 75 DKFP in a pair of games against the Grizz (including 82 on New Year’s Eve). With the Rockets’ current situation, and the roll Harden’s on, he’s still the safest play on the board.

Save The Big Bucks By Drafting …

Davis Bertans ($3,900) — Bertans has been really solid during Rudy Gay’s (wrist) absence. He’s picked up the slack over the past two games specifically, averaging 24 DKFP in 28 minutes. Gay won’t play Monday in a game the Spurs should take control in at home against the Hornets, while Bertans’ salary has barely budged.

Next Man Up

Utah Jazz — With injuries to four rotation players and limited value on any other teams on this slate, this is another night you can stack the Jazz, even in cash games. Utah is a big home favorite against a struggling Pistons team. Take what the slate gives you.

Editor’s Note: Celtics PG Kyrie Irving (quad) and Rockets C Clint Capela (thumb) have both been ruled out on tonight’s slate, opening up potential value.
 



 
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.