Fantasy Basketball Cheat Sheet: Best, Worst Matchups for January 2

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 Wednesday’s nine-game slate:
 

Defense vs. Position

Point Guard Matchups

BEST
 
New Orleans Pelicans at Brooklyn Nets, 28th
Atlanta Hawks at Washington Wizards, 27th
Philadelphia 76ers at Phoenix Suns, 26th
 
Ben Simmons ($8,900) is a fine target with Philly on the second night of a back-to-back, but I prefer going for the value in T.J. McConnell ($3,600). McConnell’s scored 20 or more DKFP in five straight contests, including 26.5 on Tuesday in Los Angeles.

WORST
 
Chicago Bulls vs. Orlando Magic, 2nd
Phoenix Suns vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 3rd
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, 5th

De’Anthony Melton ($3,600) is a decent value to target on Phoenix. McConnell provides more consistency, but the upside with Melton is always there if you want to target this spot. All the perimeter plays on the Lakers remain much stronger plays for as long as LeBron James (groin) is out, even when the matchups are more difficult.



 

Shooting Guard Matchups

BEST
 
Washington Wizards vs. Atlanta Hawks, 30th
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Miami Heat, 28th
Brooklyn Nets vs. New Orleans Pelicans, 27th
 
With John Wall (heel) shut down for the season, the Wizards still are loaded with value. Those value plays are in an even better spot with this matchup against the Hawks. Even with Tomas Satoransky’s ($4,600) salary jumping up $1,300, he’s still way too underpriced for his upside — 35.5 DKFP in 32 minutes last game. Bradley Beal ($8,600) is averaging more than 48 DKFP in the two games since Wall went down, playing 38 minutes in each game. He’s in a very favorable spot at this price point.

WORST
 
New Orleans Pelicans at Brooklyn Nets, 4th
Phoenix Suns vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 5th
Philadelphia 76ers at Phoenix Suns, 6th
 
Devin Booker ($8,300) is coming off a poor game against the Warriors but has shown high tournament upside in recent games. With 54 or more DKFP in four of his past eight games, Booker is in a solid GPP spot on this slate. He dropped 55 DKFP on the Sixers in a matchup earlier this season.



 

Small Forward Matchups

BEST
 
Boston Celtics vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, 30th
Brooklyn Nets vs. New Orleans Pelicans, 29th
Washington Wizards vs. Atlanta Hawks, 26th
 
The SF position is loaded with value on this slate. You can continue to target the Wizards, but DeMarre Carroll ($4,000) could be the top overall value on the slate. Carroll’s scored 30-plus DKFP in each of his past two games, and the Nets will be down some bodies at forward tonight. Everything’s setting up perfectly for him to capitalize on this matchup. With Kyrie Irving (eye) ruled out for the Celtics, we can also give a boost to all of their perimeter plays.

WORST
 
Atlanta Hawks at Washington Wizards, 2nd
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Detroit Pistons, 3rd
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, 5th
 
Kyle Kuzma ($7,500) has scored at least 39 DKFP in each game since LeBron got injured, so he’s a little underpriced for his expanded role. More importantly, Kuzma’s played 40 or more minutes in all three games LeBron’s been sidelined for, so you’re getting an extremely safe play here.



 

Power Forward Matchups

BEST
 
Washington Wizards vs. Atlanta Hawks, 29th
Phoenix Suns vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 28th
Orlando Magic at Chicago Bulls, 26th
 
Desperately in need of some size, the Wizards have trusted Thomas Bryant ($4,700) with more minutes over the past two games, and he’s responded extremely well. Averaging more than 37 DKFP in 33 minutes in those two contests, Bryant’s jump in salary is warranted. He remains underpriced for as long as he sticks in this role.

WORST
 
Atlanta Hawks at Washington Wizards, 2nd
Detroit Pistons at Memphis Grizzlies, 3rd
Philadelphia 76ers at Phoenix Suns, 4th
 
John Collins ($8,200) has been pretty matchup-proof this season — a prime example in his last game when he went for 50 DKFP against Indiana’s defense. He’s in play for GPPs on this slate, but with his salary this high, I’d look in another direction in cash games.



 

Center Matchups

BEST
 
New Orleans Pelicans at Brooklyn Nets, 30th
Orlando Magic at Chicago Bulls, 29th
Philadelphia 76ers at Phoenix Suns, 28th

Assuming Anthony Davis ($11,800) returns from his illness that sidelined him New Year’s Eve, he’s in a spectacular spot against the Nets. Brooklyn ranks dead last in the NBA defending centers, and AD has a track record of dominating the Nets. He’s worth paying up for on this slate, and we have the value to do so easily.

WORST
 
Miami Heat at Cleveland Cavaliers, 1st
Phoenix Suns vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 3rd
Chicago Bulls vs. Orlando Magic, 6th
 
DeAndre Ayton ($7,300) has quietly been building up a stronger rookie season than he’s gotten credit for. He’s shown high upside in recent games, averaging 47 DKFP over his past six outings. Joel Embiid ($10,600) presents a tough matchup that shut down Ayton earlier this season, but the rookie has a lot more momentum going for him this time around. The Suns are playing much better basketball at this stage of the season and should be able to compete at home.



 

Lineup Quick Hits

Superstar Worth Paying For

Anthony Davis ($11,800)— As long as Davis is healthy, this is the perfect matchup to roster him in. The Nets have been awful defending talented bigs this season, and down a few bodies they should be even worse in this game. The slate offers plenty of value to allow up to pay up for multiple studs, so AD should be a popular one.

Save The Big Bucks By Drafting …

DeMarre Carroll ($4,000) — Carroll’s in a perfect value spot on this slate. He has everything working in his favor in terms of his role growing in recent games, injuries to help further expand his role and an ideal matchup. It’s tough to justify not rostering him for just $4,000.

Next Man Up

Guillermo Hernangomez ($3,800)— Cody Zeller (hand) is out, leaving Hernangomez in line to pick up the majority on the minutes. He generally doesn’t play many minutes but is able to really produce fantasy numbers in his limited role. Hernangomez scored 23.5 DKFP in just 14 minutes in his most recent game, but could see his minutes double in this matchup against Dallas.
 


 
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.