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 – Orlando Magic vs. Phoenix Suns – The Suns rank last in the NBA against the PG position and Elfrid Payton ($6,900) is coming into this one hot. He returned from injury on Wednesday night and dropped 43.5 DKFP against the Knicks in just 29 minutes. He’s a terrific mid-priced PG option on Friday.
WORST – Milwaukee Bucks vs. San Antonio Spurs – The Spurs are the league’s best team against PGs, but the Bucks are an interesting spot to target tonight. While I think Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,500) is too cheap and has his usual chance to dominate, Eric Bledsoe ($6,000) also will make his team debut. Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon ($5,500) are both out of consideration for me regardless of matchup.
Shooting Guard Matchups
BEST – Detroit Pistons vs. Atlanta Hawks – Only the Cavaliers have been worse against SGs than the Hawks so far this season. That should leave Avery Bradley ($5,800) in a nice spot, even with his price up $300 after posting just 20 DKFP on Wednesday. He was in foul trouble in that game, so looking past that, he has 30+ DKFP upside on Friday and should see plenty of minutes.
WORST – Charlotte Hornets vs. Boston Celtics — The C’s rank as the second-best team in the NBA defending the SG position, but Charlotte has some interesting value on the wing. The matchup is working against Jeremy Lamb ($5,900) and Malik Monk ($4,200), but both have shown explosive scoring ability at times this season. That makes them worth consideration in GPPs.
Small Forward Matchups
BEST – Boston Celtics vs. Charlotte Hornets — Those Hornet wings are not defending the perimeter all that well, even with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist ($4,200) back in the mix. One of the things to watch out for is the status of Jayson Tatum ($6,300) , who’s questionable with an ankle injury. He’s a risky plan if he’s in, but if he’s out that should open up more opportunity for the likes of Jaylen Brown ($6,500), Marcus Smart ($5,700) and Marcus Morris ($4,600) in an already appealing matchup.
WORST – Los Angeles Clippers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder — The Thunder are the league’s best team defending SFs, and the Clippers have virtually nobody on the wings. With Danilo Gallinari out, Wesley Johnson ($3,700) becomes the value play, but he has a low floor already regardless of matchup. You can justify rostering him due to his salary, but there’s limited upside for multiple reasons.
Power Forward Matchups
BEST – Chicago Bulls vs. Indiana Pacers — The Pacers rank at the bottom of the NBA in defense vs. PFs, giving some hope for the strongest position on this Bulls’ young roster. Bobby Portis ($6,100) returned from suspension to play his first game of the season on Tuesday, dropping 45.25 DKFP in just 24 minutes. He has to be in consideration on this slate, while Lauri Markkanen’s ($6,400) value takes a hit with the return of Portis.
WORST – Brooklyn Nets vs. Portland Trail Blazers — Portland ranks strongly against all bigs but sits atop the NBA against PFs. Not that the Nets boast much firepower at that spot, anyways. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ($6,100) and Trevor Booker ($4,500) are both questionable but off my radar if they do play. And if they don’t play, it’s still tough to validate rostering DeMarre Carroll ($5,800) or Quincy Acy ($3,300). Find yourself some better options.
BEST – Portland Trail Blazers vs. Brooklyn Nets — The spot you want to target up front in this game is Jusuf Nurkic ($6,800) against a Nets’ frontcourt that consistently gets dominated by centers. Nurkic is coming off a terrible game against Memphis but topped 44 DKFP in his three previous games. He had that kind of upside tonight in this matchup. Ed Davis ($3,700) is the value play and has 20-25 DKFP upside.
Editor’s Note: Al Horford (concussion) has been upgraded to ‘Questionable’ for tonight’s game with the Hornets.
WORST – Charlotte Hornets vs. Boston Celtics — The Celtics have been spectacular across the board defensively, but their improvement against centers has been the most noteworthy. The only note to consider here is that Al Horford — who has the top defensive rating in the NBA — will be out tonight with a concussion (SEE EDITOR’S NOTE ABOVE). That should soften the defense some, and keeps a cheaper Dwight Howard ($6,800) in play.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying For
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,500) — I’m not too concerned about the Spurs as the opponent, they still don’t have anyone to cover Giannis. His salary is simply too cheap to ignore, as he only needs 52.5 DKFP to reach 5X value. Even with Bledsoe in the picture, this is Giannis’ team.
Save Big Bucks by Drafting
Dewayne Dedmon ($4,200) — Dedmon should need to go big minutes up against Andre Drummond ($8,800), as the Hawks don’t have many other options up front. Dedmon is coming off 42 DKFP in 36 minutes against the Celtics’ top-ranked defense, so I’m looking for him to keep rolling on Friday.
Next Man Up
Aron Baynes ($4,300) – With the aforementioned Horford sidelined, Baynes likely will draw another start. He dominated the Lakers on Wednesday, going for 34.5 DKFP in just 23 minutes. He might need to play more on Friday against Howard and will have an opportunity to top 25 DKFP again, which leaves little concern about the $800 price increase.
*DKFP = DraftKings Fantasy Points
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