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.
NBA lineups require you to pay attention to the news leading up to tip-off. If you haven’t already, download the DK Live app (on iOS and on Android), which will provide you with breaking news and analysis all season.
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Defense vs. Position
Point Guard Matchups
BEST – Miami Heat vs. Phoenix Suns – The Cleveland Cavaliers actually have overtaken the Suns for the worst team vs. PGs in the league, but a lot of that might have to do with a pair of matchups against Giannis Antetokounmpo. Anyway, Phoenix is still atrocious, and tonight it welcomes Goran Dragic ($6,800) back to town for a revenge game. He should be in a great spot.
WORST – Phoenix Suns vs. Miami Heat – On the opposite end, Miami has been a top-five team against PG opposition. Mike James’ ($5,200) price is starting to catch up to him, so he’s not just a plug-and-play value anymore. I’m not looking at Tyler Ulis ($3,700), either.
Shooting Guard Matchups
BEST – Miami Heat vs. Phoenix Suns – The Suns aren’t THAT bad against SGs, but they do rank just 23rd, which is the worst on this slate. Dion Waiters ($5,700) and Josh Richardson ($4,600) are the plays you want to look at to take advantage of the matchup. However, this has the feel of a slate where you either want to pay up a bit more at SG, or just jam a couple PGs in there who are multi-position eligible.
WORST – Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics — The C’s rank tops in the league defending the SG spot, but the Lakers have actually been getting great production out of their young wings lately. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($4,700) is still underpriced, and is actually in play for me if you have to pay down at SG. I like him more than the similarly priced Richardson. Brandon Ingram ($5,900) and Jordan Clarkson ($4,200) are also in tough spots but playing so well that it’s tough to advise against them. Clarkson would be the one to fade for me because his minutes are pretty low.
Small Forward Matchups
BEST – New York Knicks vs. Orlando Magic — The Magic rank just 25th vs. the SF position, which is last on this slate. Unfortunately for the Knicks, they don’t feature much firepower at that position. Tim Hardaway Jr. ($6,100) has been hot lately but can disappear at any time. Consider him a GPP flyer along with Doug McDermott ($3,500) if you need to go cheaper. Courtney Lee ($4,200) has been a consistent option for around 20 DKFP on the wing recently as well.
WORST – Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Golden State Warriors — The Warriors rank seventh vs. SFs, but that’s enough to scare me away from Andrew Wiggins ($6,500). He and Jimmy Butler ($6,900) have been sharing the usage on the perimeter, not to mention Jamal Crawford ($3,900), who has been a big offensive weapon for the Timberwolves. Failing to reach value in seven of his last nine games, Wiggins isn’t in play for me despite his ability to go off on any given night.
Power Forward Matchups
BEST – Detroit Pistons vs. Indiana Pacers — The Pacers rank dead last in the NBA against opposing PFs. Stanley Johnson ($4,400) and Jon Leuer ($3,000) are both out tonight, so Tobias Harris ($6,600) instantly becomes a more attractive play. Anthony Tolliver ($3,500) also becomes a viable value play.
WORST – Indiana Pacers vs. Detroit Pistons — Detroit ranks fourth overall against the four spot. But Domantas Sabonis ($5,900) is out, so Thaddeus Young ($5,800) becomes an attractive play just based on volume.
Editor’s Note: Kristaps Porzingis (elbow, ankle) has been ruled out of tonight’s game against the Magic.
BEST – Detroit Pistons vs. Indiana Pacers — The Pacers rank 27th against centers, which makes Andre Drummond ($8,400) my favorite play on this slate — you can read more on him below.
Editor’s Note: Al Horford (concussion) has been ruled out of tonight’s game against the Lakers.
WORST – Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics —
Al Horford ($7,300) and the Boston bigs have been holding down the paint, ranking tops in the league against centers. Brook Lopez ($6,100) has had a serious resurgence over the last few games, but he’s still tough roster given the matchup. Julius Randle ($4,900) has been playing terrific, but his minutes make him difficult to trust.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying For
Editor’s Note: Kevin Durant (thigh) has been ruled out of tonight’s game against the Timberwolves.
Andre Drummond ($8,400) —
Kevin Durant ($9,700) is the most expensive player on this slate, so with no options over $10K, we can build more balanced lineups on Wednesday. I’m looking to even save a bit more cash and start my lineup with Drummond. He has a terrific matchup against the Pacers and has scored 40+ DKFP in seven of his last eight games, including 50+ in each of his last two games.
Save Big Bucks by Drafting
Marcus Morris ($4,000) — It’s a good thing balance is the way this slate dictates building lineups because there’s not a ton of value. I still feel Morris in underpriced for the C’s, as his season just got going on Friday and he’s still played just two games. Having not played since Sunday, he’ll be fresher than his teammates, who played on Monday. Look for him to build off the 23-minute, 26.25-DKFP performance he produced on Sunday.
Next Man Up
Download DK Live – There aren’t any notable names out as of this morning, but use the DK Live app to following along with the news. Elfrid Payton and Greg Monroe are listed as questionable.
*DKFP = DraftKings Fantasy Points
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.