Fantasy Basketball Cheat Sheet: Best, Worst NBA Matchups for December 3

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 Monday’s seven-game slate:


Defense vs. Position

Point Guard Matchups

BEST
Cleveland Cavaliers at Brooklyn Nets (30th)
New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Clippers (29th)
New York Knicks vs. Washington Wizards (28th)

These matchups actually play into a couple of my favorite plays on the slate, which I touch on in the quick hits at the bottom of this article. Read that section for the specifics, but Emmanuel Mudiay ($5,000) and Lou Williams ($4,900) should be very strong plays on this slate.

WORST
Houston Rockets at Minnesota Timberwolves (1st)
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Houston Rockets (6th)
Brooklyn Nets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (8th)

With Chris Paul ($8,000) back in the lineup, James Harden ($11,100) has been very limited. I think we can justify fading them in this matchup, which does leave some intrigue in rostering them in GPPs. Harden’s failed to reach value in each of the last games CP3’s played in.


Shooting Guard Matchups

BEST
Golden State Warriors at Atlanta Hawks (28th)
Brooklyn Nets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (26th)
Los Angeles Clippers vs. New Orleans Pelicans (22nd)

Klay Thompson ($7,400) is too expensive to roster now that Stephen Curry ($9,500) is back in the mix, but Curry carries PG/SG eligibility. Aside from the blowout potential, this feels like the perfect game for Curry to find his stride in his second game back from injury.

WORST
Toronto Raptors vs. Denver Nuggets (1st)
Cleveland Cavaliers at Brooklyn Nets (4th)
Atlanta Hawks vs. Golden State Warriors (6th)

Rodney Hood ($4,300) is still just too cheap to ignore regardless of matchup — and frankly, Brooklyn shouldn’t scare you off too much anyway. Hood’s played 30-plus minutes in six of his last eight games, including 42 on Saturday against Toronto. He makes for an extremely safe salary saver.


Small Forward Matchups

BEST
Houston Rockers at Minnesota Timberwolves (30th)
New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Clippers (28th)
Los Angeles Clippers vs. New Orleans Pelicans (26th)

These are some great matchups to capitalize on, the problem is these teams don’t get much production from the SF position, outside of the Clippers. Tobias Harris ($8,100) and Danilo Gallinari ($6,600) are viable plays, but there are better targets on the board to capitalize on. It’s unlikely I’ll be looking to any of these matchups when building my lineup.

WORST
New York Knicks vs. Washington Wizards (2nd)
Oklahoma City Thunder at Detroit Pistons (3rd)
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Houston Rockets (4th)

These bad matchups actually provide better SF targets for this slate. Paul George ($8,500) hasn’t put up big numbers in his last two games, but he’s only played 54 total minutes due to blowouts. Tim Hardaway Jr. ($6,900) is a play that I like even more against the Wizards, who rank terribly at most every other position defensively. As the Knicks’ best scorer, this fluke matchup doesn’t scare me away.


Power Forward Matchups

BEST
Washington Wizards at New York Knicks (28th)
Golden State Warriors at Atlanta Hawks (27th)
Los Angeles Clippers vs. New Orleans Pelicans (25th)

Markieff Morris’ ($5,900) salary continues to rise, but he’s been tremendous for Washington recently. Having scored 30-plus DKFP in five of his last six games, a matchup against the Knicks keeps him as a viable play. If you’re feeling a little more risky, Jeff Green ($3,800) is probable to return from a back injury, and could make for good value.

WORST
Atlanta Hawks vs. Golden State Warriors (2nd)
Brooklyn Nets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (3rd)
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Houston Rockets (5th)

Dewayne Dedmon ($3,800) is the only play to consider here, and it almost shouldn’t count since his true position is center. But Dedmon is PF eligible, and has also scored 23-plus DKFP in six of his last nine games. There’s some value here with Dedmon’s salary dropping, just make sure he’s good to go before tipoff (probable with an illness).


Center Matchups

BEST
Cleveland Cavaliers at Brooklyn Nets (30th)
New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Clippers (29th)
Oklahoma City Thunder at Detroit Pistons (25th)

After a dud against OKC, Tristan Thompson ($6,500) bounced back with a pair of huge games, combining for 31 points and 31 rebounds over his last two outings. The Nets are the perfect matchup for centers to go off for a monster game, leaving Thompson as one of my top plays on this slate.

WORST
Toronto Raptors vs. Denver Nuggets (1st)
Detroit Pistons vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (3rd)
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Houston Rockets (4th)

Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,000) could wind up being a popular play on this slate, and understandably so against Houston. But KAT hasn’t reached value in six of his last seven games, so I’m not sure I’m willing to pay up here with other studs in better positions. KAT should be an unpopular fade, but I won’t be rostering him until we see more consistent production or a dip in salary.


Lineup Quick Hits

Superstar Worth Paying For

Anthony Davis, NO at LAC ($11,500) — AD is the obvious call for me on this slate, having surpassed 65 DKFP in three of his last four games, including over 80 DKFP on Sunday in Charlotte. The Clippers are horrible defending bigs this season, so we get to take advantage of this matchup while Davis is underpriced. If there was a day off between him scoring 80 DKFP and a matchup with the Clippers, I’d expect AD to cost more than $12,000.

Save The Big Bucks By Drafting …

Lou Williams, LAC vs. NO ($4,900) — Williams has had plenty of duds this season, but he also provides huge scoring upside. Lou Will has exceeded value at this price point in eight of his last 10 games, and this is the ideal matchup for him to go off in — a projected high-scoring road game. The decrease in salary makes no sense in as strong a spot as Williams could be in.

Next Man Up

Emmanuel Mudiay, NY vs. WAS ($5,000) — There isn’t any big injury news yet on this slate, but Trey Burke (knee) will be sidelined against the Wizards. Mudiay came on to play 36 minutes on Saturday against the Bucks and drop 44.75 DKFP. The matchup and lineup news dictates a very favorable spot for the former top 10 pick.

*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.