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.
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Here’s what stands out on Wednesday’s 10-game slate:
Defense vs. Position
Point Guard MatchupsBEST
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Washington Wizards, 29th
Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns, 27th
Cleveland Cavaliers at New Orleans Pelicans, 26th
This is one of the most loaded slates of the season, so we really don’t have to force ourselves to reach anywhere. The Cavs and Mavs just don’t offer the best options, whereas the Sixers and Wizards are on the second night of a home-and-home, making it an awkward place to target. I’m not going to leave you empty-handed, though. D’Angelo Russell ($7,600) is up against the 24th-ranked Hawks, and was on a run of four straight games with 43 or more DKFP before laying a dud in Boston on Monday.
Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers, 1st
Utah Jazz vs. Orlando Magic, 2nd
Washington Wizards vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 3rd
Utah has a next-man-up situation in the backcourt with Ricky Rubio (hamstring) and Dante Exum (ankle) sidelined for the next couple of weeks. Raul Neto ($4,300) will be forced into a much larger role, and will have value moving forward. Neto went for 25 DKFP in 29 minutes after Rubio went down early in Utah’s last game.
Shooting Guard MatchupsBEST
Brooklyn Nets vs. Atlanta Hawks, 30th
Detroit Pistons at Los Angeles Lakers, 28th
Chicago Bulls at Portland Trail Blazers, 27th
This is another spot you can slot in Russell, but in terms of saving salary, Reggie Jackson ($4,600) is in a really strong spot. Jackson has a pretty high floor for his price point, but has that 40-DKFP upside.
Orlando Magic at Utah Jazz, 1st
Atlanta Hawks at Brooklyn Nets, 2nd
Washington Wizards vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 4th
Bradley Beal ($8,900) just keeps rolling with John Wall (heel) shut down for the season. Tuesday in Philly was no different, when Beal went for over 40 DKFP in 31 minutes despite not only a poor matchup, but also losing in a blowout. Beal’s now scored between 40-55 DKFP in the last six games without Wall, leaving him as a safe play.
Small Forward MatchupsBEST
Cleveland Cavaliers at New Orleans Pelicans, 29th
Brooklyn Nets vs. Atlanta Hawks, 27th
Detroit Pistons at Los Angeles Lakers, 23rd
None of these teams have a standout SF play or an injury situation to capitalize on at this position. Reggie Bullock ($4,200) and Cedi Osman ($4,400) are both solid plays due to the amount of minutes they play, so while they may not light up the scoreboard, we can elevate their ceilings a bit with the matchups.
Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers, 1st
Philadelphia 76ers at Washington Wizards, 2nd
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Detroit Pistons, 3rd
We don’t need to dip into any of these poor matchups on this slate. While the best matchups at SF don’t provide much either, we can look to injury situations in Phoenix and Utah to find plenty of value with high upside.
Power Forward MatchupsBEST
Brooklyn Nets vs. Atlanta Hawks, 29th
Washington Wizards vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 28th
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Chicago Bulls, 27th
This is just a really weird slate for matchups across the board. I don’t think I’ll be targeting any of these spots at PF, but there are strong plays. Phoenix and Utah should once again provide us with some value here, and Indiana is another injury situation to monitor with Domantas Sabonis ($7,100) potentially carrying more upside.
Orlando Magic at Utah Jazz, 2nd
Milwaukee Bucks at Houston Rockets, 3rd
San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies, 4th
The star power on this slate is going to lead to crucial decisions, as pretty much all of the top names are in tremendous spots. Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,100) is one of those guys, even against the Rockets. This game could easily wind up being played at a fast pace, which would play right into Giannis’ favor. As is the case with every team, Houston has nobody with a chance of stopping him.
Atlanta Hawks at Brooklyn Nets, 30th
Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns, 29th
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Chicago Bulls, 28th
The center position is loaded on this slate, just as you’d expect. John Collins ($7,200) is in one of the best spots, and his PF eligibility makes him much more roster-able. Collins has elite upside, and already went for 42.5 DKFP in a matchup against the Nets earlier this season. Jusuf Nurkic ($8,200) is also in position for a potential monster game here. The Bulls lack bodies up front, and Nurk’s been on a historic run lately, which has included an 82-DKFP effort.
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, 1st
Utah Jazz vs. Orlando Magic, 2nd
Houston Rockets vs. Milwaukee Bucks, 3rd
I think all three of these matchups actually provide some of the best plays on this slate. Anthony Davis ($11,500) is in a smash spot, but isn’t must-play because of all the other studs in equal or better position. Rudy Gobert ($7,500) is coming off 44 DKFP for the shorthanded Jazz, and registered those numbers against one of the toughest center matchups in the league in the Bucks. Finally, Clint Capela ($7,800) could go overlooked against Milwaukee. But remember what Gobert just did to the Bucks, plus Capela had a career game last week vs. the Warriors with 63.75 DKFP.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying ForJames Harden, HOU vs. MIL ($12,200) — In the end, the safest play here is to continue riding Harden. The Beard got off to a really slow start against Denver on Monday, and still found a way to wind up with almost 65 DKFP. With literal 90-DKFP upside here, Harden’s really difficult to fade in favor of these other studs, at least in cash games.
Save The Big Bucks By Drafting …Tristan Thompson, CLE at NO ($6,000) — Thompson managed to drop 42.75 DKFP in 35 minutes on Tuesday in one of the most difficult matchups in the league against the Pacers. Cleveland is extremely banged up in the frontcourt, and the pace of play should really speed up against the Pelicans.
Next Man UpPhoenix Suns at DAL — It’s the same situation as Tuesday night here. Devin Booker ($8,600) was removed from Sunday’s game with a back injury after just 12 minutes, then was unable to play Tuesday. He remains questionable against the Mavericks tonight, but if he’s unable to play, the Suns would provide ample value against one of the worst defenses and fastest paced teams in the NBA. Just look at who put up the points on the last slate and decide who you feel makes for the best value.
*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.