Fantasy Basketball Cheat Sheet: Best, Worst plays for November 21

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 football 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 monster 13-game slate:

Defense vs. Position

Point Guard Matchups

BEST

Team, Opp, Opp Rank
Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, 28th
Utah Jazz, Sacramento Kings, 27th
Minnesota Timberwolves, Denver Nuggets, 26th

This slate has so much going on I’m going to have to pick just the best of the best and worst of the worst spots to highlight. Donovan Mitchell ($7,200) had one of the worst games of his career Monday against Indiana, but a home matchup against Sacramento is a perfect bounce-back spot. Mitchell has scored more than 34 DKFP every time he’s faced the Kings in his career.

WORST

Team, Opp, Opp Rank
Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers, 1st
Portland Trail Blazers, Milwaukee Bucks, 3rd
Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, 4th

There are so many good PG plays on this slate it’s worth considering some bad matchups in GPPs. Damian Lillard ($9,200) is on a really nice stretch, topping 52 DKFP in three of his past four games on this road trip, and his salary dips $500. He makes sense as an off-the-radar tournament play, but for the most part all of these bad matchups make for fades unless otherwise specified.


Shooting Guard Matchups

BEST

Team, Opp, Opp Rank
Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, 30th
Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks, 28th
Toronto Raptors, Atlanta Hawks, 27th

Kawhi Leonard ($9,500) only played 30 minutes against Orlando on Tuesday, but he’s always a candidate to rest on back-to-backs. Danny Green ($4,600) is already on a strong three-game stretch and would make for an elite play with Kawhi off the floor.

WORST

Team, Opp, Opp Rank
Sacramento Kings, Utah Jazz, 2nd
Minnesota Timberwolves, Denver Nuggets, 3rd
New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, 4th

Each of these matchups represents a realistic spot to fade. The only play to consider is Trey Burke ($4,200), who’s been getting a lot of minutes at PG for the Knicks but remains PG/SG eligible. Burke’s averaging 33 DKFP over his past three games, and while Boston’s in much need of righting the ship at home against a bad team, the C’s have been getting cooked by opposing PGs in recent games.


Small Forward Matchups

BEST

Team, Opp, Opp Rank
Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, 30th
Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs, 29th
Philadelphia 76ers, New Orleans Pelicans, 27th

The Pelicans rank 29th in opponent points per game at 116.8. Jimmy Butler ($7,100) is the cheapest he’s been in a 76er uniform, so he has a lot of upside in this spot. Wilson Chandler ($3,400) is a value play worth considering given his recent jump in minutes. Initially operating on a minutes restriction, Chandler played 31 minutes Monday. Despite a terrible game, he’ll take advantage of more playing time soon enough.

WORST

Team, Opp, Opp Rank
Charlotte Hornets, Indiana Pacers, 1st
Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder, 2nd
Sacramento Kings, Utah Jazz, 3rd

So, we have an obvious matchup to ignore here due to how strong the spot is. A frustrated Kevin Durant ($10,600) playing for a struggling Warriors team that’ll be without Stephen Curry (groin) and Draymond Green (toe) seems like a good spot for a monster game. So who gets to feel the wrath of KD? Just his former Thunder team visiting The Bay. I don’t venture down Narrative Street all that often, but how can you not take a stroll in this situation?


Power Forward Matchups

BEST

Team, Opp, Opp Rank
Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls, 30th
Toronto Raptors, Atlanta Hawks, 29th
New Orleans Pelicans, Philadelphia 76ers, 28th

The Pelicans are stacked with PF-eligible plays. Anthony Davis ($11,400) is in a good groove and worth considering paying up for — although there are a few studs in potentially better spots. Nikola Mirotic ($6,900) is the best value on New Orleans. I actually think the Raptors make for some of the best PF plays on the slate. The Hawks have been dominated by size, and Pascal Siakam ($6,600) and Serge Ibaka ($6,300) have been tremendous for Toronto all season.

WORST

Team, Opp, Opp Rank
Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks, 1st
Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, 2nd
Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns, 3rd

Jabari Parker ($6,000) is always on the radar with all the injuries in Chicago, but he just hasn’t produced. At $6,000 we need at least 30 DKFP here — something he’s accomplished in just two of his past 10 games. He’s a strong play in theory against the Suns, but I think we can do better on this slate.


Center Matchups

BEST

Team, Opp, Opp Rank
Dallas Mavericks, Brooklyn Nets, 30th
Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns, 28th
Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, 27th

Center is always an insanely deep position. In short, I think you can play any of the three starting centers on these three teams in these fantastic matchups. Tristan Thompson ($5,800) surprisingly has been playing really well for the Cavs, and he has to back up his talk before the season that this is still a team to beat when a certain someone returns to Cleveland on Wednesday — another narrative we’ll touch on. Thompson’s flashed 40-plus DKFP upside often since Kevin Love went down and has a chance for a big game against the Lakers.

WORST

Team, Opp, Opp Rank
Minnesota Timberwolves, Denver Nuggets, 1st
Charlotte Hornets, Indiana Pacers, 2nd
Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder, 3rd

The Warriors don’t really have a center-eligible play worth discussing, so they make for the fade here. In these other two spots, Karl-Anthony Towns ($8,800) is available at a huge discount and has been far more productive since Butler went to Philly. Cody Zeller ($4,100) has been a really strong value play in recent games. He’s worth consideration given the minutes he’s getting at this price tag — 32 or more in three of his past four.


Lineup Quick Hits

Superstar Worth Paying For

Joel Embiid ($10,800) — We have some huge narratives on this slate, particularly with KD versus OKC and a red-hot LeBron James ($11,600) returning to Cleveland with 73.5 and 80-DKFP games under his belt in the past week. You can obviously play both of those guys with confidence.

But ignoring the narratives, Embiid is the best play on paper. He’s scored more than 57 DKFP in four of his past five, yet his salary is on the decline against one of the highest scoring defenses in the league. Remember when Embiid’s minute restrictions were a thing? He’s a lock for 35-40 minutes these days, which should yield plenty of production against New Orleans.

Save The Big Bucks By Drafting …

Dorian Finney-Smith ($3,800) — So with all the plays on this slate, we need to get down to some real value. With Wesley Matthews (hamstring) already ruled out, DFS (awesome initials) is in a strong spot for his price point. DFS has been averaging an insane 37 minutes over his past two games, making him as safe as it gets for $3,800. Averaging more than 25 DKFP in his past three games, lock this value in.

Next Man Up

Keep up with DK Live — For the size of this slate, the injury news is incredibly thin in the early going. That’s almost certain to change as the slate approaches. Keep up with DK Live for all the news and analysis on how to react.


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.