It’s only a seven-game slate on Monday, but we’ve got a pretty star-studded group to sort through. Here are the best and worst matchups at each position. As usual, reach out to me on Twitter with any questions or comments: @julianedlow.
Defense vs. Position
Point Guard Matchups
BEST – James Harden ($11,400) vs. Brooklyn Nets – The best PG matchup of the evening is a no-brainer on this slate. Many of the other PGs face a tough matchup, whereas this MVP-candidate gets to host the Nets — who rank dead last at defending his position. Not much else to say other than this is a fantastic matchup for Harden.
WORST – Jameer Nelson ($4,900) vs. Dallas Mavericks – Nelson has been an awesome value play of late, but finally hit a snag Saturday against Orlando. Monday’s matchup with the Mavericks (tops in the NBA vs. PGs) doesn’t put Nelson in a good position to bounce back.
Shooting Guard Matchups
BEST – Wesley Matthews ($5,600) vs. Denver Nuggets – Denver has been the worst team in the league at limiting SG production this season, and they catch Matthews in the middle of a hot streak. Wes has been playing upwards of 35 minutes recently and has scored 30+ DKFP* in five of his last eight games.
WORST – C.J. McCollum ($7,300) vs. Los Angeles Clippers — McCollum is having a good season scoring, but that leads to inconsistencies in production on bad shooting nights. A road matchup with the NBA’s top defense (which ranks fourth vs. SGs) doesn’t bode well for him despite his 53 DKFP effort on Saturday.
Small Forward Matchups
BEST – Paul George ($8,300) vs. Charlotte Hornets – Charlotte has worked its way all the way down into the bottom-three in the league when it comes to defending SFs. George was able to post 55.25 DKFP in a good matchup with Portland on Saturday, and will attempt to carry that momentum into an even better matchup.
WORST – Harrison Barnes ($6,100) vs. Denver Nuggets — Denver has been very efficient defending the SF position, ranking in the top-five in the league. Even with Dirk still sidelined, Barnes has struggled mightily in two of his last three games (where Matthews has been picking up the slack).
Power Forward Matchups
BEST – Blake Griffin ($8,500) vs. Portland Trailblazers – Be sure to note that Griffin (knee) is questionable for this game, but if he does play, he couldn’t ask for a better matchup. The Blazers have consistently ranked last in the NBA against PF, so a matchup with a stud like Griffin should give Portland a lot of trouble. If Griffin sits, whoever starts in his place could be a value play, or you could look to Julius Randle vs. SAC.
WORST – Trevor Booker ($5,600) vs. Houston Rockets – The Rockets and defense haven’t gone together in many sentences this season, but they’ve been improving significantly at defending PFs. Houston now ranks eighth in the NBA vs. PFs, and Booker is coming off a mere 16 DKFP against the Spurs.
BEST – DeMarcus Cousins ($10,900) vs. Los Angeles Lakers — Boogie isn’t shooting the ball particularly well over his last four games, but he has still been finding ways to be productive. The Lakers have been getting slammed on the interior this season, setting Cousins up with a nice matchup to get back into a scoring rhythm.
WORST – Bucks’ Centers vs. Toronto Raptors – Mason Plumlee has the worst matchup on paper, but he has actually performed very well against DeAndre Jordan in the past. Greg Monroe ($4,600) and John Henson ($4,400) have been sharing minutes lately, thus limiting their upside despite low salaries heading into an unfavorable matchup with Toronto.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying For
James Harden ($11,400) – He’s the most expensive player on the slate, but his salary has come down from $12,000 since the beginning of December, and he has the dream PG matchup with the Nets. I’m not going to overthink it.
Save Big Bucks by Drafting
Marreese Speights ($4,000) – If Griffin doesn’t play, here’s your cheap replacement — Mo Buckets had 40.5 DKFP on Saturday with Griffin out. Speights has been filling it up lately, posting 26.25 in just 16 minutes against the Warriors with a healthy front line. With Portland struggling against bigs, he should be a big factor in the game no matter what.
Next Man Up
Jamal Crawford ($4,300) – More Clippers action for you. Austin Rivers is confirmed out with a concussion, so Crawford (already a lethal bench scorer) should be called upon to take a lot of the backcourt minutes off the bench. He’s scored 21+ points in three of his last four games.
*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.