With Christmas in the rearview, it’s right back to an 11-game slate that includes four teams that played yesterday. Here are the best and worst matchups from across the league. Never hesitate to hit me up on Twitter with any comments or questions: @julianedlow.
Defense vs. Position
Point Guard Matchups
BEST – Kemba Walker ($8,100) vs. Brooklyn Nets – The Nets may just be the worst team in the league, and statistically they are when it comes to defending PGs. Walker has exceeded value in three of his last four, and has a great opportunity to do so tonight despite the rise in his salary.
WORST – Eric Bledsoe ($7,900) vs. Houston Rockets – Believe it or not, Houston has climbed into the top-5 as a defensive team vs. PGs by allowing just 43.3 DKFP over the past five games. That leaves Bledsoe in an unfavorable spot, especially knowing that he posted just 27.5 DKFP in a game against the Rockets last week.
Shooting Guard Matchups
BEST – Devin Booker ($6,700) vs. Houston Rockets – Although the PG defense is surprising, this is still a Mike D’Antoni defense that allows a lot of possessions/points to opponents. The Rockets rank 28th in the NBA against SGs entering a matchup with Booker — who has gone for 42+ DKFP in three of his last four games, including 46.5 against HOU last week.
WORST – C.J. McCollum ($6,800) vs. Toronto Raptors – Toronto is the NBA’s top team in limiting opposing SGs, so McCollum has the worst possible matchup tonight. Considering he’s scored a mere 21 DKFP or less in two of his last four games, I think he makes for a pretty unattractive play with some other values at his position. (Keep an eye on Damian Lillard’s status for this game).
Small Forward Matchups
BEST – Paul George ($7,700) vs. Chicago Bulls – George’s salary is down and he gets to face a Bulls team on the second night of a back-to-back that’s allowing 59.5 DKFP to SFs over the past five games. He’s in a great spot and gets the slight nod over Nicolas Batum, who has a fantastic matchup with the Nets (I’m not afraid to play him and Kemba) for just $100 more and has scored 44+ DKFP in four of his last five.
Editor’s Note: LeBron James is OUT tonight against the Pistons.
LeBron James ($9,700) vs. Detroit Pistons – LeBron is always a tough fade, but I think if I’m going to leave him out of my lineup, this is the slate to do so. James played 40 minutes yesterday and went all-out to get the win over the Warriors. Now just a day later he has to square off with a Detroit defense that ranks fourth in the NBA vs. SFs and that LeBron posted just a 21-3-3 line against in his last matchup this season. (The Cavs hinted they might rest James in this game, so check on his status before tip).
Power Forward Matchups
BEST – Harrison Barnes ($6,200) vs. New Orleans Pelicans –Even with Dirk back, Barnes has still been playing a lot of PF. Having exceeded value in five of his last six games, Barnes is in a favorable spot squaring off against the 27th ranked Pelicans’ defense vs. PFs.
WORST – Serge Ibaka ($6,300) vs. Memphis Grizzlies – Ibaka has been on fire lately, essentially scoring 40+ DKFP in four of his last five, including 51.25 in his last game against the Lakers on Friday. His price hasn’t been on the rise either, which makes him a really attractive option until you see his matchup with the Grizzlies. Memphis ranks third in the NBA against PFs and should bring Ibaka’s numbers back to earth.
BEST – DeMarcus Cousins ($10,900) vs. Philadelphia 76ers— Boogie has been matchup sensitive this season, so it’s important to monitor those Memphis/Utah type opponents with him. The Sixers do not represent that type of matchup. Philly ranks middle of the pack vs. PFs, but 29th in the league vs. centers. The other standout matchup at center is really just another Hornet — Cody Zeller gets a shot at an absurdly bad Nets’ defense allowing 66.3 DKFP to centers over the past five games and costs you just $5,000.
WORST – Nikola Vucevic ($6,300) vs. Memphis Grizzlies – This just keeps up with the theme that I avoid bigs against the Grizzlies. Vucevic’s big games tend to come in favorable matchups, otherwise he struggles to hit value. Although priced much cheaper, Bismack Biyombo probably falls into the same category.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying For
Giannis Antetokounmpo – Boogie is an equally attractive play, but Giannis has been really consistent lately, so you have a better idea of what you’re going to get. Having exceeded value in six of his last seven games, including 63.5 DKFP vs. Washington (his opponent again tonight) in his last game on Friday, Giannis should be in a great position to succeed.
Save Big Bucks by Drafting
Nikola Mirotic ($3,900) – Mirotic has exceeded value in four consecutive games and has been playing solid minutes for a player priced under $4,000. He did play 32 minutes against the Spurs yesterday, but has a great matchup vs. Indy tonight and has shown the ability to produce even when playing in the 20 minute range.
Next Man Up
Raymond Felton ($3,600) – Felton’s been getting the majority of the PG minutes with Chris Paul sidelined due to a hamstring injury. He peaked against the Lakers on Christmas, nearly dropping a triple-double (8-6-10) to go along with a pair of steals and a pair of blocks (36.5 DKFP). If he gets the start again vs. Denver (ranked 27th against PGs), he’s a candidate to approach that 10X mark again, which is absolute DFS gold.
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.