WATCH: HE’S ON FIRE – RUSSELL WESTBROOK
Here are the best and worst matchups on Friday’s nine-game slate. For questions or comments hit me up on Twitter: @julianedlow.
Defense vs. Position
Point Guard Matchups
BEST – Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,000) vs. Atlanta Hawks –The Hawks continue to get scorched by opposing PGs, now allowing an average of 76.6 DKFPs over the last five games (and still ranking 29th in the NBA over the course of the season). With Harden and Westbrook right above him in salary, “The Greek Freak” might get overlooked, and he has upside, evidenced by the 61.5 DKFPs he posted on Wednesday.
WORST – Jeff Teague ($6,500) vs. Dallas Mavericks – Dallas continues to dominate opposing PGs. The Mavs have been a staple as the top-ranked team in limiting PG production and have improved over the past 10 games, and even more over the last five games (holding PGs under 40 DKFPs which is no easy feat). Teague’s having a nice season and played well in his last game, but on paper the matchup couldn’t be worse.
Shooting Guard Matchups
BEST – Devin Booker ($5,900) vs. Los Angeles Lakers – The Lakers rank 29th against SGs and have been allowing a league-worst 54 DKFPs to the position over the last five games. That leaves Booker — who smoked LAL for a 39-7-3 line earlier this season — in a prime spot tonight.
WORST – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($5,600) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves — The Wolves rank second in the NBA against opposing SGs, which isn’t good news for the already inconsistent KCP. Opposite him, the red-hot Zach LaVine ($6,000) also has a tough matchup with DET despite his high ceiling.
Small Forward Matchups
BEST – LeBron James ($9,600) vs. Miami Heat – Matching up with LeBron is never fun, but Miami ranks in the bottom-third of the NBA at defending SFs and has been the 28th ranked team in its last five contests. LBJ played just 32 minutes in a blowout win over the Knicks on Wednesday, so he should be fresh to face his former team.
WORST – Andrew Wiggins ($6,300) vs. Detroit Pistons — The Pistons rank third in the NBA against opposing SFs entering a matchup with Wiggins. The former No. 1 overall pick has been struggling after his hot start to the season, though. His scoring average has come way down, which is a big deal since he’s not a particularly active player on the glass or as a distributer.
Power Forward Matchups
BEST – Julius Randle ($6,000) vs. Phoenix Suns – The Suns have been getting worked on the interior lately, particularly by PFs — ranking 28th in the NBA against the position and showing no sign of improvement. Randle has put together solid double-doubles in his past two games and seems to have broken out of his slump.
WORST – Kevin Love ($7,600) vs. Miami Heat – Miami has been terrific at defending the PF position of late, ranking fourth in the NBA this season. Meanwhile, Love has failed to hit value in four of his last five games entering a matchup that seems destined for LeBron to take on the heavy lifting. Also, Love is questionable with back spasms, so be sure to double check his status prior to game time.
BEST – DeMarcus Cousins ($10,900) vs. New York Knicks — As mentioned on Wednesday, when Tristan Thompson was the play here and ripped down 20 boards, the Knicks have been getting slammed by centers. Boogie dropped 68.75 DKFPs on them earlier this week, so it’s pretty obvious this is a great situation for him.
WORST – Clint Capela ($5,600) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – Capela has had some nice games recently, but he has also struggled in tough matchups. That’s exactly what Steven Adams and the Thunder bring to the table, ranking fourth in the NBA vs. opposing centers.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying For
Russell Westbrook ($12,800) – Crazy to imagine Russ is going to cost $13,000 soon, but I still think he’s worth every penny. More often than not, he’s in the neighborhood of 75 DKFPs, so I will roll with Westbrook over James Harden ($11,500) — who is also a great play returning to OKC.
Save Big Bucks by Drafting
Tristan Thompson ($4,900) – Thompson has been a rebounding machine lately and remains under $5K. He’s averaging 17 boards over his past two games entering a friendly matchup with Miami. It’s crazy to think he scored 35.5 DKFPs against the Knicks without making a FG.
Next Man Up
Terry Rozier ($3,800) – If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Isaiah Thomas is expected to be sidelined again with a groin injury tonight, which opens up a lot of usage for the Celtics. Rozier played 26 minutes last game without Thomas in the lineup and scored 27.75 DKFPs. Despite a poor matchup with the Raptors and the $800 rise in salary, I think he’s still in a great position tonight due to the opportunity opened up by the absence of Isaiah Thomas.
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.