WATCH: HE’S ON FIRE – ISAIAH THOMAS
Stay on your toes for this one, guys … we’ve got a monster 12-game slate on Wednesday night. With nearly every team in action, I’ll bring you the players with the best and worst matchups at each position below, and do my best to include some extra names with such a large slate. Remember to use the DK Live app to monitor all the injury and lineup news leading up to lock. Hit me up on Twitter with comments or questions: @julianedlow.
Defense vs. Position
Point Guard Matchups
BEST – Brandon Jennings ($5,200) vs. Brooklyn Nets – As you can imagine, there an insane amount of elite PG plays on this slate. Matchup-wise, though, the Nets still rank dead last in the NBA vs. opposing PGs. Sure, Jennings is the 25th most expensive PG on the slate, but you’re going to need to find some value tonight. Jennings is averaging over 40 DKFP in the last two games with Derrick Rose (ankle) out. Mike Conley ($7,300) and Jeff Teague ($7,400) also have favorable matchups.
WORST – T.J. McConnell ($5,400) vs. Dallas Mavericks – Having exceeded value in four consecutive games, McConnell could stand out as a value play. However, Dallas has been the league’s best team vs. PGs, and they are improving. Allowing just 42 DKFP to PGs on average over the past 10 games, the Mavs have been nearly 6 DKFP better than any other team.
Shooting Guard Matchups
UPDATE: Stephen Curry WILL PLAY tonight against the Hornets, per Anthony Slater.
BEST – Klay Thompson ($6,800) vs. Charlotte Hornets – Charlotte ranks just 28th vs. opposing SGs this season, barely edging out Brooklyn and Denver. The Hornets have been allowing 43.7 DKFP to SGs, including an average of nearly 45 over the past five games. Thompson managed 42.5 DKFP on Sunday with Stephen Curry ($8,500) sidelined, and would be in a good position to go off again if Steph misses this game. He’s currently questionable.
WORST – Jaylen Brown ($4,000) vs. Toronto Raptors – The rookie has filled in nicely for the injured Avery Bradley (who is out against tonight), but the Raptors present a problem — they are ranked second vs. SGs. With DeMar DeRozan sidelined, Toronto has been even better defensively, allowing 2 DKFP below its season average. Norman Powell ($5,500) makes for a much better play at the same price, having exceeded value in every game DeRozan has missed.
Small Forward Matchups
BEST – Carmelo Anthony ($7,500) vs. Brooklyn Nets – The Nets might be even worse against SFs than they are against PGs. Ranked last in the league and allowing 50 DKFP over the past five games, Melo will have an opportunity to feast on this defense. Paul George ($8,100), Andrew Wiggins ($7,400) and Gordon Hayward ($6,600) are also in strong spots.
WORST – Jabari Parker ($7,200) vs. Utah Jazz – Parker will play both forward positions, but the Jazz defend both as well as anyone in the league. Parker, fresh off a mere 14 DKFP performance against the Celtics, is not an attractive target tonight. Danilo Gallinari ($6,300) also has a brutal matchup with the Grizz.
Power Forward Matchups
BEST – Serge Ibaka ($6,100) vs. Indiana Pacers – First, some breaking news for those that consistently read the Cheat Sheet: The Blazers finally do not rank 30th vs. PFs for the first time in recent memory, having been overtaken by the Lakers. Moving onto this slate (in an attempt to stop picking players against the Nets), the Pacers have been the fifth-worst team vs. PFs overall this season — allowing nearly 54 DKFP over the past 10 games. Ibaka saw a healthy 38 minutes in his last game, turning the playing time into over 40 DKFP. Blake Griffin ($7,500) could be due for his first big game since returning against a weak Suns front court, while Kristaps Porzingis ($6,300) has a great matchup in Brooklyn if he plays.
WORST – Kenneth Faried ($5,700) vs. Memphis Grizzlies – Faried’s been a red-hot value play the last two games with Nikola Jokic sidelined, as he’s averaged over 45 DKFP. If Jokic is able to return tonight (which is unlikely), Faried takes an obvious hit, but his matchup isn’t doing him any favors either. Memphis ranks second vs. PFs this season, and they have been allowing just an eye popping 28.9 DKFP to PFs over the past five games. I don’t hate Faried to reach value tonight given his expanded role, but I wouldn’t expect 7-8X value like he’s been producing. Paul Millsap ($7,800) is another guy to watch out for. He scored 76 DKFP in his last game, but it was a 4OT game against the Knicks. His matchup with Miami is much more difficult (and likely won’t come with 20 minutes of free basketball).
BEST – Andre Drummond ($7,900) vs. New Orleans Pelicans – Drummond has exceeded value in consecutive games, including dismantling the Celtics for 28 points and 22 boards (69 DKFP) on Monday night. The Pelicans rank fifth-worst in the league vs. centers (third-worst on the slate) this season, and are allowing 62.4 DKFP to the position over the past five games. DeAndre Jordan ($7,300), Brook Lopez ($6,700), Nikola Vucevic ($6,500) and Dirk Nowitzki ($5,000) all have strong matchups with this deep center pool.
WORST – Hassan Whiteside ($7,300) vs. Atlanta Hawks – The Hawks have been the fourth-toughest matchup for opposing centers this season, which is bad news for Whiteside. Hassan has also had his own struggles recently — failing to reach value in eight of his last 10 games. Even the most favorable of matchups have not gotten him going, so it’s difficult to see a matchup with the Hawks being his breakout game. Other poor matchups include Greg Monroe ($5,500), Jusuf Nurkic ($5,000) and Robin Lopez ($4,300).
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying For
Russell Westbrook ($12,000) – How do you pick just one stud on a 12-game slate? I guess if I have to, Westbrook’s my guy. He’s the most likely to produce and has the highest ceiling on the slate. Russ’ salary also isn’t too bad, down $700 in the past two games.
Save Big Bucks by Drafting
Rajon Rondo ($4,100) – I never would’ve thought I’d come back around to recommending Rondo as a play, but he’s been responding well lately. Over his past two games since Chicago turned into even more of a mess, Rondo’s averaging 26.5 minutes and 34.5 DKFP.
Other Options: Wes Matthews ($4,700), Tony Allen ($4,500), Courtney Lee ($4,300)
Next Man Up
Norman Powell ($5,500) – With DeRozan confirmed out and Powell exceeding value in each of his recent starts, Powell stands out tonight. But this is going to be a HUGE news night with so many teams in action, so follow along closely on DK Live with a LOT of potential value sure to open up. There are plenty of big names that are questionable for tonight.
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.