Welcome back, guys! We’ve got a really interesting six-game slate tonight for a few reasons. It’s the first meaningful NBA action in a week, but that’s the last thing on everyone’s mind. We’ve already seen a handful of trades so far, and should see more throughout the afternoon, so you really need to pay attention to your lineups.
What makes this slate so fun? We’ve got the debut of DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis paired together in New Orleans. We’ve got Lou Williams’ potential debut off the bench for the Rockets on the opposite side. And there’s the potential for Chris Paul (currently DOUBTFUL) to return tonight in a showdown with the Warriors.
It’s a crazy day, but the Cheat Sheet will do its best to provide you guys with the best and worst matchup statistically at each position, plus some bonus picks. This slate is unique in the sense that there really is no outstanding defensive team. So even the bad matchups are simply just the worst available on this slate.
As I mentioned, you’ll need to pay extra close attention today. The best way to do that? Follow along on the DK Live app, and be sure to tune in for out live trade deadline special on DKTV at 2:30 PM EST, followed by another addition of Pre Lock Live at 6:00 PM EST.
Hit me up on Twitter with comments or questions: @julianedlow.
Defense vs. Position
Point Guard Matchups
BEST – Darren Collison ($7,400) vs. Denver Nuggets – Between Collison’s strong play before the break, and now the Boogie trade, his salary has risen $2,600 since earlier this month. Crazy, but it should be worth it tonight. With Matt Barnes cut, Collison and newly acquired Tyreke Evans should be the lead dogs. Denver allows almost 60 DKFP to PGs this season, which means Collison is in a near perfect spot. This is his team now …
WORST – Stephen Curry ($9,500) vs. Los Angeles Clippers – Whether CP3 plays or not, the Clippers have been fantastic against PGs this season — ranking fourth in the NBA and allowing an average of just 45 DKFP over the last five games. Steph is still priced pretty high, and he’s failed to reach value in his last three games.
Shooting Guard Matchups
BEST – Will Barton ($7,600) vs. Sacramento Kings – Collison is SG eligible, so using him here and grabbing another PG might be a decent option. Barton is SG/SF eligible, though, so he’s easy to fit in your lineup. The Kings are the third-worst team in the NBA vs. SGs, and their lineup should be in shambles tonight. Barton, who was hot before the break, will look to take advantage.
WORST – Nicolas Batum ($7,000) vs. Detroit Pistons – The Pistons rank fifth in the league vs. SGs, allowing less than 40 DKFP on average. That’s the best on the slate by a pretty wide margin. Meanwhile, Batum failed to reach value in consecutive games prior to the break. There are much better value options at SG on this slate.
Small Forward Matchups
BEST – Carmelo Anthony ($7,800) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – Believe it or not, the Cavs rank just 27th vs. SF this season. ‘Melo put together a really nice string of games leading up to the break, and this could be a statement game for him looking to prove he can still be a star in New York. For the value, I like him at SF tonight. However, both LeBron James ($10,300) and Kevin Durant ($9,400), have great matchups. They’re tough to fade.
WORST – Trevor Ariza ($5,600) vs. New Orleans Pelicans – The Pistons and Warriors both rank higher this season vs. SFs, but the Pelicans have been better than both lately — allowing an average of just 35.6 DKFP over the last five games. If Lou Williams does play in this one, that could also be some shots taken away from Ariza (who scored just 16.5 DKFP in his last game).
Power Forward Matchups
BEST – Aaron Gordon ($4,900) vs. Portland Trail Blazers – Portland ranks just 28th vs. PFs, which happens to be Gordon’s new/natural position for the Magic post-Serge Ibaka trade. Gordon makes for a nice value option with a juicy matchup on this slate, and could slide under the radar.
WORST – Draymond Green ($7,300) vs. Los Angeles Clippers – Draymond’s failed to reach value in every game since his mind blowing point-less triple-double against the Grizzlies. The Clippers rank fifth in the NBA against opposing PFs, and Green scored just 26.25 DKFP against them in his last try. Kristaps Porzingis ($6,600) also has a tough matchup against the Cavs, who’ve been defending PFs much better without Kevin Love.
BEST – DeMarcus Cousins ($11,000) and Anthony Davis ($10,200) vs. Houston Rockets – We had to talk about these guys at some point. Houston ranks 28th vs. centers, and this new dynamic duo should look to tear them apart in the paint. Boogie is obviously PF eligible too, so you can use him there if you want. Honestly, we just have to sit back and see what happens in this game as it’s difficult to project usage. But if you feel good about one, or both, of these guys, the matchup is right. There’s no covering both of them.
WORST – Guillermo Hernangomez ($5,700) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – The price tag is getting steep on Hernangomez, and Cleveland’s bigs have been defending well. The Cavs rank seventh in the league against centers this season, so it may not be the best spot for Willy.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying For
James Harden ($12,500)/Nikola Jokic ($10,500) – Look to take advantage of some of the moves from the trade deadline. The Boogie trade left New Orleans practically out of guards, and the Kings really thin up front. Harden and Jokic don’t have much competition at their positions tonight.
Save Big Bucks by Drafting
Pelicans’ backcourt/Kings’ frontcourt – On the other end of that trade, a lot of value opened up. New Orleans literally has two guards besides Jrue Holiday ($7,500), so both E’Twaun Moore ($3,400) and Tim Frazier ($3,300) should see a lot of minutes. With Boogie gone, Willie Cauley-Stein ($3,600) and Kosta Koufos ($3,500) should both get a lot of action up front.
Next Man Up
Take what the deadline gives us – It’s likely that a trade will come though regarding some of the teams on tonight’s slate. Per the new DK Traded Players Policy, players that are traded will be eligible to accrue points on their new teams, so value could open up. Be sure to keep an eye on the trade news!
Plenty of injury news in sure to open up lots of value, so make sure you check the DK Live app prior to lock for all the latest breaking news regarding injuries, lineups and analysis.
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.