WATCH: 3 IN THE KEY – BROOK LOPEZ
We’re back into the full swing of things tonight with the trade deadline behind us and a 10-game slate on tap. The Cheat Sheet will do its best to identify the best and worst matchup statistically at each position.
Be sure to check in on the DK Live app throughout the day to monitor injury and lineup news. Today will be particularly important as some players could be making their team debuts after being traded this week, while others may still have a physical to pass and sit this one out.
Another great way to help build your lineup is to tune in to DKTV at 6 PM EST for Pre Lock Live — a one hour show that will keep you posted on up to the minute news along with plenty of analysis.
Hit me up on Twitter with comments or questions: @julianedlow.
Defense vs. Position
Point Guard Matchups
BEST – Jameer Nelson ($6,700) vs. Brooklyn Nets – A Nets vs. Nuggets game could easily be seen as a big mess, but I think it’s actually the perfect game to roster guards in. Brooklyn ranks 30th vs. PGs and 29th vs. SGs, and you just need to flip flop those numbers to get Denver’s rankings. The Nets are allowing over 60 DKFP to PGs this season on average, and Nelson has posted at least 36.5 DKFP in five consecutive contests. Jeremy Lin ($5,000) is also a cheap option on the other side, returning from an injury layoff.
WORST – Ricky Rubio ($6,500) vs. Dallas Mavericks – Rubio’s still in Minnesota after trade rumors surrounded him all week. He had a brutal final game before the break, scoring just 21.25 DKFP in 34 minutes against the lowly Nuggets. That was his third time failing to reach 25 DFKP in his last seven games — so Rubio carries a low floor. Dallas ranks first in the NBA against PGs, so the matchup is far from ideal.
Shooting Guard Matchups
BEST – Nets SGs vs. Denver Nuggets – As I mentioned, this is the clear game to target backcourt players in based on the numbers, and it just so happens there’s a lot of low salary players. The Nets’ backcourt becomes even more valuable when factoring in that this will be the first game without Bojan Bogdanovic — who was averaging over 14 points in nearly 27 minutes prior to being traded to the Wizards. Against the incapable Denver defense, Sean Kilpatrick ($4,300) and Joe Harris ($3,400) could turnout to be a couple of great value plays.
WORST – Tim Hardaway Jr. ($5,700) vs. Miami Heat – Hardaway was a popular value play before the break, but totaled just 18.75 DKFP against the Clippers in his last game. His 28 minutes were the fewest he’d played in his last six games, and Hardaway has shown the tendency to be matchup-sensitive. His dad’s former team ranks fourth in the league vs. SGs, so this isn’t a good spot for him. The Bucks’ SGs are also in a difficult matchup with the Jazz despite their low salaries.
Small Forward Matchups
BEST – Kawhi Leonard ($8,700) vs. Los Angeles Clippers – Kawhi is priced down with a great matchup against a Clippers team that lacks a SF presence and is likely gassed from playing the Warriors last night. It’s hard not to like this situation, but there are a lot of nice SF matchups on the slate. Danilo Gallinari ($5,500) is back from injury and scored 29.5 DKFP last night — he has a matchup with the Nets, who rank dead last against SF.
WORST – Giannis Antetokounmpo ($9,600) vs. Utah Jazz – The value of having the ability to slot Giannis in at SF can’t be overstated. However, it doesn’t matter where you play him tonight, his matchup against Utah is bad one. This figures to be a really slow game with a lot of poor matchups on both sides. The Jazz rank first in the NBA against SFs and second against PGs, so there isn’t much upside here.
Power Forward Matchups
BEST – Dario Saric ($6,400) vs. Washington Wizards – Dario might be my favorite play on this slate. There are three reasons to love him — 1. Washington is allowing an average of 54 DKFP to opposing PFs over the past five games. 2. Saric’s scored 38+ DKFP in each of his last four games. 3. With Ersan Ilyasova and Nerlens Noel both traded out of Philly, the PF spot belongs to him for the rest of the season. He’ll look to own it and show the Sixers what he can do in a featured role.
WORST – Blake Griffin ($8,600) vs. San Antonio Spurs – He’s been really good since returning from injury, carrying the CP3-less Clippers. Chris Paul remains doubtful for tonight’s game after missing last night’s loss to the Warriors — a game in which Griffin will be looking to bounce back from just 31.75 DKFP. However, the second night of a back-to-back against a Spurs squad that ranks fourth in the league against PFs isn’t very promising.
BEST – Marcin Gortat ($6,400) vs. Philadelphia 76ers – There are four guys worth talking about here, but it has to start with Gortat. He’ll be facing a Philly team that shed Noel and Ilyasova after already ranking last in the NBA against centers, and they will be without Joel Embiid as well. The 76ers are allowing an average of over 63 DKFP to centers in the last 10 games. Jahlil Okafor ($5,200) is one of the four centers with a fantastic matchup tonight going up against Gortat himself, with the potential for major minutes since the Philly frontline is so thin. Nikola Jokic ($10,800) is expensive, but he’s playing the Nets and coming off a horrible game. Beware of a monster bounce back game. Meanwhile, Steven Adams ($6,400) will face a Lakers team that has consistently allowed 60 DKFP to centers.
WORST – Myles Turner ($5,500) vs. Memphis Grizzlies – Turner’s price is attractive, but the matchup with Memphis is not. Clearly one of the best teams on the interior, the Grizzlies present a really difficult task for Turner, particularly strength-wise.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying For
Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,500) – I actually like building a balanced lineup tonight, but Towns is in consideration. Noel will not play for Dallas, so the Mavs basically have nobody to cover KAT. Russell Westbrook ($13,000) is in play against the Lakers, of course, but the blowout potential is scary. He’s the most expensive player on the slate by $2,200.
Save Big Bucks by Drafting
Nemanja Bjelica ($3,100) – I’m reaching deep for you guys tonight. Since Zach LaVine’s injury, Bjelica has been slowly coming on. He posted a wild 35 DKFP game in just 19 minutes against the Bulls, and played 29 minutes in Minnesota’s final game before the break. At his price, I think he’s worth a look.
Next Man Up
Use trades to your advantage – Just like I mentioned with the Nets’ backcourt and the Sixers’ frontcourt, trades open value. Here are some other guys that should see more minutes tonight after having a teammate traded away: Jordan Clarkson ($4,800), Nick Young ($4,600), T.J. Warren ($4,600), Marquese Chriss ($4,000), Bobby Portis ($5,000), Nikola Mirotic ($4,100).
Plenty of injury news is 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.