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Here are the best and worst matchups at each position for tonight’s nine-game slate. Be sure to monitor injury and lineup news on DK Live leading up to lock, as potential opportunity and value can always change. Hit me up on Twitter with comments or questions: @julianedlow.
Defense vs. Position
Point Guard Matchups
BEST – John Wall ($9,900) vs. Chicago Bulls – The Bulls rank 24th in the NBA this season vs. PGs, but have allowed the most points to the position in the league over the past 10 games (64.6 DKFP) and five games (74.9). Coming off just 29.75 DKFP on Sunday, Wall may go overlooked in a fantastic matchup on the second night of a back-to-back for Chicago.
WORST – Giannis Antetokoumpo ($9,700) vs. San Antonio Spurs – Limiting PG production is one of the more difficult things to do in the NBA. The Spurs rank eighth overall this season, but have led the league over the past five games. Allowing just a shade over 40 DKFP on average during that stretch (one of the more impressive stretches vs. any position this season), Giannis, who is questionable, has an extremely difficult matchup on top of potentially returning from illness.
Shooting Guard Matchups
BEST – James Harden ($12,100) vs. Charlotte Hornets – Harden put forward his first real stinker of the season on Friday night, but the dude still has topped 75 DKFP in three of his last six games. The Hornets have allowed more than 54 DKFP per game to guards in general over the past five games. Harden should have plenty of room to operate in this one.
Update: Klay Thompson has been ruled out of tonight’s game against the Heat.
WORST – Klay Thompson ($6,500) vs. Miami Heat – Miami ranks eighth in the NBA against SGs, and has consistently been allowing less than 40 DKFP this season. Thompson has failed to hit value in his last three games, while Curry’s been heating up in that crowded Warriors’ offense. Thompson’s big games are becoming even more difficult to predict.
Small Forward Matchups
BEST – Kawhi Leonard ($7,900) vs Milwaukee Bucks – The Bucks recently passed the Nets for dead last in the NBA vs. SFs following a couple of big games from Carmelo Anthony. Meanwhile, Kawhi has had some bad games lately (two of his last four have been under 28.5 DKFP), but that has allowed his salary to come down. He’s a bargain tonight given the matchup.
WORST – LeBron James ($9,600) vs. Utah Jazz – LeBron typically presents the bad matchup for the other side, but this matchup isn’t ideal for him. Utah ranks first in defense vs. SFs, allowing just over 35 DKFP on average this season. Although LeBron is sure to be active, the pace of play and matchup may limit his upside a little bit. He also played 40 minutes vs. Phoenix on Sunday (somewhat surprising), so there’s reason to play him fewer minutes if the game allows it.
Power Forward Matchups
BEST – Julius Randle ($7,400) vs. Portland Trailblazers – Randle has exceeded value in four of his last five games, including 36.75 DKFP last week in Portland. His salary is a little higher than I’d prefer, but I think the matchup with the NBA’s worst team vs. PFs warrants paying up for him if you can fit him.
WORST – Kevin Love ($7,600) vs. Utah Jazz – I was going to put LaMarcus Aldridge ($7,000) vs. the Bucks in this spot, but he has been ruled out with an illness. The same factors that could limit LeBron’s upside (pace of play and matchup) are present for Love, too. The Jazz have allowed the fewest DKFP to opposing PFs, including the fewest assists and second-fewest scoring points.
BEST – Dwight Howard ($7,500) vs. Brooklyn Nets – Howard has been a risky play this season in the sense that he struggles against better teams. So a matchup with the lowly Nets (who also happen to rank 30th vs. centers) seems like a great situation for Howard. Brooklyn has been allowing more than 61 DKFP to centers over its last five games.
WORST – Hassan Whiteside ($8,000) vs. Golden State Warriors – This is kind of a weird pick with the Warriors allowing 64 DKFP to centers over the past five games. I’m a “what have you done for me lately” type player, so I put some value in the Dubs recent struggles. That said, Whiteside has failed to hit value in six consecutive contests, so the same can be said about his struggles. With Golden State ranking 10th vs. centers on the season, the Warriors have the potential to limit Whiteside and keep him in his slump.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying For
James Harden ($12,100) – Harden made me look pretty bad on Friday night, but I’m not afraid to go right back to him. Eric Gordon is questionable, so Harden could see an even higher usage rate than normal if his backcourt-mate is sidelined. With a lot of value on this slate, you might be able to pull off a Harden/Wall/Leonard based lineup, which I’d be a huge fan of.
Save Big Bucks by Drafting
Zaza Pachulia ($3,500) – Despite Whiteside’s presence, Miami is still the seventh-worst team in the NBA vs. centers. While hilariously dominating the All-Star fan vote, Zaza’s been riding a hot streak, topping 18 DKFP in his last four games, including three games with over 22.75 and 27.25 in his last contest. A potential All-Star starter for just $3,500?! Sign me up.
Next Man Up
Chicago Bulls Wings – Dwyane Wade is expected to sit on the second night of a back-to-back and Jimmy Butler (illness) will also be sidelined. A whole lotta shots just opened up … Rajon Rondo MIGHT play in this one, but he’s pretty deep in the doghouse at this point, so I’d assume the Bulls look elsewhere. Some combination of Nikola Mirotic ($4,900), Michael Carter-Williams ($4,800), Doug McDermott ($4,400) and Jerian Grant ($3,100) will have to step up.
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.