WATCH: 3 IN THE KEY – ROBERT COVINGTON
Here are the best and worst matchups at each position for tonight’s nine-game slate. Be sure to monitor injury and lineup news leading up to lock on DK Live, 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 – Kyle Lowry ($8,500) vs. Brooklyn Nets – There are a ton of studs available at PG tonight, but only Lowry will be facing the NBA’s worst defense vs. PGs. Lowry has exceeded value in seven of his last 10 games, and has topped 40 minutes in four consecutive contests. He’s in a fantastic spot against the Nets.
WORST – Elfrid Payton ($5,300) vs. Portland Trailblazers – The Blazers have been surprisingly strong vs. PGs this season, ranking eighth against the position on the season, but third overall in the past 10 games. That includes holding Kyrie Irving under 20 DKFP on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Payton had his own struggles Wednesday against the Clippers with just 12 DKFP, so this doesn’t set him up for a favorable matchup at all.
Shooting Guard Matchups
BEST – DeMar DeRozan ($8,700) vs. Brooklyn Nets – With no SG matchups I really love tonight, I’m not against going with both guys in the Raptors backcourt. DeRozan has topped 50 DKFP in three straight games, and the duo have proven they can both have big games on the same night. With the limited options, many could choose to pay up for James Harden in a tough Memphis matchup.
WORST – Victor Oladipo ($5,900) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – I mentioned Harden plays the Grizzlies tonight, but he’s proved to be beyond matchup proof, so I’m staying away from him in this section. Instead I bring you Oladipo, who’s in a far worse situation. Not only has he failed to reach value in his last three games, but the Wolves have been the NBA’s top team vs. SGs of late, limiting them 33.6 DKFP over the past 10 games (and 29.2 over the last five).
Small Forward Matchups
BEST – LeBron James ($9,700) vs. Sacramento Kings – Most of the best matchups at SF are value plays tonight, which I’ll get to later. The Kings have been above average vs. SFs this season, but are trending in the wrong direction of late. Look for LeBron to come out playing hard after an embarrassing blowout loss to Portland on national television. He should be fresh after just 31 minutes.
WORST – Marcus Morris ($4,600) vs. Utah Jazz – On the surface, Morris appears to be a nice value play. He’s exceeded value in five of his last six games, including 33.25 DKFP last night in Oakland. But Utah represents the most difficult SF matchup in the league, limiting the position to just 31 DKFP over its past 10 games on average.
Power Forward Matchups
BEST – DeMarcus Cousins ($10,300) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – Over their last five games, Cleveland has been the fourth-worst team in the NBA vs. PFs. Sometimes it’s also ok to just forget the numbers and use our heads for a moment. Who the heck does Cleveland have that can guard Boogie? I’d say nobody, which is why he’s one of my favorite plays of the night.
WORST – James Johnson ($5,700) vs Milwaukee Bucks – Johnson’s been one of the hottest value plays this season, but his salary has caught up to him in recent weeks. He’s failed to hit value in consecutive games entering a matchup with the Bucks — who’ve been the league’s top team vs. PFs over the past 10 games.
BEST – Jonas Valanciunas ($5,900) vs. Brooklyn Nets – No doubt Jonas is going to be a popular play after torching the Celtics for over 50 DKFP (pulling down 23 boards in 28 minutes). As they do against PGs, Brooklyn ranks dead last in the league against centers, so although 50 DKFP may be ambitious, Valanciunas is in a fantastic matchup to reach value tonight.
WORST – Andre Drummond ($7,000) vs. Utah Jazz – In my mind, Drummond has been one of the most unpredictable fantasy players this season. His minutes and production seem scattered, and it doesn’t have much correlation with foul trouble. Utah ranks third against centers this season, which could be a problem for Drummond on the second night of a back-to-back out west.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying For
DeMarcus Cousins ($10,300) – Consider this a bold prediction with both Westbrook and Harden on this slate. I think both of those guys should reach value tonight, but it also feel like Cousins has the potential to have a similar type of night to those two studs.
Save Big Bucks by Drafting
Rodney McGruder ($3,100) – Wayne Ellington is back to the bench with Dion Waiters starting at SG again, but with Josh Richardson out, McGruder should remain the starting SF — a role in which he’s played 32+ minutes in back-to-back games. The Bucks are the easiest team in the NBA to rack up DKFP against for SFs, so at his price, McGruder is a great option to exceed value.
Next Man Up
Stanley Johnson ($3,000) – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope left last night’s game with a shoulder injury and is very questionable for tonight’s game in Utah. Although it’s not the best matchup, Johnson saw 38 minutes last night and scored 18 DKFP. He should continue to see an expanded role 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.