Here are the best and worst matchups at each position for tonight’s MLK Day, four-game, late 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 – Isaiah Thomas ($8,800) vs. Charlotte Hornets – Thomas has been on an absolute tear lately, exceeding value in six of his last eight games (including two 60+ DKFP performances). The Hornets have been getting shredded in recent games by opposing PGs, allowing 68.7 DKFP on average over the past five games.
WORST – Stephen Curry ($9,000) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – This is the game everyone’s attention will be on, and I think Curry will be a popular play with the way he’s been playing lately. It’s now been five consecutive games for Curry with 43+ DKFP; however, the Cavs have been limiting opposing PGs to less than 50 DKFP in their last five games. Steph had one of his worst games of the season against Cleveland on Christmas Day, dropping an unimpressive 15-3-3 line.
Shooting Guard Matchups
BEST – Klay Thompson ($6,500) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – With no standout options at SG, I think using Klay makes sense. He should be one of the least popular options in this stacked game, and the Cavs happen to be the sixth-worst team in the NBA against SGs.
WORST – Devin Booker ($6,000) vs. Utah Jazz – Booker has been playing fantastic lately (scoring 44+ DKFP in three straight), so maybe this isn’t the best time to go against him. But the matchup with the Jazz isn’t just the worst on the slate, it’s the worst in the league. Utah’s been allowing just a shade over 34 DKFP to SGs, recently allowing the PG position to hurt them most when it comes to backcourt defense.
Small Forward Matchups
BEST – Kevin Durant ($9,900) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – A matchup against LeBron usually isn’t where you’ll find the best play of the slate, but KD is an exception. Even so, the Cavs have actually been allowing over 52 DKFP to opposing SFs over the past five games. Durant destroyed the Cavs in that Christmas Day matchup for 36 points and 15 boards, so all signs point to him being in a favorable matchup tonight. LeBron should also be a fantastic play, but I’m giving KD the slight edge.
WORST – Marcus Smart ($5,900) vs. Charlotte Hornets – The Hornets aren’t a horrible matchup for Smart, but I’m more concerned about his situation. Smart played some of his best basketball of the season over the past four games, all of which he started in place of Avery Bradley (who’s expected to return tonight). Although Smart will still be one of Boston’s top options off the bench, his value certainly takes a hit with Bradley assuming the starting role.
Power Forward Matchups
BEST – Derrick Favors ($4,900) vs. Phoenix Suns – Once again, people may be paying up for the top options in the CLE/GSW game, but Favors makes for a nice value play on this slate. He’s reached value in three consecutive games entering a matchup with the Suns — the seventh-worst team against PFs this season.
WORST – Marquese Chriss ($3,200) vs. Utah Jazz – With such limited options, I wish I could bring you somebody with a bit higher of a profile. That said, Chriss has been a strong value play of late, exceeding value in four of his last five games. Utah is the best team in the NBA at defending PFs, and Chriss had a mere 6.0 DKFP against the Jazz on New Year’s Eve.
BEST – Al Horford ($6,700) vs. Charlotte Hornets – The Hornets are the fifth-worst team against centers in the NBA, and are allowing 66.7 DKFP on average over the past five games. Horford had one of his best games as a Celtic against these very Hornets, posting 18 points, eight rebounds, five assists, five blocks and two steals.
WORST – Enes Kanter ($6,100) vs. Los Angeles Clippers – Yes, Kanter has the worst matchup of any center on the slate, but I still wouldn’t be afraid to roster him. Despite the matchup with DeAndre Jordan, Steven Adams is going to miss this game, which means Kanter will be in a large role for OKC. Coming off a 50.5 DKFP effort yesterday, Kanter’s still a strong play despite the poor matchup.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying For
Russell Westbrook ($12,300) – No surprise here. There are some solid stars on this slate for just four games, but Westbrook is still the guy to pay for in my opinion. He’s matchup proof, so I’m not worried about the Clippers stopping him. Westbrook tends to thrive on the big stage.
Save Big Bucks by Drafting
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist ($5,200) – MKG isn’t too cheap, but he’s been playing very well lately, which has resulted in more minutes. He’s fresh off a 38 DKFP game entering a matchup with a Celtics team that struggles against front courts.
Next Man Up
Enes Kanter ($6,100) – As mentioned, Kanter is the best next man up option tonight for me, even without a favorable matchup. Also keep an eye on Kelly Olynyk’s status, which could result in a value boost for Amir Johnson.
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.