It’s a rare, small-slate Monday in the NBA. Here are the best and worst matchups from tonight’s five games. As per usual, monitor the news leading up to lock on DK Live as a lot can change during the course of the day. Hit me up on Twitter with comments or questions: @julianedlow.
Defense vs. Position
Point Guard Matchups
BEST – Goran Dragic ($7,600) vs. Brooklyn Nets – There might be a couple of better plays at PG tonight, but when it comes strictly to the matchup, nobody’s in a better spot than Dragic. The Nets rank dead last vs. PGs, allowing over 62 DKFP per game. Dragic has exceeded value in two of his last three games, including over 44 DKFP vs. Brooklyn.
WORST – Kyrie Irving ($8,200) vs. Dallas Mavericks – On paper, Kyrie has the worst matchup of the PGs on the slate. Dallas ranks first in the league vs. PGs this season, and have allowed an average of just 41.2 DKFP over the past five games. That said, Kyrie is still an attractive play tonight with Kevin Love nursing an injury back in Cleveland.
Shooting Guard Matchups
BEST – Seth Curry ($5,300) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – The Mavericks’ lineup has been mayhem all season long. Curry has been starting at SG of late, playing 34+ minutes in three consecutive games. He actually played more yesterday (37 minutes) with Wesley Matthews returning to the lineup, and scored 48.5 DKFP against the Spurs. He’ll have another big opportunity tonight against the 23rd ranked Cavs.
WORST – C.J. Watson ($3,800) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves – Watson may not have been on your radar anyway, but he’s been a popular value play lately as the starting SG on the beat up Magic. Watson has scored over 18 DKFP in four consecutive games, so although his ceiling isn’t high, he’s been consistently right around 5X while playing extended minutes. Minnesota ranks fourth in the NBA vs. SGs though, so if there’s a matchup that could hold him to a below average performance, this is certainly one of them.
Small Forward Matchups
BEST – Wayne Ellington ($4,500) vs. Brooklyn Nets – Small slate means reaching deep. LeBron will likely be an extremely popular play tonight, as he should with Love out. Dallas presents a tough matchup at SF, though. Meanwhile, Ellington has been playing very well lately (24+ DKFP in five consecutive) and, as is the case with Dragic, has a matchup with the 30th ranked Nets.
WORST – T.J. Warren ($4,400) vs. Memphis Grizzlies – Memphis ranks third in the NBA vs. SF, so there’s not much upside to this play matchup wise. But even outside of the matchup, Warren has been crazy inconsistent this season — failing to hit value in six of his last 10 games. Meanwhile, P.J. Tucker can be had for $100 less having hit value in six of his last eight. If you want a Phoenix value forward, I’d take a look at Tucker.
Power Forward Matchups
BEST – James Johnson ($5,800) vs. Brooklyn Nets – You know a matchup with Brooklyn on a small slate is going to give one team a lot of the best matchups. Tonight that’s the Heat. The Nets rank 28th vs. PFs, while Johnson is averaging 31.5 minutes and over 37 DKFP over his past two outings.
WORST – Trevor Booker ($4,500) vs. Miami Heat – On the other end of the matchup, Miami has been a top-5 team defending the PF position this season. Booker has failed to reach value in five consecutive games, so this doesn’t look like a promising spot for him to turn things around.
BEST – Marc Gasol ($7,800) vs. Phoenix Suns – Gasol is one of my favorite plays of this slate. He’s coming off a poor outing vs. Utah, as is the case for most centers. Prior to that game, Gasol had exceeded value in six consecutive contests. Tyson Chandler had the Suns ranking highly vs. centers earlier in the season, but now they’ve slipped to 24th overall — allowing nearly 60 DKFP on average in the last five games.
WORST – Tyson Chandler ($5,900) vs. Memphis Grizzlies – Speaking of Chandler, you never want to find yourself on the opposite end of a matchup with Gasol. The Grizzlies have been the top ranked team vs. centers for a majority of the season (and are always somewhere in the top-3). Chandler has been hot lately, so his salary has come up a lot. This isn’t a matchup I want to overpay for him in.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying For
Isaiah Thomas ($9,400) – I think LeBron and KAT both make for solid options tonight. I believe they’re worth paying up for, but Thomas might be the safest player worth paying for. He doesn’t have the ceiling of either of the other two guys, but he’s scored 49+ DKFP in six of his last seven heading into a home matchup with the Pistons. In reality, there’s enough value on this slate to afford a few of the top options.
Save Big Bucks by Drafting
Jaylen Brown ($3,600) – Sticking with the Celtics, Brown has been coming on strong lately. Brad Stevens has shaken the starting lineup up with Avery Bradley still sidelined. Marcus Smart moved to the bench and Brown is now the starting SG. Over his past two games he’s averaging 29 minutes and 30 DKFP, so he’s got some of the top value potential on the slate.
Next Man Up
Channing Frye ($3,400) – With Kevin Love out, it’s the perfect time to roster Frye. He’s extremely affordable, and the last time Love was forced to miss a game, Frye played 30 minutes and scored 39 DKFP.
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.