WATCH: 3 IN THE KEY – GREG MONROE
Here are the best and worst matchups at each position for tonight’s seven-game slate. Be sure to monitor injury and lineup news 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 – Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,300) vs. New York Knicks – Not many teams have an answer for “The Greek Freak,” and the Knicks certainly aren’t one of them. New York ranks in the bottom half of the NBA vs. PGs, and they have been allowing 66.3 DKFP to the position over the last five games (ranking 29th). Other potential options in good matchups are Kyrie Irving ($7,800) (if he plays) and Elfrid Payton ($5,900).
WORST – Stephen Curry ($8,300) vs. Portland Trailblazers – Curry has had some monster games against Portland in the past, but this is just a different Warriors team now. Steph has topped 40 DKFP in just three of his last nine games (one of those a 32 DKFP game vs. POR), not to mention the Blazers have been the eighth-best team defensively vs. PGs this season.
Shooting Guard Matchups
BEST – Jimmy Butler ($9,000) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – Butler’s salary (and likely ownership percentage) is on the rise after his 85-DKFP performance against the Hornets. What we really want to know is if Dwyane Wade will be sidelined again. If he is, even while Butler will see some time matched up with LeBron, his usage should be through the roof again, leaving him in a spot to put up big numbers. If Wade plays you may want to look for some value at SG with a thin pool to choose from.
WORST – Nicolas Batum ($8,000) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – After a five-game hot streak, Batum has failed to reach value in consecutive games, but his salary hasn’t budged. It doesn’t seem like he’s in a good spot against the NBA’s third-ranked team vs. SGs — allowing just 37.8 DKFP to the position this season (and 32.8 over the past five games).
Small Forward Matchups
BEST – Carmelo Anthony ($7,100) vs. Milwaukee Bucks – The Bucks rank dead last vs. SFs this season, and have been free-falling lately, letting up an average of 54.2 DKFP over the past five contests. Meanwhile, ‘Melo has exceeded value in five of his last six games (if you eliminate his ejection and a game he left due to injury). Assuming neither of those two things happen tonight, Anthony is in a fantastic position with his salary just about as low as you’ll ever see it.
WORST – Josh Richardson ($6,200) vs. Sacramento Kings – I’ve doubted Richardson and been wrong several times this season, but at some point he has to return to form. With a handful of Miami’s wing players back in the mix, the opportunity just won’t be there for Richardson — particularly with Goran Dragic back (who played last game and Richardson only posted 25 DKFP). With his price still on the rise against a Kings’ squad that has some capable perimeter defenders, the price just seems too high for me.
Power Forward Matchups
BEST – Draymond Green ($7,500) vs. Portland Trailblazers – The Blazers remain the worst team in the NBA against PFs, so a matchup with one of the league’s most versatile PFs doesn’t look good for them. Green is fresh off a triple-double against the Nuggets (49.5 DKFP), exceeded value against POR a few weeks ago (40.5 DKFP), and he has seen his salary drop $500 since Christmas. There’s not much downside here.
WORST – DeMarcus Cousins ($11,500) vs. Miami Heat – Miami ranks second in the NBA this season vs. PFs and they have only allowed an average of 35.9 points over the last five games. Meanwhile, Boogie hasn’t exceeded value in his last four games, yet has seen his price tag rise $600. Cousins is capable of going off on any given night, but this is a bad combination of matchup and salary.
BEST – Greg Monroe ($4,800) vs. New York Knicks – There aren’t any great high-priced centers with good matchups tonight, but I promise I’m not just shoving Monroe down your throat. He’s actually been playing much better than John Henson lately, and exceeded value in five of his last six games (including three games with 34.25 DKFP or more for $4,600 or less). A matchup with the Knicks, who rank 28th in the NBA vs. centers, and have allowed an average of 57.5 DKFP in their last five games, should be just what Monroe needs to keep that streak going.
WORST – DeAndre Jordan ($7,000) vs. Memphis Grizzlies – The Clippers don’t have much firepower right now, but that doesn’t mean DJ is going to do much scoring. He’s got a low floor in a very difficult matchup with Memphis — who sit atop the NBA against centers. In his last matchup with the Grizzles, Jordan posted eight points and 14 boards. Solid, but not worth paying up for.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying For
Jimmy Butler ($9,000) – If you want to pay up big, Westbrook is the guy you want to go for. However, I really like going with a balanced lineup tonight, starting with a Butler/Green/Anthony core. That should leave plenty of room to build around ($5,280 average) so you’re not digging around for minimum priced guys.
Save Big Bucks by Drafting
Willie Reed ($3,900) – I’m also a fan of the Monroe/Reed discount combo at center tonight. Reed had been relatively silent with Hassan Whiteside out of the lineup until last night — 54.5 DKFP in Phoenix. With his price remaining the same, he should be a popular value play against the Kings, a team that ranks middle of the pack against centers this season at 49.1 DKFP, but that has allowed an average of 61 DKFP to the position over the last five games.
Next Man Up
Cavaliers Backups — Kyrie, LeBron and Love are ALL questionable tonight against the Bulls. We’ll see who winds up playing, but monitor this situation closely for some potential extreme value. If all three sit, almost every available Cav would be in play. Pending which positions sit out, any of these guys could be in line for big roles — Thompson ($4,500), McRae ($4,000), Shumpert ($3,600), Frye ($3,600), Jefferson ($3,500) and Felder ($3,200). Lots to pay attention to here.
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.