WATCH: 3 IN THE KEY – JAMES JOHNSON
Here are the best and worst matchups at each position for tonight’s eight-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 – Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,700) vs. New York Knicks – With the Knicks and Bucks squaring off again on Friday (as they did Wednesday), there’s no reason to change a lot of these fantastic matchups. Everyone from that game I listed on Wednesday’s Cheat Sheet had a big game, so just beware salaries are on the rise. Giannis is up $300 after scoring 57.75 DKFP and knocking down the game-winner against the Knicks.
WORST – D’Angelo Russell vs. Miami Heat – Russell has been playing fantasticly in his last four games, and is earning more minutes from Luke Walton in the process. He’s exceeded value in each of those four games, but now faces Miami (the NBA’s third-ranked team vs. PGs) on the second night of a back-to-back.
Shooting Guard Matchups
BEST – James Harden ($12,200) vs. Orlando Magic – It’s a pretty thin night at SG, so why not use one of the NBA’s top-2 PGs in this position tonight? Orlando ranks 21st in the NBA vs. PGs, and even though he’s on the second night of a back-to-back himself, Harden rarely has an off-night.
WORST – Bradley Beal ($6,900) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves – Beal is the second-most expensive SG on the slate, so you can see the drop off after Harden. Beal has actually been pretty hot lately, exceeding value in three of his last four games (although he did fall short in the previous two contests). Minnesota is the sixth-ranked team vs. SGs, though, allowing just 37.2 DKFP to the position over its last five games.
Small Forward Matchups
BEST – LeBron James ($10,500) vs. Brooklyn Nets – To switch things up from the MIL/NYK game, LeBron has a great matchup against the 29th ranked Nets. However, it sounds like Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love will play, so that limits LBJ a bit. Although Carmelo Anthony is unlikely to top 60 DKFP again (and his salary is up $800 from Wednesday), he’s still a great candidate to stick it to the Bucks again as they are the worst team in the league vs. SFs. Like LeBron, ‘Melo’s upside could be capped by the return of Kristaps Porzingis.
WORST – Kevin Durant ($9,400) vs. Memphis Grizzlies – Memphis ranks second in the NBA vs. SFs, but this is KD we’re talking about. Anytime I list a superstar in the “worst” section, it’s worth noting that these guys can go off on any night. That’s why they’re superstars. But the matchup couldn’t be worse for Durant, who posted 21 points and seven rebounds in his last matchup with Memphis, attempting just 13 shots.
Power Forward Matchups
BEST – Ersan Ilyasova ($6,000) vs. Boston Celtics – A lot of the top PFs find themselves in a tough matchup or banged up tonight. Although Joel Embiid is listed as probable as of this morning, Philly’s roster is in rough shape as well right now. The Celtics rank as the fifth-worst team in the league vs. PFs this season, allowing an average of 56 DKFP to the position over the past five games (last in the NBA).
WORST – Kristaps Porzingis ($7,000) vs. Milwaukee Bucks – Porzingis is likely to make his return tonight, but it may not be a smooth one. Not only will he be returning from an Achilles injury, but the Bucks have also been the hottest team in the league against PFs. Although they rank fourth in the NBA right now, the 33 DKFP average they’ve allowed over the past five games tops the league by far.
BEST – Greg Monroe ($5,800) vs. New York Knicks – His salary has jumped $1,000, and rightfully so. After scoring over 30 DKFP in four of six games, Monroe went for 41.75 against the Knicks on Wednesday. He’s an understandable fade since he’ll likely be a popular play tonight, but with limited center options, he’s also in a great spot to repeat. I think Al Horford is a solid pivot play if you’re looking for one.
WORST – Draymond Green ($7,500) vs. Memphis Grizzlies – As is the case for Durant, the Grizzlies are a difficult front court matchup for anyone. In his last matchup with Memphis, Draymond struggled significantly, scoring just seven points to go along with seven boards and an assist. Even with his eligibility at multiple positions, I think there are better options.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying For
James Harden ($12,200) – Harden is the most consistent player on the slate, so I’m taking the points here. Boogie has a tough matchup with DeAndre Jordan, LeBron has his co-stars returning and Durant will be going against one of the slowest paced teams in the league. So by my process of elimination, Harden’s the guy.
Save Big Bucks by Drafting
Update – Shabazz Muhammad has been ruled out of tonight’s game.
Shabazz Muhammad ($3,300) – Muhammad isn’t going to explode for a huge game, but he’s a nice option to try and squeeze 20 DKFP out of just $3,300. Over his last 5-6 games, that’s exactly what he’s been doing.
Next Man Up
Brandon Ingram ($3,200) – Luol Deng missed last night’s game with a bicep injury, and it was Ingram that started in his place — scoring just 19.5 DKFP, but seeing 37 minutes on the floor. If Deng is sidelined again tonight, it should be another strong opportunity for Ingram.
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.