WATCH: DK NBA RECAP – ELFRID PAYTON
Friday brings just an eight-game slate our way, but there are still plenty of matchups to analyze. I will do my best to provide you with the best and worst matchups focusing on statistics at each position, plus some bonus lineup building picks.
Be sure to check in on the DK Live app throughout the day to monitor injury and lineup news. Another great way to help build your lineup is to tune into DKTV at 6 PM EST for Pre-Lock Live — a one hour show that will keep you posted on up to the minute news along with plenty of analysis.
Hit me up on Twitter with comments or questions: @julianedlow.
Defense vs. Position
Point Guard Matchups
BEST – Isaiah Thomas ($8,700) vs. Denver Nuggets – Denver recently dropped below the Nets as the NBA’s most appealing defense for opposing PGs. Meanwhile, IT is just about as cheap as you’ll find him after having two poor fantasy outings on the Celtics’ current road trip. This is a great combination of price, opportunity and matchup here for Thomas.
WORST – Stephen Curry ($9,900) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves – In the five games the Warriors have played without Kevin Durant (including the game he went down just moments into), Steph has only exceeded value once. The Wolves have been elite defending PGs of late, surrendering an average of just 37.1 total DKFP over the last five games.
Shooting Guard Matchups
BEST – Bradley Beal ($7,500) vs. Sacramento Kings – The Kings rank just 28th in the NBA in DKFP allowed to SGs, and Beal’s been rolling lately. If anything, with eight consecutive games scoring 33+ DKFP, Beal is as safe a play as you can find at SG, and he still provides 50 DKFP upside given his fantastic matchup.
WORST – Tim Hardaway Jr. ($5,800) vs. Toronto Raptors – Hardaway had a solid game against the Nets on Wednesday, but we were expecting more. The hot streak is over, yet his price tag went up $100 entering tonight’s matchup with Toronto. The Raptors rank second in the league in DKFP allowed to SGs, and the pace of play isn’t nearly as attractive as Hardaway’s recent matchups.
Small Forward Matchups
BEST – Jimmy Butler ($9,400) vs. Houston Rockets – I’ve been plugging The Greek Freak nearly every time here, so I’m taking a night off (for the record I still love Giannis at SF tonight). Jimmy Butler is in a very sneaky spot on this slate, though. His salary is up again and Dwyane Wade ($6,800) is expected to return to the lineup. Both of those things could scare people away, but the matchup with Houston could outweigh all of those things. This should be a run-and-gun type game, and the Rockets are allowing 47.3 total DKFP to SFs over the past five games — third-worst in the league.
WORST – Nets SF vs. Dallas Mavericks – The Nets don’t have any expensive wing players, but the typical value guys certainly aren’t as attractive to me with the Mavericks on the opposite side of the matchup. Dallas is allowing a mere 26.3 DKFP per game to SFs over the last five. That takes guys like Caris LeVert ($3,600), Quincy Acy ($3,000) and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ($4,200) out of play for me.
Power Forward Matchups
BEST – Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,600) vs. Golden State Warriors – I think this is a great slate to sneak KAT into your lineup at PF. The Warriors haven’t been sharp against bigs lately, yielding roughly 50 DKFP to both PF/C positions. Towns has been a beast at home this season, and the Dubs don’t have any one particular defender that stands out as a guy that can handle KAT’s versatility.
WORST – Trevor Booker ($4,700) vs. Dallas Mavericks – Booker appears to be an attractive value play on the surface, having exceeded value in seven of his last eight games. However, Dallas is the best team on this slate defending PFs and ranks fourth overall in the NBA.
BEST – Dirk Nowitzki ($6,100)/Nerlens Noel ($5,700) vs. Brooklyn Nets – Brooklyn ranks horribly against both PF/C positions, and will be without Brook Lopez. You can find a way to fit both these guys into your lineup if you want. Dirk has now topped 40 DKFP in consecutive games, while Noel posted his second game with 35+ DKFP as a Maverick in his last game. Targeting the Nets will likely be a popular strategy, but with good reason.
WORST – Jonas Valanciunas ($4,800) vs. Atlanta Hawks – Jonas went off in Toronto’s last game, scoring 46.75 DKFP against the Pelicans — a team that doesn’t defend centers well. Prior to that, it had been six consecutive games without reaching 25 DKFP for the big man. The matchup isn’t ideal this time around with the Hawks, not to mention the Raptors often go small-ish now with Serge Ibaka ($6,300) at the five.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying For
Jimmy Butler ($9,400) – Given the matchup here I think Butler is the guy to go with, and it leaves you room to add multiple good plays like Thomas or the hot Kemba Walker ($8,100) to your lineup with ease. If I’m paying over $10k for a player, Antetokounmpo and Towns are by far the two that interest me the most.
Save Big Bucks by Drafting
Robin Lopez ($4,500) – More from this Bulls/Rockets matchup, as Houston ranks just 28th vs. centers. Lopez has exceeded value in three straight, and he doesn’t have to do much to do so again tonight.
Next Man Up
Cody Zeller – With Frank Kaminsky out, Zeller has assumed the starting center role and been playing well. The Magic have been brutal against centers this season, and they are even worse with Nikola Vucevic out as he could be tonight.
Plenty of injury news is sure to open up lots of value, so make sure you check the DK Live app prior to lock for all the latest breaking news regarding injuries, lineups and analysis.
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.