WATCH: HE’S ON FIRE – DEMARCUS COUSINS AND ANTHONY DAVIS
Monday brings us a giant 12-game slate of NBA action. With only six teams having the night off, there are tons of matchups to analyze. I’ll do my best to provide 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 in to 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 – Mike Conley ($8,100) vs. Brooklyn Nets – Conley’s quietly been one of the best PG plays lately. He’s exceeded value in four consecutive games, and although his salary is up $300, the 41.5+ DKFP he scored in each of those games would’ve exceeded value at his current price tag. The Nets still rank as the worst team in the NBA vs. PGs this season, allowing an average of nearly 60 DKFP to the opposition. Conley’s best game in his current streak was 49.5 DKFP agains the Nuggets — who rank 29th in the NBA vs. PGs. So he’s shown the ability to take advantage of bad matchups.
WORST – Isaiah Thomas ($8,900) vs. Los Angeles Clippers – Jrue Holiday against Utah also makes sense on paper, but for his price tag, Holiday’s just been too productive lately in bad matchups, not to mention the Jazz haven’t been quite as air tight defending PGs recently. That leaves Thomas on the second night of a back-to-back against the Clippers. IT will be out for blood after dropping Sunday evening’s tilt with the Suns in gut wrenching fashion. But LAC has been fantastic this season against PGs, ranking fifth in the NBA — especially when CP3 is in uniform (averaging three DKFP below their season average in the five games since Paul’s returned).
Shooting Guard Matchups
BEST – Josh Richardson ($4,300) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – The Grizzlies and Kings have the two best SG matchups on the slate if you want to look there. Like Miami, they’re pretty thin at that position. Richardson has been playing more and more minutes since his return, seeing 25 minutes against the Cavs on Saturday. He was able to produce 23.25 DKFP, as the Cavs have been the worst team in the league against SGs over the past five games (allowing 52.3 DKFP). Although he had a bad game on Saturday, Dion Waiters ($6,000) could also be in play here, but I think Richardson makes for the better value.
WORST – Jimmy Butler ($8,600) vs. Detroit Pistons – Dwyane Wade is out tonight with a thigh injury, so Butler’s usage should be pretty high. Given his low price tag and projected bump in value, I actually like using Butler tonight. But beware that the Pistons rank as a top-5 team against both SG and SF this season, and Butler posted a mere 19-6-3 line in his last outing against them.
Small Forward Matchups
BEST – Jae Crowder ($5,700) vs. Los Angeles Clippers – It’s no secret that the Clippers have a hole at SF — a position they’ve allowed an average of 52.7 total DKFP to over the past five games. Meanwhile, Crowder’s exceeded value in four of his last six games, including three games of 32+ DKFP. The Celtics are somewhat beat up at the moment, and Thomas will be dealing with a difficult matchup. Crowder should be a good option for some production from Boston in this game.
WORST – Trevor Ariza ($4,300) vs. San Antonio Spurs – Ariza’s salary is down $1,700 in less than a month, so it’s not hard to imagine why he may catch your eye as a value play. However, in a matchup against the Spurs, all of Houston’s SF options become unattractive plays to me no matter their cost. The Spurs rank second in DKFP allowed to SF, and are allowing a mere 29.1 DKFP to the position over the last five games.
Power Forward Matchups
BEST – Paul Millsap ($7,400) vs. Golden State Warriors – When you think PF against the Warriors, you typically think Draymond Green’s defense. Normally that means not a good matchup, but GSW ranks in the bottom third of the NBA this season against PFs, and are on a current slide. Of course, Zach Randolph ($6,400) makes for a great option against the Nets, but Millsap isn’t just a contrarian play. He arguably has the better PF matchup here. The Warriors are allowing an average of over 60 total DKFP to the position in the last five games, and Millsap has exceeded value in four straight.
WORST – DeMarcus Cousins ($9,700)/Anthony Davis ($9,500) vs. Utah Jazz – On paper these two have a poor matchup tonight, but since they’ve been paired together, that’s actually the best time to use them. Cousins and Davis create so many mismatches that a lot of the matchup info just goes out the window. In this case, both have low salaries and are forward eligible against the Jazz. But Utah has really sped up lately, and allowed Willie Cauley-Stein to drop 36.75 DKFP on them last night. The Jazz rank first in the NBA vs. PFs, but this is an example of a bad matchup that you can potentially use to your advantage.
BEST – Greg Monroe ($6,200) vs. Philadelphia 76ers – The Sixers were already terrible against center, but Jahlil Okafor has plummeted them even further. In the last five games, Philly is allowing an average of 71.9 total DKFP to centers, which is more than 16 DKFP above its season average. Monroe has strung together some dominant games lately, exceeding value in six of his last nine games, including four with 40+ DKFP.
WORST – Brook Lopez ($6,100) vs. Memphis Grizzlies – Lopez doesn’t fare well in difficult matchups. On Friday night it was the Jazz that held him under 30 DKFP, as was the case the last time Lopez faced Memphis. There just isn’t much upside here for Lopez against a stiff Grizzlies’ frontline.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying For
Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,300) – KAT has been awesome lately, and Portland really struggles to defend bigs. If you’re spending over $10k, I think he returns the best value. But don’t sleep on all these underpriced stars — Cousins/Davis/Butler.
Save Big Bucks by Drafting
Jamal Murray ($4,200) – Murray’s exceeded value in three consecutive games, scoring 26.75 DKFP in 26 minutes against the Hornets on Saturday. His salary is also down $600 since that game, despite a dream matchup against the Kings. Eligible at both guard positions, I think Murray is an ideal value option tonight.
Next Man Up
Bulls’ Wings – No doubt Butler gets the biggest bump in value with Wade sidelined, but there are plenty of value plays that will pick up minutes on the wing. Some PGs could fill in some playing time at SG, but Denzel Valentine ($3,000) and Paul Zipser ($3,000) should be the primary options.
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.