WATCH: Levitan’s NBA Leverage for Monday’s six-game slate
The purpose of the Cheat Sheet is to inform you each day of the best and worst matchups at each position and to break down some NBA fantasy basketball players who should be in notable spots to perform. We’ll use defense-versus-position statistics, and at the bottom, you’ll find some quick-hitting notes on lineup building.
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Defense vs. Position
Point Guard MatchupsBEST: Golden State Warriors vs. Phoenix Suns — The Suns have been an absolute embarrassment lately, so it’s practically impossible to trust them as they head to Golden State. With a really good chance that this game will get out of hand, targeting the studs just doesn’t make any sense. This game is all about finding cheap value.
WORST: Utah Jazz vs. San Antonio Spurs — Ricky Rubio ($6,600) exited Friday’s game with a hip injury, and he remained sidelined Sunday. However, he’d been on fire prior to his injury. Both he and Donovan Mitchell ($7,000) make for solid plays, even against the Spurs. With Rubio (hip) out again, Mitchell should be tasked with carrying the Jazz in this matchup.
Shooting Guard MatchupsBEST: Chicago Bulls vs. Orlando Magic — There’s plenty to like when it comes to the Bulls’ backcourt going against the Magic. Kris Dunn again will be out, which opens the door primarily for Jerian Grant ($5,200). Also look for Justin Holiday ($5,000) and Zach LaVine ($6,900) to remain in positive spots.
WORST: Utah Jazz vs. San Antonio Spurs — The Utah backcourt already has been covered. Yes, the Spurs are a strong defensive team, but they’re run down with injuries at the moment, and the Jazz have good guards at a fair salary.
Small Forward MatchupsBEST: New Orleans Pelicans vs. Detroit Pistons — The Pelicans have had very little SF production all season, and their new rotation features even less from that position. Despite the solid matchup, there’s just no value here.
WORST: Utah Jazz vs. San Antonio Spurs — While Jae Crowder ($4,100) did have a nice 27.75-DKFP debut for the Jazz, we still can’t be completely sure of his new role. I like targeting Utah players in different areas.
Power Forward MatchupsBEST: Los Angeles Clippers vs. Brooklyn Nets — In four games with the Clippers, Tobias Harris ($6,600) is averaging 34.5 minutes and 33.2 DKFP. He’s in a nice position to reach value on this slate, given his consistent start with his new team, combined with a very favorable matchup.
WORST: Phoenix Suns vs. Golden State Warriors — Rostering any member of the Suns feels like a pretty big risk to me, given the direction this game is projected to go. Forget positions — playing any Suns players on this slate probably will be contrarian, unless some serious injuries pop up.
Center MatchupsBEST: Los Angeles Clippers vs. Brooklyn Nets — DeAndre Jordan ($7,200) broke out of a slump Saturday against Philly, but his salary now jumps $500. While Jordan should clean up the glass in this matchup, I’m not sure it’ll be enough for him to return value. However, you can’t argue with the spot he’s in, so consider him a GPP play.
WORST: Phoenix Suns vs. Golden State Warriors — Just another reason not to roster any Suns unless you’re feeling extremely bold. Just a reminder that the Suns lost to the Spurs by 48 points last week — the same Spurs team the Warriors went on to beat by 17 on Saturday night.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying ForAndre Drummond ($10,100) — Drummond is averaging 54.2 DKFP since the Pistons’ big Blake Griffin trade, which looks like it has done wonders for his fantasy value. The Pelicans have nobody to match the physicality Drummond will bring to the paint now that DeMarcus Cousins is done for the season. Look for Drummond to continue his dominance.
Save The Big Bucks By Drafting …Pau Gasol ($4,800) — Aside from the fact that Gasol is WAY too cheap (salary down $2,000 in the last two weeks), the Spurs also will be without LaMarcus Aldridge on Monday. With Kawhi Leonard and Rudy Gay still sidelined, Pau will forced into a big role at an extreme discount.
Next Man UpKevon Looney ($3,200) — Draymond Green ($7,900) will sit out against a much inferior opponent because of a finger injury, so Looney is in a position where he must play while Jordan Bell also remains sidelined for the Warriors. Looney should see early minutes off Golden State’s bench, but he also would be a candidate to finish this game in mop-up duty. His ceiling is very high for this cheap of a price tag.
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.