WATCH: Sam Amick recaps the NBA trade deadline
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: Philadelphia 76ers vs. New Orleans Pelicans — The real key to this slate is capitalizing on Thursday’s trade deadline, but filling in the gaps with strong GPP plays is also crucial. Ben Simmons ($8,500) is overpriced in my mind, but his versatility keeps his floor high in a matchup where he can succeed.
WORST: Indiana Pacers vs. Boston Celtics — Victor Oladipo ($8,000) has been as much as $1,600 more expensive in the last 2-3 weeks, so we can’t ignore the discount here. Oladipo has terrific value, but I’m not interested in rostering any of the backup PGs that are filling in for Darren Collison.
Shooting Guard MatchupsBEST: Atlanta Hawks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers — The Hawks will have a logjam at SG after failing to move Marco Belinelli ($3,900) at the trade deadline. He’s expected to rejoin the team, which in all likelihood takes away all the value at the position.
WORST – Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks — The Heat are in a similar situation to the Hawks. The SG position already was crowded in Miami, and now Dwyane Wade ($4,900) is returning to the team and will be available Friday. This spot’s looking like a fade for me.
Small Forward MatchupsBEST: Atlanta Hawks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers — Sorry to beat a dead horse here, but I’m not interested in targeting SF on the Hawks, either. There’s plenty of value on this slate, it’s just not highlighted by great matchups.
WORST: Chicago Bulls vs. Minnesota Timberwolves — This matchup features plenty of revenge narratives, and ones that I think are worth considering. But Justin Holiday ($5,000) is a sneaky name who has seen his salary fall but has played over 30 minutes in nine of his last 10 games and provided plenty of fantasy production. I like him as a GPP play.
Power Forward MatchupsBEST: Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Chicago Bulls — Taj Gibson revenge night! Gibson ($5,700) is just one of many revenge narratives on the night — the slate features this matchup after the big offseason trade and a Clippers vs. Pistons game in Detroit. Gibson’s appropriately priced and in a good position to produce. He plays a ton of minutes and has a matchup to take advantage of, so this is more than just targeting the revenge narrative.
WORST: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat — Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,500) doesn’t have bad matchups, he is the bad matchup. I wouldn’t be concerned about rostering him for a second. In fact, although nothing about the matchup against Miami intrigues me, a $500 salary discount does. I like rostering Giannis on this slate.
Center MatchupsBEST: Detroit Pistons vs. Los Angeles Clippers — More sweet revenge here. While Andre Drummond ($10,200) is the actual center here, I also think Blake Griffin ($9,100) is in a fantastic spot due to obvious reasons. I see both as strong GPP plays.
WORST: Denver Nuggets vs. Houston Rockets — Houston might be strong defensively against centers, but the value that’s taken away by the individual matchup is made up for in pace of play, in my opinion. A well-rounded player like Nikola Jokic ($8,900) should find a way to put his imprint on this game. Once again, I see Jokic as a GPP play.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying ForLeBron James ($12,100) — When we say “pay up for,” we mean it tonight. LeBron’s salary is on the rise $1,200 after going off for 80 DKFP on Wednesday night, but you still can make the argument for him on this slate. The matchup against Atlanta is favorable, Wednesday’s buzzer-beater victory could mark a turnaround for the Cavs, and oh yeah … Cleveland might dress seven players who were in the actual rotation on Wednesday (more players have been called up and will be in uniform). LeBron is in a spot where he might need to do it all with his new teammates not yet dressed.
Save The Big Bucks By Drafting …Zach LaVine ($6,100) — The revenge slate that just keeps on giving. I actually think facing off against his former team is a tough matchup for LaVine, but his salary is extremely attractive for the way his role’s been growing. He’s now played 31 minutes in consecutive games, topping 33 DKFP in three straight outings. There’s plenty to like about LaVine on this slate.
Next Man UpCleveland Cavaliers — As mentioned, Cleveland might be without all four of their new additions after trading away six players on Thursday. While some G-League bodies will be active tonight, the seven holdovers ALL potentially make for good plays. Here they are: LeBron, Jose Calderon ($3,200), Kyle Korver ($3,800), Cedi Osman ($3,000), Tristan Thompson ($5,000), J.R. Smith ($4,800) and Jeff Green ($4,500).
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. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.