The purpose of the NBA Cheat Sheet is to inform you each day of the best and worst matchups at each position and to break down some 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: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Sacramento Kings — With just a four-game slate, everything is limited Monday (studs, matchups, values, etc.). However, I still believe we have room to fit Russell Westbrook ($11,600) in lineups. Russ managed almost 50 DKFP in 29 minutes in a blowout win over the Suns, so if you consider that his floor, he’s certainly worth rostering when factoring in his upside.
WORST: Miami Heat vs. Portland Trail Blazers — After a wild roller coaster in salary, Goran Dragic ($6,300) is a viable option again despite the matchup. Dragic had the same salary as he does on this slate nine games ago but peaked at a ridiculous $7,800 in the time since. Although he’s not an ideal play in this matchup, consider Dragic in tournaments with the small slate.
Shooting Guard MatchupsBEST: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Memphis Grizzlies — Even though this is the best matchup on paper, it’s a result of the limited games on this slate, as Memphis is a relatively slow-paced team. Khris Middleton ($6,900) and Eric Bledsoe ($6,800) make for solid GPP plays, with Bledsoe my favorite of the two, thanks to a discount in salary.
WORST: Miami Heat vs. Portland Trail Blazers — Miami has another bad matchup here, but we already know that Dwyane Wade (hamstring) will be held out of this game. That opens up some extra minutes, which likely boosts Josh Richardson’s ($5,300) value the most.
Small Forward MatchupsBEST: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Milwaukee Bucks — The problem here is Memphis doesn’t have any good forward plays, but the salaries of its SFs are skyrocketing because they’re playing so many minutes on a tanking team. Their salaries are just too high to consider paying for, for the time being.
WORST: Houston Rockets vs. San Antonio Spurs — The Rockets have a handful of SF options, but none offer much fantasy value. Trevor Ariza ($4,700) is the most attractive play if I have to pick one, but consider the fact he scored just 10 DKFP on Sunday while playing 34 minutes with James Harden ($10,700) sidelined (Harden is expected to return Monday).
Power Forward MatchupsBEST: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Sacramento Kings — There is blowout risk against the Kings, but OKC will look to avenge a loss from earlier in the season. Paul George ($8,300) and Carmelo Anthony ($5,900) both have upside given the matchup, with George the safer play between the two. It’s worth mentioning Westbrook probably carries a much higher ceiling if this game winds up not being competitive, while PG and Melo have low floors.
WORST: San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets — Ignore the matchup here, as LaMarcus Aldridge will join Kawhi Leonard on the sideline for this game. Pau Gasol ($5,700) could be the most popular play on this slate, while Rudy Gay ($4,700) also has the potential to step up for the Spurs. Playing at Houston’s pace always offers some upside, especially when playing short-handed.
Center MatchupsBEST: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Sacramento Kings — Steven Adams ($6,500) is questionable to play for OKC. If he plays, he makes for a high-upside tournament play, but if he’s out, we could find some much needed value. Jerami Grant ($3,800) and Patrick Patterson ($3,300) would be the guys to target if Adams can’t go.
WORST: San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets — As I mentioned, Gasol is the player to target here. Just be aware that he likely will be popular.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying ForRussell Westbrook ($11,600) — This will be a slate to build balanced lineups, but there also aren’t many other options to pay up for in good spots. I think rostering Westbrook still leaves room to fill out your roster with mid-priced players and gives your team the highest upside (even is Russ only plays to his floor).
Save The Big Bucks By Drafting …C.J. McCollum ($6,600) — McCollum is far too underpriced (down $1,100 in his last four games), and he fits perfectly into the balanced approach if you’re looking to go that route. Damian Lillard ($9,300) also could be a popular play, and rostering McCollum gives you some exposure there without paying up for Dame.
Next Man UpBam Adebayo ($3,800) — Pau Gasol is in the best situation here, but by now, you should be aware of the fantastic spot he’s in. With Hassan Whiteside joining Wade on the bench for the Heat, Adebayo should see a much larger role at a very affordable price.
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.