WATCH: Levitan’s Fadeaway — Top NBA players to avoid Tuesday
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: Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers — We just saw this matchup Friday, and Jamal Murray ($6,200) went off for 46.75 DKFP in 35 minutes in the Nuggets’ 125-116 win over the Lakers. Murray’s salary is up $600 since that contest, and it was a real outlier in his game log. While I’m not expecting Murray to go off for a huge game again, he’s undoubtedly in a good spot and worth consideration.
WORST: Orlando Magic vs. San Antonio Spurs — We have a big-time 11-game slate on a Tuesday, which is pretty rare. No sense in looking anywhere but the best matchups and opportunities on the slate, and Orlando’s PG situation in San Antonio doesn’t look like a position to gain an edge.
Shooting Guard MatchupsBEST: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Atlanta Hawks — OKC hasn’t had an SG option worth rostering for a majority of the season, as only one player is even priced above $3,200. That would be Corey Brewer ($3,900), who recently has carved out a nice role with the Thunder. Brewer now is starting, and he has played an average of more than 30 minutes over the last three games, scoring 20-plus DKFP each time. That includes 31.5 DKFP in 33 minutes against the Kings on Monday. Brewer seems like a safe value play, even on the second night of a back-to-back.
WORST: Washington Wizards vs. Minnesota Timberwolves — A string of two games in the neighborhood of 50 DKFP drove Bradley Beal‘s salary above $9,000, but an equally poor two-game stretch has returned him to his normal salary of $8,600. I can’t trust Beal in a matchup like this with the way he has played, especially considering how many options we have on the slate. Consider Beal a contrarian GPP target.
Small Forward MatchupsBEST: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Atlanta Hawks — You have the ability to slot Brewer at SF as well, but Thunder stars Paul George ($8,400) and Carmelo Anthony ($5,800) both are options worth considering. On Monday, it was Melo that exceeded value, while PG had a similar night but didn’t return his salary against the lowly Kings. Now one night later, it’s the same story against a tanking Hawks team. It’s tough to say whose night it will be, but if this game can stay close, OKC has plenty of enticing options.
WORST: Washington Wizards vs. Minnesota Timberwolves — The Wizards’ entire team is coming off a poor showing, but since John Wall has been out, Washington has offered a nice value trio at the wing positions. Otto Porter Jr. ($6,400), Markieff Morris ($5,300) and Kelly Oubre Jr. ($4,600) all are viable plays at their salaries, particularly Porter and Morris.
Power Forward MatchupsBEST: Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers — Denver has a lot of PF options on its roster, but Paul Millsap ($6,400) stands out. His salary has risen $1,200 since he returned to the Nuggets’ lineup. However, his best fantasy outing happened to be against the Lakers for 36 DKFP in 30 minutes. It was an even more convincing offensive performance compared to the rest of his games, scoring 21 actual points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field.
WORST: San Antonio Spurs vs. Orlando Magic — The Spurs’ frontcourt is almost impossible to figure out on a nightly basis. Pau Gasol ($6,500) was in one of the best spots on Monday’s slate and wound up playing 14 minutes. His salary now takes an $800 leap on the second night of a back-to-back, so he isn’t to be trusted. Meanwhile, we still don’t know if LaMarcus Aldridge ($8,300) will return from rest or not, which makes this spot one to stay away from for me.
Center MatchupsBEST: Toronto Raptors vs. Brooklyn Nets — Jonas Valanciunas ($5,900) essentially has scored 30-plus DKFP in five consecutive games (one game of 29.75 DKFP), flashing a ceiling of 43 DKFP in that span. The matchup with the Nets is ideal but is even more appealing if Brooklyn can keep the game close. Considering Valanciunas has shown the ability to surpass 30 DKFP in far less than 30 minutes, he should be a solid play. Jakob Poeltl ($3,800) also should be on the radar, and he might become even more valuable if Toronto jumps out to a large lead.
WORST: Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Washington Wizards — I’m ignoring the matchup here, which I don’t even believe is a very bad one anyway. But Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,400) is very fairly priced considering he has erupted for 58 or more DKFP in three of his last five games (he also played just 20 minutes in one game before being ejected). KAT is a safe player to roster given his recent upside, and Washington doesn’t have an answer for him on the defensive end.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying ForAnthony Davis ($11,200) — Davis returned in full Sunday, going 40 minutes against the Jazz en route to 73.25 DKFP. Oh yeah, that was mostly thanks to him registering a triple-double WITH BLOCKS. But, the point is, he’s playing fantastic when healthy (which he is now). Remember AD primarily is playing the PF position, where the Hornets rank bottom 10 in the league defensively. The Brow is in a terrific spot on this slate, assuming he can make it through the entire game.
Save The Big Bucks By Drafting …Brook Lopez ($5,800) — Lopez has been sneaky dominant of late. You wouldn’t think he’d be one of the players the Lakers are focusing on, but the game log doesn’t lie. BroLo has scored 33-plus DKFP in four consecutive games and is averaging 44 over his last two. This streak includes 43.75 DKFP against Denver, so go wild rostering him on this slate.
Next Man UpKyle Korver ($3,600) — The Cavs have a lot of injuries on the perimeter, which makes Korver an attractive play. At under $4,000, he has topped 20 DKFP in three of his last four outings. I’d expect that to continue against the Suns.
Make sure you follow along on the DK Live app throughout the day, as we should have plenty of injury news with 11 games.
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.