WATCH: 3 IN THE KEY – ANDREW BOGUT
With an 11-game slate on tap for tonight we’ve got plenty of matchups to keep an eye on. For questions or comments hit me up on Twitter: @julianedlow.
Defense vs. Position
Point Guard Matchups
BEST – Ish Smith ($5,100) vs. Phoenix Suns – We’ve got several stud PGs on the slate tonight, but all face really tough matchups. That opens the door for cheaper options like Smith who, despite coming off a brutal game against LAC’s top-ranked defense, now faces a Suns team that’s dead last in the league in defending PGs. In the same price range, Rajon Rondo ($5,900) and Sergio Rodriguez ($5,500) also face teams that round out the bottom-three in defending PGs.
WORST – Isaiah Thomas ($7,700) vs. Washington Wizards – Only the Knicks allow fewer DKFPs to opposing PGs this season than the Wizards, which means IT is in for a long night. He’ll be shadowed by a much bigger John Wall all night, so even though his 31.5 percent usage rate is very good, the numbers suggest he’ll struggle.
Shooting Guard Matchups
BEST – Avery Bradley ($6,500) vs. Washington Wizards – I mentioned the Wizards and second-best in the league when it comes to defending PGs, but they also happen to be second-worst at defending SGs. This means Bradley, who’s having a career season across the board, is in a good position to pick up the slack for Thomas.
WORST – DeMar DeRozan ($8,000) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – DeRozan’s been scorching hot to begin the season; however, he now finds himself coming off his worst all-around and DK effort of the season by far, and falling right into a matchup with OKC. The Thunder rank fourth in the league in defending SGs and only allow the seventh-most points per game (PPG) in the NBA. Despite having the second-highest usage rate in the league, DeRozan faces a tall task against OKC.
Small Forward Matchups
BEST – Kawhi Leonard ($9,200) vs. Houston Rockets – Houston rank in the bottom-five in the NBA when it comes to defending SFs and also allow nearly 108 PPG to opposing teams. Aside from his last matchup with the Clippers, Kawhi’s been one of the most consistently dominant forces in the league this season. This matchup sets him up to thrive.
WORST – Kevin Durant ($9,500) vs. Dallas Mavericks – KD has watched his DKFP output decline in consecutive games despite juicy matchups. Now he’s set to face a Mavs squad that actually ranks second in the NBA against opposing SFs. With Dallas ranking so poorly against guards, more of GSW’s production projects to come from its backcourt.
Power Forward Matchups
BEST – Harrison Barnes ($6,900) vs. Golden State Warriors – As I’ve been opening this segment lately: Who ranks dead last in the NBA when it comes to defending PFs? The Warriors, of course … which throws people off since it’s in a matchup with Draymond. But the stats are the stats, and Barnes has been flourishing while starting at PF in Dirk’s absence. He’ll be looking for sweet revenge against his old team in a fantastic matchup.
WORST – Draymond Green ($7,900) vs. Dallas Mavericks – Conversely, Dallas has been the best in the league at defending PFs, and those numbers haven’t been effected at all as its starting lineup has changed. The small lineup has seen opposing PFs grab a lot of rebounds, but Dallas has been tremendous limiting PFs in all other areas.
BEST – Nikola Vucevic ($6,200) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves – The Wolves are in the basement when it comes to limiting centers this season, getting exposed in the paint all year. That’s exactly where Vucevic operates. The 28.8 points and 10.9 rebounds centers have racked up this season against Minnesota is scary bad.
WORST – Andre Drummond ($7,800) vs. Phoenix Suns – Drummond has been wildly inconsistent this season and at times even been benched. A potential matchup with Tyson Chandler shouldn’t help, as the Suns rank behind only the Spurs against opposing centers. If Chandler is unable to play (personal), Drummond will still find himself in a tough matchup as Mason Plumlee wasn’t able to exploit a matchup with Alex Len on Tuesday.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying For
Kawhi Leonard ($9,200) – For all the reasons I mentioned above, Leonard is my favorite play of the night, and I think he is worth paying up for. However, if you want a decent pivot play, Damian Lillard ($9,100) has a tough matchup with the Clippers but has been solid against them in the past, including a 46.5 DKFP effort this season.
Save Big Bucks by Drafting
Bojan Bogdanovic ($4,500) – The Knicks are the worst in the league at defending SFs, where Bogdanovic will see the majority of his minutes for the Nets. That makes his price tough to ignore with such a strong matchup.
Next Man Up
Jaylen Brown ($4,500) – Brown is expected to start for the Celtics in Jae Crowder’s absence. He’ll face a Wizards defense that ranks in the bottom-10 at defending SFs, so the matchup is also there for him along with the projected minutes. Marcus Smart ($4,500) also figures to benefit.
*DKFP DraftKings Fantasy Points
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.