Nikola Jokic

We changed up the format of the cheat sheet this year. Rather than just focusing on matchups, we’ll breakdown more spots to target, and try and give you the lay of the land at each position to best help you craft your lineup. Hopefully by the end of the article, you should have all the info you need to craft your NBA lineup for that evening’s slate, as long as you follow along with lineup news on DK Live.

Here are the spots that jump out on Friday’s nine-game slate:

Point Guard

Target worth paying up for: Luka Doncic ($9,200) at New Orleans Pelicans (28th)

Doncic was spectacular against the Wizards in the season opener, pouring in 34 points on 12-for-19 shooting, to go along with nine boards and three dimes (52.8 DKFP). He did it all in 34 minutes, and the final score didn’t really indicate how out of hand the game was to begin the fourth quarter. This should be a fast-paced game against a better Pelicans team, giving Doncic a higher ceiling.

Best value: Jalen Brunson ($3,500) at New Orleans Pelicans (28th)

I’m also sticking with this game for value, with Brunson playing an impressive role for Dallas in the opener. Brunson went for a 9-4-3 line with two steals (21 DKFP) in 24 minutes against Washington, but he shot just 3-of-10 from the field. If he just has a better shooting game in a faster-paced game here, Brunson could make for a terrific value for all the same reasons I like Luka. Somehow, Brunson’s salary dropped $400 ahead of this matchup.

Positional Strategy

Most of the value here seems to be in the frontcourt, so this is actually a rare slate we may roster just three guards. Outside of Doncic, I’d look to pay down at the other guard spots, other than studs you want to take a GPP shot on. Ricky Rubio ($5,600) still feels underpriced if you want to target the mid-priced range. Even shooting 4-for-12 in 30 minutes against the Kings, he still piled up 42.5 DKFP.

Shooting Guard

Target worth paying up for: Bradley Beal ($8,600) at Oklahoma City Thunder (24th)

It’s unlikely I’ll pay up at SG, unless that’s where you want to slot Doncic in. If I did pay for a second guard, Beal would be my choice. He went for 45.5 DKFP in 32 minutes in the loss to Dallas, but he also was terrible from the field (7-for-25). Nine assists, six rebounds and three steals boosted his value, but if he can combine that with a solid shooting night (he was a pathetic 1-of-11 from downtown), then we have 60-plus DKFP upside here — exactly what you want in a GPP.

Best value: Danny Green ($4,600) vs. Utah Jazz (2nd)

There’s a lot of value options at SG on this slate with nine games, but I’m not sure I’d identify any of them as chalk, which complicates things. Green’s a weird case because he doesn’t seem to be getting that much attention, which is rare after the type of game he had on opening night. I’m not expecting another 28 points on 7-of-9 3-point shooting, but it’s clear the Lakers are going to need other scorers outside of their big-two. Green fits that bill, and also pulled down seven rebounds against the Clippers. With his salary inexplicably dropping $700, he’s a solid target again.

Positional Strategy

SG is going to be a punt position on this slate. If we call Doncic the cash play at PG, the SG/G spots will likely both be filled with value plays. Hopefully, the news can produce a more chalky value before lock.

Small Forward

Target worth paying up for: LeBron James ($9,500) vs. Utah Jazz (1st)

LeBron put up a quiet 18-10-8 by his standards on opening night, good for 46 DKFP. The matchup gets more difficult on paper here, but the Jazz don’t have an individual to cover James like the Clippers do with Kawhi. With his price down $400, I think LeBron’s in a good spot here to at least be a safe cash play, and maybe bring some GPP upside. While the Lakers already played in Los Angeles, this is still technically the home opener, so the building should have some buzz.

Best value: Marvin Williams ($3,400) vs. Minnesota Timerwolves(21st)

The SF position is loaded with value, and I expect most lineups to target $4,000 and less at the position. My favorite is Williams, who should see a boost in his role with Nicolas Batum (finger) out. Williams scored 23.5 DKFP in 17 minutes against the Bulls, and he has even more upside against the Wolves.

Positional Strategy

Dallas, Washington, Portland and Minnesota also have multiple cheap SF options that you can consider. They probably aren’t as safe as Williams, but there is no shortage of value options to use at SF.

Power Forward

Target worth paying up for: Pascal Siakam ($8,100) at Boston Celtics (23rd)

Siakam was spectacular against the Pelicans, going for 66.5 DKFP in 38 minutes. While the pace might not be as fast in Boston as it was against New Orleans, the Celtics just have no size. Boston’s extremely thin in the frontcourt, and Enes Kanter (knee) will miss this game. Siakam should be able to get to the rim with ease, as Ben Simmons did in the Celtics’ first game in Philly. Siakam’s a little off the radar on this slate, so I like him for GPPs. Julius Randle ($8,100) is another play at the same price point that’s being overlooked. He had 55 DKFP in the Knicks’ opener, and now faces a Brooklyn team that gets gashed in the paint.

Best value: Nemanja Bjelica ($3,600 vs. Portland Trail Blazers (8th)

Marvin Bagley III (thumb) is going to miss at least a month, which means value in Sacramento’s frontcourt. Bjelica is going to start at PF, making him the most attractive play, regardless of matchup. Bjelica showed 40-DKFP upside when given chances last season. The other option is Richaun Holmes ($3,400), who will see his minutes increase off the bench in Bagley’s absence.

Positional Strategy

It’s a pay up night at center, but there’s also a ton of value. One of the Kings’ values should be really popular, but major center injuries also open up value. I’d say outside of the Sacramento guys, the other PF/F spots will be filled with center value that we can use the multi-position eligibility on.


Target worth paying up for: Nikola Jokic ($9,300) vs. Phoenix Suns (28th)

Jokic went for just 40.25 DKFP against Portland, but he did it in just 24 minutes. He should dominate this Suns’ frontcourt, which will be without DeAndre Ayton (suspension). Even if he played 25-30 minutes here, 50-plus DKFP is easily in play. Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,800) is also in play here. He went off for 73.5 DKFP on Wednesday, and now faces a Hornets’ frontcourt that’ll be without Cody Zeller (personal). Center and UTIL are likely both filled with center only plays on this slate, as plenty of other names are in play.

Best value: Robert Williams ($3,200) vs. Toronto Raptors (4th)

No Kanter and no Ayton leaves tons of value. Williams is my favorite because Boston just needs him to go major minutes against a Toronto team with size. But Daniel Theis ($3,200) is another great play for Boston, while Frank Kaminsky ($3,300) and Aron Baynes ($3,200) are strong value on Phoenix. Baynes is the only one without PF eligibility, which downgrades him.

Positional Strategy

Basically, expect a popular build to have 3-4 centers. Two will slot in at PF/F, with some three center lineups that use the PF spot on one of the Sacramento plays.

Key news to monitor on DK Live:

DeAndre Ayton (suspension) OUT
Marvin Bagley (thumb) OUT
Cody Zeller (personal) OUT
Enes Kanter (knee) OUT
Nicolas Batum (finger) OUT

Mitchell Robinson (ankle) QUESTIONABLE UPDATE: Will play, start vs. the Nets.
Bojan Bogdanovic (ankle) QUESTIONABLE UPDATE: Will not play vs. the Lakers.
Rajon Rondo (calf) QUESTIONABLE
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (groin) QUESTIONABLE UPDATE: Will not play vs. the Celtics.

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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.