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NBA DFS Matchups: Little Man, Big City
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Welcome to my NBA DFS matchups breakdown! Here I use trend analysis from all the teams in the league and reflect upon how each position matches up to them. I will take each game on the slate and use the FantasyLabs trend tools to see the average amount of points given to each position by individual situation.

The matchups are broken down in 3 ways:

  • Whether the game is being played with a home field advantage (opposing team highlighted in green) or on the road (opposing team highlighted in yellow)
  • Average points given to the position above expectation, which is the average amount of points given up to the opposing player within the position that is above or below their expected output (a value derived from how they are priced) and;
  • The average points given up to the position in the current circumstance (regarding home/away splits) using historical values

My data is derived using a couple guidelines:

  • The data begins from the first game of the previous month (since we are in January, it pulls back to December 1st)
  • It only includes players projected for at least 18 minutes, and;
  • The salary range included is $3000 – $10,000 (Because most players above 10k tend to be matchup proof to some extent, and warp the data)


I’ll then take all that neat information and apply it to the current slate, giving us a look at how teams have historically fared in the circumstance, as well as a baseline for how we can project the current players filling those roles. I’ll then break things down, give my thoughts on the slate and the players involved, and come up with my favorite plays with games to attack using the data available. It all gets pretty awesome, I hope you enjoy!

Without further ramblings, let’s look at things, shall we?

Matchups for each position


Point Guard looks very versatile today. There’s a lot to like in all pricing tiers from the ridiculously expensive Russell Westbrook ($13.1), the kind of expensive Goran Dragic ($7.1) to the still too cheap Malcom Brogdon ($5.6). The best matchup on the board belongs to Isaiah Thomas (LAL is 30th in DE to PG) and even though his price has risen during his slump he is still relatively underpriced to projection, and the worst belongs to Corey Joseph (WAS been shutdown to PGs) and his price is still leaving very little room for upside. This will more than likely be a very spread out position ownership-wise, so don’t worry too much about game theory here.


Shooting Guard is boring today, with the best and worst matchups belonging to some undesirable players, leaving us with a bunch of neutral value in the middle tiers. Dion Waiters has the best usable matchup against ORL (23 in DE to the position), and Devin Booker has a better matchup than the numbers show since Victor Oladipo will be missing the game. DeMar DeRozan continues to crush without Kyle Lowry, and even with an inflated price tag he is in consideration due to shot volume alone. Seth Curry has seen a significant price bump, and has earned it, but draws a slow, sludgy matchup with the Grizzlies. I believe the most ownership will be on Joe Ingles, Devin Booker, and DeMar DeRozan, so finding usable SGs apart from those few will give you a nice leg up on the field. Maybe Dion Waiters gets your motor going?


Robert Covington continues to get his price bumps and I continue to roster him without caring. I will probably do the same today, as Melo has completely checked out for the season and doesn’t even try to defend people anymore. Khris Middleton has been great lately and playing good minutes out of injury, but draws a tough matchup against Luc Mbah a Moute and the Clippers. I hate the matchup, but I do think that he is worth a look after a dud just because of the ownership discount. Gordon Hayward will be a hot commodity but BKN is awful and he will have plenty of open shots. Overall Small Forward is a weak position today, where you either pay for LeBron James or spread the love around to the mid-range studs.


Power Forward is just stacked up today, with plenty of big names and good value plays for salary relief as well. Up top we have Blake Griffin with a tasty matchup against MIL (29th in DE to PF), followed by Derrick Favors who has been doing well and seeing 25+ minutes recently, and then Marquese Chriss on the second of a B2B (and an injury). Taj Gibson has been playing well and got 32 minutes last night while still priced at just $3800, and has a favorable matchup with PHX. I love Kristaps Porzingis at his price, and Serge Ibaka is fresh off a fantastic performance against the Wizards a couple days back. Did I mention yet that DeMarcus Cousins is only $9200? Love Power Forward today.


Oh, goodie, we get to decipher a Jason Kidd Center rotation today! Center is filled with landmines, with Jonas Valanciunas appearing underpriced, and the Lakers and Bucks both on the slate to muddle rotations, it might be difficult to nail down who will get what kind of treatment. Al Horford will likely be popular against the Lakers (28th in DE) and Kyle O’Quinn might get another chance to be the only true Center in rotation against a very weak PHI team. We also have Marc Gasol in a very ugly matchup against the Mavs, and Hassan Whiteside is questionable with a stomach virus. This may be a spot to play it safe and go chalky to avoid a let down.

Games and Stacks Worth Pursuing


Above is the Defensive Efficiency Matrix. The Matrix, of course, shows us the strengths and weaknesses of each individual team over their last 10 games, and helps us to see how we should be attacking each team right here and now.

Below is a table that contains the Stackability Scores from the offensive, defensive, and overall standpoints for each matchup. To find these scores, I take the average of the efficiency ratings of each team in the game from the offensive and defensive sides, and find the difference between the two for the overall Stackability Score. The higher the number, the better opportunity to stack the teams:


The best Overall Stackability Score goes to NYK@PHI, with a differential of 7.5 points. This doesn’t come as a huge surprise. The Sixers are averaging the fastest pace in the league and letting opponents score up a storm, and the Knicks are the Knicks. The offensive matchup for these teams leaves something to be desired, but the defensive matchup is the best on the board. I expect this game to have a lot of offense, with Wing players on both sides that love to shoot. I would roster multiple people from this game, including Melo, KOQ, Kristaps, and Covington as main targets, but may not get too crazy with a full stack considering the lack of assists.

OKC@PHX brings up the second best overall matchup with a differential of 7 points, and the best offensive matchup on the slate. These teams play very fast, aggressive basketball and have two PGs that love to drive the lane. The issue I can see happening is OKC leaving PHX in the dust and causing a blowout, especially with PHX being on a B2B. The Thunder do have the best Offensive Advantage of any team today (15 points better, explained later) so they are more than worth a look in GPPs just in case it stays close. Also, you should play Russ.

The worst of all three scores is MEM@DAL. This game sports the least efficient offenses, the best defenses, and the worst overall differential of any game on the slate. The only players I am considering from this game are Noel (due to being underpriced) and Marc Gasol (due to him being a GOAT). Otherwise, complete fade.


Top Picks for Each Position

Point Guard: Isaiah Thomas ($9300)
Isaiah Thomas was in a pretty bad slump missing a lot of shots over the last couple weeks, but put some cracks in the shell against the Cavs last game. Now he travels across the country to take on the pitiful Lakers (30th in Efficiency to PG), in a game that should be very high scoring for both sides. The Lakers just gave up an incredible game to Kemba Walker, who profiles a lot like IT2. His price has risen a little bit, but this is a borderline 10k player with a usage rate above 40%, and I’ll gladly take the discount against the worst team in defensive efficiency to the position. The best part about IT2 in this game is that even in a blowout scenario, it will more than likely be him making all the shots. Isaiah Thomas has a DailyRoto Projection of 46, and a realistic ceiling of 60+.

Shooting Guard: Devin Booker ($6700)
Devin Booker is my favorite SG on the day for a couple of reasons, and most of them are backed by stats and data! OKC plays at a blistering pace, takes a lot of shots, and gives a bunch of possessions to opposing teams. When the other team has the ball, it is more advantageous to take shots from the perimeter and mid-range to avoid the giant Mustache roaming the paint. Who takes a whole bunch of shots from the perimeter? Devin Booker. The Thunder have a 10 day defensive efficiency rating of 11th, but Victor Oladipo has been out for 5 so that stat hasn’t quite caught up to who we really have here. Abrines is not as good of a defender and Booker should easily get up shots over him. The other reason I expect Booker to be a good play is that I suspect the Suns end up resting a couple players in this one (B2B late in the season with nothing to play for) and if that happens, Booker will get a huge usage boost. His projection as of now is 31.5, but I would expect him to surpass that easily. My projection is 35 with a ceiling of 45.

Small Forward: Robert Covington ($7200)
Robert Covington over his last 5 games is averaging over 40 fantasy points, a usage rate over 20%, and 8 rebounds per game. The last time he played the Knicks a couple games ago he put up 47 fantasy points with a nice double-double. Melo doesn’t even want to play for his team anymore and doesn’t care to play defense at all. Without Embiid, Covington has had a very nice floor up above 25 and a great ceiling above 50. With how weak the SF position is today, I suggest just eating the chalk and rolling out Covington. He is projected for 34 with a ceiling of 48.

Power Forward: DeMarcus Cousins ($9200)
Alright, here’s your fun GPP play of the day. DeMarcus Cousins since joining the Pelicans is averaging over 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 assists per game. He was suspended last game after picking up his 18th tech this year, and in that game he ended up with over 40 fantasy points in 21 minutes. He is an animal. At his price, he would have only needed 22 minutes of gameplay to pay that off. I understand it’s the Spurs, and they have been incredible on defense, but these not much that you can do to stop Boogie. At $9200, he is just too cheap for the production he can attain. I am projecting 46 with a ceiling of 62.

Center: Greg Monroe ($5700)
I despise Jason Kidd. Be prepared for me to tweet that later. Greg Monroe has been very good over the last ten games, averaging just around 32 fantasy points, double digit real points and 8 rebounds per game with upper 20s minutes to go with it. We never know who will start for the Bucks, but we have a good implication that Monroe will see the most minutes at the position. The Clippers have fallen to 29th in the league against Cs, and have been getting blown out by good teams, giving me hope that this game stays close. If it does, Monroe should eat. This is an up-pace game at home against a team weak in the paint. ONE of the Bucks Cs will have a hell of a game, and I think (hope) it is Monroe. At $5700, DR projects 30 and I see his ceiling around 46.

Closing Thoughts


That chart is the Offensive Advantage ratings for each team today. It shows, in basic form, how much better a team is offensively than their opponent is defensively. The more negative number, the better. As you can see, OKC and MIA lead the group with very high scores, but both games could very well be blowouts. The one that is most intriguing to me is the Knicks, as that game should be relatively close, followed by SAS. Use this how you will, but it is a good source of info to decide where you want to stack.

Speaking of that chart, I want all the Russ today, but it’s going to be difficult. If we find some value, he should be in most of your lineups. The game environment is so good there. I hope I’m right on my hunch that the Suns sit Bledsoe or someone and we get a punt play so I can make some hilariously stacked lineups. If not, I expect IT2 to be the highest owned player on the slate, and with good reason. The most common approach will be paying up at PG and down at PF, but I’ll be interested to see where people go at SG/SF.

This is probably one of my favorite slates of the year, and I’m very excited to start building.

As always, you can find me on Twitter and shoot me any questions you have! I’ll do my best to help all the way to lock! Good luck, and I hope you find the green!

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