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 has a lot of variety today, but not much usable value. Most of the better matchups are road games, and 4 of the top 5 matchups per Efficiency are less than fantastic areas to exploit. Rajon Rondo and DeAngelo Russell are in shady rotations, Jeremy Lin is back from a long injury, and Tony Parker has very little actual usage. Many of the studs have neutral matchups, and we may just want to pay up at the 1 today.
Oh my god Dion Waiters is $6900 and in a great spot. That’s disappointing. Shooting Guard is generally punt central, but with the top 5 matchups being mostly priced up shooters (Dwyane Wade too expensive, IMO) and Brandon Rush, it’ll be difficult to pay down here today. Dion Waiters has the best matchup on the board against the Hawks, and Harris against Brooklynn is intriguing. I have interest in Nick Young with Lou Williams off to Houston, and Bradley Beal should be able to light up Stauskas in Philly. Also worth considering Kilpatrick with Bojan Traded. Plenty of interesting guys in the mid tier.
Small Forward Looks solid today, with good players in all price tiers. First off, Jimmy Butler doesn’t actually have a bad matchup. P.J. Tucker getting traded will thrust T.J. Warren into the starting lineup, and make the matchup with PHX much softer. Danilo Gallinari back in the starting lineup for the Nuggets at a depressed price against the Nets is worth exploiting (he averages over 30 FPS a game when fully healthy), and Kawhi Leonard is under 9k which is a steal, especially against a tired Clippers squad. I mentioned T.J. Warren earlier, but he’s now a great option with secure minutes for the Suns. SF generally a spot to pay up, don’t think that changes today.
First off, Dario Saric all day. Power Forward looks pretty great, with a lot of great areas to exploit. 4 of the top 5 have a lot of upside, and the only two matchups that we need to worry about belong to guys we don’t use very often anyway (LMA and whoever the Celtics role out there). Wilson Chandler and Dario Saric sit at the top, both possess 40 FPS upside, and Saric is the main PF in Philly with Ersan being shipped to ATL. James Johnson and Markieff Morris round out the top 5, with James Johnson still underpriced relative to his usage off the bench. We also get to use Serge Ibaka in an up-tempo game with the Celtics. Lots to like today.
Center is maybe a little less exciting than usual today, especially because we can’t be so sure that Nikola Jokic will be used the way he should. Yesterday he only played 25 minutes and Malone was up to some questionable #Coaching again. I would rather take a solid mid range guy like Marcin Gortat or Steven Adams both in great matchups. We also have a couple other studs to consider with Karl-Anthony Towns and Hassan Whiteside, both in mediocre matchups, but always have huge upside. I’m interested to see Robin Lopez‘s rate difference without Gibson, but up against Tyson Chandler isn’t a spot I want to use him. Overall, Nothing entirely special.
Games and Stacks Worth Pursuing
The Defensive Efficiency Matrix is back this week, since the Efficiency Difference Matrix would include irrelevant data due to the All-Star Break. The Matrix, of course, shows us the strengths and weaknesses of each individual team over their last 10 games. Using the Matrix, I’ve developed a table below, which is designed to give us a “Stackability Score”. Each matchup will take both team’s Overall Defensive Efficiency Scores and take the average. The closer to 30, the less defense we can expect to be played. I believe this will give us a good representation of games that should be best for stacking multiple players:
The Nets and the Nuggets will be very fast paced, and have basically no defense at all. Denver is on the end of a B2B, and Brooklyn just traded away a rather large piece of their offense (Bojan), so both teams will just be taking shots like crazy. With DEN being the worst team by DE overall, and Brooklynn playing at the fastest pace in the league, I expect this game well over 225 points. A Stackability Score of 27.5 gives the Nuggets/Nets a full 4 point advantage over any other game. Stack it up, even if it gets chalky.
Following up the BKN@DEN game is PHX@CHI, and the Lakers visiting OKC. I like both games as stacks a lot, but it’ll obviously be difficult to stack LAL@OKC because Russell Westbrook is stupid expensive and there’s not near enough value to love your team with him as part of a stack. I do, however, think it’s okay to stack AROUND Russ, since he dishes so many assists. It would be a weird way to be contrarian, but very unique.
The worst Stackability Score belongs to MEM@IND, with a slow paced and defensively minded Grizzlies team playing the offensively inept Pacers. Both teams have been good on defense and with all the rest, they’ll have plenty of strength to continue the status quo. I’ll be avoiding this game entirely.
Top Picks for Each Position
Point Guard: Eric Bledsoe ($8500)
Eric Bledsoe had a bit of a price dip there for a bit, due to bad play and being tired. Wear and tear gets to every player at some point in the season, but after the ASB that all goes away. The Bulls will be sporting Michael Carter-Williams and Rajon Rondo at the point, and neither of them have the defensive ability to stop Bledsoe’s aggressive style of offense. Chicago rates 24th in defensive efficiency to PGs, and with Gibson gone their main source of paint defense is gone (Bledsoe scores most of his points on driving attempts). I like this spot for Bledsoe and think he is worth paying for with a weaker PG group. It helps that I want to stack this game, and use Bledsoe as an anchor! Projected for 45 FPS with a ceiling of 60.
Shooting Guard: Sean Kilpatrick ($4300)
The Nets aren’t exactly an offensive force of nature, but they are expected to score a good amount of points against a weak Nuggets team (total over 100). Brook Lopez will obviously spearhead the attack, and Jeremy Lin back helps to distribute. With Bojan gone, I expect Sean Kilpatrick to get plenty of the extra minutes on the backcourt, and hopefully score a couple of the implied total! We need to find a couple value plays and at $4300, Kilpatrick can help with salary relief. The Nuggets rank 16th in defensive efficiency to the SG position, but 30th overall and are on the second night of a B2B after a loss to the Kings (LOL). Check before lock, but I expect Kilpatrick to start and earn upwards of 30 minutes. I will say I like both Devin Booker and Bradley Beal a lot if you are paying up, but if you want salary relief this is where I’m going. Projected for 24 FPS, with a ceiling of 35.
Small Forward: Jimmy Butler ($9400)
Without Taj Gibson on the floor, Jimmy Butler sees increases in both Usage and rebounding rates, and gets a pace up game while fully rested, at home. It’s pretty much the perfect storm. The Suns rank 2nd in DE to the SF performance, but that was with P.J. Tucker. Without him, I expect that number to explode. Butler might be a little expensive, but his floor is elite and there’s a great chance to a Double-Double. I won’t judge you if you go with Kawhi Leonard, but I believe that we want to pay up at SF today. Projected at 48 FPS, Ceiling of 59.
Power Forward: Dario Saric ($6400)
Without Joel Embiid on the floor, everyone has been getting good usage bumps. The biggest beneficiary was Ersan Ilyasova, but now with him gone it’s all about Dario Saric. DraftKings priced him way up ahead of this contest, but I don’t care. Markieff Morris isn’t near the defender that his brother is, and Saric has been putting up over 40 FPS over the last couple contests. With a top 5 matchup for his position, he’s gunna be chalky, but Saric is an elite option that has a good chance to be on the winning lineup in GPPs. Projected at 33, ceiling of 45.
Center: Marcin Gortat ($6400)
Marcin Gortat is not nearly expensive enough for his recent production (has been the most consistent source of 5x in the entire league this year), and now has the best possible matchup for Center’s. And it’s probably even better than advertised since it’ll be Jahlil Okafor and Richaun Holmes trying to guard him. In a matchup with the 30th overall team in DE to Cs, Gortat has a realistic floor of 25 FPS, and a huge ceiling. I expect the Wizards to win this one handedly, so I do worry about blowout, but if the Sixers keep it close Gortat might hit 45 FPS. Either way, he is a cash game staple today. Projected for 34 FPS, with a ceiling of 48.
At the time of writing this, we have very little useable value. It’ll be very difficult to build a stars and scrubs roster, and I don’t expect Russ to be highly owned. With that being said, I think it makes sense to build a balanced lineup for cash games and just force Russ in GPPs. Any time you can get a superstar at low ownership you should do everything you can to have more exposure than the field. I do expect people to stack the Nuggets, but Malone is worrying me with his rotation from yesterday. I would rather stack the Suns vs. Bulls and look for that game to be less owned and high scoring.
I expect the chalk to be Dario Saric, but apart from that it’ll be pretty spread out. The cash line should be relatively low (255-270) due to lack of value. This looks more like a night to run GPPs than cash games, simply due to the multitude of paths you can take with construction.
Man, Dion Waiters is expensive.
As always, you can find me on Twitter (Paydirt_DFS) 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!