Welcome to the 2018-19 NBA season!
To help you with your DFS lineups at PlayON, we’ll provide daily editions of our NBA Preview all season long here at Daily Fantasy Focus.
Your NBA fantasy teams have a budget of $100 million to spend on a seven-player team, with players ranging in price from $29 million to $5 million. You must pick one player from each of the five NBA positions – point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward and centre – with two final picks being at whichever position you like. With the need to squeeze in that much under budget, we need to look for the best value picks in each night’s game, at all positions.
Below is a breakdown of my picks at each price point for each position for tonight’s five-game slate. Once you’ve seen who I like, be sure to lock in your line-ups and win some cash tonight.
- Point guard – Derrick White, San Antonio Spurs: $13.1 million
White has been an excellent defensive player all season long, yet his production after the All-Star break is striking. In the six games thus far, White has averaged 12.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.2 blocks per game, some truly excellent defensive metrics from a guard. From a fantasy point of view, this has meant an average of 39.8 fantasy points per game over the past five games, a greater than 300% mark-up on his price.
- Point guard – Mike Conley Jr, Memphis Grizzlies: $16.3 million
Someone should have traded for Mike Conley at the deadline, because right now, he is putting in big games and only the Grizzlies are reaping the benefit. He has led them to back to back wins over playoff opposition in the forms of the Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz – the latter of whom turned down a trade for him – and has put in four fantasy point games above the 40 point mark in his last five games. The last two have been over 50, even.
- Shooting guard – Terrence Ross, Orlando Magic: $11.0 million
There has been some quite striking variance with Ross of late. His last six games played have seen him record fantasy point lines of 3.4, 6.6, 29.3, 31.1, 31.6 and 38.3. Based on the overall average in that span of 23.4 per game, we remain intrigued, even when knowing there is the risk of him giving us nothing.
- Shooting guard – Bojan Bogdanovic, Indiana Pacers: $14.0 million
With Victor Oladipo out, every other senior member of the Pacers rotation receives a boost to their fantasy production. This is proving particularly true of Bogdanovic, the other starting wing, who further benefits from Tyreke Evans (Oladipo’s theoretical like-for-like replacement) having a bad season and being in and out of the line-up. Over his last four games, Bogdanovic has averaged 38.9 fantasy points per game, along with 34.0 over his last nine.
- Small forward – Vince Carter, Atlanta Hawks: $8.1 million
We suggested Carter as a fantasy pick before the Hawks’ game last night, on account of him averaging 22.2 fantasy points per game over his past five contests as a big-minute power forward option and the injuries to other options at the position. In that game, Carter came through for us with another 22.9 fantasy point game. Given that none of the injured players will return tonight, we thus stand by his candidacy.
- Small forward – Justise Winslow, Miami Heat: $13.3 million
Winslow has been the Heat’s point guard for the majority of the season now, given the trade of Tyler Johnson and Goran Dragic’s endless injuries. And where once he was streaky, he is now consistent. Over his last six games, Winslow has averaged 33.4 fantasy points per game.
- Power forward – John Collins, Atlanta Hawks: $15.4 million
As with Carter above, we anointed Collins as a potential fantasy pick yesterday based on the Hawks’ lack of other front court options. Even though he gets no more defensive stats for some reason, Collins is a featured offensive player for the Hawks and prolific rebounder. True to form, he put in 33 points and 20 rebounds on his way to a giant 62.5 fantasy points last time out, and tonight he will go up against the Anthony Davis-less New Orleans Pelicans. He is thus an excellent candidate tonight.
- Power forward – Dwight Powell, Dallas Mavericks: $10.2 million
The price freeze right now really benefits Powell, who for a while now has had strong fantasy value. As one of the few players remaining in a shallow Mavericks front court rotation, he has averaged 36.3 fantasy points per game over his last six contests. And even though there has been a spread of performances in that time, ranging from 27 to 51 fantasy points, even the low-end of that range has good value at this price.
- Centre – Joakim Noah, Memphis Grizzlies: $11.0 million
So short are the Grizzlies of front court players these days that they have taken to starting Noah and Jonas Valanciunas together. As the rest of the league goes smaller, they apparently are going for the two centre option. Back to playing like he used to at his peak, Noah has averaged 34.6 fantasy points over his last ten games, and he has done so incredibly consistently.
- Centre – Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat: $8.9 million
Adebayo normally becomes a fantasy value pick only when Hassan Whiteside is out due to injury, and he isn’t. Indeed, no one for the Heat currently is – even Kelly Olynyk, the third centre option, is available and playing with some value. Instead, Adebayo has been moved into the starting line-up ahead of Whiteside, a move that has seen the Heat win five of the six games in which they have done it this way around. And in those six games, Adebayo has averaged 32.0 fantasy points per game.
Point guard – Mike Conley Jr, $16.3 million
Shooting guard – Bojan Bogdanovic, $14.0 million
Small forward – Luka Doncic, $19.4 million
Power forward – John Collins, $15.4 million
Centre – Mitchell Robinson, $13.6 million
Bench – Dwight Powell, $10.2 million
Bench – Joakim Noah, $11.0 million
On any NBA slate of games, we need to be sure to avoid certain players each night. Here’s who you should steer clear of.
(Note that the NBA provides four different player injury classifications – ‘probable’ (meaning the player has a 75% chance of playing in the game), ‘questionable’ (50%), ‘doubtful’ (25%) and ‘out’ (0%). Such classifications are subject to change right up until game time; for the purposes of the below, we list anyone from ‘questionable’ on down as being picks to avoid.)
DO NOT PICK DUE TO INJURY/ABSENCE/SUSPENSION: Miles Plumlee, Omari Spellman, Alex Poythress, Dewayne Dedmon (Atlanta), Maxi Kleber, Kristaps Porzingis, J.J. Barea, Kostas Antetokounmpo (Dallas), Andrew Bogut, Damian Jones (Golden State), Kenneth Faried (Houston), Victor Oladipo, Alize Johnson, Tyreke Evans, Domantas Sabonis (Indiana), Kyle Anderson, Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr (Memphis), Sterling Brown, George Hill (Milwaukee), Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Luol Deng, Robert Covington (Minnesota), Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, E’Twaun Moore, Jahlil Okafor, Trevon Blueitt (New Orleans), Frank Ntilikina, Noah Vonleh, Isaiah Hicks, Mario Hezonja (New York), Isaiah Briscoe, Timofey Mozgov, Mo Bamba, Markelle Fultz (Orlando), Joel Embiid, Boban Marjanovic, Zhaire Smith, Furkan Korkmaz (Philadelphia), T.J. Warren, Jawun Evans (Phoenix), Dejounte Murray, Rudy Gay (San Antonio), Fred VanVleet, Kawhi Leonard (Toronto)
That’s all for today’s analysis. Be sure to get your line-ups in, and check back every day during the season for our daily picks and advice!