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 nine-game slate. Once you’ve seen who I like, be sure to lock in your line-ups and win some cash tonight.
- Point guard – Dennis Smith Jr, New York Knicks: $13.3 million
As has been the case before his last three games, we suggest Smith as a fantasy pick given that he now enjoys a relatively free run at point guard on a team very much committed to seeing what he can do with it. In those three games, Smith has posted fantasy point nights of 36.0, 47.4 and 34.8 fantasy points. We thus stand by the pick and its underpinning logic.
- Point guard – Jeff Teague, Minnesota Timberwolves: $12.5 million
- Point guard – Isaiah Canaan, Minnesota Timberwolves: $6.4 million
We have been picking Jerryd Bayless in this space quite a bit recently on account of the injuries to each of Teague, Derrick Rose and Tyus Jones in front of him. What has not helped this is the fact that Bayless himself is now out through injury. Luckily, Teague is just about back, playing a few minutes in the last game, and so through opportunity alone, he may be a good fantasy candidate tonight. So too might be Canaan, the fill-in option picked up to hold a piece of paper in front of the cracks, who has enjoyed his extra run-out with a 23.5 fantasy point average over the last two.
- Shooting guard – Dion Waiters, Miami Heat: $7.5 million
Having missed the entirety of the first half of the season, Waiters has a limited price, and, initially, a limited role. Yet with Wayne Ellington and Tyler Johnson traded, and Dwyane Wade in and out of the line-up, time in the back court just opened up. It appears as though Waiters will be the beneficiary of this, and as streaky as he is, his permanent desire to try and make things happen offensively does lead to good volume, as evidenced by his 36.6 fantasy points last time out.
- Shooting guard – Caris LeVert, Brooklyn Nets: $10.2 million
LeVert made his long-awaited and highly timely return from injury in the Nets’ last game, and apparently there was not much rust to burn off. He recorded 34.4 fantasy points in his first game for nearly three months, boosted by five steals. Looking spry straight off the bat, the Nets need him and will give him as many minutes as he can handle – given the length of his absence, the deflated price suits us well here too.
- Small forward – Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves: $16.4 million
As above re: Teague, someone has to do the ball handling and the playmaking for the Wolves right now. And so even though he is far from suited for this type of role, Wiggins gets it by default, on account of being more suited for it than Luol Deng or Josh Okogie. In this role, Wiggins has averaged 50.4 fantasy points per game over the last two, enjoying the boost in assists that this expanded role has offered him.
- Small forward – Josh Richardson, Miami Heat: $13.1 million
The Heat recently moved Tyler Johnson into the starting line-up over Rodney McGruder so as to provide some ball handling help for Richardson and Justise Winslow, the team’s main half court playmakers who were getting a bit bogged down in these senior roles. They then moved Johnson at the deadline for no returning guards, to save money. This in turn seems to have helped the fantasy production of Richardson, a much relied-upon two way player always receiving big minutes, and who has averaged 41.6 fantasy points per game over his last two.
- Power forward – Kenneth Faried, Houston Rockets: $13.5 million
As ever, it is hard to look away from Faried tonight. Just has been the case for him prior to every game with his new team, the fact that Faried is both unchallenged for minutes and an excellent fit for what the Rockets/Harden need him for means he is being very productive. He has averaged 36.2 fantasy points over his past nine games, and has never gone under the 30 point mark in the process.
- Power forward – Jabari Parker, Washington Wizards: $10.6 million
Prior to being dealt at the trade deadline, Parker had been all but taken out of the Bulls’ rotation, only put back into it when a swarm of injuries took over the roster and he rather had to. The value to us in fantasy is that now Parker is in Washington, where he is being given plenty of opportunity (especially in light of the injury to Jeff Green), he is playing at a price as if he was still on the bench. Instead, he is being highly productive, averaging 42.9 fantasy points with his new team thus far, huge value given the lowered price.
- Centre – Ivica Zubac, L.A. Clippers: $9.1 million
For some reason, despite him being in the midst of his breakout season, the Lakers saw fit to trade Zubac to their Staples Center rivals at the trade deadline, getting nothing of note in return. In turn, the Clippers waived Marcin Gortat in order to accommodate him. And straight away, they are already realising the value of this upgrade, as Zubac posted 29.8 fantasy points in his first game with his new team. Perhaps the Lakers had decided they were not going to re-sign Zubac anyway, given their cap space intent this summer. Whatever their reasoning, it seems like this was a mistake.
- Centre – Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks: $9.8 million
The productive Robinson has found a wave of fantasy consistency since his return from injury. In three games, he has averaged 30.7 fantasy points, a substantial mark-up at this price. And yet despite this, Robinson’s price appears to have frozen, something we could all take advantage of here.
Point guard – Dennis Smith Jr, $13.3 million
Shooting guard – Caris LeVert, $10.2 million
Small forward – Luka Doncic, $20.6 million
Power forward – Kenneth Faried, $13.5 million
Centre – Andre Drummond, $21.4 million
Bench – Jabari Parker, $10.6 million
Bench – Mitchell Robinson, $9.8 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: DeMarre Carroll, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jared Dudley (Brooklyn), Tony Parker, J.P. Macura (Charlotte), Denzel Valentine, Wendell Carter Jr, Chandler Hutchison (Chicago), J.R. Smith, John Henson, Tristan Thompson, Cedi Osman, Kevin Love (Cleveland), Kristaps Porzingis, J.J. Barea (Dallas), Isaiah Thomas, Michael Porter Jr, Gary Harris, Paul Millsap (Denver), Clint Capela (Houston), Victor Oladipo, Doug McDermott (Indiana), Luc Richard Mbah A Moute, Wilson Chandler (L.A. Clippers), Yante Maten, Derrick Jones Jr, Goran Dragic (Miami), Ersan Ilyasova, Donte DiVincenzo (Milwaukee), Tyus Jones, Derrick Rose, Jerryd Bayless, Robert Covington, Jared Terrell (Minnesota), Emmanuel Mudiay, Frank Ntilikina (New York), Andre Roberson, Jerami Grant (Oklahoma City), Jeff Green, John Wall, Dwight Howard, Troy Brown Jr, Devin Robinson (Washington)
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!