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 $26 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 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 – Emmanuel Mudiay, New York Knicks: $7.9 million
Shooting guard -Allonzo Trier, New York Knicks: $8.7 million
The Kmcks are continuing to struggle at point guard. Trey Burke has not carried over the form with which he ended last season, Frank Ntilikina still only really plays the position on the defensive end, and now that Jeff Hornacek has gone, Ron Baker is no longer played. After missing the start of the season due to injury, though, Mudiay has been off to a good fantasy start, averaging 22.3 fantasy points thus far. Having had a slightly longer season thus far, Trier has established himself into the regular rotation already, averaging 22.0 fantasy points over the last six games, five of which were equal to 21.0 performances or above. The Knicks are trying out anyone who may be a piece of the future right now, and these two count as such.
Shooting guard – Terrence Ross, Orlando Magic: $8.1 million
Shooting guard – Evan Fournier, Orlando Magic: $13.2 million
Both Magic shooting guards are hereby listed largely on account of their recent form and run of good fantasy value performances, but also due to circumstance. Over his last four games, Fournier has averaged 36.9 fantasy points per game, and while his whole career to date has been defined by the fact that he only really seeks to score the ball (thus contributing in little else but the points column), he has good fantasy value when performing at that rate. So too does Ross, another player with a cheapened price due to the amount of time he missed due to injury last season, and who is outperforming it. Ross has been good fantasy value all year, but has been particularly good over the last five, averaging 25.1 fantasy points per game in that time. Working well for both tonight is the likely absence of Aaron Gordon – simply put, every other scorer on the team will see their usage increase if Gordon does not play.
Small forward – Tim Hardaway Jr, New York Knicks: $15.1 million
Small forward – Damyean Dotson, New York Knicks: $7.9 million
Without intending to pick the entirety of the Knicks roster here, these two also have carried good fantasy value this season. Hardaway has been starting at shooting guard this season, and as the only senior player in the starting line-up, he is being given a very long leash offensively. This volume is making him useful in fantasy, averaging 32.7 fantasy points per game on the season. Dotson meanwhile is consistently in the low 20s as the fourth option alongside him, and continues to get a reasonably heavy share of minutes with few playing time rivals. He is certainly the regular starter, at least.
Power forward – Mo Bamba, Orlando Magic: $7.9 million
Power forward – Jarell Martin, Orlando Magic: $5.7 million
As above with reference to Aaron Gordon, one of these two will surely have to take his place in the line-up. Jonathan Isaac is also out, thus opening up a lot of time at power forward, and while Bamba has played more exclusively at centre (his logical future position), the Magic have been consistent on the season thus far in trying to get minutes for their young lottery pick. To that end, he has averaged 23.5 fantasy points over the last five games, and when we remember that he did that even with Gordon in front of him, it bodes well for what he might do with the coast clear. Martin meanwhile is not much in the regular rotation, but it likely to be called upon in some fashion tonight.
Power forward – Kyle Kuzma, L.A. Lakers: $12.7 million
There is an argument to be made for several Lakers players as good fantasy picks tonight, given that they are a high-paced team going up against one oft the league’s worst defences in the Atlanta Hawks. We hereby suggest Kuzma in particular on account of his match-ups tonight – Atlanta, simply, have no power forwards right now.
Power forward – Noah Vonleh, New York Knicks: $11.1 million
Centre – Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks: $6.2 million
It is largely coincidental that we have here picked so many Knicks players, honestly. But on such a comparatively small slate, value must be sourced wherever it can be found. Robinson and Vonleh remain the Knicks’ starting front court, and while both are very streaky in their production, both offer tremendous value on a good day. In his last seven games, Vonleh has recorded 37.6, 2.97, 5.8, 6.6, 42.0, 28.0 and 27.0 fantasy points; you can probably guess which of those two games he was severely limited by foul trouble in. Robinson meanwhile, who is largely ignored offensively and generally plays in short spurts, has in his last five games two single-digit outings, two in the twenties, and one in the forties. Risk it.
Centre – JaVale McGee, L.A. Lakers; $11.9 million
Maybe the hottest part of McGee’s value is behind us. The price has crept up, and the production may have plateaued. The value is still there, though – as a big minute starter, McGee has recorded three consecutive performances in the low to mid twenties; while it is down from the 40s and 50s that went before it, it’s still good at this price, with obvious upside.
Point guard – Kyrie Irving, $181 million
Shooting guard – Victor Oladipo, $19.5 million
Small forward – Tim Hardaway Jr, $15.1 million
Power forward – Kyle Kuzma, $12.7 million
Centre – Nikola Jokic, $19.6 million
Bench – Terrence Ross, $8.3 million
Bench – Mitchell Robinson, $6.2 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: Justin Anderson, Dewayne Dedmon, John Collins (Atlanta), Daniel Theis, Jabari Bird (Boston), Will Barton, Jarred Vanderbilt, Isaiah Thomas, Michael Porter Jr (Denver), Nene, Brandon Knight, Carmelo Anthony, Michael Carter-Williams (Houston), Trevon Duval, D.J. Wilson (Milwaukee), Lance Thomas, Kristaps Porzingis, Courtney Lee (New York), Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac, Timofey Mozgov (Orlando), Mo Harkless (Portland)
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!