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 $28 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 team for tonight’s six-game slate. Once you’ve seen who I like, be sure to lock in your line-ups and win some cash tonight.
Point guard – Tomas Satoransky, Washington Wizards: $11.9 million
John Wall’s absence will run through the remainder of the season, and so barring some unforeseen roster turnover, it appears as though Satoransky will remain the Wizards’ point guard starter for the remainder. Sato has not always featured highly in Scott Brooks’ rotation, even though he has always been productive when given the opportunity. Yet now, with talks of an extension underway, it seems as though he has finally found favour. And in this starting role, he has showed the same effectiveness as a partner for a more ball-dominant-without-Wall Brad Beal, averaging 40.5 fantasy points over his last two games.
Point guard – Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers: $20.6 million
Shooting guard – J.J. Redick, Philadelphia 76ers $13.3 million
The Sixers are struggling with both scrutiny and injuries right now. Alongside the injuries to many of their bench players have come injuries to two of their three stars, Jimmy Butler and Joel Embiid. By default, then, as the two most senior players and two best offensive players remaining on the team, Simmons and Redick stand to benefit. In the last game, when Butler played but Embiid didn’t, this was already evident; Simmons came through for a substantial triple-double, while Redick got up a season-high 21 shots.
Shooting guard – Kevin Huerter, Atlanta Hawks: $11.4 million
Although he missed a game due to a slight injury, Huerter has otherwise been on an excellent recent tear. We picked Huerter in this space a few times earlier in the season, when he was getting a good chunk of minutes and posting a healthy bevy of all-around statistics in them. In doing so, we said there would be more to come when this excellent shooter was more confident in his shot and featured more offensively. That has now happened; in his three games surrounding the injury absence, Huerter has averaged 35.2 fantasy points per game.
Small forward – Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks: $17.9 million
Doncic’s rise to stardom is coming fast. As ever, he seems to play better as an individual whenever Dennis Smith Jr is out, which Smith currently is, and over the last three games, Doncic has responded with a hefty 52.0 fantasy points per game. This coming from a rookie, even if he is not playing like one.
Small forward – Mario Hezonja, New York Knicks: $8.2 million
It seems as though it really is Hezonja’s time right now. With Damyean Dotson in and out of the line-up with injury, Hezonja has played big minutes off of the bench in the last three games. And in them, he has been very aggressive, both on offence and defence. A hefty diet of high-value defensive statistics has seen Hezonja average 34.1 fantasy points per game in that time, each individual performance of which saw him record more than 30 fantasy points. It is a big return at this price.
Power forward – Paul Millsap, Denver Nuggets: $13.3 million
Millsap’s price remains deflated by his long term injury, and it is fair to say that he has not yet played the same calibre of basketball since his return from it that he came to be known for in all the years before it. That said, his 29.3 fantasy point average over the last three games shows that it is starting to come back. And of course, when he truly realises this potential again, there is upside to this price.
Power forward – Mike Muscala, Philadelphia 76ers: $7.7 million
As a part of the aforementioned 76ers injury problems, they need someone who can play centre. It looks as though each of Joel Embiid, Amir Johnson and (should it matter) Justin Patton will be out. And this in turn leaves Muscala as pretty much the only person realistically capable of playing the five spot remaining. Last time out, when this was also the case, Muscala recorded 27.1 fantasy points per game.
Centre – Jusuf Nurkic, Portland Trail Blazers: $21.0 million
Nurkic’s numbers are up across the board this season, and he is playing as well as he did in his first part-season with the Blazers. This has almost meant an increase in his rebounding, which is up to 10.4 per game despite playing only 27.0 minutes per game on average. It thus bodes well that tonight’s opponent, the Orlando Magic, are the sixth worst rebounding team in the league. Having already ascended to the elite level of fantasy player throughout the season, Nurkic could have another good one tonight.
Centre – Greg Monroe, Toronto Raptors: $6.8 million
Match-ups determine Monroe’s effectiveness more than anything right now. With Jonas Valanciunas out, he is in theory the second centre on the team, behind Serge Ibaka. But on faster, more athletic teams, Pascal Siakam splits the time at centre, as a relative plodder like Monroe is of less use. Tonight however the Raptors will be up against the Washington Wizards. And due to a combination of their slow pace, lack of rebounding and lack of interior players worth defending, Monroe could have a good night tonight.
Point guard – Tomas Satoransky, $11.9 million
Shooting guard – James Harden, $26.1 million
Small forward – Luka Doncic, $17.9 million
Power forward – Paul Millsap, $13.3 million
Centre – Tristan Thompson: $15.5 million
Bench – Michael Beasley, $6.8 million
Bench – Mario Hezonja: $8.2 million
In 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: Taurean Prince, Miles Plumlee, Kent Bazemore, Dewayne Dedmon (Atlanta), John Henson, Larry Nance Jr, David Nwaba, Kevin Love, J.R. Smith (Cleveland), Dennis Smith Jr, J.J. Barea (Dallas), Jarred Vanderbilt, Isaiah Thomas, Michael Porter Jr, Gary Harris, Trey Lyles (Denver), Shaun Livingston, DeMarcus Cousins, Damian Jones (Golden State), Brandon Knight, Eric Gordon, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Vincent Edwards (Houston), LeBron James, Rajon Rondo (L.A. Lakers), Mitchell Robinson, Enes Kanter, Frank Ntilikina, Kristaps Porzingis (New York), Mo Bamba, Timofey Mozgov (Orlando), Justin Patton, Zhaire Smtih, Amir Johnson, Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler, Markelle Fultz (Philadelphia), Mo Harkless (Portland), Fred VanVleet, Jonas Valanciunas, C.J. Miles (Toronto), John Wall, Markieff Morris, Dwight Howard (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!