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 seven-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: $12.7 million
John Wall’s lengthy absence, which may last 14 more months yet, avails a starting spot to Satoransky. And Satoransky as a starter is a very productive player. He has season-long averages of 10.9 points, 6.2 assists, 4.4 rebounds and a mere 1.8 turnovers per game in this role, which equates to a 27.8 fantasy points per game average. And in his last four, that goes up to 36.2 per game.
- Point guard – Mike Conley Jr, Memphis Grizzlies: $16.3 million
Conley is on a tear even if the team around him isn’t. Five of his last six games, and six of his last eight, have seen him record more than 40 fantasy points, giving him averages over that span of 41.4/41.3 per game respectively. And if we take out the anomalous low game of 15.2 in that span, his seven-game averages goes up to 45.0.
- Shooting guard – Rodney McGruder, Miami Heat: $6.0 million
McGruder lost his place in the Heat’s starting line-up when the team needed more offensive creation, and later briefly lost his role in the rotation altogether. This has however has been beneficial for his fantasy candidacy, as it meant his price has dropped to near-minimum levels. And now that he is back in the rotation, this means good fantasy value for a player who has averaged 21.4 fantasy points over his past five games.
- Shooting guard – Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz: $18.7 million
The Jazz are once again having a point guard crisis. Raul Neto is out, Ricky Rubio is out and has never much paired with Mitchell anyway, and although Dante Exum is back from his own injury, he needs working back into things and is a limited player anyway. Mitchell therefore has been enjoying the statistical benefits of increased time at the position and the assists boon this has given him, which in turn has seen him boost his fantasy point average to 46.4 over his past five. And tonight, he is up against the Suns.
- Small forward – Royce O’Neale, Utah Jazz: $8.7 million
As above, playing against the league-worst Suns is beneficial for the fantasy candidacy of anybody. O’Neale is nevertheless a key part of the rotation anyway, and getting the startering spot opened up by Mitchell’s move to the point guard spot. In the last two games, he has played roughly 40 minutes per game, and returned a 25.2 fantasy point average in that time.
- Power forward – John Collins, Atlanta Hawks: $15.4 million
Not only is Collins becoming an excellent scorer, he is also finally recording those defensive statistics that a player of his athleticism and activity level should always have done. Four blocks to go with another 23 point, 10 rebound double-double last time out saw him record another 46.0 fantasy points, raising his three-game average since a return from injury to 46.8 per game. And tonight, his Hawks play the Grizzlies.
- Power forward – Rodions Kurucs, Brooklyn Nets: $8.0 million
For a rookie who was largely untested at any significant professional level before joining the NBA, Korions is playing consistently solid basketball. Back in the rotation of late, he has recorded five consecutive fantasy point games of more than 20 fantasy points, averaging 25.9 fantasy points per game in that time through his floor spacing and length. To be getting more than a 300% markup on his price is a hugely interesting return.
- Power forward – Bobby Portis, Washington Wizards: $14.4 million
Portis continues to start at centre and continues with his career-long ambition to outscore the opposition. He has averaged 39.3 fantasy points per game over his last three, an impressive amount for a player who records few of the highest value defensive statistics, and a number that comes through consistent lines of 40.3, 36.9 and 41.1 in consecutive games. Tonight’s opponent, the Orlando Magic, do not have a favourable match-up for him.
- Centre – Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat: $8.9 million
Adebayo now starts at centre, and produces like a quality starter, because he is one. Yet to us, he costs only the amount of a limited-minutes reserve, because he was one. This is exactly the kind of combination we look for in these lists, and his averaged of 31.6 fantasy points per game over his last eight contests is a must-pick return.
- Centre – Jonas Valanciunas, Memphis Grizzlies: $12.9 million
If you have room for two centres in your line-up tonight, very much consider Valanciunas as well as Adebayo. He is putting in numbers in all categories of the box score, and is getting a lot of on-court time on a Grizzlies team starved of size. Over his last seven games, the big Lithuanian has averaged 35.6 fantasy points per contest.
Point guard – Mike Conley Jr, $16.3 million
Shooting guard – Donovan Mitchell, $18.7 million
Small forward – Justise Winslow, $13.3 million
Power forward – John Collins, $15.4 million
Centre – Jonas Valanciunas, $12.9 million
Bench – Bobby Portis, $14.4 million
Bench – Bam Adebayo, $8.9 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, Alex Poythress, Omari Spellman (Atlanta), Treveon Graham, DeMarre Carroll (Brooklyn), Kevin Durant, Andrew Bogut, Damian Jones (Golden State), Terrence Jones, Isaiah Hartenstein (Houston), Kyle Anderson, Jaren Jackson Jr, Dillon Brooks (Memphis), Josh Richardson (Miami), Markieff Morris, Andre Roberson (Oklahoma City), Aaron Gordon, Wesley Iwundu, Isaiah Briscoe, Markelle Fultz, Mo Bamba, Timofey Mozgov (Orlando), T.J. Warren, Jawun Evans (Phoenix), Ricky Rubio, Raul Neto, Tony Bradley (Utah), Devin Robinson, John Wall, Dwight Howard, Jordan McRae (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!