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 – Elfrid Payton, New Orleans Pelicans: $12.3 million
Payton had been out of the Pelicans line-up for quite a while with successive hand injuries, yet now he is back, he is straight away again playing big minutes due to a lack of reliable guard depth behind him. Minutes as ever means production, and Payton has posted a 27.3 fantasy point per game average over his five games. Note also that Payton’s return means diminishing returns on Jrue Holiday, who now plays less on the ball and thus will generate fewer assists.
Point guard – Shabazz Napier, Brooklyn Nets: $9.0 million
As has been the case for a while now, the Nets’ forward and wings injury-related problems has meant a variety of small guard line-ups, for that is all the team has left to turn to. It is very fortuitous for them, then, that Napier is highly productive whenever he gets minutes. To that end, Napier has posted four consecutive fantasy point performances in the 20s, averaging a very healthy 27.0 per game in that time.
Shooting guard – Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz: $17.4 million
Our anticipation that Mitchell would be the most immediate and obvious beneficiary from the Jazz’s current complete lack of healthy point guards has come to pass. In his last two games, Mitchell has recorded back-to-back 50+ fantasy point performances, averaging 7.5 assists per game in that time. This is not going to be Mitchell’s role going forward; this is a short term thing, not a Devin Booker situation. Nevertheless, among the pricier picks, his fantasy value stands out right now.
Shooting guard – Kyle Korver, Utah Jazz: $5.8 million
Small forward – Royce O’Neale, Utah Jazz: $5.9 million
The duo of Korver and O’Neale have also benefitted from the same, as time has opened up on the wings to accommodate Mitchell’s move to the point,. By virtue of his shooting, Korver has averaged 20.6 fantasy points over his last three games, whereas by virtue of his defence and rebounding, O’Neale has far surpassed that with a 33.4 average over his last two. Both are thus playing with good value, especially O’Neale.
Small forward – Davis Bertans, San Antonio Spurs: $9.2 million
There is an adage as old as fantasy NBA basketball itself which states that, whenever Rudy Gay is out, Davis Bertans become a very plausible fantasy value pick. This adage is born out of fact, as Bertans, a role player very understanding of his limitations, has come through for us again. He has averaged 24.1 fantasy points per game over the last two, and wouldn’t you know it, Gay missed those games through injury.
Small forward – Evan Turner, Portland Trail Blazers: $8.3 million
Turner’s usage thus far this season has been varied. At one point on the bench as the sixth man to lead a largely playmaking=less reserve unit, Turner has also been in and out of the starting line-up at small forward, depending on the injuries situation around him. Right now, with Mo Harkless out, Turner has found himself back in the line-up ahead of Jake Layman, and he has responded with a 23.7 fantasy point per game average over his last six, five of which were over 20.
Power forward – Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento Kings: $10.9 million
Bagley is back from injury and thus far enjoying the diminished price (and thus increased value) that that injury has bestowed upon him. In his last two games now off the minutes restriction, Bagley has averaged 25.9 fantasy points per game, and it should be remembered that the Kings are reported to have an edit to coach Dave Joerger that Bagley is to play big minutes. So even if Nemanja Bjelica outplays him, Bagley should be the better fantasy player going forward. Should.
Power forward – Meyers Leonard, Portland Trail Blazers: $6.5 million
We are, again, in a world where Meyers Leonard can be said to have value. It is truly a great time to be alive. It is not much – Leonard has over his four games averaged only 16.8 fantasy points per contest. But it something,
Centre – Zach Collins, Portland Trail Blazers: $7.3 million
There are signs of life recently from Collins, who otherwise had been in quite the sophomore slump. Over his last four games, the potential stretch-five big has put together a run of 23.4 fantasy points per game, not as handicapped as usual by his foul and awareness problems. If it continues, this is very solid fantasy value at this price.
Centre -Bismack Biyombo, Charlotte Hornets: $7.7 million
Biyombo continues to be the Hornets’ starting centre, and he also continues to cost only $7.7 million. His fantasy point average returns on this price come in at 20.8 per game over the last four games, a very solid mark-up. And given that his game does not involve shooting, dribbling or any of the more streaky aspects of production, Biyombo is thus currently a very solid pick.
Point guard – Shabazz Napier, $9.0 million
Shooting guard – James Harden, $26.1 million
Small forward – Royce O’Neale, $5.9 million
Power forward – Montrezl Harrell, $14.8 million
Centre – Marc Gasol: $17.5 million
Bench – Donovan Mitchell, $17.4 million
Bench – Bismack Biyombo: $7.7 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: Aron Baynes, Jabari Bird, Kyrie Irving (Boston), Allen Crabbe, Dzanan Musa, Caris LeVert, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Jared Dudley (Brooklyn), Cody Zeller (Charlotte), Ish Smith, Henry Ellenson, Zaza Pachulia, Zach Lofton, Keenan Evans (Detroit), Brandon Knight, Eric Gordon, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Vincent Edwards, Nene (Houston), Luc Richard Mbah A Moute (L.A. Clippers), Chandler Parsons, Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson (Memphis), Mo Harkless (Portland), Rudy Gay, Dejounte Murray (San Antonio), Thabo Sefolosha, Ricky Rubio, Dante Exum, Tony Bradley, Raul Neto (Utah)
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!