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 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 – Brandon Knight, Cleveland Cavaliers: $6.7 million
It seems as though Knight really is starting to work his way back. A starter for all but one game of his Cavaliers career, Knight was initially still only getting single-digit fantasy point performances despite this opportunity, as he burned through the significant volume of rust he will inevitably have built up after such a long injury absence. His last three games, however, have all been in the 20s.
- Point guard – Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks: $12.2 million
We picked Brunson before the Mavericks’ last game on account of both his recent play (28.5 fantasy point average over his previous three games) and also the opportunities available to him. Starting at the point guard spot, Brunson also pairs well alongside Luka Doncic’s playmaking. Turns out he also plays well instead of him, too – with a hobbled Doncic struggling last time out, Brunson took it up a notch offensively, recording 34 points on his way to 48.0 fantasy points. We definitely recommend him again, then.
- Shooting guard – Bojan Bogdanovic, Indiana Pacers: $14.1 million
The replacement for Victor Oladipo continues to provide fantasy value at a position where it is hard to find. In ten games after the All-Star break, Bogdanovic has averaged 23.3 points per game on a 28.2% usage rate, numbers that compare highly favourably to the 16.8ppg and 21.0% usage he had before it. From a fantasy point of view, that equates to a fantasy point average of 33.3 points per game, and he has done that without ever recording less than 25 in a single contest. Bogdanovic’s increased offensive play is helping to keep the Pacers afloat in the Eastern Conference race, and his value to us here is consistent.
- Small forward – Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavaliers: $13.8 million
Osman went through a two month shooting slump through November and December that tanked the decent fantasy value he had started the season with. He seems to have found his shot again after the All-Star break, however, hitting 44.8% of his threes after the break, and 55.2% in February. With that, his scoring has gone back up, as has his fantasy value, averaging 32.7 fantasy points over his past seven contests.
- Small forward – Joe Ingles, Utah Jazz: $11.4 million
Fuelled in part by the Jazz’s lack of recent point guards, Ingles has been playing with strong fantasy value of late. As a point forward, he gets an increased playmaking role, and he has averaged 8.3 assists per game in March, a marked improvement on his season-long mark of 5.4 per game. From a fantasy point of view, this corresponds to a 32,5 fantasy point average over his past ten, strong value at a position with little of it.
- Power forward – Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers: $13.0 million
As he makes his way back to his best after long-term injury, Love continues to receive the occasional rest game. This in turn keeps his fantasy price down, as the algorithms behind the price calculations take into account a player’s full body of work, and zeroes across the board on rest nights factor into that. So when Love does play, he plays with excellent fantasy value, as evidenced by his 39.9 fantasy point average over his last seven games.
- Power forward – Dwight Powell, Dallas Mavericks: $10.8 million
Without wishing to stack this list with too many Cavaliers or Mavericks players, it is hard to look away from Powell, a player we have featured quite regularly of late. We keep featuring Powell because he keeps returning good fantasy value – in his last eight games, he has returned a fantasy point average of 34.8 per game. And yet despite that, his price has only increased by $0.6 million.
- Centre – JaVale McGee, L.A. Lakers: $9.8 million
While everything falls apart on the team around him, McGee can at least rest in the knowledge that at least he has a starting spot in the NBA again. Still springy, McGee is ending the season fairly well despite his struggles in the middle of it, averaging 25.8 fantasy points per game over his last five contests. Maybe the Lakers will give over some time down the stretch of the season for Johathan Williams instead. But having moved both Ivica Zubac and Thomas Bryant beforehand, wrongly, this has not been their MO thus far. So McGee may sustain.
- Centre – Ante Zizic, Cleveland Cavaliers: $9.7 million
OK, one more Cavalier. The team’s front court shortage, that has plagued them all year, continues with all of Tristan Thompson, Larry Nance and John Henson out. Only Zizic, Love and Channing Frye are available to play the five spot, then. And with Love starting at power forward, and Frye as a very marginal player, Zizic thus gets the starting spot. That is a cheap price for a starter.
Point guard – Rajon Rondo, $14.4 million
Shooting guard – Bojan Bogdanovic, $14.1 million
Small forward – Cedi Osman, $13.8million
Power forward – Kevin Love, $13.0 million
Centre – Nikola Vucevic, $22.7 million
Bench – Jalen Brunson, $12.2 million
Bench – JaVale McGee, $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: Daniel Theis, R.J. Hunter, Marcus Smart (Boston), John Henson, J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson, Deng Adel, Matthew Dellavedova, Larry Nance (Cleveland), J.J. Barea, Kostas Antetokounmpo, Kristaps Porzingis, Luka Doncic (Dallas), Trey Lyles, Michael Porter Jr, Torrey Craig (Denver), Victor Oladipo, Tyreke Evans, Alize Johnson (Indiana), Tyson Chandler, Lance Stephenson, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball (L.A. Lakers), Andrew Wiggins, Jeff Teague, Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Robert Covington (Minnesota), Markieff Morris, Andre Roberson (Oklahoma City), Wesley Iwundu, Isaiah Briscoe, Markelle Fultz, Mo Bamba, Timofey Mozgov (Orlando), Marvin Bagley III (Sacramento), Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka, Kyle Lowry (Toronto), Tony Bradley (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!