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 – Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets: $11.5 million
Between Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell, the Nets have quite the two-headed monster at the point guard position. The fact that Russell is there in front of him does not prevent Dinwiddie from playing lots of minutes, especially in two point guard sets. And as their clutch time leader, Dinwiddie has a lot of responsibility, meaning a lot of fantasy production, to the tune of a 34.7 fantasy points per game average over his last five games.
- Point guard – Elfrid Payton, New Orleans Pelicans: $14.0 million
Payton has now put in three consecutive triple-doubles. Apparently, he is Russell Westbrook now. He has always been a good rebounder for a point guard, so it is not entirely anomalous, but it is quite the streak he is on. And he will likely stay this productive for a while – the meandering Pelicans are missing Jrue Holiday, leaving Payton as the only point guard, so his 51.0 fantasy point average over his last three games is borne out of a wealth of opportunity that will not be going away any time soon.
- Shooting guard – Frank Jackson, New Orleans Pelicans: $6.7 million
Jackson is the other half of the Pelicans’ starting back court right now alongside Payton, and he is out to prove he can score at this level. Still extremely young, Jackson is showing that potential, and although there is a lot still to do – consistent shooting range, defence, remembering to pass sometimes – he is getting to the rim on and off the ball, and finishing well for a small guard. Averaging 14.4 points per game in March, that correlates to a 23.8 fantasy points per game average over his last five games for Jackson.
- Small forward – C.J. Miles, Memphis Grizzlies: $8.0 million
Although the Grizzlies have nothing to play for right now, there is also not a lot to tank for. They cannot get to the top of the draft without some insane lottery luck. And so they may as well play who they have. This thus means minutes for Miles, and the shot-happy wing has averaged 21.5 fantasy points per game over his last five games.
- Small forward – Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks: $19.0 million
The Mavericks are in something of a free-fall, losing their last seven games to fall to 27-41 on the season. They are under-talented and very much treading water until next season, when Kristaps Porzingis returns. That said, the lack of talent means even more for Luka Doncic to do, and despite his huge work load for his age, he continues to prosper, averaging 49.1 fantasy points per game over his past five contests.
- Power forward – Jabari Parker, Washington Wizards: $12.6 million
Playing as the sixth man for a Wizards team that is still yet to give up on making the playoffs this season, Parker is pouring in the points. This works in fantasy, too, where he has averaged 34.6 fantasy points per game over his last five contests.
- Power forward – Dwight Powell, Dallas Mavericks: $10.8 million
Powell continues to play with a consistent value that is hard to pass up at this price. Every single one of his games after the All-Star break has seen him record at least 25.7 fantasy points, and many of them have far exceeded that. Averaging 33.3 fantasy points over those 11 games, Powell is giving us a 300% return on his price, an excellent rate that is even better when it is as consistent as this.
- Centre – DeMarcus Cousins, Golden State Warrior: $15.5 million
There are legitimate questions about whether the Warriors are better overall with Cousins in the line-up. With his lack of mobility, he takes quite a lot off of the team’s defensive flexibility, and although he adds to the offensive diversity with his prodigious talent level, the Warriors had an all-time great offensive unit anyway. Nevertheless, freed from his minutes restriction, Cousins’s individual production is strong, averaging 41.9 fantasy points per game over his last nine contests.
- Centre – Jakob Poeltl, San Antonio Spurs: $8.7 million
Admittedly, it was an anomalous performance. But last time out, Poeltl recorded a giant 46.8 fantasy points, bolstered by returns of five blocks and two steals, each worth three points here in fantasy. Even half of that total would be good fantasy value at this price, and luckily that is also what he has been doing even prior to this stand-out performance, recording a 25.7 fantasy point average over the previous five games. Include the big game, and that raises to 29.2 over six.
Point guard – Mike Conley Jr, $16.9 million
Shooting guard – Klay Thompson, $17.0 million
Small forward – Luka Doncic, $19.0 million
Power forward – Dwight Powell, $10.8 million
Centre – DeMarcus Cousins, $15.5 million
Bench – Elfrid Payton, $14.0 million
Bench – Frank Jackson, $6.7 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: Allen Crabbe (Brooklyn), Matthew Dellavedova, J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson, Larry Nance Jr, John Henson (Cleveland), Devin Harris, Kristaps Porzingis, J.J. Barea, Kostas Antetokounmpo (Dallas), Torrey Craig, Michael Porter Jr (Denver), Damian Jones, Kevin Durant, Andrew Bogut (Golden State), Victor Oladipo (Indiana), Jaren Jackson Jr, Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson (Memphis), E’Twaun Moore, Jrue Holiday, Trevon Blueitt, Anthony Davis (New Orleans), Andre Roberson (Oklahoma City), Tyler Johnson, T.J. Warren, Jawun Evans (Phoenix), Mo Harkless (Portland), Dejounte Murray (San Antonio), Dante Exum, Tony Bradley, Raul Neto (Utah), Dwight Howard, Tomas Satoransky, John Wall, Devin Robinson, 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!