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 $26 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 for each position for tonight’s nine-game slate. Once you’ve seen who I like, be sure to lock in your line-ups and win some cash tonight.
Point guard – Jrue Holiday, New Orleans Pelicans: $19.3 million
Holiday is among the league leaders in assists this year, despite playing a fair amount of shooting guard. When Elfrid Payton is in, Holiday plays more off the ball, which, although he is still very good at it, leads to fewer assists and thus less fantasy production. But Payton has been out for the last nine games, and although he returned last night, he managed only 6 minutes before fracturing a finger. Holiday thus moved back on the ball, and put in big numbers – over that Payton-less span, he has averaged 45.9 fantasy points per game, never once dipping below 40.
Point guard – De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings: $14.8 million
Over the past six games, Fox has averaged 41.8 fantasy points per game. He like all the Kings’ players benefits in his fantasy value from the much improved offence and pace the team are playing with this year, but he more than any other Kings player is the one responsible for it. Fox is a much better player to begin this season, and the strong recent average shows no sign of abating.
Shooting guard – Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors: $14.0 million
Benefitting from having more mid-range looks devised for him in the absence of Steph Curry, Thompson has averaged 35.5 fantasy points per game over the last six games. This includes the aberration of his 16.6 point performance last time out, a game in which the entire Warrior offence was malfunctioning. Without that, his average over the previous five goes all the way up to 39.3.
Shooting guard – Terrence Ross, Orlando Magic: $9.3 million
Ross’s price really should have gone up a bit by now. Five consecutive games of above 20.0 fantasy point scoring, as well as seven of his last eight, have seen him return an average of 26.9 fantasy points in that time. This should not be available for less than $10 million. But since it is, pick him.
Small forward – James Ennis III, Houston Rockets: $7.4 million
Ennis is the regular small forward starter for the Rockets, and will the Carmelo Anthony situation seemingly resolved by his removal, there is even less competition for forward minutes on this team than there was before. And there wasn’t much before. In the last two games, he has gotten away more shots than usual, and has averaged 29.9 fantasy points per game in that time.
Small forward – Justin Holiday, Chicago Bulls: $10.3 million
We picked Holiday before last night’s game on account of a 25.4 fantasy point average over his previous eight games, and how that represented such a solid mark-up on his price. He went on to more than justify that pick with an excellent shooting performance (including 6-6 in the first half from three) on his way to 20 actual points and 37.6 fantasy points. His price has actually somehow gone down despite that, so we certainly reaffirm his candidacy here.
Power forward – Jonas Jerebko, Golden State Warriors: $6.4 million
Jerebko is the starting power forward whenever Draymond Green is out, and Draymond will be again tonight (albeit this time through injury rather than suspension). In his two starts thus far, Jerebko has returned fantasy point performances of 12.6 and 32.6 – the former obviously does not hugely stand out, but it is not bad value on what is self-evidently a tiny price, and the upside clearly can be excellent.
Power forward – Jerami Grant, Oklahoma City: $9.6 million
Grant’s sheer consistency is striking. He has only once recorded less than 20 fantasy points in a game, and that was a 19.6 game we can pretty much mulligan in that one. He rarely stretches in the thirties either, to be fair, but such consistency is unprecedented, really. and a consistent mid-20s average for this price is always good bench filler.
Centre – JaVale McGee, L.A. Lakers: $12.6 million
McGee’s price has stopped growing without his production being affected any. Back to back fantasy point performances of 31.3 and 35.8 make for a better than 250% markup on his price in production, and this is always a threshold of serious intrigue. McGee will also tonight go up against Nikola Vucevic, a man he can easily outrun.
Centre – Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans: $26.8 million
Davis is by far and away the priciest player in the game, and yet by far and away is the best one. As the unique talent who can do literally everything on the court, Davis finds a way to contribute in every way, simultaneously being the primary offensive option, best rebounder and main interior defender. He gets everywhere on the court and he gets everywhere on the stat sheet – a fantasy point average of 66.3 over his last four far outstrips those others even close to his increasingly unique price range.
Point guard – Jrue Holiday, $19.3 million
Shooting guard – Terrence Ross, $9.3 million
Small forward – Kevin Durant, $20.8 million
Power forward – Pascal Siakam, $12.9 million
Centre – JaVale McGee, $12.6 million
Bench – De’Aaron Fox, $14.8 million
Bench – Jerami Grant, $9.6 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: Justin Anderson, Taurean Prince (Atlanta), Jabari Bird (Boston), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Charlotte), Denzel Valentine, Bobby Portis, Kris Dunn, Lauri Markkanen (Chicago), Dirk Nowitzki, Wesley Matthews (Dallas), Michael Porter Jr, Isaiah Thomas, Jarred Vanderbilt, Will Barton, Torrey Craig (Denver), DeMarcus Cousins, Draymond Green, Stephen Curry (Golden State), Carmelo Anthony, Nene, Brandon Knight (Houston), Alize Johnson (Indiana), Rajon Rondo (L.A. Lakers), Elfrid Payton (New Orleans), Terrence Ferguson, Andre Roberson, Alex Abrines, Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City), Timofey Mozgov (Orlando), Zhaire Smith, Justin Patton (Philadelphia), Trevor Ariza (Phoenix), Kosta Koufos (Sacramento), C.J. Miles, O.G. Anunoby, Kawhi Leonard, Norman Powell (Toronto)
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!