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 tonight’s short four-game slate. Once you’ve seen who I like, be sure to lock in your line-ups and win some cash tonight.
L.A. LAKERS VS MIAMI HEAT
Shooting guard – Lance Stephenson, L.A. Lakers: $7.5 million
With Rajon Rondo out long term with a broken hand, Lonzo Ball becomes the only point guard in the rotation. And Ball, unable to be a shooting threat alongside LeBron James, is struggling. This is navigable with LeBron on the team, as he can be the playmaker. But someone has to help out, and to defend the point guard. This role it seems has fallen onto Stephenson, who in the last four games has averaged 21.4 fantasy points accordingly.
Small forward – Justise Winslow, Miami Heat: $8.8 million
Similar to the above, in the three games this season that Goran Dragic has not played. Winslow has been given the role of starting point power guard forward (if that’s a thing; Ben Simmons does something similar). Winslow gets the nod even with Tyler Johnson being available, as although Johnson gets a minutes spike, he needs to be the ball handler with the second unit, as Josh Richardson (a point guard in college) can also share the load with Winslow. In those three games, Winslow has averaged 30.0 fantasy points. And thus with Dragic listed as “questionable” tonight, we must consider him again.
ORLANDO MAGIC VS NEW YORK KNICKS
Point guard – D.J. Augustin, Orlando Magic: $9.9 million
Shooting guard – Terrence Ross, Orlando Magic: $9.3 million
Ross’s strong stretch of recent play (a 26.9 fantasy point average over his previous eight games) was only ended last night by anomalous foul trouble. His candidacy is otherwise as valid as it was before – foul trouble is not the norm for him. Alongside him, the usually solid Augustin went on quite a scoring tear in the second half, pouring in 22 points for the game on his way to 31.7 fantasy points. That is about as big as nights gets from Augustin, but, in averaging 24.8 fantasy points over his last eight games, he is usually good for something.
Point guard – Emmanuel Mudiay, New York Knicks: $7.3 million
Mudiay is seems is part of the youth movement, and has been winning a good chunk of the point guard minutes available. Frank Ntilikina continues to struggle badly to play the position on the offensive end, and Trey Burke is one of the more blinkered players imaginable, and so a resurgent Mudiay has been allowed to foray to the rim at will. From a fantasy point of view, in the six fantasy games he has played this season, Mudiay has averaged 21.8 fantasy points per game.
Centre – Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks: $7.4 million
There is finally a new Calvin Booth. Two games ago, Robinson recorded 4 points, 4 rebounds and an amazing 9 blocks on his way to 35.8 fantasy points, the high point of a three-game average of 26.0. There is no better cheap centre value today.
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS VS WASHINGTON WIZARDS
Centre – Jusuf Nurkic, Portland Trail Blazers: $15.7 million
In addition to being the small ball-punishing scoring threat within the paint and a pretty good defender in the same area on the other end, Nurkic is also an excellent rebounder. He is therefore very worthy of consideration tonight in light of the fact that the opposing Wizards are the joint-worst rebounding team in the league. Nurk is also in form, averaging a consistent 37.3 fantasy points over his last nine games.
Small forward – Kelly Oubre Jr, Washington Wizards $7.7 million
Conversely, there is no such thing as form with Oubre, one of the more inconsistent players around. The only true consistency with him this year is his consistent desire to hunt his shot on every catch. Nevertheless, there is such a thing as average, and while he is entirely unreliable in doing so, Oubre has at least averaged 20.6 fantasy points over his last nine games. On the good nights, he is excellent value.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS VS SAN ANTONIO SPURS
Point guard – Quinn Cook, Golden State Warriors: $7.8 million
Power forward – Jonas Jerebko, Golden State Warriors: $6.4 million
Despite a reputation for their excellent shooting, the Warriors struggle for outside play when Steph Curry is out. Shaun Livingston is not a shooter, Andre Iguodala has never been a particularly good one, and the post trio of Damian Jones, Kevon Looney and Jordan Bell don’t do it either. When Curry is out, then, only Klay Thompson and Durant are plus shooters, so others must be sourced. Into that breach step these two. Jerebko has been starting at power forward with Draymond Green also out, and despite significant foul trouble last night, he still did enough to record 23.0 fantasy points, which is also his average over the last three. And despite being moved to the bench, Cook is still needed for his shooting, and is averaging 23.5 over his last seven.
Point guard – Derrick White, San Antonio Spurs: $7.4 million
In his five games thus far, White has put up performances ranging from 2.9 to 34.8 fantasy points. Quite the range, especially with all of them being starts. There is self-evidently variance to be found there, then. But to get a starter for so cheap is always of note.
Point guard – Damian Lillard, $20.3 million
Shooting guard – DeMar DeRozan, $17.3 million
Small forward – Justise Winslow, $8.8 million
Power forward – Jonas Jerebko, $6.4 million
Centre – Nikola Vucevic, $17.1 million
Bench – Jusuf Nurkic, $15.9 million
Bench – Klay Thompson, $14.0 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: Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, DeMarcus Cousins (Golden State), Rajon Rondo (L.A. Lakers), Dwyane Wade, Rodney McGruder, Dion Waiters, Goran Dragic (Miami), Courtney Lee, Lance Thomas, Kristaps Porzingis (New York), Timofey Mozgov (Orlando), Mo Harkless, Seth Curry (Portland), Dejounte Murray, Pau Gasol, Lonnie Walker IV (San Antonio)
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!