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 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 – Jerryd Bayless, Minnesota Timberwolves: $7.1 million
Although Bayless comes off the bench behind Tyus Jones, he nevertheless plays enough minutes and costs cheap enough to have good fantasy value. His last three games have all seen him record at least 20.0 fantasy points, with a 23.7 fantasy point average in that time, and given that he is one of only two healthy point guard options right now along with Jones, the sizeable minute share should continue for the remainder of the season.
- Point guard – Michael Carter-Williams, Orlando Magic: $7.2 million
Carter-Williams is trying to rejuvenate his career, again, and is having some success. Getting regular rotation minutes on a Magic team missing both Isaiah Briscoe and Markelle Fultz, and which no longer trusts Jerian Grant, he has averaged 19.1 fantasy points in his seven games for his new team, rising to 22.9 over his past four. The Magic are still pushing for a playoff place, which means continuing to play the players most likely to help them win games, and right now, the determination seems to be that MCW is one of them.
- Shooting guard – Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns: $21.1 million
Having recorded back-to-back 50 (real) point scoring games, Booker unashamedly went for the third last time out. He was close, too, coming up only one basket short in a 48 point outing that he paired with 11 assists. The performance marked his third consecutive game with at least 60 fantasy points scored, and if the Suns are going to continue to use him quite so much in the final stages of yet another wasted season, then we in fantasy should continue to buy on the resultant value.
- Shooting guard – Walt Lemon Jr, Chicago Bulls: $5.2 million
In his first game for his new team, Lemon did not hold back. Needing no time to get ingratiated, the dynamic small scorer set to work, piling in 19 points and 4 steals on his way to 46.8 fantasy points. Always confident and aggressive, Lemon is never passive, and so he produces whenever he gets minutes. Given that the Bulls almost entirely lack for small forwards and power forwards right now, having to make do with four-guard line-ups, Lemon should continue to find those minutes, too.
- Small forward – Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Chicago Bulls: $6.4 million
Notwithstanding the above, there is one forward still left on the Bulls’ bench. The little-used Luwawu-Cabarrot has been given a half-season audition by the Bulls, and posted a double-double last time out with 18 points and 10 rebounds, good for 35.5 fantasy points. It is an anomaly compared to the rest of his career to date, to be sure. Nevertheless, the big minutes should be available hereafter, and the price is so small that TLC should offer some value for the remainder of the season, even if it is not that much.
- Power forward – Maxi Kleber, Dallas Mavericks: $9.9 million
Kleber’s 17.5 fantasy point performance marked the end of a streak in which he had posted six consecutive fantasy point totals above the 20.0 mark. Nevertheless, he has still done so in eight of his last ten. And with a 25.3 fantasy point average over that span, he is both valuable at this price and consistent with it.
- Power forward – Jonah Bolden, Philadelphia 76ers: $5.7 million
In Joel Embiid’s absence, it seems as though Bolden is the starter. His athleticism and defence cover for Embiid fairly adequately on that end of the court, and he does enough offensively to impact there game there too. Embiid was absent in the last game, and Bolden subbed in for a huge 44.1 fantasy point outing – Embiid is out again tonight, and considering how low Bolden’s price is, even half of that would be excellent value for us here in fantasy.
- Centre – Enes Kanter, Portland Trail Blazers: $11.8 million
It appears as though Kanter will be the starting centre for the remainder of the season given the serious injury to Jusuf Nurkic. It also appears as though he is going to be a highly productive fantasy player in the process. In the first Nurkic-less game, Kanter posted 41.0 fantasy points through his usual combination of scoring and rebounding, and with his price lowered during his relative inaction over the past month, the value is there to be had.
- Centre – Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons: $23.2 million
Drummond posted a +7 net rating before the All-Star break, a number that has shot up to +22 after it. His raw averages have gone from 17.4 points, 15.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game beforehand to 17.1, 16.7 and 1.9 respectively afterwards. From a fantasy point of view, he has posted performances above the 60 point threshold in each of his last two games, and has surpassed the mark nine times in his last 20, in contrast to dipping under the 40 point mark only three teams. He costs a lot, but then he gives us a lot, and consisently.
Point guard – Damian Lillard, $23.2 million
Shooting guard – Shaquille Harrison, $11.9 million
Small forward – Kawhi Leonard, $18.1 million
Power forward – Jonah Bolden, $5.7 million
Centre – Andre Drummond, $23.2 million
Bench – Enes Kanter, $11.8 million
Bench – Walt Lemon Jr, $5.2 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, Rodions Kurucs (Brooklyn), Cody Zeller, Joe Chealey (Charlotte), Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr, Chandler Hutchison, Denzel Valentine, Otto Porter, Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine (Chicago), J.R. Smith, Kevin Love, John Henson, Matthew Dellavedova (Cleveland), Kristaps Porzingis, J.J. Barea, Tim Hardaway Jr, Luka Doncic (Dallas), Blake Griffin (Detroit), Victor Oladipo, Wesley Matthews (Indiana), Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow, Rodney McGruder, Derrick Jones Jr (Miami), Tony Snell, Khris Middleton, Donte DiVincenzo, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Mirotic, Malcolm Brogdon, Pau Gasol (Milwaukee), Robert Covington, Derrick Rose, Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson, Luol Deng (Minnesota), Allonzo Trier, Frank Ntilikina, Noah Vonleh (New York), Mo Bamba, Isaiah Briscoe, Timofey Mozgov, Markelle Fultz (Orlando), Furkan Korkmaz, Joel Embiid (Philadelphia), Kelly Oubre Jr, T.J. Warren, Tyler Johnson, Deandre Ayton (Phoenix), C.J. McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic (Portland), Patrick McCaw, O.G. Anunoby (Toronto), Dante Exum, Derrick Favors, 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!