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 eight-game slate. Once you’ve seen who I like, be sure to lock in your line-ups and win some cash tonight.
Point guard – D’Angelo Russell, Brooklyn Nets: $15.7 million
Never mind the fact that he has one of the league’s best backup point guards behind him, Spencer Dinwiddie, pushing him all the way. Russell is playing with tremendous fantasy value currently, recording a 43.0 fantasy point average over his last six games. There is variance to be ridden out, as in that time, Russell has had games in each of the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s. Such is the way of his playing style. But the value in the average is strong, and a match-up against the Wizards tonight is favourable for him.
Shooting guard – Bogdan Bogdanovic, Sacramento Kings: $11.2 million
Bogdanovic is ramping up throughout the year. Missing the start due to injury, he has been getting better throughout the season, and, having been probably the Kings’ best player last season, he is too important not to be a big part of things going forward in this one. From a fantasy point of view, he has put up an average of 27.1 fantasy points per game over his last six.
Shooting guard – Alec Burks, Cleveland Cavaliers: $6.9 million
Burks’s first game with his new team was a doozy. He recorded 34.2 fantasy points, including 15 actual points and 6 rebounds, despite coming off of the bench. There are reasons to be cautious going forward – the numbers and minutes came in an extremely heavy loss which always inflates bench player numbers, the Cavaliers are committed to a youth movement which he does not chime with (hence why J.R. Smith is not with the team), his contract is expiring so he is not likely part of the future, and injuries to others are only short term and will affect his immediate and longer term future roles. That said, we must keep an eye on numbers like that.
Small forward – Robert Covington, Minnesota Timberwolves: $12.3 million
Since being acquired in the Jimmy Butler deal, Covington has been playing like a prime Ron Artest. The perennially defensively struggling Timberwolves have had the best defence in the NBA since his arrival, and Covington’s defence has been a large part of why. And while good defence is not normally something well captured in fantasy sports, it is with Covington right now, and his 33.7 fantasy point average over the last five more than draws the eye.
Small forward – Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors: $18.9 million
Leonard continues to be the best value of any of the NBA’s best players. He has fuelled a Raptors seven game winning streak, doing so with a 49.9 fantasy point average over his last four. Leonard should really cost more than $20 million by now. Until he does, pick him.
Power forward – Domas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers: $15.1 million
Sabonis is proving to be about as productive as a bench player can be. Four of his last six games have seen him record fantasy point performances above the 40 point mark, and this is not because of opportunities made available by injuries in front of him. It is simply because he is proving to be that productive, averaging 39.1 fantasy points per game in that span. Make sure that he plays first due to a back ailment, but it has not held him back much so far.
Power forward – Marvin Bagley, Sacramento Kings: $12.3 million
Going against Sabonis tonight will be Bagley, who is doing pretty well from the bench himself. Over his last six games, Bagley has recorded a 34.6 fantasy point average, already proving himself to be an NBA calibre scorer and rebounder. It is not likely to have been a coincidence that this run has largely been coincident with the report that the Kings management team are unhappy with young players not being prioritised.
Centre – Clint Capela, Houston Rockets: $17.1 million
Just as Chris Paul’s recent absence has sent James Harden’s production into the stratosphere, so too have the recent front court absences and general lack of depth played merry hell with Capela’s. The team are extremely reliant on him right now, given that he has pretty much been their only post player and rebounder of note, and thus he is playing as much as he can handle. He is coming through on that, too, averaging a giant 51.6 fantasy points over his past seven games. We cannot foresee the return of Nene changing that much.
Centre – Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn Nets: $12.9 million
Although incremental price increases and a general plateauing of his production have meant Allen is no longer the automatic value pick candidate that he once was, he still is one. He is never below the 20 point mark in his fantasy production, is as often in the 30s now as he is in the twenties, and while he has yet to crack the 40 point mark, his 39.9 point game last time out couldn’t be closer. And let us not forget – the Wizards cannot rebound.
Centre – Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers: $12.8 million
Two games ago, Thompson’s continually excellent fantasy value was stymied by the ever-excellent boxing out of starting Oklahoma City Thunder centre, Steven Adams, and he put up only a 9.4 fantasy point game. Even with that one rogue bad performance, however, he has averaged 34.2 fantasy points over the last 12 games. And if you take it out like the anomaly that it is, that goes up to 36.4. in eleven.
Point guard – D’Angelo Russell, $15.7 million
Shooting guard – Marcus Smart, $9.8 million
Small forward – Kawhi Leonard, $18.9 million
Power forward – Marvin Bagley III, $12.3 million
Centre – Clint Capela, $17.1 million
Bench – Tristan Thompson, $12.8 million
Bench – Robert Covington, $12.3 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: Jabari Bird, Jaylen Brown (Boston), Caris LeVert, Treveon Graham, Joe Harris (Brooklyn), Denzel Valentine, Bobby Portis, Kris Dunn, Lauri Markkanen (Chicago), David Nwaba, Sam Dekker, George Hill, Kevin Love (Cleveland), Luke Kennard, Henry Ellenson (Detroit), DeMarcus Cousins, Draymond Green, Alfonzo McKinnie (Golden State), Brandon Knight, Zhou Qi, Carmelo Anthony (Houston), Victor Oladipo (Indiana), Jerryd Bayless, (Minnesota), Kosta Koufos (Sacramento), Norman Powell (Toronto), Dwight Howard (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!