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 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 – Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers: $10.3 million
Sexton is figuring it out. The Cavaliers are giving him licence to attack offensively, and while he looks mostly to score and takes a disproportionate number of mid-range jump shots off the dribble, he is also making things happen and producing. From a fantasy point of view, this is reflected in his total of exactly 200.0 fantasy points over his last seven games, which works out to a 28.6 per game average.
Point guard – Quinn Cook, Golden State Warriors: $8.9 million
At this point still the primary point guard scoring and shooting option, Cook is proving useful in the role while seemingly stuck on this fixed price. Over his last five games, all of which have been about the 20+ fantasy point threshold, he has averaged 25.4 fantasy points per game.
Point guard – Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets: $18.8 million
Shooting guard – Jeremy Lamb, Charlotte Hornets: $11.5 million
Lamb had to contend last night with the excellent shooting performance of Malik Monk off the bench, giving him a rival for playing time. He nevertheless continued his hot performance of late with a 33.1 performance, contributing in all areas as a great foil alongside Walker and right in the middle of what has been his range for a month now. Kemba himself meanwhile is so hot right now that even a bad shooting night cannot cool him off from a fantasy perspective – he shot only 7-23 from the field in last night’s game, yet still poured in 46.5 fantasy points.
Shooting guard – David Nwaba, Cleveland Cavaliers: $6.0 million
Small forward – Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavaliers: $7.7 million
Both of these two are currently starting for the Cavaliers, with Osman playing more of a power forward role in place of Larry Nance, who has returned to the bench. Only one tends to close out games – Rodney Hood and Kyle Korver seem to have the leg up on that. But with their prices both being as low as they are, and their recent production (Nwaba averaging 21.8 fantasy points over his last six, Osman averaging 29.0 over his last three), their value is apparent even with that caveat.
Small forward – Justin Holiday, Chicago Bulls: $10.4 million
Holiday has either the licence or the stubborn determination, or both, to shoot any catch-and-shoot jump shot he can find, be it from three or from mid-range off of a curl. This volume of both shots and minutes is resulting in a lot of fantasy point production, to the tune of a giant 47.2 fantasy points per game average over the last two. It obviously won’t sustain that high, but even 60% of it would be very good value at this price.
Small forward – Otto Porter Jr, Washington Wizards: $12.9 million
Since it became obvious that management was willing to move anybody and everybody, the Wizards have played better, as has Porter in particular. In the Wizards’ last three games, he has been there or thereabouts with the 40 point mark, and averages 40.9 fantasy points per game in that time. If he is going to use the team’s ultimatum as a means of getting up shots and bolstering his numbers, then that’s fine for us in fantasy.
Power forward – Frank Kaminsky, Charlotte Hornets: $6.6 million
With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist out due to injury, Kaminsky is back in the rotation. Despite his large role in previous seasons, Kaminsky has been out of the rotation this year as the Hornets opted to go smaller and faster, yet in his brief time back in it, he has been a useful bench scoring option. Over the past three, Kaminsky has averaged 21.4 fantasy points per game, and while he does very little on the court other than score the ball, that suffices at this price.
Power forward – Jabari Parker, Chicago Bulls: $11.8 million
Parker’s flaws are masked in fantasy by his volume. It matters not to us here that he forces up shots, is not nearly as good of an outside shooter as his shot selection suggests and loafs defensively. It matters only that he has averaged 45.8 fantasy points over the last three games for a price roughly a quarter of that.
Centre – Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers: $11.8 million
We had some slight hesitancy before anointing Thompson as a good fantasy pick before his last game, unaware of how well he would fair against the athleticism and drop defence of Clint Capela. Turns out we needn’t have worried, as Thompson recorded a huge double-double of 16 points and 20 rebounds on his way to another giant 54 point fantasy outing. He has gone from afterthought to first-choice pick very quickly.
Centre – Thomas Bryant, Washington Wizards: $5.9 million
With Dwight Howard otherwise indisposed, Bryant is currently the Wizards’ starting centre. He is not putting in huge fantasy numbers; over the last four games, he has averaged 17.1 fantasy points per contest. But he is a refreshing change of scenery for the Wizards, and that is also a good mark-up on this small price.
Centre – Cody Zeller, Charlotte Hornets: $8.5 million
We recommended Zeller in this space before the Hornets’ game yesterday, on account of the fact that he had scored in the 20s in fantasy points in all but four games this season. We expected him to do so again. He promptly put up 29.5 more last night. And so we can confidently suggest him again.
Centre – Damian Jones, Golden State Warriors: $6.6 million
Jones is not featured much offensively, with no plays run for him, in and around the basket only to tidy up. This means no huge fantasy point performances, especially right now at a time when the Warriors are short of offence. That said, the Warriors being short right now also benefits Jones, who gets more playing time and opportunities to put up numbers. And with his knack for getting the high value defensive stats, his solid average of 16.4 fantasy points per game over the last ten holds some bench-filling value.
Point guard – Kemba Walker, $18.8 million
Shooting guard – Jeremy Lamb, $11.5 million
Small forward – Kevin Durant, $21.1 million
Power forward – Jabari Parker, $11.8 million
Centre – Nikola Vucevic, $17.1 million
Bench – Tristan Thompson, $11.8 million
Bench – Cedi Osman, $7.7 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: Alex Poythress, Kent Bazemore (Atlanta), Treveon Graham, Caris LeVert (Brooklyn), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Tony Parker, J.P. Macura (Charlotte), Luc Richard Mbah A Moute (L.A. Clippers), Dillon Brooks, Chandler Parsons (Memphis), Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, Dion Waiters (Miami), Kristaps Porzingis, Courtney Lee, Ron Baker, Lance Thomas (New York), Zhaire Smith, Justin Patton, Markelle Fultz, Jimmy Butler, Jonah Bolden (Philadelphia), Kosta Koufos, Ben McLemore (Sacramento), Norman Powell (Toronto), Donovan Mitchell (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!