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 – Cameron Payne, Chicago Bulls: $9.2 million
Shooting guard – Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls: $14.4 million
We picked Payne as a fantasy value pick before the Bulls’s last game on account of the medium-term injury to Kris Dunn opening up the starting spot. He responded with a 36.0 fantasy point performance, and while numbers that high are unlikely to be the norm, the mid-20s range is, and that is good value at this low price. Alongside him, meanwhile, LaVine has come out determined to prove a point. He is only the second Bull in franchise history to score 30+ points in each of the first four games of the season, and although he does little other than score the ball, he is doing so enough to convey strong fantasy value at this price. LaVine is averaging 42.1 fantasy points per game on the season, and with further Bulls injuries in the front court (see below), he may go for an even bigger night tonight.
Point guard – Derrick Rose, Minnesota Timberwolves: $9.3 million
Shooting guard – Josh Okogie, Minnesota Timberwolves: $8.0 million
Andrew Wiggins, the previous owner of the second-longest consecutive games streak in the NBA, missed the last game, and rookie guard Okogie was the perhaps surprise recipient of his starting spot. He did well with it, too, recording a double-double on his way to 24.7 fantasy points, following up previous performances of 23.8 and 15.0. It seems as though Okogie has already broken into Thibodeau’s rotation, and once in, players rarely leave it. So he is one to monitor and perhaps pick tonight.
Behind him, Derrick Rose seems reinvigorated in a sixth man role. It is not efficient, but he is scoring in good volume from off the bench, and the efficiency need not trouble us in fantasy. On the season thus far, Rose has averaged 28.0 fantasy points per game, tripling his cost in points. This will always pique our interest.
Small forward – Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors: $16.3 million
Yep, still. Kawhi’s price is creeping up, but he is still returning more than 40 fantasy points per game, and thus is still valuable to us here.
Small forward – Damyean Dotson, New York Knicks: $8.0 million
Power forward – Noah Vonleh, New York Knicks: $8.3 million
We have been picking Vonleh for a while now as he consistently turns in solid bench performances for a low price. He has been doing so in the absence of Kristaps Porzingis, with only really Kevin Knox and Lance Thomas rivalling him for minutes; we thus further emphasised Vonleh as a pick when Knox also went down with injury. Bur now the door is even further open as Thomas is also unlikely to play tonight; Vonleh, then, is now the senior power forward option.
The forward vacancies have also opened up time for Dotson, who has been productive and explosive off the bench. In the last three games, he has posted 21.6, 29.4 and 40.0 fantasy point performances, huge returns on a deep bench price. He too will get further opportunities tonight, and so further big returns may be forthcoming.
Power forward – Wendell Carter, Chicago Bulls: $9.8 million
Power forward – Jabari Parker, Chicago Bulls: $11.8 million
In light of Lauri Markkanen’s injury, we had previously anointed his reserve Bobby Portis as a potentially good fantasy pick, and he usually came through for us. However, Portis himself is now also out for the next month or so with injury, and thus these two become the only two productive frontcourt options left. Parker has been serving in a sixth man role but will now likely start at power forward, while Carter, the starting centre, figures to see a minute and responsibility increase as well.
Centre – Damion Jones, Golden State Warriors: $6.6 million
Centre – Cody Zeller, Charlotte Hornets: $8.0 million
Oddly, Jones’s price has actually gone down $0.1 million, while Zeller’s has gone up $0.3 million. It is odd because neither has really let us down – although he recorded only 11.6 fantasy points last time out, Jones is averaging 19.1 fantasy points per game on the season, while Zeller recorded 24.2 more last time out on his way to a 21.7 season average. Nevertheless, the two represent two starting centres available for very cheap, and are very good cheap bench filler.
Centre – Ed Davis, Brooklyn Nets: $8.6 million
There is a consistency about Ed Davis from the bench that should not be overlooked. His four fantasy point performances thus far have all come between the 18.6 and 23.1 point range, all of which are good value at this price. Unless starter Jarrett Allen (himself a good fantasy value pick at $12.3 million) is absent and Davis starts, there is little to no chance of a huge night coming from Davis, but he is dependable bench filler both in real life and for us here in fantasy.
Centre – Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans: $27.8 million
Despite being the priciest player in the game, Davis nevertheless still represents good value considering how much he contributes. He contributes in every category every night against every opponent, and has averaged 68 fantasy points per game thus far this season. Davis’s price makes it vitally important to find good value elsewhere, but hopefully we have done that above.
PG – Chris Paul, $19.2 million
SG – Jimmy Butler, $18.0 million
SF – Kawhi Leonard, $16.3 million
PF – Nikola Mirotic, $15.7 million
C – Damian Jones, $6.6 million
Bench – Jabari Parker, $11.8 million
Bench – Jarrett Allen, $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: Treveon Graham, Rodions Kurucs, DeMarre Carroll (Brooklyn), Kris Dunn, Lauri Markkanen, Bobby Portis, Denzel Valentine (Chicago), Dirk Nowitzki, Devin Harris (Dallas), DeMarcus Cousins, (Golden State), Brandon Knight, Zhou Qi, Nene, James Ennis, James Harden, Marquese Chriss (Houston), Trevon Duval (Milwaukee), Andrew Wiggins, Justin Patton (Minnesota), Emmanuel Mudiay, Lance Thomas, Kevin Knox, Kristaps Porzingis, Courtney Lee (New York), Iman Shumpert (Sacramento), Delon Wright (Toronto), Ian Mahinmi, 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!