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 five-game slate. Once you’ve seen who I like, be sure to lock in your line-ups and win some cash tonight.
Point guard – Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies: $14.8 million
Conley’s price has gone up by a few million from where it was at the start of the season, and continues to sneak up as he continues to pile in good fantasy games, But he still not has priced himself out of the ‘good value’ range, having poured in yet another 47.3 fantasy point performance last time out, his third consecutive game of more than 47. Somehow, it is also the lowest of the three.
Point guard – Emmanuel Mudiay, New York Knicks: $8.5 million
There’s a streakiness in production with Mudiay right now, just as there is with every Knick as they continue to chop and change their rotation. There is also however a lot to like when you look at the last two games, and the huge 39.4 fantasy point average he has put up over them. If the Knicks are going to let Mudiay continue to foray to the rim at will in this way, then we will continue to benefit as well.
Shooting guard – Rodney McGruder, Miami Heat: $9.7 million
Shooting guard is by far the hardest position to find fantasy value tonight. There are only two pricy picks, and one of them (Victor Oladipo) is injured, yet among the cheaper picks, no one really has a big enough role to offer us too much. We turn then back to McGruder, who continues to start for the Heat ahead of Dwyane Wade (who is the other viable pick as a usage-heavy sixth man). His price has increased to the point where his endless low-20 performances are not the tremendous value that they were at the start of the season, but they are still good, and they are very consistent.
Small forward – Mikal Bridges, Phoenix Suns: $7.7 million
Bridges’s last game wasn’t up to his recent standards, a mere 7.6 fantasy point outing in which he didn’t record any of those precious high-value steals he normally collects so many of. But when he does get them, as in the five games prior to that, he has value. His 23.8 fantasy point average in that space is almost triple his price.
Small forward – Josh Richardson, Miami Heat: $14.0 million
Playing point guard full time on a team that lacks for spacing and offensive creativity, as Richardson is currently having to do on the injured Heat, is ideal neither for him nor the team. That said, the higher usage rate and minutes share he gets as a result of this does serve us well in fantasy, where he continually records outings in the mid to high 30s, doing so much more consistently than most.
Small forward – Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors: $18.4 million
Power forward – Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors: $14.1 million
Also consistent are the Raptors’ starting forward duo, who have been consistent value all year. In the case of Kawhi, he has been good value all year on account of his price being lowered by last year’s injury, whereas for Siakam, his value has stemmed from the fact he is in the midst of a breakout season. Siakam manages to record some enormous fantasy point outings for a man who has no plays run for him, including 43.7 more points last time out. Only once in the last nine games has he recorded less than 30.
Power forward – John Collins, Atlanta Hawks: $12.0 million
Now back in the line-up after an injury that cost him the start of the season, Collins’s production thus far has been intermittent with some huge upside. Last time out, he recorded a giant 43.2 fantasy points, yet in his five games thus far, he has recorded outings in the teens, 20s, 30s and 40s. It is however trending the right way, and Collins showed last season how productive he is when given court time.
Power forward – Noah Vonleh, New York Knicks: $10.5 million
We mentioned before the Knicks’ last game how Vonleh’s fantasy candidacy is over ever really slowed these days by foul trouble. And that is what happened last time out, after a foul-ridden first half severely limited his minutes. Vonleh however remained productive per minute and was still able to put in 20.2 fantasy points in that time; down considerably from the three 40+ games immediately prior, yes, but still a good indicator of where he is at without individual game foul trouble.
Power forward – Jaren Jackson Jr, Memphis Grizzlies: $14.1 million
Centre – Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies: $17.1 million
In the Grizzlies’ last game, the team as a whole recorded an enormous 19 blocked shots, and these two between them combined for 12 of them. It is quite the defensive unit that Memphis has cobbled together, and as two of the only three senior front court players available on the team right now, these two are playing as much as they can. And they are playing very well, too, even with the occasional bout of rookie variance from Jackson.
Centre – Mason Plumlee, Denver Nuggets: $9.7 million
It is something of a mystery how backup centre Plumlee managed to record a 36.3 fantasy point average over the last three games. He has always been a good rebounder and interior defender, and has massively improved as a face-up passer over the years, but one so offensively limited and normally in such a small role should not be considered as a candidate to go on runs like that. But he has, so take note.
Point guard – Mike Conley, $18.8 million
Shooting guard – Rodney McGruder, $11.5 million
Small forward – Kawhi Leonard, $21.1 million
Power forward – Pascal Siakam, $11.8 million
Centre – Marc Gasol, $17.1 million
Bench – T.J. Warren, $11.8 million
Bench – John Collins, $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, Tyler Dorsey (Atlanta), Isaiah Thomas, Michael Porter Jr, Will Barton, Jarred Vanderbilt (Denver), Zach Lofton, Henry Ellenson, Luke Kennard (Detroit), Victor Oladipo (Indiana), Rajon Rondo (L.A. Lakers), Dillon Brooks, Chandler Parsons (Memphis), Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, Dion Waiters (Miami), Kristaps Porzingis, Courtney Lee, Ron Baker, Lance Thomas (New York), Kosta Koufos, Iman Shumpert (Sacramento)
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!