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 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 – Bryn Forbes, San Antonio Spurs: $8.9 million
Forbes continues to be pretty serviceable as a fill-in point guard starter, at least offensively, the end that is always better measured by fantasy. He has posted five performances in the twenties this season while still costing less than $10 million to pick. This is a good mark-up.
Point guard – Cameron Payne, Chicago Bulls: $10.3 million
Shooting guard – Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls: $14.6 million
We picked both of these players before the last game as they represent the starting backcourt of the high-scoring, largely ill-disciplined, shot-happy Bulls. They are also a large part of the reason why the Bulls are like that, and their jarring lack of defence as a pairing are a large part of why the Bulls are giving up an alarming 121.0 points per game on the season thus far. Nevertheless, they do continue to start, and last night, Payne put 25.7 fantasy points while LaVine put up 27.6. They did so while also both not playing in the fourth quarter due to how heavy of a defeat the Bulls suffered – assuming they can hang slightly closer to the Atlanta Hawks tonight, both could be good picks here.
Small forward – Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavaliers: $8.7 million
Osman’s seniority continues to grow within the new LeBron-less Cavaliers, and although his last two sub-20 fantasy point performances have slightly tempered his hot start, Kevin Love’s absence might help going forward. After all, everyone else should get bumped up the seniority list one place as a result.
Small forward – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Hornets: $8.3 million
Moving to the bench has been a boon for Kidd-Gilchrist, who can now play the power forward role he was always better suited for, considering his lack of perimeter skills. Throwing himself around defensively and freeroaming with energy, he has averaged 25.4 fantasy points per game, a big mark-up on his price. If ever one produces triple the amount of fantasy points per game than they cost us in millions to pick, we are to be very interested.
Power forward – Jonathan Isaac, Orlando Magic: $10.4 million
Frustrated by an injury-riddled rookie season, Isaac has begun this one adding some offensive game to his established defensive potential. Over the last three games, he has averaged 29.8 fantasy points per game, and is always still good for plenty of the higher-value defensive stats. He is one to watch for the future and not a bad pick for the now, either.
Power forward – Jaren Jackson Jr, Memphis Grizzlies: $11.8 million
In JaMychal Green’s absence last time out, Jackson as a new-found starter recorded 34.2 fantasy points, showing a bit of everything in accordance with his lofty billing as a prospect. Further aiding his candidacy tonight is the opponent. The Phoenix Suns struggle at best and yet come into tonight’s game particularly short-handed. The starting front court of Ryan Anderson and Deandre Ayton are out, and if that means Jackson has T.J. Warren and Dragan Bender to defend him, he should go far.
Centre – JaVale McGee, L.A. Lakers: $11.0 million
Centre – Cody Zeller, Charlotte Hornets: $8.2 million
Another solid performance for Zeller, in which he did not need to play the fourth quarter in a heavy blowout win yet still recorded 24.7 fantasy points in only 20 minutes of game time, has seen his price increase. But it has only done so by $0.2 million, far from being enough to deter us here. McGee meanwhile has had a much bigger price spike – nevertheless, having yet to return any fantasy point performances below 32.1, he is still good value at it. It seems also as though he is capable of playing for much longer stretches now than he ever was at Golden State, and so while the anomalous fact that he is outscoring Karl-Anthony Towns cannot last forever, his fantasy value will do for now.
Centre – Zach Collins, Portland Trail Blazers: $8.7 million
There is almost always a certain element of streakiness and thus risk with picking reserves, as Collins is. Nevertheless, he is proving to be so productive of one that we must consider him a fantasy pick here. Through his intriguing combination of floor stretching ability and rim protection, Collins has averaged 25.9 fantasy points per game through four games. Those four performances have either been in the low 30s or the mid-teens, so it is a bit feast or famine, but the upside is there.
Centre – Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans: $27.9 million
The most expensive player in the game got $0.1 million more expensive overnight after yet another 65.3 fantasy point night. Davis is just everywhere on the court and the Pelicans are doing an ever-better job of finding him in good offensive positions. It takes something special to be both the highest priced player and a good value pick.
PG – Mike Conley, $12.0 million
SG – Donovan Mitchell, $17.8 million
SF – Cedi Osman, $8.7 million
PF – Jaren Jackson Jr, $11.8 million
C – Anthony Davis, $27.9 million
Bench – JaVale McGee, $11.0 million
Bench -Rodney McGruder, $10.5 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: Justin Anderson, Alex Poythress, John Collins (Atlanta), Jabari Bird, Aron Baynes, Daniel Theis (Boston), Kris Dunn, Lauri Markkanen, Bobby Portis, Denzel Valentine (Chicago), Kevin Love (Cleveland), Luke Kennard (Detroit), Tyreke Evans (Indiana), Moritz Wagner, Alex Caruso, Brandon Ingram (L.A. Lakers), Chandler Parsons, JaMychal Green (Memphis), James Johnson, Dion Waiters (Miami), D.J. Wilson, Trevon Duval (Milwaukee), Darius Miller (New Orleans), Timofey Mozgov (Orlando), Wilson Chandler, Joel Embiid, Zhaire Smith, Jerryd Bayless (Philadelphia), Ryan Anderson, Devin Booker, De’Anthony Melton, Deandre Ayton (Phoenix), Lonnie Walker IV, Dejounte Murray, Derrick White (San Antonio), Thabo Sefolosha, 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!