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 $29 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 at each price point 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 – Michael Carter-Williams, Orlando Magic: $7.0 million
Carter-Williams is trying once again to rejuvenate his career. He fell out of the league due to his continued decline in his shot-making ability and the resultant lack of offensive usage he had, and now he has joined a team with six point guards. Nevertheless, two of them are injured, Jerian Grant is heavily out of favour, Troy Caupain is an untested two-way player, and the starter is only D.J. Augustin, a solid vet but one of the weaker starters at the position in the league. MCW is getting opportunities, then, and has averaged 24.3 fantasy points per game over his last three.
- Shooting guard – Sterling Brown, Milwaukee Bucks: $5.7 million
Regular starting shooting guard Malcolm Brogdon is out due to injury. So is primary reserve, Tony Snell. And so too is rookie option Donte DiVincenzo, who will miss the remainder of the season, no matter how deep the Bucks go. Having been pushed out of the rotation for much of the season, then, Brown is now very much back in it. And thus the 30.7 fantasy points he recorded last time out may not be a fluke.
- Shooting guard – Ian Clark, New Orleans Pelicans: $6.9 million
We have picked sophomore guard Frank Jackson in this space quite regularly of late, as he has been starting at shooting guard trying to prove his offensive worth. However, Jackson suffered a concussion in the last game and will not play tonight. His near-enough like-for-like replacement Clark thus stands to benefit, and the 17.9 fantasy points he recorded in the last game as Jackson went down speaks to what we can expect tonight.
- Small forward – Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks, $20.1 million
It has been back to back triple-doubles for Doncic, which speaks to quite how talented of a player he is. It seems as though he is running on fumes, lacking all legs in his shot, unsurprising given his work load over the last two years, and yet he is still out there dropping triple-doubles with a relative ease. Doncic has averaged 56.8 fantasy points per game over those two, and has crossed the 50 fantasy point mark four times in his last six games, three of which were triple-doubles, and the other of which was a mere one assist shy.
- Small forward – Danilo Gallinari, L.A. Clippers: $15.3 million
Moving Tobias Harris to the Philadelphia 76ers at the trade deadline was not done specifically to suit Gallinari. The Clippers are however realising the benefit of being able to put the Italian at the power forward position full time, one he is better suited for given his slowing feet. Responding in kind with a career-best campaign, Gallinari has averaged 40.4 fantasy points per game over his last five, three of which have been for more than 40 individually, and none of which have been for less than 34.9.
- Power forward – Christian Wood, New Orleans Pelicans: $5.7 million
Needing guard depth as the injuries set in, the Pelicans waived Wood in order to bring back Tim Frazier, himself waived by the Pelicans fairly recently. Essentially a straight-up trade of Wood for Frazier, it seems as though the Pelicans are going to come out ahead. Wood has had a hugely high talent level, yet has never quite stuck in the NBA, in need of a good opportunity to prove he really can succeed in the big league. It seems as though the Pelicans may be the perfect place to do so – last time out, Wood put in 23 points, 9 rebounds, 6 blocks and 3 steals for a colossal 60.3 fantasy points. All for the cheapest price available.
- Power forward – Maxi Kleber, Dallas Mavericks: $9.5 million
Kleber’s price is tempered somewhat by the fact that he is in and out of the line-up regularly due to niggling injuries. As a result, when he does play, he plays with great fantasy value. His last six games have seen him return at least 20.0 fantasy points, with a 27.6 per game average in that time, and he has also hit that mark in eight of his last nine. That is a lot of production for a small cost.
- Centre – Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat: $12.7 million
Adebayo outplayed Hassan Whiteside to win the Heat’s starting spot, a position he will surely never relinquish. He is simply a more versatile player, able to defend both the perimeter and the interior, rebound the ball, and even handle the thing much better than a man of his size normally would. This versatility is made manifest in his fantasy production, where he posts numbers across the board and averages 33.8 fantasy points over his last six games.
Point guard – D’Angelo Russell, $20.8 million
Shooting guard – Gary Harris, $9.5 million
Small forward – Giannis Antetokounmpo, $26.0 million
Power forward – Maxi Kleber, $9.5 million
Centre – Bam Adebayo, $12.7 million
Bench – Danilo Gallinari, $15.3 million
Bench – Christian Wood, $5.7 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: Allen Crabbe, Treveon Graham (Brooklyn), J.R. Smith, Matthew Dellavedova, John Henson (Cleveland), Tim Hardaway Jr, Kristaps Porzingis, J.J. Barea (Dallas), Michael Porter Jr, Malik Beasley (Denver), Kenneth Faried, Gerald Green (Houston), Luc Richard Mbah A Moute, Patrick Beverley (L.A. Clippers), Justise Winslow, Rodney McGruder, Josh Richardson (Miami), Nikola Mirotic, Malcolm Brogdon, Donte DiVincenzo, Tony Snell, Pau Gasol (Milwaukee), Jrue Holiday, Trevon Blueitt, E’Twaun Moore, Frank Jackson (New Orleans), Noah Vonleh, Allonzo Trier, Frank Ntilikina (New York), Timofey Mozgov, Markelle Fultz, Isaiah Briscoe, Mo Bamba (Orlando), Furkan Korkmaz, James Ennis III, Mike Scott (Philadelphia), Harry Giles, Wenyen Gabriel, Troy Williams (Sacramento), Dejounte Murray (San Antonio), O.G. Anunoby, Kawhi Leonard (Toronto)
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!