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 – Ryan Arcidiacono, Chicago Bulls: $7.7 million
Kris Dunn will be back soon, but Arcidiacono has far outplayed Cameron Payne as his fill-in starter. On account of his willingness to share the ball more and let Zach LaVine take most turns as the primary playmaker, Arcidiacono puts in the assists and steals, and has fantasy point performances of each of 27.1, 20.5 and 34.8 in his last three games.
Shooting guard – Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns: $17.9 million
Shooting guard is generally the position with the slimmest pickings in fantasy right now, especially at the top prices. Take note then of Booker, who, because he is currently being pressed into service as a point guard right now, is also putting in assist numbers to go with his usual scoring. Averaging a sizeable 7.2 assists per game on the season, Booker is more productive this year while still at last year’s price.
Shooting guard – Jeremy Lamb, Charlotte Hornets: $12.0 million
Lamb remains a very reliable pick at shooting guard. He was even better than his usually reliable mid-30s production last time out, too, putting in 41.6 fantasy points in an impressive win over the Milwaukee Bucks. He should cost more than this.
Shooting guard – Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets: $11.5 million
Small forward – James Ennis, Houston Rockets, $7.0 million
Small forward – P.J. Tucker, Houston Rockets: $9.1 million
The Rockets this season are seriously short of depth, and that is being sorely tested right now given the fact that they have six players out due to injury. As evidence of how little depth they have, they plucked Danuel House out of the G-League before their most recent game and gave him 29 minutes before he even had time to leaf through the playbook. With Chris Paul being one of those six, these three are all now starters for the Rockets, and with no backups of any great calibre behind them, they are getting big minutes. Last time out, Gordon received 43 minutes and put up 40.4 fantasy points, Ennis put up 20.1 in 31, and Tucker put in 34.1 in 43 despite only scoring five actual points.
Small forward – Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavaliers: $8.0 million
Osman’s low cost for a starter is not proving to result in all that consistent of value, but there is value nonetheless. Even though he is shooting inefficiently, he is playing enough to return a 26.8 fantasy points per game average over his last four. It helps that he never seems to turn the ball over.
Power forward – Jabari Parker, Chicago Bulls: $13.0 million
There’s nothing pretty about it. It is often brute force by a man determined to establish himself as a scorer, and being temporarily given the opportunities to do so. But there is fantasy value to be found with Parker right now, as he has averaged 20.1 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game over his last six, good for a 38.1 fantasy point average.
Power forward – Jeff Green, Washington Wizards: $8.3 million
Centre – Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans: $26.5 million
The Pelicans are phenomenally streaky. They started the season winning four in a row, then lost six in a row, then won six of seven before going on their current four game losing streak, most of which took place without Davis. But Davis is now back from his short break. They always lean heavily on him, and never is he ever a bad choice as a fantasy pick – he is the best player in the game. Yet tonight might be particularly fruitful, partly because of how much is needed from him right now to end the streak, yet also because the Pelicans are playing the Wizards. The Pelicans score the second-most points per game in the league, and the Wizards give up the second most points. It could therefore be a big score, and this benefits the senior players on both teams, including the streaky Green, who has been playing better in the team’s recent resurgence anyway.
Centre – Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers: $13.3 million
Thompson’s recent must-pick credentials were confirmed again last time out as he put up yet another double-double, this time totalling 35.7 fantasy points in the process. He is grabbing offensive rebounds at a historic rate, is busy defensively, and is also scoring with touches, too. And he’s doing it all very consistently and with strong fantasy value.
Centre – Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic: $16.9 million
Vucevic remains one of the hottest players in the game currently. He has averaged 23.4 points, 12.3 rebounds and 3.7 rebounds over his past ten games, with a sprinkling of defensive statistics on top of that. He is making a contract-year push while still at last year’s price.
Centre – Jusuf Nurkic, Portland Trail Blazers: $16.0 million
The flip side to the above lies in the rebounding department. When measured by total number of possible rebounding chances, Orlando are the sixth worst rebounding team in the league, while Portland are the second best. This then bodes well for the fantasy candidacy of Nurkic, their starting centre and leading rebounder who has also been in good rebounding form of late himself. Nurkic missed the second half of his last game due to injury, but is expected to play tonight.
Point guard – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, $9.6 million
Shooting guard – Jeremy Lamb, $12.0 million
Small forward – Cedi Osman, $8.0 million
Power forward – Montrezl Harrell, $12.0 million
Centre – Anthony Davis, $26.5 million
Bench – Tristan Thompson, $13.3 million
Bench – Nikola Vucevic, $16.9 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), DeMarre Carroll, Caris LeVert, Treveon Graham (Brooklyn), J.P. Macura (Charlotte), Kris Dunn, Lauri Markkanen, Bobby Portis, Denzel Valentine (Chicago), Kevin Love, Sam Dekker, David Nwaba (Cleveland), Dennis Smith Jr, Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas), Zhou Qi, Brandon Knight, Nene, Carmelo Anthony, Gerald Green, Chris Paul (Houston), Luc Richard Mbah A Moute, Jerome Robinson (L.A. Clippers), John Henson (Milwaukee), Jerryd Bayless (Minnesota), Elfrid Payton (New Orleans), Courtney Lee, Kristaps Porzingis, Lance Thomas (New York), Hamadou Diallo, Terrence Ferguson, Andre Roberson, Nerlens Noel (Oklahoma City), Aaron Gordon, Timofey Mozgov (Orlando), Markelle Fultz, Justin Patton, Zhaire Smith, Jonah Bolden (Philadelphia), Seth Curry (Portland), Pau Gasol, Lonnie Walker IV, Dejounte Murray (San Antonio), 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!