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 in each match-up on for tonight’s mere four-game slate. Once you’ve seen who I like, be sure to lock in your line-ups and win some cash tonight.
OKLAHOMA CITY VS L.A. LAKERS
- Point guard – Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder: $26.9 million
The Thunder are struggling of late, and at the core of those struggles has been the struggles of Paul George. Supposedly struggling with a niggling rotator cuff injury, George is simply not making shots at the rate he was in the first half of the season, and with him not dragging the offence up single-handedly, the Thunder are finding it hard to stay competitive. They are thus having to rely on Westbrook to try and do it instead, despite being mired in an extremely inefficient offensive season. Nevertheless, the resultant volume has seen him record 52.9 fantasy points per game over his last five contests, with two performances over the 60 point threshold in that span.
- Point guard – Rajon Rondo, L.A. Lakers: $15.7 million
- Point guard – Alex Caruso, L.A. Lakers: $9.5 million
Lonzo Ball, LeBron James and Brandon Ingram are all out for the remainder of the season. That does not leave much in the way of ball handling and playmaking options on the team, then. Indeed, it only really leaves these two, who have enjoyed the plenteous opportunities opened up by these injuries and ‘load management’ decisions. In the last game alone, they combined for 100.6 fantasy points, with Rondo recording 55.0 of them and Caruso the remaining 45.6. That is an exceptional amount of production for these prices, and especially so on a slate this short.
- Centre – JaVale McGee, L.A. Lakers: $16.4 million
Having traded Ivica Zubac for whatever reason, the Lakers do not have a young centre to turn over the final throes of the season to. They instead persevere with McGee at centre, whose 25.3 minutes per game average in the month of March is his highest month since October. McGee averaged 14.6 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game for the month, and has averaged a huge 50.1 fantasy points per game over his last six contests.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS VS ATLANTA HAWKS
- Point guard – Bryn Forbes, San Antonio Spurs: $9.5 million
In the absence of Dejounte Murray all season, Forbes has started 76 games as a point guard of sorts. Positional definitions do not really matter – his role is to shoot, defend whichever player is left over after Derrick White draws the toughest defensive assignment, move off the ball and try not to mess up. He has done so with solid season averages of 11.7 points and 2.1 assists per game on the season, and while his role has not grown any of late (thus not exhibiting any particular run of form coming into tonight’s game), we choose him here on account of the fact that the Hawks are too often leaky in the back court, especially against shooters. Forbes is thus in the best position to capitalise.
- Small forward – Justin Anderson, Atlanta Hawks: $6.1 million
The Hawks, like most teams near the top of the lottery, have nearly half their roster unavailable to play tonight. This is particularly the case at the forward positions, where John Collins, Omari Spellman, Taurean Prince and Alex Poythress are all out. Anderson is thus the only pure small forward remaining, and is starting as a result – although it did not count as a fantasy game due to the early tip-off time, the 24 points and 12 rebounds he recorded in the Hawks’ last game would have counted for a hefty 47.9 fantasy points had they done so
HOUSTON ROCKETS VS SACRAMENTO KINGS
- Centre – Clint Capela, Houston Rockets: $17.7 million
Not only does Capela come into tonight’s game on as rich of a vein of form as his team does, he also has a good match-up tonight. Capela has posted three consecutive fantasy point games above the 40 point threshold, with a 43.7 average over that span, and he is also up against the Kings and Willie Cauley-Stein, who tend to give up big nights to opposing paint players. As evidence of this, remember that in the two games between the two teams thus far this season, Capela has averaged 23.5 points, 15.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game.
- Shooting guard – Bogdan Bogdanovic, Sacramento Kings: $13.2 million
Bogdanovic is the sixth man for the Kings, and has put in a couple of big games in a row. A near-triple-double two games ago saw him yield a hefty 45.8 fantasy points, followed by a 31.1 game last time out. By virtue of being both one of the team’s best players and a reserve, Bogdanovic tends to get big minutes in both close and blowout games, and considering tonight’s opponent, both are possible.
DENVER NUGGETS VS GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
- Shooting guard – Gary Harris, Denver Nuggets: $8.2 million
Harris is still not back to his best, nor is he especially close to it. The plus side of this, at least, is that his price has stayed remarkably low. Indeed, it has gotten even lower, represenative of the fact that the Nuggets have not been getting much out of him of late. Nevertheless, if they are to truly contend for a title this season, then they will need him to get closer to his best. They thus continue to play him over breakout shooter Malik Beasley, and although Harris’ individual production is low, he features in the Nuggets’ best line-ups. Anything in the low 20s would still be excellent value here.
Point guard – Trae Young, $19.5 million
Shooting guard – Klay Thompson, $15.8 million
Small forward – Justin Anderson, $6.1 million
Power forward – Paul Millsap, $15.1 million
Centre – Clint Capela, $17.7 million
Bench – Rajon Rondo, $15.7 million
Bench – Alex Caruso, $9.5 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: Miles Plumlee, Dewayne Dedmon, John Collins, Taurean Prince, Omari Spellman, Alex Poythress (Atlanta), Michael Porter Jr (Denver), Andre Iguodala, Damian Jones (Golden State), Kenneth Faried, Gerald Green (Houston), Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, Tyson Chandler (L.A. Lakers), Andre Roberson (Oklahoma City), Wenyen Gabriel, Harry Giles, Yogi Ferrell (Sacramento), Dejounte Murray (San Antonio)
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!