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 six-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: $12.3 million
Still available at a reduced price due to last season’s injury, Conley is still producing very good value within it. He has averaged 38.6 fantasy points per game over the last five contests, tripling his cost, and is being very consistent with it, too.
Point guard – Derrick Rose, Minnesota Timberwolves: $11.7 million
So, you more than likely will have noticed that Derrick Rose recorded a 50-point performance last time out, a performance that resulted in a colossal 66.8 fantasy point performance. You may also have discovered that if you, like me, had set your line-ups early in the day and were not able to get back to them in time to change them to include Rose once the late scratch of usual point guard starter Jeff Teague (as well as the other reserve option, Tyus Jones) had been announced, that you lost your game that night to everyone who had done that. Rose’s price has obviously increased after that performance, to something more commensurate to his usual rate of high-20s production, but keep an eye on Teague’s situation so as to not have that happen again.
Shooting guard – Josh Okogie, Minnesota Timberwolves: $9.1 million
The other Timberwolves option to be benefitting from these absences is Okogie, who for one so young seems pretty astute. Athletic and playing with a reckless abandon that makes good things happen, Okogie has averaged 23.6 fantasy points in the six games he has played this year, and while his minutes will be reduced to the point of having minimal fantasy impact once the Timberwolves are back to full strength, they have yet to be so thus far, and whenever there is a hole in the wing rotation, it is he who has been chosen to fill it.
Shooting guard – Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls: $14.9 million
The only thing really stopping LaVine from having even more fantasy value than he already does is the fact that the Bulls keep getting blown out. This in turn means little to no fourth quarter minutes for LaVine, a starter still coming off of serious injury and thus not given minutes in these situations unnecessarily. Last time out, as the Bulls took the Nuggets to overtime, LaVine recorded 48.5 fantasy points; the previous game, an almighty drubbing at the hands of the Warriors, he recorded 35.2. Both are good fantasy value at this price, but one is clearly better, so gauge how you feel Chicago will fare tonight against the Pacers. The Pacers are better, and Victor Oladipo is a tough defensive match-up, but the blowout potential is not huge, which bodes well for LaVine’s fantasy candidacy tonight.
Small forward – Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors: $18.0 million
There has been a price spike for Kawhi, but not enough to deter us here. Three consecutive games over the 50 fantasy point mark is a plenty good mark-up on an $18.0 million price tag, and he will remain an automatic pick until he cracks the $20 million mark.
Small forward – Damyean Dotson, New York Knicks: $7.9 million
Dotson remains a starter for the Knicks, and while his role of off-ball, streak shooter, loafing around the perimeter ready and willing to take the few jumpers that Tim Hardaway Jr doesn’t fancy for himself is somewhat self-limiting, his minutes share is so large right now as to give him value. And that streakiness does have high upside – in averaging 24.8 fantasy points over his last six games, Dotson also had a 40.0 fantasy point game in there.
Power forward – Wendell Carter Jr, Chicago Bulls: $11.8 million
Carter’s breakout as the starting Bulls centre seems to be underway. Demonstrating a diverse and advanced skill set for one so young, he recorded a giant 59.1 fantasy points through plenty of both defensive and offensive production, having recorded nights in the 30s in each of the two prior games as well. Carter is an impressive rookie with a high ceiling, and also, it seems, a high floor.
Power forward – Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors: $11.4 million
Siakam is the starting power forward for the Raptors this year, bringing plenty of athleticism and energy, and while he is still not hitting those outside jumpers he still seems empowered to take, his presence all over the court is recording plenty of stats. Averaging only 18.1 fantasy points over the first four games of the season, Siakam has averaged 35.0 over the last four, and is coming off of back-to-back 40+ fantasy point outings.
Power forward – Noah Vonleh, New York Knicks: $10.0 million
Vonleh remains the starting power forward for the Knicks, and it seems will continue to be so until Kristaps Porzingis returns. Often if not always the fifth option offensively, and willingly passive, Vonleh nonetheless finds ways to contribute through good defensive anticipation, the occasional dribble-drive, the occasional jumper, and some good rebounding. He recorded a hefty 42.0 fantasy points in the Knicks’ last outing, prompting the price spike, yet his 25.9 average for the season remains good value at this new price.
Centre – Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz – $18.8 million
Gobert is probably playing the best among the game’s pricier centres. It seems not to matter when the opposition knows that a lob pass to him on the pick-and-roll is coming; by virtue of his excellent reach, he can almost always catch and finish it anyway. That plus his usual rebounding and defence has meant a 46.4 fantasy point per game average on the season, and three consecutive performances in the 50+
Centre – Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn Nets: $12.0 million
In his last two outings, Allen has returned slightly less than usual, recording only 24.7 and 24.3 fantasy points per game totals respectively. Not bad at this price range, certainly, but not as good of value as the above are doing. Nevertheless, remember tonight who he is going up against – the Houston Rockets, who for as badly as they have struggled offensively have struggled just as much defensively, if so not moreso. Clint Capela, a similar player to Allen, is of course a good individual defensive player on the interior, but the Rockets are proving to be so leaky on the pick-and-roll that Allen should get plenty of opportunities, as well as plenty of chances to garner defensive caroms, too.
Point guard – Stephen Curry, $20.9 million
Shooting guard – Zach LaVine, $14.9 million
Small forward – Kawhi Leonard, $18.0 million
Power forward – Noah Vonleh, $10.0 million
Centre – Jarrett Allen, $12.0 million
Bench – Derrick Rose, $11.7 million
Bench – Mike Conley, $12.3 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: DeMarre Carroll, Treveon Graham (Brooklyn), Lauri Markkanen, Denzel Valentine, Kris Dunn, Bobby Portis (Chicago), Dirk Nowitzki, Devin Harris (Dallas), Shaun Livingston, DeMarcus Cousins, Jordan Bell (Golden State), Nene, James Harden, Brandon Knight, James Ennis (Houston), Chandler Parsons, Dillon Brooks, JaMychal Green (Memphis), Jeff Teague, Tyus Jones, Justin Patton (Minnesota), Andre Roberson (Oklahoma City), Isaiah Canaan, Devin Booker (Phoenix), Fred VanVleet (Toronto), Alec Burks, Donovan Mitchell, 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!