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 $28 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 team 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 – Kris Dunn, Chicago Bulls: $13.5 million
It turns out that fears about Zach LaVine’s return significantly inhibiting the play and production of Kris Dunn may have been prematurely founded. With LaVine back in the last two games, Dunn has posted 33.1 and 34.8 fantasy points; these may represent slight price decreases on the consistent 40+ increases we had seen for a while prior, but at this price, they still represent strong fantasy value.
Point guard – Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors: $10.9 million
Should you understandably be in the market for two mid-price fantasy point guards, consider also the option of VanVleet. He is always the starter whenever Kyle Lowry is out, which Lowry currently is, and he usually yields some good production for us in fantasy whenever he does so. He has too much guile not to.
Point guard – De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings: $16.7 million
Fox is on another one of his streaks. And it is a consistent one, too. Over his last five games, he has averaged 47.0 fantasy points per game, and he has done so by posting four games between 43.7 and 45.8, with one high end outlier of 57.6. This follows a recent streak of very similar performances, the two interrupted only by an anomalous 0.2 performance in which he played a mere six minutes due to injury. Fox, then, is hot right now.
Point guard – Tyus Jones, Minnesota Timberwolves: $8.1 million
Although he is used more than most other third-stringers due to Derrick Rose’s heavy usage as an off-guard, Jones is a third string point guard. And under any other circumstances, we would obviously not recommend a third stringer for their fantasy value. Rose and usual starter Jeff Teague are both out, thus leaving the door wide open for Jones to get minutes, and given his penchant for steals and assists, a 25+ point night is very likely to be on the cards. Even if he is poor, who is the alternative?
Shooting guard – Josh Hart, L.A. Lakers: $8.8 million
Small forward – Brandon Ingram, L.A. Lakers: $12.1 million
As we also talked about before the Lakers’ most recent game, LeBron James’s absence opens minutes, touches and shots for any Lakers wing player and/or playmaker. These two each count in at least one of those categories. Hart, only ever forced to the bench by the need to incorporate both James and Ingram rather than through any great fault of his own, put in another 31.7 fantasy points in the last game through another hefty 35 minutes played, while Ingram alongside him played another 33 of his own. He recorded only 24.4 fantasy points in that time, yet given his defensive versatility and usual playmaking role, we know there is usually more to come in a role that big than that.
Small forward – Justise Winslow, Miami Heat: $11.6 million
Winslow’s streaks can run hot and cold. This one is hot. Back in the starting line-up at some kind of hybrid forward/guard position that is not easy to define, Winslow has averaged a giant 43.9 fantasy points per game over his last three, and while the streak will one day soon surely end as abruptly as it began (and probably run as cold as it is hot), Winslow’s production of the past week cannot be ignored.
Power forward – Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls: $12.6 million
We are only making one pick at the power forward position tonight, because there is no reason to look away from Markkanen. His last game saw Markkanen record 14 point, 14 rebounds and 30.6 fantasy points – the fact that he shot 5-15 from the field and recorded no assists or steals speaks to how he can do better than that. And yet even that amount of fantasy points represents very good value at this price.
Centre – Willie Cauley-Stein, Sacramento Kings: $16.6 million
We picked Cauley-Stein before the Kings’ last game on account of his recent stretch of productive play and the favorability of his match-up against the L.A. Lakers. In that game, he came through for us, recording 39.5 fantasy points. Tonight, the Kings will once again play the Lakers. And so all of the same criteria apply once again, as does the conclusion.
In 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: Bobby Portis, Denzel Valentine (Chicago), Wes Matthews (Dallas), Rajon Rondo, LeBron James, Michael Beasley (L.A. Lakers), James Johnson, Dion Waiters, Goran Dragic (Miami), Jeff Teague, Derrick Rose (Minnesota), Andre Roberson, Alex Abrines (Oklahoma City), Markelle Fultz, Justin Patton, Zhaire Smith, Joel Embiid (Phoenix), Marvin Bagley III (Sacramento), Jordan Loyd, Chris Boucher, Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas (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!