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 eight-game slate. Once you’ve seen who I like, be sure to lock in your line-ups and win some cash tonight.
Point guard – Monte Morris, Denver Nuggets: $9.7 million
With Isaiah Thomas out all season thus far due to his recurrent hip problem, Morris has been regularly in the rotation as the backup point guard. He has been hugely inconsistent in his production, everywhere from -1 to 43.1 fantasy points, but the overall average there is 21.1, and that is a good mark-up on a sub-$10 million price tag.
Point guard – Derrick Rose, Minnesota Timberwolves: $9.6 million
Shooting guard – Josh Okogie, Minnesota Timberwolves: $8.9 million
Could Derrick Rose go from MVP to Sixth Man of the Year? He’s certainly giving it a go. Empowered to run and drive whenever possible as a backup combo guard, Rose has averaged 27.9 fantasy points per game on the season, and has not gone below 22 since the first game of the season, Okogie meanwhile seems to have the trust of Tom Thibodeau too; after not playing in the first two games, Okogie has averaged 23.0 fantasy points over the last five, piling in the rebounds and defensive statistics at a much higher rate than is normal for one of his size.
Shooting guard – Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls: $14.6 million
Even when the Bulls get drubbed, as they did last time out against the Warriors, LaVine is still getting his points. He is averaging 38.4 fantasy points per game on the season, and although the reason the Bulls were down 44 to the Warriors via Klay Thompson’s explosion was in part down to LaVine’s poor defensive pressure, fantasy points luckily do not measure that. In everything measurable, he is giving us good value.
Shooting guard – DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio Spurs: $17.0 million
Small forward – Rudy Gay, San Antonio Spurs: $12.7 million
DeRozan remains the primary playmaker for the Spurs right now, and is doing very well as such. Three of his last four games have seen him record 60+ fantasy point performances; he is playing as well as anyone in the league right now, for a non-elite price. Gay meanwhile is also proving to be a beneficiary of this makeshift Spurs line-up, adding greater offensive responsibility to the defensive-focused role he had last year, and has averaged 36.5 fantasy points per game over those same four.
Small forward – Damyean Dotson, New York Knicks: $7.8 million
Power forward – Noah Vonleh, New York Knicks: $8.7 million
These two continue to form the Knicks’s starting forward pairing as they quite openly tout their intent to start younger players. Both are performing, too; Vonleh is more consistent in his 23.4 fantasy point average on the season, but by virtue of being a much more aggressive and featured offensive player, Dotson has the greater fantasy upside, averaging 25.5 over the past five games with one 40.0 fantasy point outing in there.
Power forward – Trey Lyles, Denver Nuggets: $9.9 million
Lyles has played six games this season, and five of them saw him record fantasy point performances in the 20s. One anomalous bad outing of 1.1 is dragging the average down, but he is otherwise good consistent value. And working in his favour tonight is that he is playing against the guy below, who is not known for his defence.
Power forward – Jabari Parker, Chicago Bulls: $12.2 million
Given the absence of both Lauri Markkanen and Bobby Portis, there is a vacancy at power forward right now, and although the Bulls are starting rookie Chandler Hutchison in the spot, he is overmatched right now and doing nothing. Parker is thus scoring as much as he can from the sixth man role, and the advantage of his role right now is that, whether the Bulls are in with a chance or getting blown out, he is a part of the fourth quarter line-ups in either circumstance.
Centre – JaVale McGee, L.A. Lakers: $11.2 million
Centre – Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn Nets: $12.2 million
We have picked these two all season and will continue to do so until prices spike. The duo, very similar in style, are having similar impacts; McGee is averaging 35.1 fantasy points per game on the season, while Allen is averaging 29.3 of his own. Slight edge in both production and cost to McGee, then, but you may well find you want both.
Centre – Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz: $18.6 million
Alternatively, at the top end of the centre market, Gobert is currently playing his career-best basketball. Known best for his defence, Gobert has also been showing improved confidence and poise on the offensive end, taking on the smaller players he often faces on switches more regularly than before. He is averaging 45.3 fantasy points per game on the season, with a couple of 50+ outings in his last two.
Point guard – Jamal Murray, $14.3 million
Shooting guard – DeMar DeRozan, $17.0 million
Small forward – Kevin Durant, $21.6 million
Power forward – Noah Vonleh, $8.0 million
Centre – Rudy Gobert, $18.6 million
Bench – Damyean Dotson, $7.8 million
Bench – JaVale McGee, $11.2 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: Rodions Kuruc, DeMarre Carroll, Treveon Graham (Brooklyn), Bobby Portis, Kris Dunn, Lauri Markkanen, Denzel Valentine (Chicago), Devin Harris, Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas), Luke Kennard (Detroit), Shaun Livingston, DeMarcus Cousins (Golden State), Moritz Wagner, Alex Caruso, Michael Beasley (L.A. Lakers), Andrew Wiggins, Justin Patton (Minnesota), Darius Miller, Elfrid Payton, Anthony Davis (New Orleans), Kevin Knox, Kristaps Porzingis, Courtney Lee (New York), Isaiah Canaan, De’Anthony Melton, Devin Booker (Phoenix), Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker IV, Derrick White (San Antonio), Raul Neto, Derrick Favors, Alec Burks, Jae Crowder (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!