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 seven-game slate. Once you’ve seen who I like, be sure to lock in your line-ups and win some cash tonight.
Point guard – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, L.A. Clippers: $9.6 million
Like his Clippers team mate Montrezl Harrell (below), it is harder to find reasons not to pick Gilgeous-Alexander at the moment than it is to pick him. It is true that his 14.2 fantasy point game from last night was far from his best, especially coming off of the 41.0 outing he had the game before. But taken as an average, the versatile and defensively committed rookie provides some of the best value on any slate.
Point guard – Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors: $10.1 million
This pick suggestion is fairly conditional on Kyle Lowry being out. When he was, as he was in Saturday’s game, VanVleet gets the start in his place, and while Kawhi Leonard will assume a lot of the shot creation responsibilities in a point forward role, VanVleet’s value increases. He posted 25.6 fantasy points on Saturday in this role, and has been over the 20 point mark five times in his last six.
Shooting guard – Kevin Huerter, Atlanta Hawks: $6.7 million
Huerter has been a starter in six career games thus far, including the Hawks’ last four. As a starter, he averages 27.0 minutes, 6.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game; from a fantasy point of view, his starter numbers work out to a 19.7 fantasy point average. At the league’s weakest fantasy position, then, a starter with a 300% mark-up is available.
Shooting guard – Alec Burks, Cleveland Cavaliers: $7.0 million
Burks’s first game with his new team was good for 34.2 fantasy points, including 15 actual points and 6 rebounds. His second was not much short of that, either, seeing him record 21.2 more. Burks’s role going forward once all the injured Cavaliers return is unclear, but for now, he could be a good contributor for us.
Small forward – Robert Covington, Minnesota Timberwolves: $11.7 million
Inexplicably, Covington’s price has declined by $0.6 million since we listed him as a potential fantasy pick before the Timberwolves’ last game. It is inexplicable on account of the fact that Covington posted yet another 39.0 fantasy points in that game, keeping his average over the last three at 41.3. If he is going to play like a prime Artest and his price is going to go down simultaneously, surely we must buy.
Small forward – Kevin Knox, New York Knicks: $5.7 million
Small forward – Damyean Dotson, New York Knicks: $6.1 million
In the Knicks’ last fantasy game, Knox put up 19.9 fantasy points, and Dotson put up a giant 32.8 having put up 21.2 the game before that. But the Knicks’ most recent game overall wasn’t counted in fantasy, as it had an early tip-off. In that game, had it counted in fantasy, Dotson would have recorded 31.5 more fantasy points, and Knox would have put in a giant 40.8. All this for almost as cheap of prices as is possible.
Power forward – John Collins, Atlanta Hawks: $12.0 million
Having missed the start of the season, Collins’s price is a bit below where it should be and likely soon will be for a man of his production. In his last four games since getting up to speed, Collins has averaged 32,8 fantasy points per game, and with next to no playing time rivals at his position and the Hawks committed to his development, there is a lot more to come.
Power forward – Montrezl Harrell, L.A. Clippers: $12.6 million
Harrell was a must-pick last night, and has been for a while. Last night, in a typically energetic performance, he put up a further 42.5 fantasy points. He thus still is one.
Centre – Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans: $26.5 million
The priciest player in the game continues to have fantasy upside despite the price. In his last eleven games, Davis has averaged a ridiculous 63.0 fantasy points per game – no one even comes close. And in a game last night that did not count for fantasy purposes, Davis was even more brilliant, recording what would have been a 78.8 fantasy point stat line. What more can a man even do?
Centre – Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers: $13.3 million
After a one game blip, normal service was resumed for Thompson has been resumed over the last two games. In those outings, he has put up 35.4 and 48.3 fantasy points, raising his average over the last six games to 36.7 per game, even when factoring in the Steven Adams-induced 9.4 game performance. Thompson has been one of the star players in fantasy this season, somewhat unexpectedly, and it continues.
Point guard – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, $9.6 million
Shooting guard – Kevin Huerter, $6.7 million
Small forward – Kawhi Leonard, $18.4 million
Power forward – Montrezl Harrell, $12.6 million
Centre – Anthony Davis, $26.5 million
Bench – Tristan Thompson, $13.3 million
Bench – Robert Covington, $11.7 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, Jaylen Adams (Atlanta), Caris LeVert, Treveon Graham, Joe Harris (Brooklyn), David Nwaba, Sam Dekker, Cedi Osman, Ante Zizic, Kevin Love (Cleveland), Jarred Vanderbilt, Isaiah Thomas, Michael Porter Jr, Will Barton (Denver), Luke Kennard, Henry Ellenson (Detroit), DeMarcus Cousins, Draymond Green, Alfonzo McKinnie, Damian Jones (Golden State), Zhou Qi, Carmelo Anthony (Houston), Luc Richard Mbah A Moute, Jerome Robinson (L.A. Clippers), Jerryd Bayless, (Minnesota), Elfrid Payton, E’Twaun Moore (New Orleans), Kristaps Porzingis, Trey Burke, Lance Thomas (New York), Andre Roberson, Terrence Ferguson, Hamadou Diallo (Oklahoma City), Norman Powell (Toronto), Dwight Howard, Jeff Green (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!