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 – Tony Parker, Charlotte Hornets: $7.8 million
In his last three games, Parker has posted fantasy point performances of 32.0, 39.7 and 22.2. It seems as though he has enough in the tank still to be the full time back-up point guard, and line-ups featuring both him and Kemba Walker (so as to give Walker a break rather than being on the ball all the time and doing all the half-court penetration) are increasingly regularly deployed.
Point guard – Bryn Forbes, San Antonio Spurs: $8.6 million
In seven games as the starting Spurs point guard, Forbes has recorded six fantasy point performances of 20+, only once dipping under. That has correlated to a fantasy point average of 21.3, a solid if unspectacular mark-up on his price. To get something so consistent for such a cheap price is extremely hard to find, so while he isn’t the glamorous or high upside pick, he is a solid one.
Shooting guard – Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls: $15.3 million
LaVine continues to pour in the fantasy points, even if it sometimes by volume rather than efficiency. He recorded 36.7 more fantasy points last night, even though he shot 7-21 from the field to do it and struggled with foul trouble. LaVine is the Bulls’ go-to guy, especially so without the presence of Kris Dunn or any senior point guards, and Lord knows he wants that job. His price is sneaking up, but not enough to deter us here.
Shooting guard – Rodney McGruder, Miami Heat: $10.2 million
Over the last six, McGruder has averaged 31.8 fantasy points per game as a starter on the wing. He initially started due to all the Heat’s injuries on the wing, but even now that Wayne Ellington has returned, McGruder is getting his minutes. This in a league where shooters such as Ellington are supposed to be the premium product right now. That speaks to McGruder’s impact just as much as the 300% fantasy mark-up does.
Small forward – Sam Dekker, Cleveland Cavaliers: $7.9 million
Small forward – Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavaliers: $8.7 million
Cedi Osman has been a regular pick in this space, and although he has cooled off after a hot start, he is still a cheap starter. It is a bit unfortunate that so many heavy defeats for the Cavaliers have meant a lot of time on the bench for the Cavaliers starters; nevertheless, Dekker is also a cheap Cavalier starter, filling in for Kevin Love at power forward and averaging 25.5 fantasy points per game over the last three.
Small forward – Josh Richardson, Miami Heat: $14.0 million
The Heat, not replete with offensive options, have seen Richardson grow into an increasingly senior one. He has long been a valued role player for the team, capable of large minutes and versatile defence along with occasional ball handling responsibilities, but this year he is scoring more in the half court too. This means more fantasy production and thus more fantasy value; Richardson has averaged 32.4 fantasy points per game on the season, getting as high as 49.6 along the way.
Small forward – Brandon Ingram, L.A. Lakers: $12.9 million
Ingram’s fantasy point average on the season is 28.3 in the four games he has played, and it would have been higher had he not been ejected from one of them. This then is a good mark-up on his price, and there is upside for much more of it.
Power forward – Wendell Carter Jr, Chicago Bulls: $12.9 million
Carter posted 34.6 fantasy points in last night’s game versus the Indiana Pacers despite struggling all night with foul trouble. He is each of the back line of the defence, the best rebounder on the court, and an increasingly used offensive hub. The price should soon go up, so buy until it does.
Power forward – Nikola Mirotic, New Orleans Pelicans: $16.2 million
Aided admittedly by the injury to Anthony Davis, Mirotic has recorded three consecutive fantasy point performances in the 40s. The Pelicans aim to only play three front court players per game – him, Davis, and Randle – and so while Mirotic is the third priciest power forward on the slate tonight, he also contributes in every category. Always a better defender than it is assumed, Mirotic puts in defensive stats along with his points and rebounds, and the decent ball movement of the Pelicans gives him some assists, too.
Centre – JaVale McGee, L.A. Lakers: $12.4 million
Centre – Cody Zeller, Charlotte Hornets: $8.6 million
Regular readers will know that we have anointed these two as value picks before every game they have played thus far, and there is no reason to change that now. This is particularly true in McGee’s case, and he balled out last game for a 53.5 fantasy point performance, while Zeller remains solid with his fifth consecutive performance in the 20s.
Point guard – Ricky Rubio, $12.2 million
Shooting guard – Zach LaVine, $15.3 million
Small forward – Rudy Gay, $12.4 million
Power forward – Wendell Carter Jr, $12.9 million
Centre – Clint Capela, $16.5 million
Bench – DeMar DeRozan, $17.0 million
Bench – JaVale McGee, $12.4 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: Kevin Hurter, Justin Anderson, John Collins (Atlanta), Jabari Bird, Daniel Theis, Jaylen Brown (Boston), DeMarre Carroll, Lauri Markkanen, Denzel Valentine, Kris Dunn, Bobby Portis (Chicago), Kevin Love (Cleveland), Isaiah Thomas, Michael Porter Jr, Jarred Vanderbilt, Will Barton (Denver), Nene, Brandon Knight (Houston), Alex Caruso, Michael Beasley (L.A. Lakers), James Johnson, Dion Waiters (Miami), Elfrid Payton, Darius Miller, Anthony Davis (New Orleans), Mo Harkless (Portland), Lonnie Walker IV, Dejounte Murray, Derrick White (San Antonio), 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!