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 $29 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 at each price point 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 – Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks: $18.0 million
Young’s enormous 79.6 fantasy point game two games ago was, of course, never going to continue. He regressed back to the mean last night, recording only 25.6 more. That said, that mean is quite something still – over his last eight games, Young has averaged 47.9 fantasy points per game.
- Shooting guard – Caris LeVert, Brooklyn Nets: $8.6 million
Caris LeVert at his best is one of the best shooting guards in the East. He scores, handles and comes up in the clutch. Thus far, he has not quite gotten back to his best after serious injury. But with his 24.9 fantasy point per game average over the last two, he seems to be getting there.
- Shooting guard – Frank Jackson, New Orleans Pelicans: $6.6 million
If the Pelicans are going to have a season dribble to an unfulfilling conclusion while they plan for the upcoming summer and the inevitable Anthony Davis trade, they may as well play their young players down the stretch. Jackson is thus in the rotation, taking a lot of the minutes once occupied by E’Twaun Moore, and averaging 20.4 fantasy points per game over his last four games.
- Small forward – Justise Winslow, Miami Heat: $12.9 million
Offensively, Winslow is one of the most inefficient scorers in the NBA. Given the keys to the offence when Goran Dragic went out, Winslow has improved considerably as a player, yet shot making from all areas remains a weakness. Nevertheless, having the keys to the offence and the sizeable minutes and offensive load that come with that do give him a lot of fantasy volume, and he has averaged 31.6 fantasy points per game over his last three.
- Small forward – Brandon Ingram, L.A. Lakers: $15.3 million
The Lakers are free-falling and are not far short of being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs already. This is not the way LeBron’s first season was supposed to go. That said, Ingram is at least bringing his game slightly better of late, averaging 40.1 fantasy points per game over his last six by appearing all over the stat sheet.
- Power forward – Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz: $13.9 million
Favors has been the starter all season at power forward for the Jazz, despite being much better suited to the centre position. Historically, we normally only recommend him as a fantasy pick when Rudy Gobert is out and he moves to the centre spot, which has not happened here. His recent form is making us take note anyway, though, as he has recorded a 40.2 fantasy point per game average over his last five.
- Power forward – Noah Vonleh, New York Knicks: $7.6 million
Despite being a starter for much of the season, and being good at it, Vonleh has been moved to the bench in deferrence to the younger players. Still young himself, however, Vonleh remains a part of the rotation off of the bench. And when he does play, the rebounding nous. solid defence and jump shooting combination he demonstrated as a starter still works, to the tune of a 33.0 fantasy point per game average over his last two.
- Centre – Henry Ellenson, New York Knicks: $6.9 million
All season long, we have been citing Robinson as a fantasy pick for the Knicks, and at times, we have also cited his fellow young centre team mate, Luke Kornet. Now add Ellenson, who is a bit like Kornet without the shot blocking ability. Waived by the Pistons during only the second year of his rookie scale contract, after having no opportunities on the court and seemingly not showing enough progress off of it, the Knicks picked Ellenson up and gave him some time. And in that time, Ellenson has showed the offensive skill that made him a first-round pick in the first place, averaging 21.6 fantasy points per game over the last three. If DeAndre Jordan is out tonight, consider Ellenson strongly.
- Centre – Alex Len, Atlanta Hawks: $7.6 million
Len’s signing at the time seemed confusing. The Hawks had John Collins in the front court of the future, had the superior Dewayne Dedmon on the books, and were stuck with Miles Plumlee’s contract whether they liked it or not, so the move to add another interior player seemed an odd choice. Nevertheless, the Hawks have had enough front court injuries this season to give Len plenty of run, and in the last two games in particular he has recorded a giant fantasy point average of 467 per game.
Point guard – Jamal Murray, $15.2 million
Shooting guard – Caris LeVert, $8.6 million
Small forward – LeBron James, $24.7 million
Power forward – LaMarcus Aldridge, $19.6 million
Centre – Mitchell Robinson, $14.3 million
Bench – Ivica Zubac, $10.0 million
Bench – Alex Len, $7.6 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: Miles Plumlee, Taurean Prince, Omari Spellman, John Collins (Atlanta),Treveon Graham (Brooklyn), Trey Burke, Kristaps Porzingis, J.J. Barea (Dallas), Trey Lyles, Michael Porter Jr (Denver), Luc Richard Mbah A Moute, Wilson Chandler (L.A. Clippers), Lance Stephenson, Lonzo Ball (L.A. Lakers), Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside (Miami), Sterling Brown, George Hill, Donte DiVincenzo, Pau Gasol (Milwaukee), Anthony Davis, Trevon Blueitt, Dairis Bertans (New Orleans), DeAndre Jordan, Frank Ntilikina, Mario Hezonja (New York), T.J. Warren (Phoenix), Marvin Bagley III (Sacramento), Dejounte Murray (San Antonio), Dante Exum, Tony Bradley, 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!