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 – Shelvin Mack, Memphis Grizzlies: $8.5 million
Point guard – Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies: $12.3 million
Conley has been a consistent fantasy value pick this season, his price not yet befitting his abilities as the algorithms behind it all continue to take into account the fact that he missed the vast majority of last season. But more on the sneaky-good side has been his primary reserve, Mack, who is far more effective than Mario Chalmers was in this role, who has kept Jevon Carter on the bench, and who has kicked Andrew Harrison off of the roster altogether. Over the last three, Mack has averaged 26.4 fantasy points per game, a lot more than you will usually get from a backup power forward.
Point guard – Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors: $17.4 million
Not to be overlooked with the arrival of Kawhi Leonard has been the excellence of Kyle Lowry this season. Averaging an enormous 11.2 assists per game, Lowry has seemingly been somewhat liberated by the relative offensive continuity of the Raptors – Kawhi has largely taken DeMar DeRozan’s offensive role, and Danny Green has taken O.G. Anunoy’s – while enjoying the ever-increasing pace and space offered by the breaking up of the Ibaka and Valanciunas pairing. Lowry has averaged a remarkably consistent 42.8 fantasy points per game this season, and if Leonard is out tonight, as he might be, Lowry may benefit further.
Point guard – Tyus Jones, Minnesota Timberwolves: $5.9 million
Shooting guard – Josh Okogie, Minnesota Timberwolves: $9.1 million
Jeff Teague is definitely out tonight, and Derrick Rose may well be, which opens the door for Tyus Jones to get as many point guard minutes as possible, given that he is the only one left. He did so last time out, and recorded 33.5 fantasy points in the process, all the while available for as cheap as a fantasy player can be. Okogie meanwhile has contributed an average of 25.o fantasy points per game over his last six, also a direct beneficiary of the backcourt injuries. Both, then, are of value for us here, and could be of particularly good value if Rose and Jimmy Butler are not able to go, as may be the case.
Shooting guard – Allonzo Trier, New York Knicks: $7.6 million
As the Knicks unabashedly trot out their youth, the undrafted Trier is having some good moments off the bench. Playing the shooting guard position about as differently from Courtney Lee (the man whose injury opened up the rotation spot) as one can, Trier’s isolation-heavy basketball has seen him record three consecutive fantasy point performances in the low 20s. If this keeps up, he becomes yet another hugely cheap Knicks pick – for another, see below.
Small forward – Damyean Dotson, New York Knicks: $7.9 million
Six of Dotson’s last seven games have seen him record fantasy point performances of more than 20, including one as high as 40. He is a streaky shooter with limited ball handling responsibility, yet his minute share is so large right now that he is getting these fantasy opportunities and production for us here. Rarely can you get a starter for this cheap.
Small forward – Robert Covington, Philadelphia 76ers: $11.7 million
Covington is having a superb start to the season, piling in the defensive statistics like a young Andrei Kirilenko in his prime. He has averaged 39.9 fantasy points over the last four games, despite being much the same streak-shooting offensive player that he always was. It feels as though this level of production cannot continue, and yet it does.
Power forward – Serge Ibaka, Toronto Raptors: $12.9 million
Sometimes he starts at centre, sometimes he comes off the bench behind Jonas Valanciunas. Either way, Ibaka is a productive fantasy player for us, averaging 38.9 fantasy points per game over the last three. The Raptors have accepted he is better at centre these days, and everyone is benefitting from that adjustment.
Centre – JaVale McGee, L.A. Lakers: $12.4 million
A combination of factors may diminish McGee’s hitherto excellent fantasy value going forward. Firstly, Tyson Chandler will soon be arriving, giving the Lakers an actual backup centre for the first time this year. And secondly, the price keeps trickling up. Nevertheless, at the level the league’s leading shot blocker has been playing at, McGee should cost nearer $17 million in this game right now. So until he does, keep buying.
Centre – Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks: $6.1 million
Just as the young forward duo of Dotson and Noah Vonleh have been starting recently, so has Robinson been the starting centre for a while now. And while the results have been mixed, the team is starting to figure out how to use this athletic specimen. After a couple of somewhat impressive games mixed in with a lot of streakiness, Robinson exploded for 41.5 fantasy points last time out. He is definitely one to watch.
Point guard – Mike Conley, $12.3 million
Shooting guard – DeMar DeRozan, $17.0 million
Small forward – Brandon Ingram, $12.9 million
Power forward – LaMarcus Aldridge, $18.2 million
Centre – Joel Embiid, $21.2 million
Bench – Tyus Jones, $5.9 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: DeMarre Carroll, Treveon Graham (Brooklyn), Alex Caruso, Michael Beasley (L.A. Lakers), Chandler Parsons, JaMychal Green (Memphis), Jeff Teague, Derrick Rose, Justin Patton, Jimmy Butler (Minnesota), Kevin Knox, Kristaps Porzingis, Courtney Lee (New York), Andre Roberson (Oklahoma City), Jerryd Bayless, Zhaire Smith (Philadelphia), Mo Harkless (Portland), Lonnie Walker IV, Dejounte Murray, Derrick White (San Antonio), Kawhi Leonard (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!