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 $27 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 short three-game slate. Once you’ve seen who I like, be sure to lock in your line-ups and win some cash tonight.
Point guard – Tim Frazier, New Orleans Pelicans: $6.1 million
Point guard – Jrue Holiday, New Orleans Pelicans: $20.3 million
Whenever the Pelicans lose a man, they tend to just call on Holiday a bit more. So when they lose two, they definitely do. With both Elfrid Payton and Nikola Mirotic out in the last game, Holiday was called upon to do basically all of the ball penetration, and he responded with a herculean 71.8 fantasy point performance. Alongside him, Tim Frazier has been a recent edition to the starting line-up, as the Pelicans for the second straight season have decided to cope with their lack of adequate small forwards by just playing extra guards instead. The only man who can really help Holiday in his playmaking perimeter role, Frazier has recorded 27.6 fantasy points over the last three, which is four and a half times the amount he costs in million to pick. That is an enormous markup not found elsewhere.
Point guard – Tomas Satoransky, Washington Wizards: $5.9 million
Satoransky started the last game as a third guard, and will also be starting tonight, the only difference being that John Wall is also out. This should benefit Sato, who is better with a larger share of the ball than he gets when alongside Wall; while he underwhelmed in the first of these two starts, we must remember him as a player who averaged as-near-as-is 10/5/5 in 30 games as a starter last season.
Shooting guard – Alex Burks, Cleveland Cavaliers: $7.6 million
David Nwaba is still out, thus Burks will continue in his role as the bench wing mixer-upper. With his new team, he has averaged 26.1 fantasy points per game in the three contests he has appeared in thus far, and while it is unclear how he reconciles with Nwaba going forward, let’s worry about that later.
Shooting guard – Malik Beasley, Denver Nuggets: $7.4 million
A player who would normally be the forgotten man, Beasley is the beneficiary of Nuggets wing injuries and the play of Nikola Jokic. Injuries to Will Barton (starting small forward; long term) and Gary Harris (starting shooting guard; recent) have opened up minutes on the Nuggets’ wing, and with Jokic doing what he does, available candidates do not need to be able to create much. This suits Beasley well; he has taken many of those minutes on account of being a better shooter than Torrey Craig, and has averaged 18.6 fantasy points per game over the last three.
Small forward – Robert Covington, Minnesota Timberwolves: $12.8 million
We have picked Covington a couple of times recently, as, since his trade to the Timberwolves, he has been playing like a prime Ron Artest. We should also however remember that he is being used like a prime Luol Deng by fan of minutes, Tom Thibodeau. Recording 39 minutes in the last game, Covington put in 33.7 more fantasy points, keeping his average over the last four games at a very healthy 39.5 per game.
Small forward – Danilo Gallinari, L.A. Clippers: $14.2 million
Gallinari is playing his best-ever ball as a Clipper. After a slow start to the season, he has been on a scoring tear of late, and is making quite the dynamic inside-outside scoring forward partnership with Tobias Harris. From a fantasy point of view, this streak has correlated to a 38.7 fantasy points per game average over the last five.
Power forward – Maxi Kleber, Golden State Warriors: $9.6 million
As was the case last season, when Kleber minutes, we get production. Having missed a small amount of time due to injury, Kleber came back with a strong 28.0 fantasy point game last night; over his last five, he is averaging 19.6.
Power forward – Mike Muscala, Philadelphia 76ers: $9.6 million
While still not making the shooting contribution it was hoped he would, Muscala’s role is currently large, and he finds ways to contribute even without the jumper. In the 76ers’ last three games, Muscala – whose floor stretching threat is needed badly right now – has worked his way into the starting line-up, and he has averaged 26.3 fantasy points per contest in that time.
Power forward – Markieff Morris, Washington Wizards: $9.6 million
To re-energise his struggling and openly unhappy Wizards team, Scott Brooks changed the starting line-up, moving Morris to the bench. This seems to have galvanised him; whereas he was averaging only 9.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game as a starter, he is up to 15.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game as a reserve. From a fantasy point of view, as a reserve, he is averaging a very healthy 31.4 fantasy points per game.
Centre – Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers: $9.6 million
There is seemingly no stopping Thompson on the glass this season, and he is doing enough scoring and hands-based defending to consistently yield tremendous value. He is averaging a colossal 18.5 points and 16.5 rebounds per game in December thus far, and although the Warriors tonight will not be an easy matchup for the team overall, Thompson is the kind of player who can – and has – given them problems before.
Centre – Jakob Poeltl, San Antonio Spurs: $9.6 million
We have recommended Poeltl a couple of times as a pick recently on account of his increased role as primary backup centre in the absence of Pau Gasol, and his production therein. Considering he put up 31.9 fantasy points in the last game on this tiny price, we see no reason to change that.
Point guard – Jrue Holiday, $20.3 million
Shooting guard – Klay Thompson, $14.9 million
Small forward – Kawhi Leonard, $18.9 million
Power forward – Montrezl Harrell, $12.3 million
Centre – Tristan Thompson, $13.7 million
Bench – Tim Frazier, $6.1 million
Bench – Robert Covington, $12.8 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, Taurean Prince (Atlanta), Caris LeVert, Treveon Graham (Brooklyn), Marvin Williams (Charlotte), David Nwaba, Ante Zizic, Kevin Love, Sam Dekker (Cleveland), Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas), Isaiah Thomas, Jarred Vanderbilt, Gary Harris, Michael Porter Jr, Will Barton (Denver), Luke Kennard, Reggie Bullock (Detroit), DeMarcus Cousins, Damian Jones, Draymond Green (Golden State), Luc Richard Mbah A Moute, Jerome Robinson (L.A. Clippers), Alex Caruso, Rajon Rondo (L.A. Lakers), Chandler Parsons, Dillon Brooks (Memphis), Ersan Ilyasova, John Henson (Milwaukee), Jerryd Bayless (Minnesota), Elfrid Payton, Nikola Mirotic (New Orleans), Andre Roberson (Oklahoma City), Timofey Mozgov (Orlando), Zhaire Smith, Markelle Fultz, Justin Patton (Philadelphia), Pau Gasol, Dejounte Murray (San Antonio), Norman Powell (Toronto), John Wall, Dwight Howard (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!