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 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 – Tim Frazier, New Orleans Pelicans: $8.1 million
The Pelicans are suffering an injury crisis right now, in both the front court (see below) and the back court. Regular starters Elfrid Payton and E’Twaun Moore are both out, and as good as he is, Jrue Holiday should not have to do it all. There is thus some run available for Frazier, just as there was in this situation earlier in the season, and when that happened, Frazier played with good value for a solid stretch. His 28.7 fantasy point average last week suggests he may have another one in him.
- Point guard – Monte Morris, Denver Nuggets: $12.0 million
Morris is having quite the run as a fill-in starter. Over the last four games, he has averaged 38.6 fantasy points per contest, three of which have seen him return individual game performances above the 40 point mark. When Jamal Murray comes back, Morris’s fantasy value will decrease now that his cost has increased, but the Nuggets will still have to find a way to fit him in anyway. He’s good.
- Shooting guard – James Harden, Houston Rockets: $28.9 million
Harden’s price has gone as high as it can go, and it is a price that still does not reflect how much he brings to the team. We have found a lot of cheaper good value players at other positions precisely so that you can flank them in your line-up around the beard.
- Shooting guard – Malik Beasley, Denver Nuggets: $11.5 million
There are rumours that Gary Harris is being made available in trade. This probably should not happen – Harris, having been injured most of the season and with a big contract just beginning, has very low value right now, and players should not be dealt low. Nevertheless, the rumours abound because of the play of Beasley, who has shone in his absence. Over the last five games, Beasley has averaged 30.9 fantasy points per game, and it will be hard to take him out of the line-up right now.
- Small forward – Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks: $20.1 million
Doncic is the Mavericks’ best player. The second best, Kristaps Porzingis, seems set to miss the season. The third best is probably Harrison Barnes. The fourth….Dorian Finney-Smith, maybe? Either way, the point is that there is quite the talent dearth on the Mavericks outside of their top two. And because of that, Doncic, as their clear #1, has a lot to do, as evidenced by his 58.2 fantasy points recorded last time out.
- Small forward – Josh Jackson, Phoenix Suns: $14.3 million
Jackson is third worst among qualified players in scoring efficiency. There is nothing particularly tidy about what he does, and he still struggles significantly with jumpers. Nevertheless, much as he often forces action, Jackson does at least cause action. His offensive volume, rebounding rate and knack for defensive statistics mean he puts up numbers whenever he plays, and he has averaged 35.4 fantasy points over his past three games.
- Power forward – Kenneth Faried, Houston Rockets: $12.7 million
As with Harden, it is hard to look away from Faried at this moment. There are other fantasy picks tonight at this position, to be sure, such as Jeff Green below, or Kenrich Williams for the Pelicans. But none has played with the consistency and fantasy value of Faried, who has averaged 36.7 fantasy points per contest over his last seven.
- Power forward – Jeff Green, Washington Wizards: $13.3 million
If you decide you have room for two power forwards, consider Green for your bench. As the makeshift Wizards struggle for front line players and playmakers around a rising Brad Beal, Green’s relatively high offensive talent level have seen him return a 38.7 fantasy point average over his last three games. As ever with Green, nothing is consistent, but that much production at this price is noteworthy regardless.
- Centre – Jakob Poeltl, San Antonio Spurs: $5.9 million
The Spurs will go into tonight’s game missing four of their regular starters. Each of Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge will be out, and there is thus plenty of spill-over value to other rotation players, regardless of their age. This may be particularly applicable to Poeltl, who not only had already pretty much won Pau Gasol’s role at centre, but who also is about as cheap as one can be, while also always being productive with minutes.
- Centre – Jahlil Okafor, New Orleans Pelicans: $13.0 million
The usual reasoning behind Okafor’s fantasy candidacy apply. Anthony Davis, Julius Randle and Nikola Mirotic will still be out, and Okafor continues to start at the centre spot while being almost unchallenged for minutes. And has been the case through his run in this role, Okafor has been hugely productive, recording 47.1 fantasy points last time out, his fourth 40+ game in the last fortnight, and increasing his average over the last seven to 37.1 per game.
Point guard – Monte Morris, $12.0 million
Shooting guard – James Harden, $28.9 million
Small forward – Luka Doncic, $20.1 million
Power forward – Kenneth Faried, $12.7 million
Centre – Jahlil Okafor, $13.0 million
Bench – Frank Jackson, $7.1 million
Bench – Jakob Poeltl, $5.9 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: Allen Crabbe, Caris LeVert, Jared Dudley, Spencer Dinwiddie (Brooklyn), Tony Parker (Charlotte), Wendell Carter Jr, Denzel Valentine, Chandler Hutchison (Chicago), Kristaps Porzingis, J.J. Barea (Dallas), Gary Harris, Paul Millsap, Jamal Murray, Isaiah Thomas, Michael Porter Jr (Denver), Damian Jones (Golden State), Danuel House, Eric Gordon, Clint Capela (Houston), Donte DiVincenzo, Jason Smith (Milwaukee), Julius Randle, Anthony Davis, Nikola Mirotic, Trevon Blueitt, Elfrid Payton, E’Twaun Moore (New Orleans), Devin Booker, De’Anthony Melton, T.J. Warren (Phoenix), Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio), Thabo Sefolosha, Dante Exum, Tony Bradley (Utah), John Wall, Markieff Morris, Troy Brown Jr, Dwight Howard, Devin Robinson (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!