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 $28 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 team for tonight’s five-game slate. Once you’ve seen who I like, be sure to lock in your line-ups and win some cash tonight.
Point guard – Kris Dunn, Chicago Bulls: $14.5 million
Same old, same old for Dunn. Much as it is weird and uncomfortable to see a point guard turning down a three-pointer for a long two, as Dunn so regularly does, he is at least doing what he knows out there. And in turn, he is being productive, contributing all over the board and putting in a giant 17 assists on his way to a 45.5 fantasy point performance last time out.
Point guard – Jeff Teague, Minnesota Timberwolves: $14.3 million
For what seems like forever now, we have been anointing Timberwolves reserve point guards as good fantasy picks. First Derrick Rose, then Tyus Jones; one of the two, it seemed, was always a good candidate for big outings and big value. Yet this was only ever the case due to the absence of Teague, the usual starter. And in the one game of his return this past week, Teague staked a good claim to his place once again, recording 41.4 fantasy points.
Shooting guard – Josh Okogie, Minnesota Timberwolves: $7.3 million
The other current member of the Timberwolves’ starting back court is the rookie Okogie, who, despite a lack of offensive skill and confidence at this point in his career, is making things happen by mixing it up on the glass and being active. Through athleticism and defensive intensity level alone, Okogie has earned the trust of the notoriously steadfast Tom Thibodeau, and it is he who is getting the starts in the absence of Robert Covington, with Andrew Wiggins returning to small forward. So high is his minute share right now that in the two games he has started, Okogie has been able to record a 17.1 fantasy point average, despite shooting a combined 2-13 from the field.
Shooting guard – Josh Hart, L.A. Lakers: $12.7 million
Amid the Lakers’ testing run without LeBron James, there has been a good resurgence for Hart. Shooting only 2-11 from the field last time out, he nevertheless still managed to put in 26.4 fantasy points in that game, and if that represents the low end of his production, then we remain intrigued. Over his last five games, Hart has averaged 33.2 fantasy points.
Shooting guard – Joe Harris, Brooklyn Nets: $9.7 million
Small forward – DeMarre Carroll, Brooklyn Nets: $10.3 million
Anchored by injuries to each of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Caris LeVert and Allen Crabbe – that is to say, two regular starters and another key swingman – the Nets have been giving more time to this pairing, and they have been coming through in both real life and fantasy. Two high IQ players who do not have much athleticism but who do have high basketball IQs, Harris – who leads the league in three-point shooting and who has started every game he has played this season – has averaged 28.5 fantasy points over his last two games, while last year’s starter Carroll has been slowly ramping up his workload after his return from injury, and has averaged 29.7 over his last four.
Small forward – Brandon Ingram, L.A. Lakers: $14.1 million
Playing point forward in LeBron’s absence has seen Ingram record a lot of minutes and a lot of usage. It also has seen him play very inefficiently. Nevertheless, while that inefficiency is a distinct problem for his team, it is not a problem for us in fantasy, where volume is measured only. And with that in mind, Ingram’s 40.0 fantasy point average over his last three games should intrigue us greatly.
Power forward – Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls: $13.5 million
Although there have been incremental price increases for Markkanen since his return from injury, there have not been enough to deter us from recommending him in this space, just as we normally do. Further adding to that today is the fact that, while the power forward spot usually yields many a decent fantasy option every day, it is more dry than usual at the moment. Although Markkanen’s team mate Wendell Carter (listed as power forward in the game even though he starts at centre in reality) is potentially another candidate, having broken out his recent slump and recording 41 fantasy points last time out.
Power forward – Anthony Tolliver, Minnesota Timberwolves: $6.2 million
Centre – JaVale McGee, L.A. Lakers: $12.5 million
Centre – Ivica Zubac, L.A. Lakers: $7.8 million
When McGee went out, swiftly followed by his reserve Tyson Chandler, Zubac became the starting centre. And he responded, very well, with a fantasy point average of a giant 38.6 over three games. When those in front of him returned, Zubac went back to the bench – however, with Kyle Kuzma now also out at power forward, Zubac is back in as a part of some old school dual post line-ups. With this in mind, he scored 22..2 fantasy points; in the three games since his return, McGee has put in three performances over 30 himself, averaging 33.4 fantasy points per game in that time.
Point guard – Tyler Johnson, $11.0 million
Shooting guard – Joe Harris, $9.7 million
Small forward – Paul George: $22.8 million
Power forward – Lauri Markkanen: $13.5 million
Centre – Nikola Vucevic, $19.9 million
Bench – JaVale McGee, $12.5 million
Bench – DeMarre Carroll, $10.3 million
In 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: Taurean Prince, Miles Plumlee, Kent Bazemore (Atlanta), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Caris LeVert, Dzanan Musa, Allen Crabbe (Brooklyn), Denzel Valentine, MarShon Brooks, Brandon Sampson (Chicago), Luc Richard Mbah A Moute (L.A. Clippers), LeBron James, Rajon Rondo, Kyle Kuzma (L.A. Lakers), Yante Maten, Goran Dragic (Miami), Robert Covington, Derrick Rose (Minnesota), Alex Abrines, Andre Roberson (Oklahoma City), Timofey Mozgov (Orlando), Markieff Morris, 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!