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 ten-game slate. Once you’ve seen who I like, be sure to lock in your line-ups and win some cash tonight.
- Point guard – De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings: $17.1 million
Young point guards generally struggle for consistency. Not so Fox, though. In his last eight games, he has not gone below the 30 fantasy point mark, and nor has he gone above 44 either. His average across that tight span of games is 38.4 fantasy points per game, and while others may have greater variance to offer (and the upside that conveys), few if any offer this reliability.
- Point guard – Rajon Rondo, L.A. Lakers: $13.9 million
At this point, Rondo is the Lakers’ second-best offensive player. The Lakers are free-falling on the court, and they are starting to run out of players – Lonzo Ball remains out, and Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram also now join him. With his relative seniority, offensive abilities and unchallenged run at the point guard spot with both Ball and Lance Stephenson out, Rondo has recorded three fantasy point performances above the 46 point mark in his last four games.
- Shooting guard – Caris LeVert, Brooklyn Nets: $9.6 million
Sporadic though it has been, LeVert is showing more and more signs of getting back to his best. His last game of 33.5 fantasy points, borne out of an 18 point, 5, rebound, 5 assist performance, was something close to peak LeVert once again. And with a 27.8 fantasy point average over his past three, the value of his increasing production is becoming highly significant.
- Shooting guard – Allonzo Trier, New York Knicks: $9.4 million
Amid the implosion of their season, the Knicks continue to find they have found something in Trier. The undrafted free agent is certainly an NBA calibre scorer, and he has been given licence to create his own shots at will in what is left of this season. This means a lot of volume production, which means fantasy value for us here – specifically, it means a 31.8 fantasy point average over his past four games.
- Small forward – Nicolas Batum, Charlotte Hornets: $12.9 million
Last season, Batum’s play improved after the All-Star break. Although his shooting volume went down, his efficiency improved considerably, as did his defence and playmaking. It left a slightly better taste in the mouth after had what been a down season, and the Hornets really need him to do the same again. And so far, he has – a lacklustre first half of 9.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists has grown to 15.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game in six post-All-Star games thus far, correlating to a fantasy point average of 35.3.
- Small forward – DeAndre’ Bembry, Atlanta Hawks: $9.5 million
Bembry continues to receive a minutes increase on a Hawks team both lacking for front court depth (see below) and a backup point guard after Jeremy Lin’s buyout. It is at times like this that a truly versatile player comes in particularly useful. With his playmaking instincts in an athletic wing’s body, Bembry has averaged 29.2 fantasy points per game over his last four.
- Power forward – Dwight Powell, Dallas Mavericks: $10.2 million
The Mavericks, deliberately, have left themselves with not much of a front court. They never had a deep one to begin with, especially with Dirk Nowitzki hugely slowed, and after trading away DeAndre Jordan for no healthy returning front court players, they really don’t have one now. This then gives enhanced opportunities to Powell, a productive pick-and-roll player and rebounder who has averaged 36.7 fantasy points over his past four games as a result.
- Power forward – Noah Vonleh, New York Knicks: $8.3 million
Vonleh’s renewed role in the rotation continues. He has averaged 30.7 fantasy points per game over his last three contests, numbers very much on a par with the sort of numbers he was posting earlier this year as a regular starter. Like many if not most Knicks players right now, Vonleh is playing for a new contract, but wisely, he is not doing so by trying to force a name as a scorer. Rather, he is doing a bit of everything else.
- Centre – Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks: $13.6 million
Despite his consistent growth and strong second half of the season, Robinson has actually had a small price drop since last time. This is surely because of his relatively muted performance in the Knicks’ last game, in which he recorded only 16.4 fantasy points. Nevertheless, one rogue anomaly should not disguise the fact that he posted 43.1, 29.4, 60.8 and 47.3 fantasy points in the four games prior to that.
- Centre – Alex Len, Atlanta Hawks: $7.1 million
There are five players on the Hawks’ roster who can play the centre position, and four of them will be unavailable tonight. This bodes well for Len, then, the sole surviving five man who produces when given minutes. Indeed, two of his last three games have seen him record 45.5 and 47.8 fantasy points. One more of those would be grand.
Point guard – Ben Simmons, $20.5 million
Shooting guard – Caris LeVert, $9.6 million
Small forward – DeAndre’ Bembry, $9.5 million
Power forward – Kevin Love, $13.4 million
Centre – Karl-Anthony Towns, $23.7 million
Bench – Rajon Rondo, $13.9 million
Bench – Allonzo Trier, $9.4 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: Miles Plumlee, Dewayne Dedmon, John Collins, Omari Spellman (Atlanta), Treveon Graham (Brooklyn), J.P. Macura (Charlotte), Wendell Carter Jr, Denzel Valentine, Chandler Hutchison (Chicago), Ante Zizic, Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith, John Henson (Cleveland), Kostas Antetokounmpo, Kristaps Porzingis, J.J. Barea (Dallas), Trey Lyles, Michael Porter Jr (Denver), Zaza Pachulia, Kalin Lucas (Detroit), Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Tyson Chandler, Lance Stephenson (L.A. Lakers), Goran Dragic (Miami), Robert Covington, Luol Deng (Minnesota), Trevon Blueitt, Jahlil Okafor (New Orleans), DeAndre Jordan, Mario Hezonja, Frank Ntilikina, Isaiah Hicks (New York), Joel Embiid, Amir Johnson, Boban Marjanovic, Jonah Bolden, Shake Milton, Zhaire Smith, Furkan Korkmaz (Philadelphia), T.J. Warren, Jawun Evans (Phoenix), Marvin Bagley III (Sacramento), Dejounte Murray, Jakob Poeltl (San Antonio), Raul Neto, Dante Exum, Tony Bradley (Utah), Devin Robinson, 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!