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 six-game slate. Once you’ve seen who I like, be sure to lock in your line-ups and win some cash tonight.
- Point guard – Jerryd Bayless, Minnesota Timberwolves: $12.0 million
It may be time called on Bayless’s brief period of good fantasy value very soon. While the trio of Jeff Teague, Tyus Jones and Derrick Rose ahead of him remain out, thus leaving him as a starter, price hikes and a relatively sedate 18.4 fantasy point performance last time out have seen what was once great value every night begin to diminish. Nevertheless, it was only three games ago that Bayless posted a 51.4 fantasy point performance. And the trio ahead are still out, so the spot is entirely his.
- Point guard – Edmond Sumner, Indiana Pacers: $6.9 million
The injury to Victor Oladipo has not deterred the Pacers from making a run at the Eastern Conference title, as well they should do. They are right there with the Raptors, Celtics and 76ers in the pack of teams chasing the Bucks, and a four game winning streak even without their All-Star speaks to the weapons they have on the team. The injury does nonetheless avail some time to the sophomore Sumner, who, in his first stretch of real NBA rotation minutes in his career so far, posted 26.4 fantasy points last time out.
- Shooting guard – Tyreke Evans, Indiana Pacers: $9.9 million
With due respect to Sumner, it is supposed to be Tyreke who can properly sub in for an absent Oladipo. Thus far this season, he has not done so, and has been something of a disappointment. The time is now, however, and perhaps Evans is starting to find his feet as the playmaking big guard, recording 25.2 fantasy points last time after his own return from injury.
- Shooting guard – Lou Williams, L.A. Clippers: $16.0 million
What do you do when your best starting scorer is traded, your second-best is injured, and the rest of your starting unit struggles for offence? You keep by far your best scoring talent on the bench, of course. Nevertheless, be he a starter or the same microwave result he has always been, Williams has been on a tear lately, one the Clippers will hope only gets bigger now that Tobias Harris is gone, averaging 42.4 fantasy points over his past five games.
- Small forward – Bruno Caboclo, Memphis Grizzlies: $7.6 million
Well here’s one we never thought we’d say. The fact that the Grizzlies have eight fantasy players listed at the small forward position – and quite fairly, too – speaks to how well the position has gone for them this year. And as things stand, each of Chandler Parsons, Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson and Omri Casspi are out tonight. With Garrett Temple also out at shooting guard, Justin Holiday has to play there, Julian Washburn is a limited defensive specialist, and Yuta Watanabe is a mere prospect for the future. And so despite still being two years away, it seems that Caboclo is the present – signed by the Grizzlies after a shot-blocking spree of a G-League season, the Brazilian has been pressed into starting service, and recorded 20.4 fantasy points last time out.
- Small forward – Jake Layman, Portland Trail Blazers: $11.2 million
In his first two seasons, Layman stayed rooted to the Trail Blazers bench. He had talent, and he had tools – the theoretical outcome in which Layman was a sweet-shooting, off-ball moving athletic defender held some water. But he couldn’t figure out what to do with it and contributed very little. In his third season, however, he has begun to do so, particularly in knowing how and where to cut to the rim. And as a result, he has two 40+ fantasy point games in his last four.
- Power forward – John Collins, Atlanta Hawks: $17.5 million
Something weird is going on with John Collins this season. For all his length, athleticism and defensive effort, he simply is not recording any blocks or steals, with numbers in those categories far below what he recorded last season and at every stop prior. It is surely anomalous and extremely bizarre. Nevertheless, by virtue of his offensive growth, Collins is still providing fantasy value to us, recorded a 44.2 fantasy point average over his past two games. And once the steals and blocks return to normal, that will only go up.
- Power forward – Ivan Rabb, Memphis Grizzlies: $8.3 million
As the Grizzlies’ season falls apart for the second consecutive year, they do at least now have the opportunity to air out some younger talent and see who is worth keeping around. Last year, that helped them discover Dillon Brooks, and this year it looks like Ivan Rabb may be the main beneficiary. The sweet shooter and rebounder has recorded a 24.8 fantasy point average over his last four games, including a hefty 42.7 performance last time out.
- Centre – Greg Monroe, Toronto Raptors: $7.1 million
Monroe, soon, will go back to the bench. Jonas Valanciunas is nearly back, and the Raptors do not need two posts. However, for now, Monroe still has a role to play as the different-look option among the reserves. And in his last two games, he has posted 19.9 and 18.4 fantasy points respectively.
- Centre – Daniel Theis, Boston Celtics: $9.5 million
As ever, if either Aron Baynes or Al Horford is out, consider Theis as a pick. Currently it is Baynes, and in the two such games thus far, Theis has returned fantasy point games of 22.4 and 22.1 fantasy points. Unspectacular, but solid value.
Point guard – Mike Conley Jr, $18.8 million
Shooting guard – Lou Williams, $16.0 million
Small forward – Paul George, $24.8 million
Power forward – Ivan Rabb, $8.3 million
Centre – Daniel Theis, $9.5 million
Bench – Jerryd Bayless, $12.0 million
Bench – Taurean Prince, $10.6 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 (Atlanta), Robert Williams, Jabari Bird, Aron Baynes (Boston), Victor Oladipo, Doug McDermott, Ike Anigbogu (Indiana), Landry Shamet, Wilson Chandler, Milos Teodosic, Danilo Gallinari, Mike Muscala, Luc Richard Mbah A Moute (L.A. Clippers), Josh Hart, Reggie Bullock (L.A. Lakers), Chandler Parsons, Dillon Brooks, Omri Casspi, Joakim Noah, Marc Gasol, Garrett Temple, Kyle Anderson, JaMychael Green (Memphis), Robert Covington, Tyus Jones, Derrick Rose, Jeff Teague (Minnesota), Alex Abrines, Andre Roberson (Oklahoma City), Mo Bamba, Timofey Mozgov, Jonathon Simmons (Orlando), Dejounte Murray, Derrick White (San Antonio), Jonas Valanciunas (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!