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 for each position for tonight’s nine-game slate. Once you’ve seen who I like, be sure to lock in your line-ups and win some cash tonight.
Point guard – Shelvin Mack, Memphis Grizzlies: $8.8 million
Point guard – Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies: $11.9 million
As before, Conley (whose price has in fact gone down) has tremendous fantasy value for us on the nights that he is playing at his usual standards. And when he doesn’t, Mack (who also plays alongside him in a lot of two point guard line-ups) benefits instead. This happened again last time out – Conley put in only 17.7 (hence the price drop), but Mack picked him up for a healthy 26.7.
Point guard – Dennis Schroeder, Oklahoma City Thunder: $13.2 million
Whenever Russell Westbrook is out, we suggest Schroeder as a fantasy pick. His price has slowly deflated over the course of the season to reflect the fact that his role on the Thunder is smaller than it was with the Hawks in year’s prior, but it certainly isn’t when Westbrook is out, for this team is built around the point guard spot. Schroeder, then, should get a lot of the ball and minutes tonight.
Shooting guard – Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls: $15.9 million
LaVine very much enjoyed the double overtime victory over the Knicks last time out, as it gave him a lot of opportunities to make big clutch plays. And he did make some, both good and bad, yet finishing with enough volume to record a giant 58.8 fantasy points. His season-long value to us continues, then.
Shooting guard – Kevin Huerter, Atlanta Hawks: $6.3 million
Starting last night in the absence of Taurean Prince, the high-IQ Huerter recorded 28.5 fantasy points without ever really looking for his shot. And it is a good shot that he has, too, so once he fits better into the team, his value will increase. Monitor, then, whether Prince will play tonight.
Shooting guard – Rodney McGruder, Miami Heat: $10.2 million
Small forward – Josh Richardson, Miami Heat: $14.4 million
Small forward – Justise Winslow, Miami Heat: $8.8 million
Also regular picks, these three now represent the starting shooting guard, small forward and power forward for the Heat, all for much less than such things should normally cost. McGruder (the steady off-ball role player) and Richardson (who to everyone’s surprise has taken on the team’s role of go-to guy, and done it well) have long been consistent value, yet the impact of Winslow since returning from injury is also of note. In the Heat’s last two games, he has started alternately at point guard and power forward, which speaks to his versatility, recording 46.1 fantasy points in the first of these and 31.7 in the other. A huge mark-up.
Small forward – Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder: $19.2 million
Power forward – Jerami Grant, Oklahoma City Thunder: $9.4 million
As above with Schroeder, these two will benefit rather than suffer from the absence of Westbrook. George was playing well for us anyway, averaging a hefty 47.5 fantasy points per game over the last five, yet Grant – who we have picked in this space beforehand for his remarkably consistent output of somehow always being in the twenties – has broken his old mold, recording 40.8 and 30.7 fantasy points in each of his last two.
Power forward – Wendell Carter Jr, Chicago Bulls: $13.0 million
Had he not fouled out struggling to contain Enes Kanter, Carter would have gone on to even better things than the 32.6 fantasy points he recorded last time out. It was nevertheless enough to sustain his average over the last six games at 39.8. Carter is good and poised, and helpful for us every night.
Power forward – Nemanja Bjelica, Sacramento Kings: $11.8 million
Another 28.9 fantasy point performance for Bjelica last time out keeps his average over the last five at a striking 40.8. So is he.
Power forward – Serge Ibaka, Toronto Raptors: $12.6 million
Power forward – Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors: $11.5 million
Although limited by first half foul trouble, Ibaka recovered to record 22.5 fantasy points last time out, keeping his latest five game average to 38.6. He seemingly is now targeted all over the floor on the offensive end; similarly all over the floor is Siakam, who runs with the speed and energy that Ibaka used to have, and who has averaged 35.1 fantasy points over his last five. It is quite the tandem.
Centre – Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks: $5.8 million
Robinson’s price has actually gone down to below $6 million, and to being basically the cheapest player in the game. This would make sense if the mere 9.6 fantasy points that he recorded in the last game was the norm. But it is not – let us remember in the five prior, he had averaged 22.6. Enes Kanter is the better player, but Robinson gets consistent runs to start both halves, and no one else at this price can say that.
Centre – Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat: $10.4 million
This pick is conditional on Hassan Whiteside remaining out for tonight’s game. When he was out in the last game, Adebayo came through, as he often does. Despite first half foul trouble, Adebayo recorded 34.1 fantasy points in his absence – save for lacking a jump shot, Adebayo has a wide array of skills, and if he starts, he will come through for us.
Centre – Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers: $10.6 million
Amid the general turmoil of the Cavaliers season has been good play by Thompson. It was a relatively slow start for him, a mere 20.2 fantasy points in his first six games, yet it appears that interim coach Larry Drew has little interest in playing Larry Nance Jr, giving Thompson even more minutes. And so in the last four games, Thompson’s fantasy points per game average has shot up to 32.7, with a couple of 40+ performances in there.
Centre – JaVale McGee, L.A. Lakers: $12.2 million
Despite being picked in this space before pretty much every game the Lakers have played this season, despite having been one of the breakout fantasy players of the season, and despite a 36.5 fantasy point average on the season, one slightly sub-par performance of 22.2 last time out seems to have meant a small price cut for McGee. Harsh indeed. Nevertheless, that average at this price means he stays on the list, and will do for a while.
Point guard – Dennis Schroeder, $13.2 million
Shooting guard – Zach LaVine, $15.9 million
Small forward – Paul George, $19.2 million
Power forward – Wendell Carter, $13.0 million
Centre – JaVale McGee, $12.2 million
Bench – Nemanja Bjelica, $11.8 million
Bench – Josh Richardson, $14.4 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: Jabari Bird, Daniel Theis (Boston), Denzel Valentine, Kris Dunn, Bobby Portis, Lauri Markkanen (Chicago), Kevin Love (Cleveland), Jarred Vanderbilt, Isaiah Thomas, Michael Porter Jr, Will Barton (Denver), Luke Kennard, Reggie Bullock (Detroit), DeMarcus Cousins, Shaun Livingston (Golden State), Nene, Brandon Knight, Eric Gordon (Houston), Marcin Gortat, Luc Richard Mbah A Moute (L.A. Clippers), Omri Casspi, JaMychal Green, Chandler Parsons (Memphis), James Johnson, Dion Waiters, Hassan Whiteside (Miami), Jeff Teague, Derrick Rose, Justin Patton (Minnesota), Elfrid Payton (New Orleans), Courtney Lee, Kevin Knox, Kristaps Porzingis (New York), Andre Roberson (Oklahoma City), Jonathan Isaac, Timofey Mozgov (Orlando), Kawhi Leonard (Toronto), Donovan Mitchell, Raul Neto (Utah)
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!