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 – Elfrid Payton, New Orleans Pelicans: $12.7 million
Amid the struggles, injuries and turmoil of his team this season, Jrue Holiday has been a soldier. He has long been one of the better two-way guards in the league, and this season, he has been even better than usual. When he is out, then, there is a big void to fill. And Holiday is now out, increasing both the opportunity and responsibility on Payton. It will also help that Tim Frazier, the other point guard option, was recently waived.
- Point guard – Mike Conley Jr, Memphis Grizzlies: $16.3 million
Regardless of the fact that his Grizzlies team are stuck amid their second consecutive depressingly empty season, Conley as an individual is still giving it his best. And as ever, that best is a very high level of play. Three of Conley’s last four fantasy games have seen him record at least 40 fantasy points, including a 51.6 outing in the last game based on scoring 40 actual points.
- Shooting guard – David Nwaba, Cleveland Cavaliers: $7.0 million
Given that Nwaba is not a jump shooter, he is not beholden to the streakiness inherent with such a thing. His game is running the court, crashing to the rim, leaking out in transition, defending, and basically using his excellent athleticism to be a pest. And when the role is big enough, he has fantasy value doing it, just as he did in his 27.7 fantasy point performance last time out.
- Shooting guard – Avery Bradley, Memphis Grizzlies: $11.3 million
Good on Bradley for turning around his season and being able to reverse the complete offensive decline he experienced in his season with the Clippers. In 49 games in L.A. this year, Bradley averaged only 8.2 points per game on 38.3% shooting, and it was not due to a lack of opportunity; he started every one of those games and averaged 29.9 minutes per contest. Yet in 10 starts with the Grizzlies, that figure has shot up to 17.1 points per game, along with 4.1 assists. From a fantasy point of view, this has meant a 29.2 fantasy point average over his last eight games. Kudos.
- Small forward – Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks: $19.4 million
Doncic has just turned 20, and until then was in the running for being the best teenager in NBA history. His brilliance continues even now into his relatively old age. Last time out, Doncic recorded a sizeable 64.7 fantasy points, and the Orlando Magic have no good matchup for him tonight.
- Small forward – Joe Ingles, Utah Jaz: $11.5 million
Slo Mo Jo is nothing if not consistent. He has averaged 33.4 fantasy points per game over his last seven contests, with one performance in the 20s, one in the 40s, and the other five all coming between 32.6 and 35.5. That is good value, consistent value, and one potentially with upside – given that all three Jazz point guards may be out tonight, Ingles’s point forward role may be expanded further.
- Power forward – Jonah Bolden, Philadelphia 76ers: $7.4 million
In the continued absences of both Joel Embiid and Boban Marjanovic, Bolden is currently starting at centre for the 76ers. And bookending an illness-related one-game absence of his own, he has been very solid in the role. With his physical profile and defensive instincts, Bolden has put in four consecutive fantasy point performances in the 20s, averaging 23.9 per game in that time.
- Power forward – Dwight Powell, Dallas Mavericks: $10.2 million
Powell continues to prosper in the vacant front court opened up by the trade of DeAndre Jordan. Maxi Kleber being also out tonight will help, as Powell now has only veterans Dirk Nowitzki and Salah Mejri for company up front. In this space, Powell has averaged 38.2 fantasy points over his last five games.
- Centre – Joakim Noah, Memphis Grizzlies: $11.0 million
As with Bradley above, Noah has very much restarted his career. He has averaged 6.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists in only 15.9 minutes per game for the Grizzlies, numbers that have risen to 12.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game after the All-Star break. From a fantasy point of view, this has meant an average of 34.2 points per game over his last nine, giving us even more value than Jonas Valanciunas does. It seems as though Memphis is the place to go to rejuvenate yourself these days.
- Centre – Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons: $21.9 million
It seems as though not making the All-Star game has motivated Drummond. Since that event, he has averaged 19.0 points, 15.7 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks per game, shooting 56.3% from the floor with a net rating of +28. His opponent tonight, the Chicago Bulls, sport only Robin Lopez at centre. We cannot see them slowing him down right now.
Point guard – Kemba Walker, $20.9 million
Shooting guard – Zach LaVine, $16.6 million
Small forward – Luka Doncic, $19.4 million
Power forward – Dwight Powell, $10.2 million
Centre – Kelly Olynyk, $10.2 million
Bench – Robin Lopez, $11.6 million
Bench – Joakim Noah, $11.0 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: Wendell Carter Jr, Denzel Valentine, Chandler Hutchison (Chicago), Ante Zizic, Tristan Thompson, Matthew Dellavedova, J.R. Smith, John Henson (Cleveland), Kostas Antetokounmpo, Kristaps Porzingis, J.J. Barea, Maxi Kleber (Dallas), Trey Lyles, Michael Porter Jr (Denver), Zaza Pachulia, Jon Leuer, Kalin Lucas (Detroit), Damian Jones (Golden State), Iman Shumpert, Kenneth Faried (Houston), Kyle Anderson, Jaren Jackson Jr, Dillon Brooks (Memphis), Goran Dragic (Miami), E’Twaun Moore, Dairis Bertans, Jrue Holiday, Trevon Blueitt, Jahlil Okafor (New Orleans), Terrence Ross, Markelle Fultz, Mo Bamba, Timofey Mozgov (Orlando), Joel Embiid, Boban Marjanovic, Shake Milton, Zhaire Smith, Furkan Korkmaz (Philadelphia), Fred VanVleet (Toronto), Raul Neto, Ricky Rubio, Ekpe Udoh, 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!