Welcome to another edition of our NBA Preview.
Below is a breakdown of my top picks at each position for tonight’s games at PlayON. Once you’ve seen who I like, be sure to join a game and win some cash.
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Point guard – Raymond Felton, Oklahoma City Thunder: $7.1 million
Russell Westbrook missed the last Thunder game, and Felton started, recorded 22.1 fantasy points. The drop-off from the freight train that is Westbrook to the Thomas the Tank Engine playset that is Felton is immense, and the main reason the Thunder lost the game heavily. But as a heady stable vet at this point, Felton can be relied upon for heady and stable production if he gets minutes.
Point guard – Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors: $9.5 million
VanVleet is quietly becoming one of the league’s best backup point guards. Quietly, because everything he does is quiet, but certainly not because it is not noticeable in his stat-lines. With contributions all over the board, VanVleet has averaged 28.8 fantasy points over the last four games, and it not nearly as anomalous as it is the next level in a slow but steady career development.
Shooting guard – Bojan Bogdanovic, Indiana Pacers: $10.2 million
Also quietly, at least when compared to the breakout star-level play of Victor Oladipo next to him, Bogdanovic has averaged 31.3 fantasy points over his last five games. He has done so through a good barrage of scoring, using his versatile combination of spotting up, languid drives, slow but persistent court running and deeper-than-many-guards catches to get his own, especially from the three-point line. Shooting 51.1% from the field in February thus far with an insane 142 offensive rating, Bogdanovic is one to consider here.
Small forward – Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavaliers: $5.5 million
Osman has played a significant role in each of Cleveland’s last two games, recording a 26.6 fantasy point average over the two. A heady offensive player with a catch-and-shoot jumper, the ability and desire to drive closeouts, and a refreshing intensity level on a previously lumbering Cavaliers team. But will it last? What he brings is useful to any team, Cleveland included. But with Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance about to all join the swing and forward rotations for the Cavaliers, can there be a role for Osman any time soon? How brave are you feeling?
Small forward – Reggie Bullock, Detroit Pistons: $8.6 million
A consistent starter and fantasy performer for a while now, Bullock seems like he will be a happy recipient of the increased spacing and offensive diversity that the Blake Griffin trade is bringing the team. He has averaged 25.5 fantasy points in the last three games, shoots well, makes few errors, is really quite consistent for a man who rarely takes a dribble, and is consistent from a fantasy perspective too.
Small forward – Michael Beasley, New York Knicks: $12.2 million
With Kristaps Porzingis out, Beasley becomes one of the two main halfcourt options along with Enes Kanter. This is definitely an opportunity he will enjoy. True to form, Beasley responded with a 41.9 fantasy point average last time out. Anything from about 25 points on upwards would be good value at this price, and Lord knows Beasley will try to get as many as he can.
Power forward – Luc Richard Mbah A Moute, Houston Rockets: $7.9 million
Mbah A Moute’s solid low-20s production nights continue as he continues to start at small forward in the absence of Trevor Ariza. He has a five game average of 21.8 fantasy points per game, all five of which have come in the tight range between 20.6 and 23.4, and all of which are good value at sub-$8 million. It would be fair to say that you should know what to expect from him tonight.
Power forward – Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors: $8.4 million
Siakam has averaged 23.7 fantasy points per game over his last four contests, in large part due to a bevy of assists in that time. In the two years of his NBA career, Siakam has been working hard to make himself more of a skill-based player than the power and post style of his youth, and he is getting there. The 17.0% three-point shooting is an ugly reminder than he has a ways to go. But progress is being made, and it is giving him fantasy value at this time, as Serge Ibaka goes through one of his slower months.
Centre – Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers: $8.2 million
The Cavaliers ran an incredibly short rotation last time out, as the four players they acquired at the deadline were not yet ready to play. This boosted the minutes and thus the numbers of all participants involved, Thompson included, and he responded with a 29.0 fantasy point game. His production however should not suffer too much from the impending arrival of the incoming players, however, and that is a number he had been in the range of producing before the deadline as well. So it should continue.
As with all NBA slates, we need to be sure to avoid certain players each night.
Here’s who you should steer clear of.
DO NOT PICK DUE TO INJURY/ABSENCE/SUSPENSION: Tyler Cavanaugh, De’Andre Bembry (Atlanta), Gordon Hayward, Marcus Smart, Shane Larkin (Boston), Kevin Love (Cleveland), Jonathan Motley, Seth Curry, Dorian Finney-Smith, Nerlens Noel (Dallas), Jon Leuer, Reggie Jackson (Detroit), Trevor Ariza (Houston), T.J. Leaf, Darren Collison, Glenn Robinson (Indiana), Mike Conley, Chandler Parsons, Deyonta Davis, Wayne Selden, Andrew Harrison (Memphis), Kristaps Porzingis, Ron Baker, Joakim Noah (New York), Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Andre Roberson (Oklahoma City), Skal Labissiere, Frank Mason, Harry Giles, Iman Shumpert (Sacramento), Malachi Richardson (Toronto)
That’s all for today’s analysis. Be sure to get your line-ups in!