Welcome to another edition of our NBA Preview here at PlayON’s Daily Fantasy Focus.
Below is a breakdown of my top picks at each position for tonight’s game. Once you’ve seen who I like, be sure to lock in your line-ups and win some cash tonight.
If you’re new to PlayON, be sure to take advantage of their first-time depositor’s bonus, where a deposit of $20 will get you a FREE $22 entry.
Point guard – Dwight Buycks, Detroit Pistons: $7.4 million
We have picked Buycks as a pick in this space a few times before on account of his useful bench scoring in the absence of Reggie Jackson, often picking him in tandem with fill-in starter Ish Smith ($10.6 million). And we do so again today, with one added caveat. Both members of the regular Pistons shooting guard rotation, Avery Bradley and Luke Kennard, are questionable to play today due to injury. With this in mind, there might be more two point guard line-ups than usual.
Shooting guard – Ian Clark, New Orleans Pelicans: $6.2 million
The Pelicans have a strong front five but still badly, badly need good depth off of it, partly due to injuries but also simply because they are short of bench quality even at full strength. In and out of the rotation all season long, Clark is currently back in it, and has averaged 18.1 fantasy points per game over the last four. Clark can shoot and occasionally drive, but in being a bit of a shot-happy, defensive-unhappy ball-stopper, he is limited, and has the potential to be a very ineffective pick. Luckily, the risk is mitigated by the price being very cheap.
Shooting guard – Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls: $8.4 million
LaVine is finally back from injury, and has played two games. In those two games, LaVine has been on a 20 minute limit. Yet that hasn’t stopped him being extremely good in those 20 minutes. With 18 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals last time out, LaVine recorded 36.5 fantasy points in those mere 20 minutes, and while the limit will remain for a while, LaVine looks healthy and entirely at home as the off-guard in a high tempo pace-and-space offence,
Shooting guard – Wayne Ellington, Miami Heat: $9.0 million
Usual pick Ellington is suggested here as usual, with one extra caveat today. With sixth man and usual reverse shooting guard Dion Waiters already out for the remainder of the season with injury, regular shooting guard starter Tyler Johnson also looks unlikely to play tonight. The door is thus wide open for Ellington to start and play more than usual, and he is already good fantasy value at this price.
Small forward – Reggie Bullock, Detroit Pistons: $7.0 million
As with Buycks above, Bullock’s fantasy value is boosted tonight by the injuries around him. The last time Bradley was out, it was Bullock who started at shooting guard, and this may well happen again, especially if Stanley Johnson is able to play at small forward. Last time out, Bullock rose out of his usual output in the high teens/low twenties with a 31.4 fantasy point outing, and has fantasy value anyway; he particularly will do if every other rotation wing is out, as it looks like they might be.
Small forward – Wesley Johnson, L.A. Clippers: $9.3 million
After a period of fantasy irrelevancy borne out of both injury and a quiet stretch of play entirely in keeping with his career to date, Johnson is now back on some sort of form. He has posted 23.2 fantasy points over the last six games, including a giant 40.4 last time out. It is always a little bit feast-or-famine with Johnson, an unassertive role player who barely touches the ball offensively. But when he is rebounding and playing alert defensively, he can record big nights.
Power forward – Montrezl Harrell, L.A. Clippers: $8.0 million
DeAndre Jordan missed the last game due to injury, yet although Willie Reed got the start, Harrell got the minutes. He has done so now for four straight games, and averaged 28.6 fantasy points in that time. The Clippers have won all four of those games, and the formula seems to be working. With his bench energy and athleticism, Harrell is a key part of that.
Power forward – Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans: $24.3 million
Davis is on a tremendous tear. Over the last three games, he has averaged a staggering 71.5 fantasy points, taking money directly out of the pockets of those who chose Karl-Anthony Towns ahead of him last night because they over-prioritised the $2 million saving (ahem). Always a great player and a good pick, Davis is particularly good right now, with an average that widens out to 59.6 over his last nine games.
Centre – Deyonta Davis, Memphis Grizzlies: $6.4 million
Davis does not play hugely regularly. But when he does, he can play extremely well. A pure paint player, Davis can pile up the blocks and rebounds, while finishing off of roles and drop-off passes. And on nights when it all comes together, Davis can have tremendous fantasy value, like the 30 fantasy points he recorded last night.
Centre – Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets: $20.2 million
Over the last five games, the Nuggets have been extremely inconsistent, and, on occasion, terrible. Jokic has been the one consistent strand of goodness. In that span, he has averaged 49.0 fantasy points, with production in all available categories. A nightly triple-double threat, Jokic has more variance than most $20+ million bigs, but the upside of that variance is intriguing.
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: De’Andre Bembry (Atlanta), Gordon Hayward, Abdel Nader (Boston), Cody Zeller, Frank Kaminsky (Charlotte), Cameron Payne (Chicago), Paul Millsap (Denver), Luke Kennard, Stanley Johnson, Avery Bradley, Jon Leuer, Reggie Jackson (Detroit), Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green (Golden State), DeAndre Jordan, Austin Rivers, Danilo Gallinari, Patrick Beverley (L.A. Clippers), Lonzo Ball, Larry Nance (L.A. Lakers), James Ennis, Chandler Parsons, Mike Conley (Memphis), Rodney McGruder, Okaro White, Tyler Johnson, Dion Waiters (Miami), Mirza Teletovic, Jabari Parker (Milwaukee), Frank Jackson, Solomon Hill, Alexis Ajinca, Tony Allen, Jameer Nelson (New Orleans), Andre Roberson (Oklahoma City), Frank Mason, Skal Labissiere, Harry Giles (Sacramento), Pau Gasol, Rudy Gay, Manu Ginobili (San Antonio), Fred VanVleet (Toronto), Thabo Sefolosha, Rudy Gobert, Dante Exum (Utah), Sheldon Mac, Markieff Morris (Washington)
That’s all for today’s analysis. Be sure to get your line-ups in!