Welcome to another edition of our NBA Preview here at PlayON’s Daily Fantasy Focus.
Below is a breakdown of my line-up 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. Claim your free entry now.
Point guard – Justin Holiday, New Orleans Pelicans: $18.5 million
Over the last four games, Holiday has averaged 48.2 fantasy points per game, making for a strong double-act with Anthony Davis (below) as a part of strategy for covering for the loss of DeMarcus Cousins. Essentially a shooting guard this season alongside Rajon Rondo despite his career to date, Holiday is playing an eclectic brand of basketball based on cuts, running, spot-ups, surprisingly good post-up play and solid multi-positional defence. A presence like Davis really opens up the court for a player like that, and a running mate like Rondo alleviates the need for so much ball handling responsibility, and so in his role, Holiday is thriving.
Point guard – Tomas Satoransky, Washington Wizards: $7.5 million
Sato’s last outing was his lowest for a while, a mere 11 point, 2 rebound, 2 assist performance for a mere 18.4 fantasy points. However, performances of that calibre are still good value performances at this price. And considering that that is the very lowest end of his recent range (only one other time in the last ten games has he scored fewer than 22 points), his value is obvious. He remains a must-pick.
Point guard – Dejounte Murray, San Antonio Spurs: $10.2 million
Since becoming a starter, Murray’s price has snuck up slightly. That said, $10.2 million is still low for a starter, and a fantasy point average return of 27.2 over the last four games is good value at that price. Murray hasn’t quite continued the more explosive production with which he began his career as a regular NBA starter, but this sort of range will do.
Point guard – Ish Smith, Detroit Pistons: $11.6 million
His limitations notwithstanding, Smith continues to start at the point guard spot; Reggie Jackson is not yet back from his injury, and Jameer Nelson is not enough to unseat him. Over the last ten games, he has averaged 29.7 fantasy points per game, scoring more since the deadline day deals than prior to them, scoring 14.3 points per game in February, taking advantage of the presence of Blake Griffin as a ball handling and floor spacing option. This should continue.
Shooting guard – Nic Batum, Charlotte Hornets: $13.3 million
All of Batum’s last three games have seen him record somewhere between 30.5 and 31.5 fantasy points, a very tight and narrow range that has value at this price. It is still an overall down year for Batum, with every number down across the board, but his play has at least improved throughout the season, buoyed particularly in recent times by the return of his outside jump shot. Seemingly getting healthy again, perhaps this is the sort of production we can expect from Batum here on out – or, at least, for tonight.
Small forward – Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavaliers: $6.0 million
Osman continues to start on the wing in the new edition of the Cavaliers, and although he has a very quiet off-the-ball role, he is doing it well. He has averaged 18.1 fantasy points per game, doing so through cutting, spotting up and defensive enthusiasm. Considering his lack of ball handling and playmaking responsibilities at this early stage of his NBA career, there are not likely any big nights to come from Osman, but if he can do an impression of a Reggie Bullock-like three-and-D wing player, that will suffice. It is not for nothing that he costs less than Bullock here.
Small forward – Reggie Bullock, Detroit Pistons: $9.0 million
Speaking of; Bullock is still doing his thing, averaging 22.7 fantasy points over his last eleven games, playing a healthy amount, and shooting as well as anyone in the league.
Power forward – Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans: $26.7 million
Centre – Emeka Okafor, New Orleans Pelicans: $8.5 million
Davis is on an almost indescribable tear, needing to step up in the absence of DeMarcus Cousins. Initially, he and his Pelicans team struggled without their All-Star centre, losing five out of the first six such games, and coming close to falling out of the playoffs altogether. However, four straight Herculean performances by Davis has seen them rattle off four straight wins. Davis himself has averaged a colossal 42.3 points, 14.8 boards, 4.0 steals and 3.0 blocks in that time, good for a whopping 81.2 fantasy point average, with two performances in the 90s along the way. He really is the rare and special player who can do it all, and right now, that is what he is doing.
Alongside him, the rebirth of Okafor’s NBA career has helped Davis get away from doing the things he should not be doing (banging in the post alongside opposing centres, getting worn down), and getting him back to doing what he should be doing. Okafor’s rebounding tenacity and great shot blocking timing are back, and his averages of 4.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game are welcome and sorely needed complementary contributions alongside Davis. Good for a 22.9 fantasy point average over his last four, Okafor is a value pick option at a position with few others currently.
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: Kevin Love (Cleveland), Tyler Lydon, Torrey Craig, Paul Millsap (Denver), Jon Leuer, Reggie Jackson (Detroit), Eric Gordon (Houston), Mirza Teletovic, Malcolm Brogdon, Matthew Dellavedova (Milwaukee), Solomon Hill, Alexis Ajinca, DeMarcus Cousins, Frank Jackson (New Orleans), Furkan Korkmaz, Markelle Fultz, Justin Anderson, Demetrius Jackson (Philadelphia), Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili (San Antonio), John Wall (Washington)
That’s all for today’s analysis. Be sure to get your line-ups in!