NBA Preview 26th January

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

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Point guard – Dejounte Murray, San Antonio Spurs: $10.0 million

Murray followed his massive 52.5 fantasy point outing against the Cleveland Cavaliers in his second start since regularly taking the starting spot from Tony Parker with a 25.3 fantasy performance against the Memphis. The only difference was the steals, with 7 against Cleveland and 0 against Memphis. If Murray is recording baselines in the 25-30 fantasy point range without recording the highest-value fantasy stat of all, when we know full well how many steals he can get, then that proves his fantasy value. The price already is going up and will soon be in the $14 million range, but take advantage until it is.


Shooting guard – David Nwaba, Chicago Bulls: $9.3 million

Nwaba has played his way into the rotation over the course of the season, using his athleticism, enthusiasm, rebounding knack and love of pushing the ball into a very useful role to play. Key to his pick here is that, when Jerian Grant struggled mightily in the first half of the Bulls’ last game, Nwaba started the second half in his place, with Zach LaVine taking over at point guard. It would appear that the minutes opened up by Kris Dunn’s injury are, at least in part, now Nwaba’s. So consider him here, in the hopes that his 24.0 fantasy point outing last time is indicative of the future rather than an anomaly.


Shooting guard – Wayne Selden, Memphis Grizzlies: $6.5 million

Shooting guard – Myke Henry, Memphis Grizzlies: $7.7 million

Small forward – Dillon Brooks, Memphis Grizzlies: $8.1 million

With Chandler Parsons now seemingly shut down long term due to a combination of his permanently troublesome knee and tactical vet benching – and with James Ennis seemingly now also counting as the latter – this trio have become beneficiaries of increased playing time and responsibility on the wing.

A starter all year, Brooks has improved his output of late. Shooting more regularly and more efficiently from the outside, Brooks has begun to take more shots off the dribble looking to be a creator, which, while more by necessity than by design, can only help us here. Averaging 23.8 fantasy points over the past six games, Brooks is now oddly the senior wing.

Always aggressive, Selden’s anomalous 31 real point and 34.4 fantasy point outing three games ago has nevertheless precipitated a continuing of his bench scorer/shooter role. Cutting, spotting and hoisting wherever he can, Selden can blow up that again, and if he should wash out as a pick, he was very cheap anyway.

Recent G-League call-up Myke Henry has been thrown straight into the fire, and has shown promising signs that he can defend at the NBA level. Athletic and aware, Henry recorded four steals in only his second NBA game, and has averaged 22.3 fantasy points in the last games. The offensive game is rawer and reliant largely on a jump shot that he shoots on the way down, and he is far, far too aggressive offensively for a player with limited ball handling and shooting abilities, yet Henry is receiving enough minutes right now to have some low-end fantasy value.


Small forward – Kyle Anderson, San Antonio Spurs: $13.5 million

Between Anderson and Murray above, the Spurs have quite the young defensive pairing at the one and three spots. Both are bad for the team’s overall spacing, of course, and it would follow that it would not be a good idea to pair them up considering that no shooting guard in the world can space the court enough for all three spots. Yet although he does it in a different way, his laconicism a polar opposite to Murray’s havoc, Anderson’s reads, timing and endless desire to help make him a fine team defender, and his 36.5 fantasy point average over the last four games speaks to his value.


Power forward – Montrezl Harrell, L.A. Clippers: $8.6 million

The very incremental increase in Harrell’s price does nothing to negate his fantasy value. He is still almost a must-pick, recording an average of 29.7 fantasy points over the past seven games, with even the lowest games in that stretch (16.6 and 16.9) still being decent value at this price. DeAndre Jordan’s return will temper it slightly, yet none of the other injured Clippers are due to return tonight.


Power forward – Ivan Rabb, Memphis Grizzlies: $6.0 million

Centre – Deyonta Davis, Memphis Grizzlies: $6.5 million

More Grizzlies here, as the frontcourt is suffering both deliberately and otherwise from the same lack of depth as the backcourt. We suggested Rabb as a pick two games ago on account of injury and illness to JaMychal Green and Jarell Martin, both of whom were questionable to play in the game, thus making Rabb a ‘brave’ pick. Turns out we were one game too early; Rabb recorded 12.1 fantasy points in that game, but started last time out and put up 16.2 in his first career start. Utilising his length on the glass and exhibiting a mid-range jumper he shot with some confidence, Rabb showed potential, and potential is all the rest of the Grizzlies’ season can be about. Davis meanwhile has assumed a regular role in the rotation and has flashed mid-range potential of his own, averaging 15.9 fantasy points over the past five games. Brandan Wright is healthy for a change, but the Grizzlies are using the wash-out season to test their younger players, as well they should, which means Davis getting time ahead of him.


Centre – Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers: $7.5 million

It took an enormous decline in the team’s fortunes to cause it, but Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue has finally made a change to his starting line-up, announcing that Jae Crowder will be benched in favour of Thompson. The idea is that Thompson will provide a better defensive presence than the struggling Crowder, and that, in being the team’s best interior defender, he will provide someone in the back who team-mates can trust to provide meaningful help at the basket should they be beaten by their opponent, which they normally are. Whether it works or not, Thompson already had some fantasy value with his fantasy point average of 18.8 over the last eleven games, and this might now increase. (Also – don’t pick Crowder any more. Not that you ever were.)


Centre – Salah Mejri, Dallas Mavericks: $6.8 million

Always a situational role player in his NBA career, The Mej has been playing more of late. A seriously big man and a professional annoyance, Mejri has turned his usual mix of grit, rebounding scowling and blocks and turned it into a 19.2 fantasy point average over his last three games. Luckily, fantasy basketball does not penalise technical fouls.

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: DeAndre Bembry (Atlanta), Jeremy Lin (Brooklyn), Cody Zeller (Charlotte), Cameron Payne, Kris Dunn (Chicago), John Holland (Cleveland), Devin Harris, Seth Curry, Nerlens Noel, Dorian Finney-Smith (Dallas), Zhou Qi (Houston), Glenn Robinson III, Myles Turner, T.J. Leaf (Indiana), Danilo Gallinari, Patrick Beverley, C.J. Williams, Austin Rivers, Jawun Evans (L.A. Clippers), Lonzo Ball (L.A. Lakers), JaMychal Green, Jarell Martin, Chandler Parsons, Ben McLemore, Tyreke Evans, Mike Conley, James Ennis (Memphis), Alexis Ajinca, Tony Allen, Solomon Hill, Frank Jackson (New Orleans), Kyle O’Quinn, Joakim Noah, Tim Hardaway (New York), J.J. Redick, Markelle Fultz, Furkan Korkmaz, Trevor Booker, T.J. McConnell, Jerryd Bayless (Philadelphia), Alex Len, Brandon Knight, Alan Williams, T.J. Warren (Phoenix), Rudy Gay, Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili (San Antonio), Rodney Hood, Thabo Sefolosha, Dante Exum (Utah)

That’s all for today’s analysis. Be sure to get your line-ups in!