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 games. Once you’ve seen who I like, be sure to lock in your line-ups and win some cash tonight.
Point guard – Jose Calderon, Cleveland Cavaliers: $6.4 million
Although the reason for ever picking Calderon would be due to his consistent starting role and minutes and not due to anything he particularly did within them, there is enough there for fantasy value at this low of a price. Averaging 18.9 fantasy points over his last nine games, Calderon always produces enough to have some value as a low-end bench filler, if you want to be able to afford to load up on the star power elsewhere.
Point guard – Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets: $12.8 million
There is quite a lot of variance in Murray’s game. The young scorer still occasionally has bad shooting games, and, when he does, he does not contribute enough elsewhere to hold any fantasy value on those nights. But as a total recent body of work, Murray intrigues with a 32.2 fantasy price over his past eight games, even when up against good defensive units. The fantasy cost has held steady when perhaps it shouldn’t, so exploit this value tonight.
Shooting guard – Jamal Crawford, Minnesota Timberwolves: $7.5 million
Crawford’s hot streak continues. He has recorded a 21.7 fantasy point average over the last five games, has got his scoring touch back, and has gotten his swagger back. The risk of a shot-heavy reserve on a Thibodeau-coached team is that, if the shot is off, the starter will get 40 minutes instead, and thus the risk of a Crawford pick is that it could be a complete wash-out. But it could also yield a 20+ point night, for a very low price.
Shooting guard – Josh Hart, L.A. Lakers: $6.2 million
Regular shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is not currently allowed to leave the state of California, and the past two times this has happened, Hart has gotten the start. And in those starts, he has been extremely valuable. Averaging 23.1 fantasy points over his last four games, the hustling, boarding and shooting Hart is a useful player when in his usual smaller role, too, and the 2017 first round pick’s two aforementioned starting performances do not look like flukes. He can do so again, and, were he to do so at this tiny price, he would be a great value pick.
Small forward – Michael Beasley, New York Knicks: $8.6 million
To look at Beasley’s last two games average of 16.2 is to not see all that good of fantasy value – maybe, it seems, his recent hot streak is over. But to look at his last seven games is to see a 29.1 fantasy point average that of course still intrigues, no matter how inconsistently it is obtained. Tim Hardaway Jr is still out, meaning an extra small forward is still needed, and in particular meaning an extra small forward scorer is still needed. Beasley, then, is needed, even if he does not come through.
Power forward – Jordan Bell, Golden State Warriors: $7.8 million
Bell still costs only $7.8 million despite averaging 27.5 fantasy points over his last seven games, and 32.1 over his last three. Soon, when the Warriors are back to full health, Bell’s role will reduce as his cost will increase to reflect this prior performance, and he will no longer have significant fantasy value. But until that happens, he absolutely does, so pick him.
Power forward – Trey Lyles, Denver Nuggets: $8.0 million
I personally have picked Lyles nine straight times, and have yet to be disappointed. Across those nine games, Lyles has recorded a fantasy point average of 26.9 per game. He has scored double-figures in all but one of those games – the other one being a 9 point outing – and is also a consistent rebounder. At this point, he is a key part of the Nuggets’ rotation, an extremely consistent player, and an extremely consistent fantasy player whose price should be in double figures by now. Since it isn’t, pick him.
Power forward – Maxi Kleber, Dallas Mavericks: $7.0 million
We have been picking Kleber since back before he was ever productive, so it is nice to see that he now is. In his last six games, Kleber has posted fantasy point nights of 30.6, 33.6 and 48.6, borne out of a potent combination of rebounds and blocks. He has also had nights of 12.4, 11.8 and a paltry 1.2. The variance is enormous, which immediately makes a Kleber pick risky. Yet the rewards are there to be seen. No other $7.0 million player on tonight’s slate can get you 48.6 fantasy points. Strongly consider Kleber here.
Centre – Enes Kanter, New York Knicks: $15.8 million
Kanter always has been and always will be very productive in both scoring and rebounding. This is true every year, but is particularly true this year, when, perhaps fuelled by a change of team and the quality back-up options behind him, he is averaging a double-double (14.1 points per game, 10.4 rebounds) in only 26.1 minutes per game. In the last two games, he has posted a combined 53 points and 38 rebounds, with a fantasy point average of 56.8 per game. There is a lot he cannot do defensively. But there is also a lot he can do offensively, and, while it is certainly not his nightly production, no one else in this price range at this position can do that.
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: DeWayne Dedmon, Mike Muscala (Atlanta), Semi Ojeleye, Marcus Morris, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward (Boston), D’Angelo Russell, Jeremy Lin (Brooklyn), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller (Charlotte), Cameron Payne, Zach LaVine (Chicago), Isaiah Thomas, Derrick Rose, John Holland, Iman Shumpert (Cleveland), Dorian Finney-Smith, Josh McRoberts, Nerlens Noel, Seth Curry (Dallas), Paul Millsap (Denver), Stephen Curry, Chris Boucher (Golden State), Glenn Robinson III, Edmond Sumner (Indiana), Blake Griffin, Patrick Beverley, Wesley Johnson, Danilo Gallinari (L.A. Clippers), JaMychal Green, Mike Conley, Wayne Selden (Memphis), Frank Jackson, Solomon Hill, Alexis Ajinca, Tony Allen (New Orleans), Tim Hardaway Jr (New York), Harry Giles, De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento), Raul Neto, Rudy Gobert, Dante Exum (Utah), Sheldon Mac (Washington)
That’s all for today’s analysis. Be sure to get your lineups in to tonight’s games. If you’re new to PlayON, be sure to take advantage of their first-time depositor’s bonus, where a deposit of $22 will get you an extra, free $22 entry.