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 – Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets: $13.0 million
We picked Murray before the Nuggets’ last game on account largely of his 46 fantasy point average over the two games prior. Unfortunately, he struggled badly in the next game, driving into traffic and losing the ball for half the game, before being saved by a late scoring flurry once the game was largely decided. That scoring nevertheless salvaged his night to being a 26.5 fantasy point performance, though, and with Murray’s prince actually going by a million since his last game, we can thus confidently recommend him again. After all, with his price down, his value should have gone up.
Point guard – Darren Collison, Indiana Pacers: $13.5 million
Playing as the solid-handling, willingly-delegating sort of point guard that Victor Oladipo needs to survive, Collison has averaged 34.3 fantasy points over his last four games. Included in that was a giant 50.9 fantasy point outing last night, in which he shot 3-5 from three-point range. This chimes with his career-best 43.6% three-point shooting on a career-best 31.9% three-point rate, and, with his turnovers doing down every year, Collison has become an excellent role-playing guard. At this price, he is also one with fantasy value.
Shooting guard – Wayne Ellington, Miami Heat: $9.1 million
Ellington’s role as a play-ending, possession-saving Korver-type shooter is invaluable on an offensively limited Heat team. If they are stuck for possession, a simple dribble-handoff is all Ellington needs to get up a three, and he makes a lot of them even when contested. Another 25.8 fantasy points last time out is a textbook example of what you are likely to get from Ellington every night now, so take up that offer.
Shooting guard – Bojan Bogdanovic, Indiana Pacers: $10.1 million
Wing role playing scorer Bogdanovic has averaged 25.5 fantasy points over the past four games, doing so with his usual solid contributions in the points column but also with more high-value defensive statistics than usual. Aiding his candidacy here tonight is a match-up with the Orlando Magic, a poor defensive team that gives up the fifth-worst three-point shooting percentage in the league. With a couple of good looks, Bogdanovic is a solid candidate to have a great night.
Small forward – Josh Richardson, Miami Heat: $12.8 million
Bizarrely, despite several weeks now of consistent, high-minute, versatile production and strong fantasy value, Richardson’s fantasy price has actually gone down. Despite averaging 32.7 fantasy points over his past twenty games – a much bigger sample size than we usually need for a mention here – Richardson has seen his cost go down while his value remains pretty much unchanged. We therefore list only one small forward here tonight, because this is the one you should pick.
Power forward – Trey Lyles, Denver Nuggets: $10.7 million
Lyles continues to come through, blowing out of a small shooting slump recently with a 21 point, 31.5 fantasy performance last time out. In that games, Lyles spotted up from the corners, stepped up from the wing, and drove and dunked a couple of times. He is a starting calibre power forward whether or not he actually starts.
Power forward – Khem Birch, Orlando Magic: $5.9 million
The latest price update has seen the minimum player price drop from $6 million to $5 million. Therefore, we are able for the first time to be able to pick, and recommend, a player for less than the $6 million. Birch’s productive play off the bench has seen him carve out a more permanent role in the Magic’s disjointed, injury-laden frontcourt, and he has posted an average of 21,7 fantasy points over the last four games. For his price to have gone down despite this very healthy average is very intriguing, so consider him here.
Centre – Bismack Biyombo, Orlando Magic: $8.6 million
As always, continue to strongly consider Biyombo every night. The only two things that change that would be the return to action of regular starting centre Nikola Vucevic, or a massive increase in his salary price. The former will happen, but has not done so quite yet; the latter looks as though it is never going to.
Centre – Mason Plumlee, Denver Nuggets: $10.7 million
Playing in what should be Lyles’s starting spot has, of course, significantly aided Plumlee’s fantasy value. Three of his last four games have seen fantasy yields of 30 points or above, and while the other was a single-figure outing in which he did not start, the average of 29.5 fantasy points in that span is strong. Note, though, the opponent. Nuggets head coach Mike Malone has removed Plumlee from the starting in recent times against both the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns, struggling teams with perimeter-orientated power forwards of dubious starter quality. The Mavericks however are Denver’s opponent again tonight, so keep up to date on the line-up alerts and be prepared to look elsewhere should Plumlee come off the bench again.
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), Marcus Smart, Guerschon Yabusele, Gordon Hayward (Boston), Jeremy Lin (Brooklyn), Cody Zeller (Charlotte), Devin Harris, Seth Curry, Nerlens Noel, Dorian Finney-Smith (Dallas), Tyler Lydon, Paul Millsap (Denver), Jordan Bell, Patrick McCaw (Golden State), Glenn Robinson III, Myles Turner, T.J. Leaf (Indiana), Okaro White, Udonis Haslem, Tyler Johnson, Rodney McGruder, Dion Waiters (Miami), Jimmy Butler (Minnesota), Jonathan Isaac, Nikola Vucevic, Terrence Ross (Orlando), Sheldon Mac (Washington)
That’s all for today’s analysis. Be sure to get your line-ups in!