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: $9.2 million
Murray is the must-pick of the day. He has averaged 33 fantasy points over the last three games, is the regular starter now, and is a starter with a knack for posting the higher-value statistics such as steals and rebounds. We list only one point today because, while you may wish to take Russell Westbrook or Chris Paul or something expensive point guard at the top of the price range as well, Murray is the only cheaper price option worth considering.
Shooting guard – Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Philadelphia 76ers: $6.0 million
Luwawu-Cabarrot continues to start on the wing and be incredibly solid. Over the last four games, he has averaged 20.5 fantasy points, with all games in that time ranging between 15.7 and 23.0. That is consistent and useful, and with potential for more – improving his defence and playing with less excess urgency offensively, Luwawu-Cabarrot is earning a spot on the team he was initially given by default, and the need for him will continue for as long as J.J. Redick is out.
Shooting guard – Luke Kennard, Detroit Pistons: $6.2 million
Kennard has averaged 20.7 fantasy points over the last three games, as he continues to earn a slightly more steady spot in the rotation. What has aided his candidacy for us here tonight is the usually unspoken role we often subscribe to here – that being, lean towards picking players whose opponent that night is the Cleveland Cavaliers, for they tend to go off for bigger nights. That rule is harsh but fair, and so consider Kennard and indeed any value Piston here.
Small forward – Davis Bertans, San Antonio Spurs: $6.1 million
Taking Rudy Gay’s place, Bertans is doing good things. He is spotting up well, as always, and moving around on the perimeter to get open for looks, as always. Yet despite not having the foot speed or strength to have any especially favourable defensive match-up. he is proving his worth on that end by virtue of being unfazed by whichever match-up it is. Willing to mix it up with everybody and showing an adeptness for shot blocking that his terrible rebounding would not suggest was there, Bertans is a very useful two-way role player. And with both Gay and Kawhi Leonard out, that much needed depth is very valuable right now, to the tune of a 25.3 fantasy point average over the last three games.
Small forward – Darius Miller, New Orleans Pelicans: $6.3 million
Miller would have value anyway, having averaged a strong 22.3 fantasy points over the past five games. Yet he is further suggested here on account of the season-ending injury suffered by centre DeMarcus Cousins last time out. Miller is certainly no like-for-like player for Cousins; indeed, he is kind of the opposite of him. Yet the Pelicans’ entire frontcourt, which so sorely lacked for depth behind the star duo of Cousins and Anthony Davis, will all now get stretched out in some way as they seek to paper over the cracks. And as one of the few productive options they have had, Miller should benefit here.
Power forward – Skal Labissiere, Sacramento Kings: $8.4 million
Centre – Kosta Koufos, Sacramento Kings: $8.2 million
Last time out was a bit of a wash-out for Labissiere, who, either because of the Kings’ supposed dedication to playing their youth or because of a weird decision to showcase him for a trade, has otherwise been on a big-minute productive stretch lately. We can hopefully write off that one game as just a bad outing rather than a change of plan for him. What will help here is that Willie Cauley-Stein will miss tonight’s game, and so Labissiere could well stand to benefit from that. So too could Koufos, the other true centre in the rotation, It has not yet been announced who will get the start, but as two of the more productive frontcourt players and two provenly productive players as starters, both have fantasy candidacy tonight.
Centre – Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers: $7.2 million
Despite a move into the starting line-up and a recent decent stretch, Thompson’s price has actually gone down somewhat. His value is therefore higher than it was, and it was already pretty solid. With a double-double in his first game back in the line-up, Thompson should be a good value both tonight and for a few nights to come.
Centre – Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto Raptors: $11.9 million
Valanciunas’s fantasy production of late has been streaky with some enormous highs. Over his past five games, he has averaged 36.2 fantasy points, yet included in that stretch have been games of both 61.8 and 4.1. That is spectacular variance,. Yet let us chalk up the one bad game as a foul-troubled anomaly and instead look at the four double-doubles in five games, the development of his three-point shot, his always-high defensive rebounding rate and his development as a post presence on both ends, and capitalise on the fantasy value it all yields.
Centre – Greg Monroe, Phoenix Suns: $11.9 million
Keep your eyes on the injury wire tonight. Despite how productive per minute he is, Monroe is the third string centre in Phoenix when everyone is healthy. But everyone is not healthy. With both Alex Len and Tyson Chandler ahead of him being listed as “questionable”, Monroe might become a fantasy factor tonight. With big minutes comes big production, so stay tuned, and if he gets them, maybe take advantage.
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: Kris Dunn, Cameron Payne (Chicago), John Holland (Cleveland). Reggie Jackson, Jon Leuer (Detroit), Zhou Qi (Houston), Jawun Evans, C,J, Williams, Danilo Gallinari, Austin Rivers, Patrick Beverley (L.A. Clippers), Lonzo Ball (L.A. Lakers), Malcolm Brogdon, Mirza Teletovic, Jabari Parker (Milwaukee), DeMarcus Cousins, Tony Allen, Solomon Hill, Alexis Ajinca, Frank Jackson (New Orleans, Jerryd Bayless, Markelle Fultz, J.J. Redick, Furkan Korkmaz (Philadelphia), Alan Williams, Brandon Knight, Tyson Chandler, Alex Len (Phoenix), Willie Cauley-Stein, Frank Mason, Harry Giles (Sacramento), Manu Ginobili, Rudy Gay, Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio)
That’s all for today’s analysis. Be sure to get your line-ups in!