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 – George Hill, Sacramento Kings: $11.1 million
While it is still far from the year either he or the Kings wanted him to be having, Hill is improving slightly, and briefly led the league in three-point shooting percentage (now down to second behind Jayson Tatum yet still shooting 48.2% from outside on the season). Up to 28.8 minutes and 11.8 points per game in December, shooting 52.9% from the month, Hill is benefitting from the injury to De’Aaron Fox. With no rookie phenom breathing down his throat, he is more relaxed offensively, and getting better month by month, albeit in small increments. From a fantasy point of view, Hill is averaging 26.7 fantasy points over his last seven games, a decent return at this price.
Shooting guard – Vince Carter, Sacramento Kings: $6.1 million
Due to a combination of the Kings’ season-long rotation turnover, his own age, and the niggling injuries/DNP-CDs that age brings with it, Carter does not play every game. Indeed, he has played in only one of the last four. But in that one game, the man who turns 41 next month scored 24 points in 30 minutes to go along with 5 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal and a block for a giant 39.5 fantasy points. In his last three games played, Carter had averaged 17.2 fantasy points, itself good value at this price. Carter has value when he plays, then. And after a performance like that, he has earned the chance to play again tonight.
Shooting guard – Patrick McCaw, Golden State Warriors: $6.3 million
Relatively quiet to begin this year after a strong end to his rookie campaign, McCaw has been more offensively aggressive this past week, and thus has had more fantasy value. In the Warriors’ last five games, he has averaged 18.4 fantasy points, getting back to the mini-Iguodala role he grew into last year. While the team is getting healthier around him, there is a role for McCaw going forward if he stays productive, so monitor his progress and consider him tonight.
Small forward – Sam Dekker, L.A. Clippers: $6.3 million
Small forward – Jamil Wilson, L.A. Clippers: $6.8 million
Four of Wilson’s past seven games have seen him crack the 20 fantasy point mark, including a 29.2 outing last time out and a 19.0 average. Wilson is doing this mostly by virtue of a catch-and-shoot three-point shot, and a bevy of minutes borne out of injuries. The latter will go down once injured players return, and the former is cyclical and would benefit from diversifying his game (such as committing to rebounding more, or employing some of the post-up game he used to have). Nevertheless, shooting 42.9% from three-point range on 4.2 outside attempts per game keeps him very relevant at this price.
For slightly less money than that is his running mate Dekker, who is producing slightly less (17.9 fantasy point average over his last five; 16.6 average over his last nine) but producing nonetheless. Dekker rebounds better than Wilson but has lost his three-point stroke this season – if he gets that back, he could win Wilson’s spot going forward. Until he does, Wilson has the upper hand, but as of right now, both have low-end fantasy value.
Power forward – Jordan Bell, Golden State Warriors: $8.7 million
Moving back to the bench has not slowed Bell down any, as he recorded 5 points, 13 rebounds and 7 assists from there last time out, good for 36.1 fantasy points. His combination of length and athleticism allows him to be everywhere on the court; his good hands and better-than-advertised touch around the rim combines with poise to make him worthy of catches and touches; that same poise combines with a natural unselfishness to pile up the assists as he feeds it back out to the shooters. Bell has taken JaVale McGee’s role to the point that McGee may now be traded, and while he is still this cheap, you should absolutely be buying him tonight.
Power forward – Kyle Kuzma, L.A. Lakers: $16.4 million
Kuzma will occasionally burn you if you pick him. The 4-24 shooting he shot in the Lakers’ game is an anomalous, exaggerated version of the problem, yet the problem is that, occasionally, he will not score a lot of points. And he needs to at that price. Nevertheless, Kuzma has proven he will take a lot of shots regardless. Partly because his offensive aggression and ability to create off the dribble are true virtues of his, partly because he takes some bad shots, and partly because the Lakers let him, Either way, notwithstanding the variance involved, Kuzma has averaged 41.3 fantasy points over the past six games through his heavy if not steady diet of points and rebounds. Consider him until the price cracks $20.0 million.
Centre – Kelly Olynyk, Miami Heat: $12.2 million
Starting at power forward at the moment due to injuries elsewhere, the flexible and versatile Olynyk is on a tear. He has averaged 32.9 fantasy points over his past six games, posting numbers in all categories in a way that is entirely in keeping with how he plays. Olynyk is also fifth in the league in three-point percentage at 45.5%, and anyone shooting that well needs to play. Hassan Whiteside’s return, combined with James Johnson possibly working his way back to full health soon, will impact Olynyk’s role in the near future, and he will probably soon return to his usual backup centre spot. But as of right now, that is not a hot streak you can ignore.
Centre – Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn Nets: $7.7 million
The acquisition of Jahlil Okafor has actually increased Allen’s time on the court rather than decrease it. Okafor has still not been deemed neither ready nor suitable for Nets court time, and, with Trevor Booker going the other way, a playing time rival has been removed from his path. Allen is thus the main backup centre to starter Tyler Zeller, and has responded with a 17.2 average over the past six games. He is still very raw in terms of both his skills development and his experience – there are still a lot of fouls and a lot of missed lay-ups where some poise, strength and decision-making are needed. Nevertheless, Allen is already productive and played, and has fantasy value at this low price.
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), Jeremy Lin, D’Angelo Russell (Brooklyn), Cody Zeller (Charlotte), Cameron Payne, Zach LaVine (Chicago), Nerlens Noel, Dorian Finney-Smith, Josh McRoberts, Seth Curry (Dallas), Stephen Curry, Omri Casspi, Chris Boucher (Golden State), Clint Capela, Chris Paul, Luc Richard Mbah A Moute, Troy Williams (Houston), Blake Griffin, Danilo Gallinari, Patrick Beverley, Wesley Johnson (L.A. Clippers), Brook Lopez, Lonzo Ball (L.A. Lakers), Rodney McGruder, Okaro White, James Johnson, Dion Waiters, Justise Winslow (Miami), Jabari Parker, Mirza Teletovic (Milwaukee), Frank Jackson, Solomon Hill, Alexis Ajinca, Tony Allen (New Orleans), Alan Williams, Davon Reed, Brandon Knight (Phoenix), Harry Giles, De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento), 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.