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
At this point, unless the price suddenly skyrockets, pick Murray. And the price has not skyrocketed – it is instead creeping up in tiny increments. Since becoming a starter, Murray has averaged 35.1 fantasy points, and he has in large part done that via his rebounding, the most consistent fantasy stat of all. Murray’s rebounding numbers are anomalous for a point guard, but not anomalous for him, and his fantasy value is extremely high.
Point guard – Trey Burke, New York Knicks: $7.5 million
In the last two games, Burke has scored 18 points both times, one time flanking it with 11 assists. The mid-season pick-up is being given an opportunity to be the dynamic lead guard off of the dribble that Ramon Sessions could not be and that Frank Ntilikina is struggling to be, and he is responding. Looking somewhat rejuvenated after his stint in the minors, Burke is playing aggressively and confident, and while his previous NBA struggles give rise to valid concern about the sustainability of it all, a 30.2 fantasy point average over the last two games is eye-opening.
Point guard – Tim Frazier, Washington Wizards: $6.1 million
Point guard – Tomas Satoransky, Washington Wizards: $6.1 million
In John Wall’s absence last time out, the duo of Satoransky and Frazier handled the point guard minutes, and they did so really well. Satoransky recorded 11 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists on his way to 24.1 fantasy points, while Frazier recorded a bizarre stat-line of 4 points, 14 assists and 3 blocks on his way to a colossal 39.8 fantasy points. Frazier’s line is obviously anomalous, especially coming in the midst of an overall down year, but even half of that production tonight would mean excellent fantasy value. And with Wall doubtful to play again, both should be on the fantasy radar tonight.
Shooting guard – Vince Carter, Sacramento Kings: $6.1 million
The oldest player in the league is still a good one. Not nearly as explosive as he once was but still with enough in the chamber to be a factor off of driven close-outs and cuts, Carter is spotting up whenever he can and has averaged 22.2 fantasy points over his last ten games. Not the Kings’s last ten games – Carter plays pretty much every other game as one of the protagonists of the Kings’s bench-the-vets strategy – but his personally. So keep on the injury wire and if he plays, consider him here.
Small forward – Dante Cunningham, New Orleans Pelicans: $6.3 million
There has been one Pelicans game since DeMarcus Cousins’s injury, and Cunningham got the start in it, bumping Anthony Davis down to the de facto center spot and playing as the small ball power forward that he pretty much is these days. In that start, Cunningham returned 8 points, 7 rebounds and 17.4 fantasy points, a very foreseeable return for his talents, and while there are no big nights coming, nights like that have fantasy value at such a low price.
Power forward – Luc Richard Mbah A Moute, Houston Rockets: $8.1 million
Trevor Ariza managed only 36 seconds of the Rockets’ last game against the Phoenix Suns before tweaking his injury. He did not return and will miss the next five games. History suggests that when Ariza is out, Mbah A Moute gets the start in his stead, and as a starter this year, he averages 9.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.0 steals per game for 23.3 fantasy points. That would do nicely here.
Power forward – Montrezl Harrell, L.A. Clippers: $8.3 million
We have recommended Harrell as a fantasy pick a few times recently on account of a recent tear that started with increased opportunity in the absence of DeAndre Jordan. When Jordan returned, the tear tempered. But overnight, the Clippers agreed to trade Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons, along with Willie Reed (who had been starting ahead of Harrell, albeit largely silently). The odds of the deal being finalised and consummated in time for all the players involved to be ready to suit up with their new teams is slim, and thus Harrell should feature heavily tonight, which likely means big production.
Power forward – Khem Birch, Orlando Magic: $5.9 million
Centre – Bismack Biyombo, Orlando Magic: $8.6 million
Biyombo continues to start at centre, and while his play has trailed off slightly (18.8 fantasy point average over the last four games), that is still pretty good value at this price, with the proven ability for much bigger nights to come. Meanwhile, behind him, Birch has won the backup spot. Initially given it as a one-off when Mo Speights was absent due to injury, Birch has nevertheless kept it through very strong play. Averaging only 16 minutes over the past five games, Birch has nevertheless recorded averages of 6.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, 1.2 assists, 1.0 steals and 22.9 fantasy points in that time. There is no reason for him to lose this spot now.
Centre – Kosta Koufos, Sacramento Kings: $8.5 million
With Willie Cauley-Stein out for a couple of weeks, Koufos started the first game in his absence, and recorded a typically strong 12 rebounds on his way to 20.9 fantasy points. The Kings’ rotation is in such a constant state of flux that recommending any of their players as a fantasy pick is a fraught proposition. Yet keep your eyes on the wire, and unless Koufos is rested, consider him here.
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: Jeremy Lin, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Caris LeVert (Brooklyn), John Holland (Cleveland), Wilson Chandler, Mason Plumlee, Paul Millsap, Tyler Lydon (Denver), Avery Bradley, Jon Leuer, Boban Marjanovic, Tobias Harris, Reggie Jackson (Detroit), Jordan Bell (Golden State), Chris Paul. Zhou Qi, Trevor Ariza (Houston), Jawun Evans, Willie Reed, Brice Johnson, C.J. Williams, Blake Griffin, Danilo Gallinari, Patrick Beverley, Austin Rivers (L.A. Clippers), Solomon Hill, Alexis Ajinca, Tony Allen, Frank Jackson, DeMarcus Cousins (New Orleans), Joakim Noah (New York), Andre Roberson (Oklahoma City), Jonathan Isaac, Terrence Ross, Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon (Orlando), C.J Wilcox (Portland), Harry Giles, Willie Cauley-Stein, Frank Mason, Malachi Richardson, Garrett Temple, Skal Labissiere (Sacramento), Rudy Gay, Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio), Fred VanVleet (Toronto), Dante Exum, Thabo Sefolosha, Rodney Hood (Utah), Sheldon Mac, John Wall (Washington)
That’s all for today’s analysis. Be sure to get your line-ups in!