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 – Andrew Harrison, Memphis Grizzlies: $8.1 million
The Grizzlies are decimated by injuries right now, and Harrison is one of the few unaffected. Over the last three games, he has taken on more point guard playmaking responsibility given the absence of Tyreke Evans, and has responded with a 21.6 fantasy point average. At this price, that is solid.
Point guard – Alex Caruso, L.A. Lakers: $5.5 million
Playing better than the cagey Tyler Ennis, Caruso has averaged 19.7 fantasy points over the last five games, and has earned a good chunk of the point guard minutes opened up by Lonzo Ball’s injury. He is playing with confidence and aggression, and, buoyed by having a better rebounding rate than most point guards, he is capable of filling up a box score. With Ball still out, Caruso is relevant here.
Small forward – Justin Anderson, Philadelphia 76ers: $6.0 million
Anderson continues to put up solid bench performances with fantasy value, and doing so with a striking consistency that his rather hurried style of play would not normally suggest. He has averaged 21.9 fantasy points over the last four games without ever going below the 18.6 mark, thus always tripling up on his cost per million. And that is a range we are always interested in.
Small forward – Mario Hezonja, Orlando Magic: $6.9 million
Hezonja’s role and production remain as inconsistent as ever. But with Aaron Gordon out, he is starting at power forward, and responding with an average of 25.0 fantasy points per game over the last two. If Gordon is out again tonight, strongly consider Hezonja here.
Power forward – Julius Randle, L.A. Lakers: $13.3 million
Power forward – Larry Nance, L.A. Lakers: $12.1 million
The Lakers duo are going about the game very different ways for similar results. Marked by inconsistency, Randle nevertheless is returning a 36.6 fantasy point average over his last four games, while the defensive hustling Nance has an average of 29.5 over his last seven. Pick whichever one you prefer watching.
Power forward – Jarell Martin, Memphis Grizzlies: $7.3 million
Martin is starting in JaMychal Green’s absence, and doing so well. He has averaged 25.5 fantasy points over his past six games, with contributions across the board, especially in the scoring column. This has been the best stretch of Martin’s three-year NBA career, looking more up to speed with the game and making better decisions on both ends, so keep him in mind for now.
Centre – Dwight Howard, Charlotte Hornets: $18.8 million
Dwight’s excellent recent run of play that saw us pick him last time out returned some sort of averageness with a 38.2 fantasy point performance, one in which he still scored a strong 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds but blocked only 1 shot, the main thing that caused his hot streak. One average game does not diminish a hot streak, however, and we also pick Dwight tonight because of his opponent, the Atlanta Hawks. Partly because they are not very good, and partly because they are Howard’s former team, his most recent former team, from whom he did not depart on good terms. (Does he ever?) He may therefore be extra motivated and extra productive.
Centre – Ed Davis, Portland Trail Blazers: $8.6 million
Having beaten out Noah Vonleh, Caleb Swanigan, Meyers Leonard and Mo Harkless for backup big man minutes, Davis has reaffirmed himself as the first big off of the bench (with Zach Collins as the second) with an excellent recent stretch. Active and springy as ever, Davis has averaged 30.8 fantasy points over his last five games through a torrent of rebounding. Rebounds are the most consistent thing from a fantasy perspective, and also Davis’s greatest strength, so consider him here regardless of the strength of other centre options.
Centre – Bismack Biyombo, Orlando Magic: $8.5 million
Biyombo’s price has actually gone down a touch here, which is more anomalous than worrying. Orlando’s big man rotation is weird right now – Biyombo gets the start and has the length and shotblocking no one else does, while Mo Speights provides the shooting and offensive aggression that no one else does, while Khem Birch is more productive per minute than any of them. And all will lose out once Nikola Vucevic returns. Either way, until that happens, Biyombo is the starter, and he is a valuable one to us.
Centre – Channing Frye, Cleveland Cavaliers: $5.9 million
Kevin Love broke his hand last time out, and Frye came in to record 20 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks and 32.2 fantasy points in the remainder of the game. This followed up the previous performance in which he had recorded 20.4 fantasy points. Love will be out a while and it is still unclear how the Cavaliers will cover in his absence, but Frye should be a part of it, and his fantasy price is filthily cheap.
Centre – Jahlil Okafor, Brooklyn Nets: $6.0 million
We picked Okafor back when he first joined the Nets and wondered when his breakout games would come. They just did. Averaging 28.7 fantasy points over the last two games, Okafor is finally showing the signs the Nets brought him in for. And if it continues, we will have some excellent fantasy value on our hands.
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), Gordon Hayward, Marcus Smart, Shane Larkin, Guerschon Yabusele (Boston), Jeremy Lin, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Caris LeVert (Brooklyn), Marvin Williams, Cody Zeller (Charlotte), Cameron Payne, Kris Dunn, Nikola Mirotic, Lauri Markkanen (Chicago), John Holland, Kevin Love (Cleveland), Seth Curry, Dorian Finney-Smith, Nerlens Noel, J.J. Barea (Dallas), Lance Stephenson, Glenn Robinson III (Indiana), Lonzo Ball (L.A. Lakers), Mike Conley, JaMychal Green, Chandler Parsons, Ben McLemore, Deyonta Davis, Dillon Brooks, James Ennis, Mario Chalmers (Memphis), Okaro White, Rodney McGruder, Dion Waiters (Miami), Joakim Noah, Ron Baker (New York), Jonathan Isaac, Terrence Ross, Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon (Orlando), Jerryd Bayless, Markelle Fultz, Furkan Korkmaz, J.J. Redick (Philadelphia), Tyson Chandler, Alex Len, Devin Booker, Marquese Chriss, Alan Williams, Brandon Knight (Phoenix), C.J Wilcox (Portland)
That’s all for today’s analysis. Be sure to get your line-ups in!