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 – Terry Rozier, Boston Celtics: $10.1 million
All of Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart and Shane Larkin are out of tonight’s game, leaving Rozier as the only healthy point guard option on the Celtics roster (apart from two-way contract player Kadeem Allen, who seems not to have earned any trust at the NBA level yet, which begs the questions of why he still has a roster spot). And as ever, all Rozier needs from a fantasy perspective is minutes. Averaging 50.8 fantasy points over the last two games, Rozier is your must-pick tonight.
Point guard – Andrew Harrison, Memphis Grizzlies: $8.1 million
Tyreke Evans has been tactically benched, partly to aid the tank and partly to preserve his health, given that Memphis are increasingly determined to trade him by Thursday’s trade deadline. This has meant more seniority at the point guard position for Harrison, who has responded with a 29.3 fantasy point average over the last three games. For four more days, at least, this should continue.
Shooting guard – Sterling Brown, Milwaukee Bucks: $6.0 million
Brown is becoming an important, big-minute reserve for the Bucks. His athleticism, defensive enthusiasm and spot-up shooting make him a useful role player, and while he never seems to touch the ball other than to shoot it or deflect it, he has fantasy value for us here. Averaging 19.8 fantasy points over the last five games, there are not many fantasy steals at the shooting guard position on tonight’s slate, so consider Brown here.
Small forward – Abdel Nader, Boston Celtics: $5.3 million
In light of the above description of the Celtics’s point guard dearth right now, the responsibility of the backup point guard spot behind Rozier has fallen unto Nader. A long, athletic 6’7 wing with little NBA game time under his feet, this role does not really suit Nader, a limited ball handler who is massively turnover prone, best as an athlete, slasher, floor-runner and spot-up shooter. Nevertheless, the time is his currently anyway, and from a fantasy perspective, he has recorded an average of 12.8 fantasy points over the last two games. It is not particularly inspiring, but it is value at this tiny price.
Small forward – Dillon Brooks, Memphis Grizzlies: $7.9 million
Despite the myriad injured Grizzlies coming back largely at the same time in the last game, Brooks kept his starting spot and keeps his fantasy value with it. Averaging 22.0 fantasy points over the past five games, Brooks is unremarkable on the court, but solid enough (and healthy enough) that no one has been able to take his spot yet.
Small forward – Josh Jackson, Phoenix Suns: $9.1 million
Power forward – Dragan Bender, Phoenix Suns: $6.4 million
Jackson is on an absolute break-out tear right now, and has been one of the league’s best rookies this month. Always impressive defensively, he is starting to play with much less urgency and much more poise offensively, slowing the game down and making better decisions. He nonetheless retains his aggression, and is doing a lot on the court, recording a fantasy point average of 27.0 points per game over the last six games.
Alongside him, Dragan Bender is coming off of one of his career best games. He recorded 16 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists on his way to 35.3 fantasy points, taking advantage of the fact that, with both Alex Len and Alan Williams out injured, and Greg Monroe recently bought out, time at the five spot was available. Bender has mostly been used offensively as a weak-side shooter in his NBA career, which he is OK at, yet he has an excellent passing ability that is nullified if he is limited to doing just that. But when playing as the five man, he isn’t, as seen last night. And with the same parameters as above in play again tonight, consider Bender here.
Power forward – Quincy Acy, Brooklyn Nets: $6.7 million
Centre – Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn Nets: $7.8 million
Centre – Jahlil Okafor, Brooklyn Nets: $6.0 million
Regular power forward starter Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has missed the last four games due to injury, and Acy has gotten the starts in his absence. He has responded with a 19.9 fantasy point average over the last four games, with his usual combination of threes and defence. Alongside him, Allen has finally won the very winnable starting spot from Tyler Zeller, and is currently breaking out. He has posted six consecutive games in double figures, and has shot an amazing 33-41 from the field in that time. Able to finish athletically and powerfully in a way that Zeller simply cannot, Allen’s finishing ability combines with his energy to make him a very valuable player to us at this point, averaging 26.7 fantasy points over the last six games. And behind him, Okafor has also taken Zeller’s spot, averaging 21.6 fantasy points over the past four games through his usual combination of points and the occasional block.
Centre – Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto Raptors: $12.5 million
Averaging 38.2 fantasy points over his last six games, Valanciunas is apparently a three-point shooter now. Shooting 46.9% from three-point range on an increasingly large amount of shots, Valanciunas is now an inside-outside threat, and the more of a threat he is, the better of a fantasy pick he can be.
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), Kyrie Irving, Shane Larkin, Marcus Smart, Gordon Hayward, Marcus Morris (Boston), Jeremy Lin, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Brooklyn), Marvin Williams (Charlotte), Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball (L.A. Lakers), Mike Conley, Tyreke Evans, Chandler Parsons (Memphis), Ron Baker, Joakim Noah, Ron Baker (New York), Andre Roberson (Oklahoma City), Marquese Chriss, Alex Len, Alan Williams, Brandon Knight, Isaiah Canaan (Phoenix), Shabazz Napier, C.J. Wilcox (Portland), C.J. Miles (Toronto)
That’s all for today’s analysis. Be sure to get your line-ups in!