daily fantasy basketball strategy
Daily Fantasy Basketball is one of the most action-packed daily fantasy sports out there, with players having possessions every minute that lead to positives and negatives. Additionally, players touch the ball more often and earn points for a wide variety of stats.
Here are several main points that will help you succeed in everyday fantasy basketball:
Matchmaking – Like any other fantasy sport, you will see a player match up on a given night. There are stats that measure a player’s defensive ability in the NBA, such as his isolation defense, his pick and roll defense, and even his post defense (basically DVP). Obviously, you’ll want to pick offensive players who are up against a bad defender. For example, you may hesitate to pick a PG against Chris Paul because he’s a good defender, but if he has a center against Nikola Vucevic, then you can give him a production boost. Honestly, this is probably the most important thing because it will protect that player for most of the game and directly affect how well that person will do.
Blast Factor: This is a big part of everyday fantasy basketball that a lot of people don’t realize. In basketball there are many blowouts. This causes many starters to sit in the 4th quarter, limiting the number of minutes they will play during the game. You want guys to play the most minutes because it maximizes their value. If you’ve said Russell Westbrook against the 76ers, he really has to think twice. Sure, he’s going to put up good stats in his minutes, but if he only plays 28 minutes instead of 38, you’re basically cutting his production by 25%. Looking at the Vegas lines for the game is very helpful for this because you get an idea of how the experts think the game will go. Aside from injuries, there is nothing worse than losing players in games that are blown out.
Points/Expected Pace – Another big part of basketball is the pace of play and expected points within a game. Naturally, some teams are more defensive and like to play in the midfield, while others are very attacking and love to play counter-attacks. You want to target guys in games that move as fast as possible. There will be more shots leading to more points, more errors leading to more rebounds, more baskets made leading to more assists, and less structure leading to more steals and blocks. One thing to watch out for is the Las Vegas lines again for their over under for points in the game. For example, let’s say Rockets vs. The Warriors have 212 points in the over-under while the Pacers and Hornets have a 180-point line. You’ll want to target the guys in that first game because of the reasons listed above. They also keep track of stats like how long teams typically take to shoot and how many possessions they have per game.
Injuries – Again, just like any sport, you need to look at injuries and see how they will affect a game. Many times, you can get bench players at a cheap price, who will play starting minutes. Guys who are cheap and play a lot of minutes are hard to find, so if you can find injury replacements they are generally a good bet. The problem with the NBA is that injury calls typically go out 10-15 minutes before game time, whereas in the NFL it’s 1.5 hours before kickoff and in baseball it’s several hours before game time. It’s critical to always review the last 10-15 minutes to check for injuries and make sure everyone is playing. Also, this can be critical for guys who are second and third choices on their teams. If a really good player gets hurt, then his production will take a good hit and in turn become more valuable.
cash games vs. GPP (Tournament) Players – This is a big difference when making teams for basketball. Usually in tournaments, you look for players who get about 5 times their value for any site. For cash games you usually need 4-4.5 value players. Basically this means if a guy costs $10,000 then he needs to hit 50 points for a tournament and 40-45 for a cash game. A large part of achieving that value will be the minutes and usage rates during those minutes. Guys who have a high usage rate don’t need as much time because they have the ball in hand more often. Players with a lower usage rate will likely need more minutes to reach their value, unless they can help or recover a very high rate. The guys with the higher usage rate I like for tournaments because they have a much higher chance of putting up a lot of points, where the guys with lower usage rates and playing more are safer picks and more likely to hit their value night after night. Also for tournaments, you’re going to want guys who aren’t too possessed most of the time. Sure there may be a stud that you have to have that is owned by 30% of people, but it’s all about getting players who have less than 5% to do well. If they can, then you are much more likely to succeed in the tournament.
Streaks – This is also a big part of basketball because it often determines how many people will pick a player. If a player has a hot streak of 2-3 games, his ownership % will skyrocket, whereas if a player struggles for 2-3 games, his ownership % will plummet. Going back to my earlier point about tournament players, those cold streak types are the ones that are sometimes targeted, where banishing the popular player is sometimes the best option. For cash games, you usually want to play a guy on a hot streak because he’s only competing to beat the middle of the field, so risking fading a popular play is too risky.
Miscellaneous – This is more if you want to spend a lot of time and effort on your research. One thing I know people look into is referees. Like in any sport, they have a huge impact on the game and can put people in foul trouble or put people on the line. If you’re picking star players, it might be better to look for refs who call more fouls per game, compared to if you have a player guarding a star player in that game, you might want to avoid that. This goes into the matchup, but some guys have favorable matchups, but only fight certain teams. James Harden comes to mind against the Clippers during regular season. He had Reddick/Barnes guarding him, which isn’t so great, but he rarely got value against them. It’s also important to consider back to back because a guy can play, but he won’t play as much. Looking at little things like that is really important and the key to success.