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Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy Guide for FanDuel & DraftKings NBA DFS Contests

Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy Guide for FanDuel & DraftKings NBA DFS. Winning your NBA DFS cash game and GPP contests on FanDuel & DraftKings starts with Moxyball.

It is almost that time of year. That’s right NBA tipoff is right around the corner and with it, the best DFS game there is.

For those of you who have never played NBA DFS before – you are in for a treat.

In my opinion, t is by far the best sport there is for DFS. Along with our daily content we are going to bring you, I am here to share a strategy primer for NBA DFS.

This primer will give you an introduction to everything you need to know to build a winning lineup.

Know Your Site’s Scoring System

This is one of the most overlooked aspects in DFS. Not all sites score the same and it is very important to know the site ins and outs of the scoring system for the sites(s) you’re playing on.

I have attached the scoring for the two major sites FanDuel and DraftKings.


StatFantasy Points
3 Point FG3
2 Point FG2
Free Throw1


StatFantasy Points
3 Point FG3.5
2 Point FG2
Free Throw1

Some key points I want to point out between the two sites.

First on DraftKings you get bonus points for 3 pointers, double-doubles, and triple-doubles.

The second major difference is that turnovers are a full negative point on FanDuel compared to just half a point on DraftKings.

Something as small as this makes Russell Westbrook, for example, an even hotter commodity on DraftKings due to the lower penalty for turnovers and bonus points for double-doubles and triple-doubles.

Roster Construction

Along with the scoring rules being different on each site, the roster structure happens to have some uniqueness on FanDuel and DraftKings. It is important to know the roster limits based on the rules of each site. Once again I have attached the roster construction for FD and DK below.


PG,PG,SG,SG,SF,SF,PF,PF,C (9 total)


PG,SG,SF,PF,C,G,F,UTIL (8 total)

If you notice on FD you need two of each position besides Center and on DK you need one of each position and have a little more flexibility based on the G,F and Util spots.

You also start one less player on DraftKings than you do on FanDuel.

Now that we have the basics out of the way how do you build a roster?

What things do you look for?

While there are many things to look for I am going to highlight the things I look at the most.

  • Vegas over/under
    • The point total of a game is important just like in any other sport. The higher the point total the quicker the pace of play which I will touch on later. Also the higher the spread the more likely starters will not be playing their normal allotment of minutes. This brings us to our next stat to look at.
  • Minutes
    • Probably the most important stat to look at. Simply put minutes directly correlate to fantasy points. The more minutes on the court for a particular player, the stronger the chance they have to pick up fantasy points. It is awfully hard to play 35 minutes and not pick up any stats. Unless your name is Quincy Pondexter. But that’s a story for another day.
  • Pace of Play
    • An underrated stat that is often overlooked. The faster pace of play for the team, the more possessions a team has. Just like with minutes, the more possessions the more chances there are to pick up fantasy points.
  • Defense vs Position Rankings (DvP)
    • These are ranking that determine how many points teams give up to each position. These are like defensive rankings in NFL. Use these to see which players are in favorable match ups. However, don’t rely on it as the sole resource for determining who you want to start at a given position.
  • Usage Rate
    • I love usage rate when it comes to daily fantasy basketbal. The usage rate in Layman’s terms is the percentage of time a player’s possession ends in a shot attempt, assist or turnover. There is a fancy formula for this stat but all you need to know is the higher the usage rate the more chance for fantasy points.
  • Assist Rate
    • A stat I look at for point guards. It refers to the percentage of player’s possessions that ends in an assist.
  • Rebound Rate
    • The big man stat I use. It shows the percentage of missed shots that a player rebounds.
  • The one stat I do not look at is PER. Why?
    • PER is a minutes based stat and does not necessarily equate to fantasy production. PER takes in account things like missed shots which really has no bearing in the fantasy world. For instance Amar’e Stoudemire was 35th in PER last year but there is not a single instance I can ever remember even considering rostering him. Another example is Paul Millsap who was 39th but was constantly a steady performer and advisable player in DFS thanks to his well-rounded fantasy game.

Another difference between NBA and other sports is how injuries and starting lineups are reported.

Unlike most sports NBA teams are not required to submit injuries or starting lineups in advance. For this you have to look for reliable sources of information.

For me that has honestly been Twitter. In the NBA if you do not have the ten minutes to check player’s status before line up lock do not play in that day’s contest. I cannot stress this enough. This is the most important rule of NBA DFS.

Often times a late scratch will lead to a key value opportunity for your roster. If you miss the chance to identify this, there’s a very good chance you’ll be left in the dust (aka outside of the pay zone) in your contests.

For example – what if Derrick Rose looks like he’s going to play, but all of a sudden hurts himself in warmups and is going to sit out that particular game? Well, in steps someone like Aaron Brooks who has a much lower DFS salary (sometimes $3K-$7K cheaper, depending on the player and their respective backup) and has a major path to minutes.

Like we said above, minutes means more opportunities to produce fantasy points. If you can roster Aaron Brooks for $4,000 – instead of Derrick Rose at $8,000 (all salaries are used to illustrate the point), imagine what you could do with those incremental dollars (i.e. $4,000). That could be the difference between Derrick Favors and Anthony Davis, for example. The payoff could be huge, and it all comes down to late-breaking player news.

Hope you enjoyed the read and were able to learn something from our strategy primer.

Have a question? Head on over to the Moxyball DFS Forums to join or start the conversation.

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About Zachariah Qualtieri

Zach is a contributor to Moxyball and Daily Fantasy Cafe. He is a three time winner of a large field GPP and has a 67.8% cash rate in cash games across all sports. He is one of the top ranked analysts across all platforms. He specializes in NBA where he is ranked in the top 200 of all DFS players. When not playing or writing about fantasy sports he enjoys spending time with his 6 year old son.

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