When it comes to daily fantasy basketball on FanDuel and DraftKings, we’re trying to maximize the fantasy points per dollar spent on players to fill out your lineup. Doing so will net you a winning roster. And that’s really the name of the game at the end of the day.
But how do you figure out who you should be targeting on any given day for your lineup?
The answer lies largely in minutes. More specifically, expected fantasy production per minute of playing time.
Looking at the top 10 total fantasy point-getters from the 2014-15 season is pretty straightforward. In fact, the list is the exact same for FanDuel as it is for DraftKings:
|Rank||Total Fantasy Points – FanDuel||Total Fantasy Points – DraftKings|
|1||James Harden, Hou||James Harden, Hou|
|2||Chris Paul, LAC||Chris Paul, LAC|
|3||Russell Westbrook, OKC||Russell Westbrook, OKC|
|4||Stephen Curry, GS||Stephen Curry, GS|
|5||Anthony Davis, Nor||Anthony Davis, Nor|
|6||John Wall, Wsh||John Wall, Wsh|
|7||LeBron James, Cle||LeBron James, Cle|
|8||Pau Gasol, Chi||Pau Gasol, Chi|
|9||Damian Lillard, Por||Damian Lillard, Por|
|10||DeAndre Jordan, LAC||DeAndre Jordan, LAC|
But this really only tells us a small part of the story. These are the players that happened to contribute the most total points over the course of the entire year. Valuable in DFS? Absolutely. But as the season wore on, were they the same value they were to owners in the early part of the year? Certainly not.
Guys like DeAndre Jordan, John Wall, Pau Gasol and Damian Lillard weren’t priced as top 10 DFS players in the league right from the beginning of the 2014-15 season. However, their production quickly reached elite levels, and as that happened, their fantasy salaries followed suit.
So, we are now looking at 10 of the players that will in all likelihood, top the list of price points in NBA DFS to start the season.
While it doesn’t mean they’re guys to avoid, it’s important to think about them in the context of who they were at this time last year so that we can try to identify who some of the players on this list will be, come the end of 2015-16.
All it really means at the end of the day, is that they may not be the value plays that some of us were used to seeing them as earlier in the year (last season). Pau Gasol in particular made for an incredible value in the early part of 14-15 as he entered the year about $2,000 under value. But – that’s not going to be the case this year after finishing as the 8th highest scorer in the entire league from a DFS standpoint. We need to find the new $2,000 under-valued PF/C.
What I’ve done below is create a matrix of 25 players (sorted based on total FanDuel points from last year) and added some additional metrics beside them to help illustrate some key points.
Top 25 Producers (Sorted by TL FanDuel Points)
|Player Name||Total FanDuel Points||Per Minute FanDuel Points||Average||Total DraftKings Points||Per Minute DraftKings Points||Average|
|James Harden, Hou||1||5||3||1||5||3|
|Chris Paul, LAC||2||8||5||2||9||5.5|
|Russell Westbrook, OKC||3||1||2||3||1||2|
|Stephen Curry, GS||4||4||4||4||4||4|
|Anthony Davis, Nor||5||3||4||5||3||4|
|John Wall, Wsh||6||16||11||6||15||10.5|
|LeBron James, Cle||7||6||6.5||7||6||6.5|
|Pau Gasol, Chi||8||12||10||8||12||10|
|Damian Lillard, Por||9||39||24||9||40||24.5|
|DeAndre Jordan, LAC||10||27||18.5||10||29||19.5|
|Andre Drummond, Det||11||11||11||11||11||11|
|Marc Gasol, Mem||12||19||15.5||12||20||16|
|LaMarcus Aldridge, SA||13||14||13.5||14||14||14|
|DeMarcus Cousins, Sac||14||2||8||13||2||7.5|
|Eric Bledsoe, Pho||15||59||37||15||57||36|
|Nikola Vucevic, Orl||16||18||17||16||19||17.5|
|Blake Griffin, LAC||17||13||15||18||13||15.5|
|Tyreke Evans*, Nor||18||51||34.5||17||51||34|
|Kyrie Irving*, Cle||19||76||47.5||19||79||49|
|Tim Duncan, SA||20||10||15||20||10||15|
|Ty Lawson, Hou||21||74||47.5||21||75||48|
|Paul Millsap, Atl||22||29||25.5||22||28||25|
|Gordon Hayward, Uta||23||81||52||23||80||51.5|
|Draymond Green, GS||24||49||36.5||24||56||40|
|Klay Thompson, GS||25||43||34||25||50||37.5|
What can we learn from the above?
Well, just because a player didn’t appear in the top 10 overall fantasy point-scorers list at the top of the page, it doesn’t mean they didn’t have the talent to do so.
They could have had things working against them in their effort to reach that plateau.
In the “Per Minute” columns within the above chart, have a look for lower numbers (i.e. smaller) than their total season output rank. One key example – DeMarcus Cousins. He was the #2 fantasy point per minute contributor, but happened to rank 14th overall on FanDuel (13th on DraftKings) based on his season total.
What drives the discrepancy? Strong production per minute, but fewer minutes than required to match his fellow league-mates that happened to out-produce him overall. Whether that be role, foul trouble or injuries – anything preventing more minutes played drives this outcome. Tim Duncan is another great example of this per the above.
On the other end, we have players with weaker per-minute ranks than their overall fantasy output. These are your “volume producers” whose value is boosted thanks to the expanded minutes role they played on their team last year. Gordon Hayward is a great example here. He ranked as the 23rd overall scorer (FD and DK) but happened to be the 81st ranked player in fantasy points per minute.
This is just one way that I like to leverage historical data and basketball variables to help analyze player values for the purposes of fantasy basketball – and DFS in particular given the numerous decisions we make on a daily basis in setting our cash game and GPP lineups.
Tomorrow (Tuesday morning), I’ll share a piece that focuses on identifying candidates for fantasy point boosts based on some key indicators that 2015-16 could provide some fantasy profit.
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