Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy – A Lesson in Points per Minute Production for FanDuel & DraftKings (Part 2 of 2). Finding NBA DFS value in by looking at per minute metrics.
The first post of this two-part segment covered the basics of daily fantasy basketball production from a ‘per minute’ perspective.
Make sure you give it a read first.
Now let’s take some time to look at players who happened to have stronger per minute production than their overall season-long total.
One of the reasons you should care about players like this: upside.
Said differently, these guys have the potential to produce in a significant way with added opportunity for time on the floor.
From a DFS standpoint, it’s a great idea to think about looking at this list for a particular day when there happen to be injuries to a player ahead of them on the depth chart, for example, in order to find quality fantasy producers who are going to get an opportunity to play more minutes than historically (a great driver of “value”).
The top 5 per minute studs
- Russell Westbrook – Ranked 3rd in TL FDP last year, but 1st on a per minute basis
- DeMarcus Cousins – Ranked 14th overall in TL FDP, but 2nd on a per minute basis. Injuries and foul trouble drive this.
- Anthony Davis – Ranked 5th overall in TL FDP, but 3rd on a per minute basis.
- Stephen Curry – Ranked 4th in both TL FDP and per minute production.
- James Harden – Ranked 1st in TL FDP, but 5th on a per minute basis.
I’m sure there aren’t any names here that you’re not familiar with. Cousins has the biggest discrepancy of the top 5 based on his 14th overall ranking but 2nd best per minute production spot. He’s a guy that you can rely on for big fantasy numbers as long as he’s on the floor. If he can manage to stay healthy for a full 82 game schedule and manage to keep his personal fouls in check, watch out. He could finish this season as the #1 player for total FDP and per minute FDP.
There are two very important factors to consider when it comes to minutes.
Number 1: Health
If you aren’t healthy, you can’t play. Such is life with guys like Kevin Durant, who ranked within the top 10 in per minute production, but 200th in total FanDuel points last year. We can thank the fact he only played in 27 games last year for that discrepancy.
Another top 10 per minute producer is Hassan Whiteside. He finished 7th overall in FDP per minute played last year, but 140th in total points. Why? Injuries. He played in only 48 games last season, starting just 32. Now firmly established as a big part of the Miami Heat, he should be in for another massive DFS season for his daily owners as long as he can stay healthy.
Number 2: The Depth Chart & Role
The role a player has on their team has a lot to do with the production they can bring for their owners. Take Marreese Speights for example. He ranked 15th overall in FDP per minute played last year, but 151st in total points. How many games did he play in? Seventy six, and 9 of those were starts.
The biggest limiting factor? Minutes.
He averaged just 15.9 last season. He plays an important role for the Warriors off the bench, but based on who is playing in front of him, there just wasn’t much room for significant minutes. However, when Speights did start, he played 23.4 minute per game (47% more). He’s the kind of guy you want to get in your lineup should an opportunity open up for him in the starting 5 on a particular night.
One more example here before I move on.
Consider Cole Aldrich. Yes, I’m taking time to talk about Cole Aldrich. Believe it or not, he was the 30th best FanDuel points per minute producer last year. Better than Ricky Rubio, George Hill, Jrue Holiday, Andrew Bogut, Nikola Mirotic and even Dwyane Wade. Those guys are all household names, aren’t they?
Well, simply put, he’s a pretty efficient player. What held him back from being a big fantasy name is the lack of total playing time. Like Speights, his role was primarily as a player off the bench for the Knicks to give them 16 minutes a game. His statistical averages in those 16 minutes: 5.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.1 blocks, 0.6 steals, 1.0 turnovers, shooting 47.8% from the floor and 78.1% from the line. If he managed to approach 32 minutes (simply doubling his output), those averages would jump pretty nicely to 11 points, 11 boards, 2.4 assist, 2.2 blocks, 1.2 steals and 2.0 turnovers. It’s no wonder why his per minute production was so strong. What was holding him back was his role.
Unfortunately for those of you who are now excited about finding a DFS sleeper in Aldrich, the fact is his role became a little more challenged over the offseason as he’s now with the Clippers. He’ll play behind DeAndre Jordan with his new team, who will likely get all the minutes he can handle as long as he stays healthy. However, if DJ happens to miss some time throughout the season as a result of an injury, we could see Aldrich get some meaningful court time.
I remember running Aldrich a few times in my lineups last year when he was getting some added playing time (i.e. late December to early January where he averaged almost 25 minutes a game), and he made for a very solid value play thanks to his production on the floor.
He’s a great example of an efficient NBA player for fantasy purposes that just needs minutes on the floor to help you along the way. Remember his name during the season if Jordan happens to go down.
So, as you can see, there are reasons that certain players will have high FDP per minute numbers but lower overall point totals over the course of a full year. However, that doesn’t mean that some of these efficient players are going to be useless all year. Injuries can open up opportunities, and sometimes players will elevate their game and steal a starting or higher-minute role from one of their teammates.
These are all things to consider when you fill out your DFS lineups for a given day. The most important thing is staying on top of injury news from around the league.
What I’ve done here is put together a chart that shows players with the greatest percentage discrepancy from total FanDuel points compared to their per minute FanDuel points. Cutting the data this way could lend itself to finding some players to consider playing in DFS when they’re in line for an increase in playing time versus their 2014-15 minute totals.
Players with less than 200 minutes in 2014-15 were filtered out.
Candidates for TL FDP boosts with more floor time
|Player Name||Total FanDuel Points Ranking||Per Minute FanDuel Points Ranking||TL FDP : Per Min FDP Index||2014-15 Minutes Played|
|Kevin Durant, OKC||200||9||2222%||913|
|Hassan Whiteside, Mia||140||7||2000%||1142|
|Marreese Speights, GS||151||15||1007%||1207|
|Kobe Bryant, LAL||155||17||912%||1207|
|Dwight Howard, Hou||159||22||723%||1223|
|Cole Aldrich, LAC||213||30||710%||976|
|DeMarcus Cousins, Sac||14||2||700%||2013|
|Ricky Rubio, Min||289||48||602%||692|
|Alexis Ajinca, Nor||219||37||592%||957|
|Charlie Villanueva, Dal||298||55||542%||678|
|Carmelo Anthony, NY||124||23||539%||1428|
|Jusuf Nurkic, Den||194||38||511%||1103|
|David Lee, Bos PF||239||47||509%||904|
|Thomas Robinson, Bkn||272||61||446%||798|
|George Hill, Ind||160||36||444%||1267|
|Brandon Jennings, Det||182||42||433%||1173|
|Mitch McGary, OKC||337||82||411%||485|
|Festus Ezeli, GS||328||86||381%||504|
|Jeff Adrien, Nor||397||107||371%||215|
While some of these guys are going to be bench players to start the year, it’s important to keep tabs on how their roles may change over the course of the year to find some DFS value. All it takes is an injury to the likes of Anthony Davis for Alexis Ajinca’s value to skyrocket in DFS.
David Lee should have some serious value from the get-go compared to how he performed last year – largely due to a new team and new role.
Little things like that make all the difference in DFS. Leverage it as much as you can to build a winning lineup!
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