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Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy

Daily Fantasy Basketball is one of the most action packed daily fantasy sports out there since players have possessions every minute leading to up and down scoring. Additionally, players touch the ball more often, and get points for a wide variety of stats.

Here are several top points that will help you succeed in daily fantasy basketball:

Matchup – Like any other fantasy sport, you are going to look at a player’s matchup on a given night. There are stats the measure a players defensive ability in the NBA such as their isolation defense, their pick and roll defense, and even their post-up defense (basically DVP). Obviously, you are going to want to pick offensive players going against a poor defender. For example, you may be hesitant to pick a PG going against Chris Paul because he is a good defender, but if you have a center going against Nikola Vucevic, then you can give him a bump in production. Honestly this is probably the most important thing because that is going to be guarding that player for a majority of the game and directly impacts how well that person will do.

Blowout Factor – This is a huge part of daily fantasy basketball that a lot of people don’t realize. In basketball there are a lot of blowouts. This causes a lot of starters to sit in the 4th quarter, limiting the amount of minutes that they will play throughout the game. You want guys who are going to play the most minutes because it maximizes their value. If you have say Russell Westbrook against the 76ers you really have to think twice. Sure, he is going to put up good stats in his minutes, but if he only plays 28 minutes instead of 38 you are basically cutting his production by 25%. Looking at Vegas lines for the game is very helpful for this because you get an idea of how the experts think the game will go. Other than injuries, there is nothing worse than losing players to games that are blowouts.

Points/Pace Expected – Another huge part of basketball is the pace of play and the expected points within a game. Naturally some teams are more defensive and like to play in the half court, while some are very offensive and love to play in the fast break. You want to be targeting guys in games that are moving as fast as possible. There will be more shots leading to more points, more misses leading to more rebounds, more made baskets leading to more assists, and less structure leading to more steals and blocks. One thing to look at is the Vegas lines again for their over under for points on the game. For example say the Rockets vs. Warriors is at 212 points on the over under whereas the Pacers and Hornets have a 180 point line. You are going to want to target guys in that first game due to the reasons listed above. They also keep track of stats such as how long teams usually 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 impact a game. A lot of times, you can get bench guys at a cheap price, who will play starters minutes. Guys who are cheap and play a lot of minutes are hard to find, so if you can find injury replacements, they are usually a good bet. The problem with the NBA, is that the injury notices usually come out like within 10-15 of game time whereas in the NFL it’s 1.5 hours before kickoff, and in baseball it’s several hours before the game. It is critical to always check the last 10-15 minutes to double check for injuries and making sure everybody is playing. Also this can be pivotal for guys who are second and third options on their teams. If a really good player gets hurt, then their production will get a good bump and in turn will become more valuable.

Cash game vs. GPP (tournament) players – This is a major difference in making teams for basketball. Usually in tournaments you are looking for guys to get roughly 5x their value for any site. For cash games, you usually need somewhere between 4-4.5x a players value. This basically means if a guy costs $10,000 then they need to hit 50 points for a tournament, and 40-45 for a cash game. A big part of reaching said value is going to be 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 their hand more often. Players with a lower usage rate are likely going to need more minutes to reach their value unless they can assist or rebound a very high rate. The guys with the higher usage rate I like for tournaments because they have a much higher chance of scoring a ton of points, where guys with lower usage rates and play more are safer picks and more likely to hit their value night in and night out. Also for tournaments, you are going to want guys who aren’t very highly owned most of the time. Sure there might be a stud that you have to have and is owned by 30% of the people, but it’s about getting those under 5% owned players to do well. If they can, then you are much more likely to succeed in the tournament.

Streaks – This is also a huge part of basketball because it often times determines how many people will pick a player. If a player goes on a 2-3 game hot streak, his % owned is going to skyrocket whereas if he a player struggles for 2-3 games then his % owned is going to plummet. Going to my previous point about tournament players, those cold streak guys are the ones to target sometimes, where fading the popular player is sometimes the best option. For cash games, you usually want to role with a guy on a hot streak because you’re only competing to beat half of the field so taking a chance at fading a popular play is far too risky.

Miscellaneous – This is more if you want to put in a lot of time and effort into your research. One thing I know people look into is the referees. Like in any sport, they have a huge impact on the game and can put people in foul trouble or put people at the line. If you are picking star players, it might be better to look for referees who call more fouls per game, compared to if you have a player guarding a star player in that game you may want to avoid him. This goes into the matchup, but some guys have favorable matchups, but just struggle against certain teams. James Harden comes to mind against the Clippers during the regular reason. He had Reddick/Barnes guarding him which isn’t that great yet he rarely reached value against them. Back to backs are also important to look at because a guy may play, but won’t play nearly as much. Looking at little things like that is really important, and a key to being successful

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