I apologize for this article appearing after the start of the NBA season. With baseball ending, football in full swing, and now the NBA firing up, my time has been scarce to say the least. I had meant to get it done prior to the season’s start.
Writing fantasy sports is a labor of love. Ask anyone who does it. From the highest paid writer to the guy who writes for free, it is work. It is also time. Time we take out of our lives and away from our family as we lock ourselves into research mode and open our laptops. I am up most days by 3 A.M. The interesting thing is when I log onto Facebook all the people on my friends list who are active at that hour are fantasy sports writers and analysts. The reason we get up so early is because fantasy content, especially daily fantasy content, has an extremely short shelf life. So how do I do it? Coffee.
I drink around 12 hot cups per day and frequent Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and McDonalds throughout the day for iced coffees. How do you know when you have a coffee problem? When every order taker in town knows your name. If there was to exist a real life “Norm” that went to Cheers I would be his coffee counterpart. I would walk into Starbucks and hear the place go, “Jerry”. Then I would make an offbeat color comment about it being a dog eat dog world and how I am wearing milkbone underwear. By days end I often find myself lying in bed sipping on an iced coffee when most would be drinking sleepy time tea. The result is I sleep like a rabbit waiting to be snatched out of his hole by a hungry hawk. The slightest stir and I am up and going. That is how I ended up here doing this article this morning.
Basketball is a little simpler than baseball. Not so much variance. What I mean is you can play Mike Trout for a week and get nothing out of him but when you play Russell Westbrook most nights you get what you pay for. This is the beauty of Daily Fantasy Basketball. Most people think they can simply look at a players stats and go. You can, but it decreases your success rate quite a bit. I am going to give you some research tips to help you be successful playing this game. Each of these are part of the process I use when building lineups.
1. The Over/Under
The first thing I check when I start my research is the expected point total or the Over/Under. This is the total score that the gods in Las Vegas have decided the game should achieve. A lot of people say they do not pay attention to this but that would be foolish. You see, I am one guy. I have limited time. I only play on a big night maybe a $100. Las Vegas puts millions of dollars on the line each day and have teams of people dedicated to researching everything the normal guy wouldn’t. When they are done they set the line. You can bet that the Los Angeles Lakers versus The Charlotte Hornets total game score will be over 198 points or under 198 points. As a daily fantasy basketball player you can look at these to gauge where the most offense is likely to fall that night. Why target players in a game with a an expected point total of 189 when you can go after a game that has one up around 210. Them extra 21 points have to go somewhere and trust me in tournaments one point can be the difference between $100 and $1000. Once you have checked your Over/Unders you move onto the next step…
2. The Line
This is the line you see that looks like this:
- Boston (-4, O/U 198) @ Philadelphia or Boston (O/U 198, -4) @ Philadelphia
This left is telling you that Boston is expected to beat the 76ERs by four points and the right is telling you the 76ERs are expected to beat the Celtics by four points. This is an extremely useful tool to determine the bench usage you might get from each team. If you see the San Antonio Spurs are 14 point favorites this should automatically tell you the game has blowout potential. When a team goes up 15-to-20 points they often pull some of the starters off the floor and insert some bench players to hold the lead. These are good games to find bench players with high usage for cheap and also tells you to be cautious paying up for the big stars. If LeBron James is banged up and the Cavaliers are up 23 points in the third quarter more than likely he will sit until they cannot afford to let him do so any longer. Then you are upset because you paid top dollar to watch your star player sit on the bench with a sweaty towel around his neck.
3. Offense vs. Defense
Much like football you need to take into consideration the other teams defense versus the position when choosing players. Did you ever wonder why James Harden has bad nights? It is usually because the Houston Rockets played a team who defends the Shooting Guard position well, like the Washington Wizards. Who by the way are ranked 4th against the SG position. So what you want to do is try and find the best point guard you can playing against the worst ranked team at defending the PG position. Then if you can also find that combo in conjunction with a game that has a high Over/Under and low line suggesting a close game and you are onto something. Making sense?
4. Pace of Game
Pace of game? What? Ok, this is actually a lot more important than people think. This is the tool to try and determine the rate at which the scoring is going to occur. For instance, the Golden State Warriors play at one of the highest pace of games in the NBA at 105.3 as opposed to the Utah Jazz play at the slow pace of 92.6. What does this mean? It means the Warriors tend to rebound the ball and fly down court to score as fast as possible as opposed to the Jazz who stop, set, and collect themselves before moving forward. The pace of game is how teams with lots of outside shooters slow it down to set up their shots and control the tempo of the game. So the goal is to find two teams with a high pace of game and close line playing each other if you can.
5. Offensive Efficiency
This is a tool to determine the rate at which a team scores when having possession of the ball per 100 possessions. If you target players on a team like the Pacers who have a pace of game of 106.9 it makes them look like a pretty good option right? Well, you check the offensive efficiency and see that theirs is a very low 94.6. You now know that they are more than likely turnover prone which costs you points in daily fantasy basketball. Why are the Los Angeles Clippers so good? Because they have a pace of game of 105.3 and offensive efficiency of 108.1. They move fast and score often.
Well I hope this helps because Daily Fantasy Basketball can be a lot of fun if you give it a chance. As usual exercise bankroll management and stay on the cash games. Good luck. Any questions feel free to hit me up on Twitter.
If you manage your bankroll and follow these steps most nights you should get emails like this:
And you can check your ph0ne when you wake up in the middle of the night like every DFS player does and see this:
Here some great sites for information.
- Daily Fantasy Baseball: Picks for 5-20-16 - May 20, 2016
- Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks for 5-10-16 - May 10, 2016
- Five research tips to playing Daily Fantasy Basketball - October 31, 2015