Daily Fantasy NBA Tournament Strategy

By Josh Lewis (rotomonkey83), Last Updated 9 hours ago

If you haven’t yet, I would encourage you to read my NBA cash game strategy article. Many of the most important aspects of daily fantasy NBA are covered there.

In GPPs, many of the same elements need to be considered, but we can expound upon them in such a way that allows us to take some chances, rostering players that are a risk, but that also carry high upside and low ownership. In this article, I will cover the same points that I did in my cash game article, but apply them to GPPs.

Minutes

marcin gortat

In cash games, we want guaranteed, or mostly guaranteed minutes. Rostering players who could easily see a reduced role due to the matchup, another player playing well, or other factors is something we want to avoid whenever possible. In GPPs, it can be quite advantageous to try to predict if a player is going to see a few extra minutes, and hence would become a great per-dollar play that very few others will have in their lineups.

An example that comes to mind is Marcin Gortat. If you ignore the stretch of the season where he was putting up big numbers on an almost nightly basis and everyone was rostering him, he was usually a low-owned center due to the presence of more attractive options at the position combined with the fact that he didn’t play heavy minutes. However, when the Wizards matched up with teams with bigger frontcourts, specifically the Bulls, Gortat would play heavy minutes because Washington needed his size on the court. Knowing that this is a likely scenario, you can roster a player like Gortat at low ownership and get nearly 40 minutes of production from a center that’s priced as if he plays around 30.

You shouldn’t attempt to predict what coaches are going to do and how certain factors will affect the playing time of certain players, but it’s a risk worth taking in GPPs.

Role

Often times, a player’s role on their team will change. This usually occurs when another player is unable to play due to an injury. We can take advantage of these types of situations before everyone else has had a game or two to look back and see what happened. An example of this is last season when Jrue Holiday was hurt. Clearly, there was going to be a scoring void that needed to be filled, but what often flies under the radar is another role Holiday has when he’s on the court – ball-handling. Not only did Norris Cole see extra ball-handling responsibilities, but Eric Gordon, the starting shooting guard, did as well. Having access to a shooting guard, which can be a difficult position to fill, who was going to not only score, but also dish out a handful of assists was extremely valuable. The key is getting in front of these shifts in roles before they happen, and before other plays are aware of them.

Injuries and Replacement Starters

There aren’t going to be any sneaky plays that pop up as a result of injuries. Everyone knows who the fill-in is going to be, and most people are going to be starting them. What I’m going to focus more on is when it is appropriate to fade players that, while they may see an increase in minutes, are unlikely to be worth using even at a reduced price tag.

I used the example of Ramon Sessions in my cash game article. That same example is relevant here. Knowing that Sessions would be high owned getting a spot start for Darren Collison in Sacramento, but also knowing that the real end result of Collison being out would simply be more work for Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins, one could easily fade Sessions in some GPP lineups. Not only does that avoid a potentially high owned dud, but it allows for a variation in roster construction. Lineups tend to build themselves in NBA when there are cheap, “must have” players. Fading those players forces you to build a lineup that’s going to vary from the herd, which can be extremely profitable in GPPs.

Another example from last season is Anthony Tolliver. Tolliver saw some big minutes when Greg Monroe was forced to miss a handful of games for Detroit. Many players simply plugged Tolliver in as he was cheap and would likely see upwards of 30 minutes. This was true, but the idea that he would be anywhere near as productive as Greg Monroe was ill-founded. As a stretch four, Tolliver hung out around the perimeter on offense, content to watch Reggie Jackson shoulder much of the offensive load to make up for Monroe’s absence. He had almost no chance at a high ceiling, and even if he “reached value”, the likely result of rostering him was overpaying for a player that didn’t reach their value threshold. That’s not a recipe for success in GPPs.

Coaches

demar derozan

Dwane Casey was, without a doubt, one of the most infuriating coaches last season. With Gregg Popovich, you know exactly what to expect. Casey, however, was a total wild card. Some players, like Jonas Valanciunas, would start and play 20 minutes. Others, like Lou Williams, could see 30 or more off the bench. There was no predictable rhyme or reason to what he did, and he made using any of his players not named Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan completely unusable in cash games.

However, these players made for great GPP targets. Valanciunas did have some big games, and he was almost always very low owned when these happened. Players didn’t want to play guessing games with the Raptors, and were likely tired of getting burned by them, so the easiest choice was to avoid the situation altogether. You can capitalize on that sentiment and take some chances, understanding that it may not work out, but when it does, you stand to profit.

Value

I touched on this briefly when I discussed Anthony Tolliver replacing Greg Monroe in the starting lineup. Value can be a misplaced idea, especially when building GPP lineups. The spot starters are always going to be high owned, even in GPPs. While they are unlikely to sink your cash game lineups, they can certainly hurt you in GPPs. Any player that is high owned is unlikely to make a difference in a GPP, but if that high owned player underperforms, your lineup likely has no chance for a big payday.

We’re trying to maximize the number of fantasy points our lineups can potentially earn, and by rostering a cheap player that’s going to see an uptick in minutes, but is unable to achieve a high ceiling, we’re limiting ourselves. It’s nice to be able to fit LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Anthony Davis in our lineups, but the reality is that these players often don’t have big enough games to justify their inflated salaries. In GPPs, it’s advantageous to find two lower owned, middle tier players that are both capable of big games, rather than take a stars and scrubs approach.

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Comments

  • FPFootball

    Is there a target FP/$ rate for FD and DK similar to other sports?

  • aloeup

    • 2014 DraftKings FFWC Finalist

      DraftKings FFWC Finalist
    @FPFootball said...

    Is there a target FP/$ rate for FD and DK similar to other sports?

    If I remember correctly from last year you’re shooting for 300+ in GPPs on DK. No pun intended

  • TeamTwerk

    I think it was 5x on FD and 6x on DK.

  • BreakingBacon

    @FPFootball said...

    Is there a target FP/$ rate for FD and DK similar to other sports?

    6x is needed to compete for a Gpp majority of nights while cash games you need about a 320 to cash comfortably. Fanduel system.

  • FPFootball

    Thanks everyone, I will just shoot for 6x.

  • Njsum1

    NBA is simply the most fun out of any daily sport to play…nothing even comes close…imvho of course

  • Oakwalds3

    “There aren’t going to be any sneaky plays that pop up as a result of injuries. Everyone knows who the fill-in is going to be, and most people are going to be starting them.”

    Not true; there are late inclusions and exclusions all the time. Tracking every team’s beat writer on twitter in the half hour before entries lock is a key way to gain expected value.

    For example, one night last season, D Wade was listed as “out” on FD but played and was 5% owned. Same night, Jimmy Butler was a late scratch, but was scratched before lineups locked, and he was owned at 16%.

  • jdurgin1084

    6x is key for Fan duel. I agree with the avoiding certain value plays as well, and tend to focus on using the guys who will pick up more of the hurt players usage rate instead of using the min salary guy starting for him. For example, instead of using Tony Snell when Butler was hurt last season, I would use gasol in a lot of my GPP lineups. Sure he would be higher owned then he normally was but I would avoid the dud snell put up

  • Ur_highness601

    Great article. I’ve been killing myself doing the stars and scrubs approach on the bigger slates. But it seems to work pretty well on the 2-3 game slates. This is my first year in NBA and I’m actually off to a great start. I Have had some great finishes in small slates, Plenty of top 10 and top 20 finishes. However my bankroll management hasn’t been the best but I’m DEFINITELY learning. An article on proper strategy to multi entry into GPPs would be GREATLY appreciated.

  • Ducktec

    First year playing NBA daily fantasy, I’m a huge b-ball fan and I thought I could jump right in and start banking!! But wow what a different strategy you need to take when making your lineup. I’ve been frustrated seeing day after day people scoring over 300+ FD points on a daily basis! I try to do my research and it just baffles me how people could luck out on some players I would not expect to score that many points. I always look at others peoples lineups and I am just surprised. I guess I need to keep plugging away and try to do more daily research. What I wanted to ask is how many different lineups do people normally use on a daily basis?

  • TheSoldierFox

    Great article

  • walkoff9

    • 307

      RG Overall Ranking

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    @Oakwalds3 said...

    “There aren’t going to be any sneaky plays that pop up as a result of injuries. Everyone knows who the fill-in is going to be, and most people are going to be starting them.”

    Not true; there are late inclusions and exclusions all the time. Tracking every team’s beat writer on twitter in the half hour before entries lock is a key way to gain expected value.

    For example, one night last season, D Wade was listed as “out” on FD but played and was 5% owned. Same night, Jimmy Butler was a late scratch, but was scratched before lineups locked, and he was owned at 16%.

    Even just responding to late scratches is a good way to get low owned cheap guys. When people have the entire day to see who is going to get extra minutes they will be highly owned, but when news breaks at 6pm, most people wont rebuild rosters to get the new value play in.

  • zeroandmegax6

    So when is it ok to plug in the replacement player? If the field is always going to plug in the backup which creates high ownnership isn’t that the best play or does it depend on the backup? For example when Delly started for Mo williams he was high owned and productive at a low cost, But when Ryan Hollins filled in for Marcin Gortat he was high owned as a punt play but produced nothing. Guess I’m confused on when to avoid the replacement player vs plugging him in

  • daveinchi1975

    2012 DSBC Finalist

    I think an important thing to consider with regard to gpp’s is the the difference in fading players on dk versus fd. Take a position like SG on fanduel. Because you HAVE to fill that position with two players, you can get a fairly good sense of ownership % based upon the list of options at the position, but on dk, this is less so since there is a utility slot and a “guard” position. Consequently, there are gpp fade stratgies you can use that can’t be used on dk. On short slates, this really comes into play as there will be times when the 2 best players from a particular position will be 70% owned or more. On such an occasion, it can pay big to fae both or one of those players at the position in favor of a player you know will be FAR less owned. IF, and it is a big IF, since on most nights, it won’t happen, but if the player you fade who is 70% plus owned in that gpp plays horribly, then you are automatically in the driver’s seat that night. This happened on 1/3/2016 when Barton and McCollum were the slam dunk SG options, while Lou Williams was the next best thing on a 2-game night. McCollum and Barton were 94% and 85% owned respectively. I pivoted off Barton to Lou Williams (who was around 10% owned), and went McCollum-Lou. Lou outscored Barton by 30 points, so I had a 30 point advantage on 85% of the field (in other words, I was guaranteed to cash), which made it much easier to move up the ranks in the gpp. Unfortunately for me, I finished with the worst possible cash due to a horrible pick of TJ Warren at SF, but this is a case where the pivot-fade can work out extremely well on fanduel, but not so much on draftkings due to lineup restrictions relative to the site

  • raznick34

    Nice read, going to change my lineup now

  • NitroChaney

    Ok I’m gonna sound like a rookie but here we go…. How do you figure 5x or 6x value? I don’t get it. Plz explain.

  • Thrasher768

    @NitroChaney said...

    Ok I’m gonna sound like a rookie but here we go…. How do you figure 5x or 6x value? I don’t get it. Plz explain.

    Let’s say a player on Fanduel is 4500 and you want 5x out of him.

    4.5 × 5 = 22.5

    He would need 22.5 fantasy points to hit that 5x.

  • PokerRoman1

    I like to think of it as the multiple (M) in relationship to the blinds and your chip stack in poker. For example, if a $5,000 player scores 30 points, he’s a 6X (I think of it as a 6M). Regardless, if your’e going to make a run for the top, ALL of your players are going to need to exceed projections.

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