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Establishing an NBA Foundation

Justin Van Zuiden (stlcardinals84)

Justin Van Zuiden, aka stlcardinals84, is a popular RotoGrinders contributor and GrindersLive host who routinely finishes in the top 10 of the TPOY race. He’s appeared in numerous live finals and has logged countless six-figure wins in a host of different sports, including five in PGA. Justin is also a main contributor of sports betting picks at ScoresAndOdds

Greetings, everyone! Thank you for taking the time to purchase my first NBA-themed course here at RotoAcademy, and I hope you find these lessons useful as you make your foray into the newest NBA season. These lessons will focus specifically on tournament (also known as “GPP” which stands for guaranteed prize pool) play, but an initial lesson is necessary before we dive into the depths of tournament strategy. This lesson will help establish a framework with which you can work from when it comes to making tournament lineups and we will work off this in future lessons.

The key to unlocking a winning tournament strategy starts with establishing a foundation from which you can play on a daily basis in cash games, 50/50’s, and other game types. Obviously, you are not here for a detailed course on that topic, but some of the principles have to be discussed here. Otherwise, you could be missing valuable information that you need to have a grasp on before you tackle the large-field tournaments. This lesson will be basic, and those that have been playing daily fantasy NBA for a longer period of time will already know much of this information. However, this is paramount information for the new player. Whichever camp you fall under, make sure you understand the content included within this lesson before moving on to the tournament-focused lessons.

There are four foundation principles that you need to know with regards to daily fantasy basketball. They are as follows:

FOUNDATION PRINCIPLE #1 – Minutes are Golden

There is no sport out there where minutes are more directly correlated with expected production than NBA. If a player finds himself on the court for 35 or 40 minutes on a given night, he’s likely going to do something in that time. The same cannot be said for a baseball, football, or a soccer player. This is the one principle that makes the NBA game a little more predictable than almost every other sport out there. Take advantage of this. Check box scores, see what team’s rotations are looking like, keep an eye on minutes, and give yourself an edge in the daily fantasy world in the process.

FOUNDATION PRINCIPLE #2 – Late-Breaking News is Paramount

This dove-tails with the principle above. Since minutes are golden, we have to make sure we know who is going to get those minutes – and we have to keep an eye on every NBA team. The tricky part with basketball is that there is often late-breaking news that happens right before tip-off of the NBA games for a particular evening. This gets worse as the season goes along and injuries pile up. The good news is that Twitter is an invaluable resource. Almost every team has a reliable beat writer (or two) that is able to update fantasy players when NBA guys are active or inactive. The key is to be able to respond to this news comfortably. Know throughout the day who the possible game-time decisions might be by keeping abreast of morning practice reports, and this will allow you to better tailor your lineups by knowing who might stand to benefit from a fantasy perspective. Twitter is your absolute best friend here, as several daily fantasy players have created helpful lists of beat writers to follow for this late-breaking news.

FOUNDATION PRINCIPLE #3 – Understand the Concept of “Floor” and “Ceiling”

This isn’t the sexiest principle to talk about, but it is key to understand the concepts of “floor” and “ceiling” as they pertain to daily fantasy basketball. There are some players that have both a high floor and a high ceiling. These are your superstars like Kevin Durant and LeBron James. However, there are some players that fall on one end of the spectrum. Some players are “high-floor, low-ceiling” players that tend to give you stable production most nights but never hit that true monster game. Guys like Luol Deng and Kyle Korver come to mind here. These players are often one-dimensional players (like Korver) or players who don’t stand out with much of any special skill but play a lot of minutes. On the contrary, other players are “low-floor, high-ceiling.” These are often players that have skills in several different areas, and there are some nights where everything just clicks. However, there are often nights where they don’t do a whole lot of damage because things don’t break their way. Examples that stand out in this area include Nicolas Batum and Ricky Rubio. The “high-floor, low-ceiling” players are ideal cash game plays, while the opposite players are ideal tournament options.

FOUNDATION PRINCIPLE #4 – Vegas is Your Friend

Along the lines of NBA being one of the most predictable sports, we can also learn a lot from looking at Vegas lines – specifically game totals. Most games have a total just under 200 points, and that would be considered an “average” total in today’s day and age. Sometimes we get games that are in the 205-210 range, and possibly even higher. Those are the games where alarm bells should be sounding off for daily fantasy players. Games that are played at a higher pace are good, because that means more points, more assists, more shot attempts, and generally more opportunities for stats in general. The other thing to keep an eye on is projected spreads. If a team is projected to win or lose by 14 to 20-plus points, the starters in that game might not be playing in the fourth quarter. That means less minutes, and that means less fantasy goodness as a result of Principle #1.

If you get these four principles down, you can hang with anyone in daily fantasy basketball, especially in cash game formats. There’s nothing extremely involved or tricky about them, and that is what draws so many NBA fans to love the daily fantasy game. The sport is perfectly suited for daily fantasy sports, with action at every turn and injury news coming out on a seemingly hourly basis almost every day. Take some notes on these foundation principles, especially if you are a new player, and you are ready to move forward into the discussion of tournament strategy. Let’s head there next.

Greetings, everyone! Thank you for taking the time to purchase my first NBA-themed course here at RotoAcademy, and I hope you find these lessons useful as you make your foray into the newest NBA season. These lessons will focus specifically on tournament (also known as “GPP” which stands for guaranteed prize pool) play, but an initial lesson is necessary before we dive into the depths of tournament strategy. This lesson will help establish a framework with which you can work from when it comes to making tournament lineups and we will work off this in future lessons.

The key to unlocking a winning tournament strategy starts with establishing a foundation from which you can play on a daily basis in cash games, 50/50’s, and other game types. Obviously, you are not here for a detailed course on that topic, but some of the principles have to be discussed here. Otherwise, you could be missing valuable information that you need to have a grasp on before you tackle the large-field tournaments. This lesson will be basic, and those that have been playing daily fantasy NBA for a longer period of time will already know much of this information. However, this is paramount information for the new player. Whichever camp you fall under, make sure you understand the content included within this lesson before moving on to the tournament-focused lessons.

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About the Author

  • Justin Van Zuiden (stlcardinals84)

  • Justin Van Zuiden, aka stlcardinals84, is a popular RotoGrinders contributor and GrindersLive host who routinely finishes in the top 10 of the TPOY race. He’s appeared in numerous live finals and has logged countless six-figure wins in a host of different sports, including five in PGA. Justin is also a main contributor of sports betting picks at ScoresAndOdds

Instructor

Justin Van Zuiden, aka stlcardinals84, is a popular RotoGrinders contributor and GrindersLive host who routinely finishes in the top 10 of the TPOY race. He’s appeared in numerous live finals and has logged countless six-figure wins in a host of different sports, including five in PGA. Justin is also a main contributor of sports betting picks at ScoresAndOdds

RotoGrinders.com is the home of the daily fantasy sports community. Our content, rankings, member blogs, promotions and forum discussion all cater to the players that like to create a new fantasy team every day of the week.

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