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Impact of Blowouts

The blowout factor is a common fear amongst daily fantasy players. The idea that your star players could sit out the last 12 minutes of a game always looms large in your research process. Some players use a simple rule. If the spread is greater than 10 points, avoid the stars. Some players completely ignore it and make their decisions based on other variables, deciding they’d rather be burned than miss out on a potential top-tier play. I prefer to look at it more statistically.

Spreads and Big Performances

Take a look below at this sample of games players who scored over 40 and 50 fantasy points in varying levels of spreads. This sample is from the first half of the 2013-14 NBA season and includes about 240 games:

0-3 Pts 58 93 1.6
3-6 Pts 78 122 1.56
6-9 Pts 54 82 1.52
9-12 Pts 39 54 1.38
12+ Pts 11 15 1.36

The numbers tell us pretty much all we need to know. The highest number of 40+ fantasy point games (using FanDuel NBA scoring), comes in the tightest games. This makes sense for a number of reasons. First, you know the best players will be in the game down the stretch of a tight game. Competitive games directly correlate to more minutes played and as you’ll learn in other RotoAcademy NBA Lessons, minutes are DFS NBA gold. Second, the frantic nature of late-game play adds huge benefits fantasy-wise. In blowouts, teams are more inclined to go through the motions and run out the clock. In close games, you’ll see quick fouls, desperate shots, etc. which all lead to fantasy goodness.

But back to the original discussion about blowouts. The two highest spread figures on the table above represent the two lowest number of 40+ fantasy point efforts. In the first half of the 2013-14 NBA season, there were only 1.38 40+ FP scorers per game (both teams) when the spread was between 9 and 12 points. In that span, there were only 1.36 40+ FP scorers per game with spreads greater than 12 points. Compare that to the 1.60 clip for games with spreads between 0 and 3 points and you can see how focusing on close games might actually give you an edge versus just purely looking at a game’s over/under.

The blowout factor in the NBA is clearly a very real concern, especially when targeting big game performances. It’s important to understand that value plays will likely be strong value plays regardless of a blowout-risk. For star players, you need a much higher total for them to reach value so getting every possible minute out of them is essential, especially in a GPP format where getting that 40+ fantasy point game is a big step in the direction of quickly climbing the leaderboard.

If you want to read more about the importance of Vegas Odds and Lines in terms of Spreads, Over/Unders and fantasy scoring, check out my full article discussing the impact of Vegas Lines here

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