NBA Defense vs. Position Stats
There are plenty of factors to consider when putting together a lineup in daily fantasy basketball. You have to factor in the salary of each player, how many minutes and how much production each player is getting, and most importantly, the matchup. While using Vegas lines to your advantage can help you spot certain teams to target, defense vs. position rankings can help you find individual matchups to exploit.
What are DvP Rankings?
Defense vs. position rankings show you how well each team defends a certain position in regards to fantasy points. If a team struggles to defend a certain position and gives up a lot of fantasy points, the DvP rankings will point this out.
For instance, if you look at the picture below you will see that the Warriors are ranked 25th against point guards. That means that if you compare how many fantasy points all teams have given up to point guards on the season, the Warriors would rank 25th.
The lower the DvP ranking, the better that team is at defending that position. Conversely, the higher the DvP ranking is, the worse they are at defending that position. In daily fantasy basketball, you want to target the matchups that are the most favorable and the DvP rankings are a great tool that you can use to find these matchups. Looking at the example above, the three players that we would want to target here are Damian Lillard (Warriors 25th against point guards), Stephen Curry (Blazers 22nd against point guards), and Andrew Bogut (Blazers 21st against centers).
How are DvP Rankings Calculated?
DvP rankings are calculated by totaling the number of fantasy points that each team gives up to each position on the floor. This total includes every fantasy point from every game of the season. That total is then compared to the rest of the teams around the league in order to come up with the rankings.
Production in the NBA is arguably the most predictable of any major sport and part of that is because certain teams struggle to defend certain positions. This can be due to the fact that a team has bad defenders at that position, a bad scheme that lets certain positions succeed against them, or even the fact that a team plays at a fast pace so opponents get more offensive possessions against them.
Season-Long Rankings vs. Recent Rankings
If you read the NBA Grind Down or regularly look at the DvP rankings on RotoGrinders, you will notice two different rankings. The first set of DvP rankings are for the entire season and the other set of DvP rankings only factors in recent history. While both of these rankings have value, which one should be relied upon to predict future performance?
The answer to that question lies somewhere in the middle, but the season-long rankings are probably the best rankings to trust unless there has been a major injury or player change at the position in question. The NBA has an extremely long season and there are abnormalities in fantasy production. The recent DvP rankings may include outliers and may not be a true reflection of a certain team’s defense. While both of these rankings have value, I tend to trust the season long rankings a bit more.
Reading Between the Lines
As with any research tool in DFS, you have to take all of the information in at once and not trust one single stat that you may find. Just because a team may defend a certain position well doesn’t mean that you should always avoid taking a player against them. There are always injuries, trades, and last-minute adjustments in the NBA and sometimes the players that were responsible for those season-long rankings may no longer be on the court or even on the same team.
A great example of this early on in the 2012-2013 season was the Knicks. At the start of the season, they were one of the best defenses against centers thanks to the dominating defense of Tyson Chandler. However, he got hurt and, Andrea Bargnani became the starting center. Bargnani has never been known as a good defender and was a huge step down from the defense of Chandler. If you just looked at the DvP rankings, you would avoid taking any Centers against the Knicks, but if you dig a little deeper, you would see that the Knicks DvP ranking is skewed because of the injury. Always remember to use all of the information out there in order to make the best decisions.
What’s More Important? Value or DvP Rankings
In a perfect world, you would be able to find players that are underpriced and have good matchups, but often times that’s not the case. You may be forced with a decision in which you have to choose between two players. One is underpriced but has a bad matchup and the other is overpriced but has a good matchup. What do you do? Is value more important or is the matchup more important?
In my eyes, value and matchup are the two most important factors in daily fantasy basketball, but saying that one is better than the other just isn’t true. If you are faced with a decision like this, then it’s time to bring in some of the other factors. Which player is seeing more minutes, check the Vegas line and the over/under, how the players been playing recently, and which player lets you fit other players that you like into your roster.
Defense vs. position rankings are a great tool that should be at the very top of your daily routine. They really help exploit matchups that you should target each night, but keep in mind that you should always consider all factors when putting a lineup together.