Welcome to Daily Fantasy Basketball on Fanball!
Welcome to daily fantasy basketball on Fanball! For those of you who are new to daily fantasy basketball we are going to review some basic tips to help you start cashing lineups! As for the grizzled vets, stick around because we will review Fanball’s unique scoring system which will no doubt add a few new wrinkles into how you construct your roster.
This article will focus primarily on cash games, which are contests where roughly half the field gets paid out, consisting of Head-to-Heads, 50/50s, and Double-Ups. The idea is to build a safe lineup with a high floor, not necessarily to get first place. Keep in mind that in a 100-person 50/50, first place will bank the same amount as 50th place.
Cash games aren’t necessarily sexy, but they are a great way to get acclimated with daily fantasy basketball if you have never played before and offer a much better chance to cash lineups consistently, even if it isn’t a life-changing score.
We do encourage you to check out our tournaments with guaranteed prize pools (GPPs) as well, where only the top 25-percent of players win. It requires taking some more risks in your roster construction and obviously you are facing longer odds to cash out, but the thrill of winning that comes with the added difficulty makes it that much sweeter.
What’s the Difference?
If this is your first foray onto the daily fantasy hardwood, let’s take a brief look at what separates the NBA from the rest.
Everyone scores the same way. Unlike the NFL where passing yards and touchdowns are scored differently, every single position in the NBA accrues points the same way. Points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals count exactly the same no matter what position is accounting for them.
Get ready to adapt! If you think bye weeks in the NFL are tough, wait until you see how much the player pool can change from day-to-day in the NBA. In the first week of the season alone we are going to fluctuate between days where there are only two games, to days when we have 22 teams in action on one night. In order to win consistently, you will need to adjust your strategy based not only on matchups, but on the numbers of games and players to choose from as well.
The bench matters. Unlike in other sports where you might only be interested for backups for depth or handcuff purposes, bench players in the NBA can actually help decide contest. You will want to target players who are getting significant playing time off the bench (25+ mins) and who also are attempting 10 or more field goals per game.
Trust in Vegas
Looking at game lines is a fantastic place to start your research, and no one knows better than Las Vegas. We are looking for games with the highest over/under and spreads that are reasonably close. First, target games that check in at 200 or more points for the over/under, because first and foremost we want games in which A LOT of points are going to be scored. Slightly less important is the spread, but it still deserves some consideration. A matchup with a double digit spread has a much higher chance of being a lopsided blowout, which could lead to the studs on your team heading to the bench early to get some rest while the backups come in for cleanup duty.
How do I know what a good value is?
If you can reach the 250 – 300 point range in cash games, you are going to cash your lineup almost every time. This information is helpful, because it helps us figure out what kind of output we need to expect from a player based upon their salary.
Since Fanball’s salary cap is set at $55,000, we are looking for each player in our lineup to score approximately 5.5 points per $1,000 of cost. So for instance, if a player checks in at $6,700 he needs to score 36.5 Fanball points in order to justify that salary. For the mathematically challenged (such as myself) this is as simple as taking the decimal value of a player’s cost (6.7 from the example above) and multiplying it by 5.5.
Selecting a roster
Now that we know what kind of output we need based on player salary, it’s time to start filling out our roster. We want to target two things first and foremost, points and minutes. As you might expect, points per game (ppg) has the strongest correlation between success on the court and success in the fantasy world. Points scored and fantasy points are 1-to-1, making players with a high ppg average the most likely to consistently reach higher scores.
Minutes have the second strongest correlation, because simply being on the court is almost a surefire way to accumulate fantasy points. A player who is only getting 15 minutes per game is going to have a much smaller window to reach the amount of fantasy points we are targeting, making their likelihood of busting much higher.
The next step is to get a little more in-depth and take a look at a Defense vs Position chart (DvP) to better understand which players have a great matchup on a given night. The same way certain NFL teams might struggle against the run, or specifically against pass catching running backs, NBA teams usually have specific deficiencies that can be sussed out by looking at a DvP chart.
Perhaps a team really struggles to guard small forwards, or gives up an abnormally high number of rebounds to centers; if you dig into the numbers, you will give yourself a big advantage over those just choosing players on a whim. With that said, you are going to start true studs like James Harden or Russell Westbrook regardless of almost any matchup, but DvP starts to really come in handy when filling out three to four roster slots where money is a little tighter and expectations a bit lower.
One of the most important keys to success is paying close attention to the injury report. The NBA regular season is a long and tiresome slog, injuries happen, flu season strikes, and it creates opportunities for players who normally wouldn’t see the court much to rack up big minutes. As we already discussed, minutes are one of the most reliable predictors of fantasy success, and if we can get a backup point guard suddenly thrust into the starting lineup it creates a situation where he is almost certain to hit 5.5 times his value since he is still priced like a backup.
Finally, don’t sweat ownership percentage on your stud players. We are talking primarily about cash games here, so don’t get caught up worrying about whether LeBron is 50-percent owned, plug him into your lineup and forget about it.
The main difference setting Fanball scoring apart from other daily platforms are the escalating point bonuses that players receive. A double-double earns an additional two points for a player, a triple-double earns an additional six points, and a quad-double (shout out to the Admiral, the last player to achieve this feat) earns a whopping 12 points. These bonuses do not stack (if a player achieves a triple double, you only receive six additional points, not eight) but that’s nothing to scoff at, especially now that we appear to be heading into a season when triple doubles become a little less commonplace.
The other major change from the fantasy norm is that Fanball does not penalize players for turnovers. This will primarily benefit high usage guards like Russell Westbrook and James Harden who have finished in the top five in turnovers each of the last four years.
Aaron Whitlock is an employee of SportsHub Games Network, Inc., Fanball’s parent company. As such, he is ineligible to compete in public Fanball contests though he may play in private, Fanball-sponsored contests similar to those contests he offers advice on. Any advice or strategies provided by SportsHub Games Network employees represent their personal opinions; they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of SportsHub Games Network and are not necessarily reflective of the strategies they may employ in their own lineups.