FanDuel NBA Opening Night Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy Guide
The NBA season is almost here, which means it's almost time for daily fantasy NBA on FanDuel. Whether you're new to FanDuel or daily fantasy basketball or you're a seasoned veteran, it's always worth a refresher heading into the season -- especially with FanDuel introducing some changes this offseason.
With that in mind, let's examine what's new and take a look ahead to Tuesday's opening night two-game slate.
Nothing has changed since last year regarding FanDuel's roster construction or its $60,000 salary. The only real alteration entering the 2017 season is to FanDuel's NBA scoring, which is laid out in the table below.
|3-Point Field Goal||3|
|2-Point Field Goal||2|
If you played FanDuel last year, what will jump out right away is the fact that steals and blocks are worth an additional point. While that may seem insignificant, it definitely boosts the value of certain players.
For example, below is a list of the 10 players who, if they hit our 2017-18 projections, will see the largest jump in their FanDuel scoring average per game thanks to the scoring changes.
|Player||Increase in FPPG|
It should come as no surprise that Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid -- who pile up the steals and blocks -- find themselves at the top of this list. Blocks specialists like Rudy Gobert and Hassan Whiteside stand to benefit from the scoring change, too. (Not surprisingly, these guys are all DFS studs. This is simply to show that under last year's scoring system Antetokounmpo, for example, would have scored nearly 4 fewer points per contest.)
Using Your Tools
Now that we've covered what's new this year, let's focus on the beast itself -- how to research for NBA DFS. If you're unfamiliar with the game, it can seem daunting at first glance. There is a wealth of information out there and many different factors that contribute to the outcome, so identifying the proper places to find information can be quite time consuming.
But what if I told you that you could find everything you need right here at numberFire by simply using our premium tools?
One of the simplest ways to get ahead during the daily grind of NBA season is by keeping a close eye on the Vegas odds. Knowing which games will be the highest- or lowest-scoring on a day-to-day basis can help form a baseline for your research.
In addition to focusing on over/unders, it is important to keep an eye on the spreads for each game. The daily fantasy community is well aware that games with double-digit spreads will often yield very low-owned players, as FanDuel players attempt to avoid blowouts. Knowing which games are blowout risks can help decide which games to avoid in cash contests -- but also which games could swing tournaments if the Vegas line is off and the game remains competitive.
Another important thing to keep in mind each day is the pace factor of each team. Both Vegas odds and pace factor can be found in our Daily Fantasy Heat Map, one of our many useful tools. More possessions equal more points scored, of course, but also more opportunities for all counting stats -- and ultimately more FanDuel points.
Keeping tabs on which players or teams are going through hot and cold stretches can seem simple if you're scouring box scores every morning. But our Trends tool breaks it down to a science, giving you the ability to track the hottest players at each position and over different periods of time. Usage rate is another important factor to keep in mind when creating lineups.
Injuries and Increased Opportunities
Due to the daily grind that is the NBA, players will often find themselves thrust into larger roles on a nightly basis, depending on injuries or routine days off. Our player news tab will keep you updated on which players are going to be out of action, or you can simply follow our numberFire NBA Twitter account, @numberFire_NBA. Day-to-day injuries and rest days are quite common in the NBA, so if you are able to identify which players stand to benefit most from the additional playing time and usage, you'll have an advantage over the field.
One of the best tools for doing just that is nbawowy.com, which allows you to examine splits for players with and without certain teammates one the floor on a per-minute basis, so you can get a good idea of who picks up the slack when a superstar is out of the lineup. There are tons of functions available on the site, and mastering nbawowy is a key step towards building better DFS lineups.
Now that we have an idea of how to start our daily NBA research process, let's put it together and look forward to the opening night of hoops!
Opening Night Studs
LeBron James, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers
FanDuel Salary: $10,400
It's tough to know how the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers' usage will be spread out, but one thing is certain -- LeBron James will be the focal point. You could certainly make the case for Kevin Durant ($9,800) as the top small forward on the slate, but it doesn't get much better than Bron vs. Kyrie Irving in Cleveland on opening night. (Note: James is dealing with a bad ankle and might miss the opener. Be sure to check the aforementioned sources for injury updates right before tipoff.)
Draymond Green, PF, Golden State Warriors
FanDuel Salary: $8,300
Draymond Green figures to be one of the largest beneficiaries of the scoring change on FanDuel, and he finds himself in a beautiful spot against the Houston Rockets. The Rockets were one of the worst defenses against power forwards last season, and Green averaged 48.1 FanDuel points in four games against them in 2016-17. He is the clear top power forward option on the slate.
Kyrie Irving, PG, Boston Celtics
FanDuel Salary: $8,200
Kyrie Irving seems awfully underpriced given his expected role in Boston. (For context, he saw his price rise as high as $9,500 last year in a secondary role with Cleveland.) While Irving won't benefit from facing the "defense" of Isaiah Thomas, the Cavs' fill-in is Derrick Rose, another player known more for his O than his D. Among 81 qualified point guards, Rose ranked 72nd in defensive real plus-minus last season (DRPM).
Derrick Rose, PG, Cleveland Cavaliers
FanDuel Salary: $5,500
Derrick Rose is definitely a risky play because we have yet to see him, Dwyane Wade, or Jae Crowder log regular season minutes for Cleveland, but the upside is there at this price, especially if James misses the game. Per nbawowy, Rose had a 24.3% usage rate with the Cavs starting lineup on the floor during the preseason -- the highest mark among all Cavs starters. That is obviously a small sample size, but it does reinforce what we already knew, which is that Rose is not shy about looking for his shot. With Kyrie (70th in DRPM last year) assigned to him, Rose has a decent shot at a big offensive performance in his Cavs debut.
Eric Gordon, SG, Houston Rockets
FanDuel Salary: $5,200
Eric Gordon is a cost-effective way to fill one of your shooting guard spots, as an up-tempo matchup like this suits his style of play perfectly. With Lou Williams out of town, it appears Houston will split nearly all of their minutes at the one- and two-guard spots between Chris Paul, James Harden, and Gordon, which should result in tons of playing time for the three-point specialist.
Jaylen Brown, SG, Boston Celtics
FanDuel Salary: $3,700
Jaylen Brown will likely start for Boston, which makes him the cheapest starting option for any team on this slate. Brown is known more for his defense than fantasy prowess, but the talented young guard showed the ability to have big games in limited action last year, highlighted by a 35 FanDuel-point performance against Cleveland. If loading up on studs on this small slate, Brown is a must-have.