8 Lineups to Exploit in Daily Fantasy Basketball
Sure, we could dive into how pace and defensive rating should influence everyday research for NBA DFS, but what it all boils down to is fantasy points. The more fantasy points we get from our lineups, the more we win.
And as it pertains to that specific example, while the Bulls are allowing a total of 247.04 FanDuel points per game to their opponents, the Jazz are giving up just 209.20. That's nearly 40 FanDuel points that won't be there to spread amongst that game's DFS options. That's a big deal, especially when we're dealing with slow-paced teams or potential blowouts.
Given that and the various other factors, like pace, defensive rating and implied point totals, we can get an idea as to what teams to target. But how do we know which players to hone in on specifically? How do we know which lineups are the most exploitable for fantasy purposes?
After pulling lineup data from NBA Stats, I was able to calculate a lineup's points, rebounds, and so on allowed per 100 possessions so as to eliminate the influence of minutes and pace. From there, I was able to use those averages to find lineups' FanDuel points allowed per 100. Ultimately, I decided to simplify it to FanDuel points allowed per possession, which -- if you use your own models -- should help you take this data and include it in your projections, or at least your daily research.
This will be a bi-weekly piece in which I'll list five full lineups, highlight one, and detail three other two-to-four-man lineups that have proved exploitable in daily fantasy basketball. Keep in mind that, for now, some lineups -- mostly full lineups -- will have limited minutes. But it's my aim to focus on those relevant to a team's main rotations or those that they roll out in the event of injury.
Now, let's get to it.
For reference, the average FanDuel points allowed per possession is 2.062 (for the 250-lineup sample).
|J. Holiday, Z. LaVine, J. Parker, C. Payne, W. Carter Jr.||CHI||7||23||2.908|
|C. Paul, P. Tucker, J. Harden, J. Ennis III, C. Capela||HOU||2||21||2.811|
|S. Dinwiddie, .D. Russell, R. Hollis-Jefferson, C. LeVert, J. Allen||BKN||4||13||2.767|
|G. Dragic, H. Whiteside, R. McGruder, J. Richardson, D. Jones Jr.||MIA||3||30||2.702|
|C. Anthony, C. Paul, P. Tucker, E. Gordon, J. Harden||HOU||2||10||2.522|
These aren't the worst five-man lineups, but taking minutes and relevance into account they are some of the most notable.
The struggling Houston Rockets are home to two terrible defensive lineups. Their more traditional lineup with Clint Capela at the five -- their second-most used lineup overall -- has allowed 138.3 points per 100 possessions on 29.8 three-point attempts and 12.8 three-point makes. They've also turned them over just 8.5 times per 100, leading to an opponent assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.75:1.
Their offensively-geared small-ball lineup has played very limited minutes, but it's been nearly as bad. Opponents have hit just 4.2 threes per 100, but they've committed 20.8 fouls, resulting in 33.3 free throw attempts over 100 possessions. When James Harden returns from injury, if they're still willing to give up rim protection in favor of P.J. Tucker or Carmelo Anthony at the five, that could be something to target, especially in opposing small-ball type lineups.
For four-, three- and two-man lineups, the average FanDuel points allowed per possession are 2.112, 2.134 and 2.152 among the 250-lineup sample.
|T. Ariza, I. Canaan, D. Booker, D. Ayton||PHX||4||54||2.600|
|J. Holiday, Z. LaVine, C. Payne||CHI||7||123||2.582|
|D. Russell, C. LeVert||BKN||7||181||2.361|
The Phoenix Suns' core four, consisting of starting point guard Isaiah Canaan, wings Devin Booker and Trevor Ariza, and center Deandre Ayton, has not been all that bad on the defensive end, but fantasy points aren't just earned on one end of the floor. While they've forced just 9.6 turnovers per 100 possessions, when all four are on the floor they have allowed their opponents to rack up 10.4 steals and 7.0 blocks per 100. On FanDuel, those steals and blocks are crucial as they count for three points apiece. The fact that they're allowing 51.9% shooting from the floor doesn't help, but opponents' ability to get easy fantasy points on defense is something to monitor. If the group gels more with time, that could become less of an advantage to exploit.
Not seen here is that Chicago actually holds the top two spots for FanDuel points allowed per possession by four-man lineups, but we're focusing on their starters at the one-through-three spots specifically. In their more than 100 minutes together, Cameron Payne, Zach LaVine and Justin Holiday have allowed 125.2 points per 100 possessions, which includes 16.5 threes and 38.0 three-point attempts in that same span. Teams are also getting 30.5 free throw attempts and 10.2 offensive rebounds, not to mention 7.5 steals and 9.0 blocks. They've been straight-up killed on both ends, and their playing time together won't likely take a hit until Kris Dunn returns in the next four-to-six weeks.
If it wasn't obvious, there were plenty of two-man lineups to choose from as it pertains to Phoenix and Chicago, but looking elsewhere, the Brooklyn Nets' starting duo of point man D'Angelo Russell and two-guard Caris LeVert have been nearly as juicy for opposing starters and backcourts. Their 116 points per 100 against isn't dreadful, but when on the court they've given up a ridiculous 44.4 field goals and 96.5 field goal attempts, and that's on top of 20.3 free throw attempts, 17.1 offensive rebounds and 9.9 steals. This is Brooklyn's backcourt of the future, so they should get plenty of run, leading to many big DFS nights against them in the near future.
Brett Oswalt is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Brett Oswalt also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username BRO14THEKID. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.