Daily Fantasy Basketball: Research Tools to Know and Use

Every daily fantasy basketball player needs to do his or her homework. These tools are paramount for doing just that.

Getting a good education can help you get ahead in life.

You don't need to pay for post-secondary school or have a fancy degree to be successful, but it's hard to say that learning is a detriment.

This is coming from a guy whose master's degree has an emphasis on international finance and who writes about fantasy sports for a living, so I know a thing or two about learning things that you don't need.

It's not that having a basic understanding of globalization and conversion rates don't help me understand certain concepts in a salary cap-based fantasy sports format but rather that my time -- and money -- weren't spent very optimally. Much like finding that final punt play in whom you have no confidence just to fill out your roster, I did what I had to do to graduate on time.

In the daily fantasy grind of the NBA season, you don't have time and money to squander, and you certainly don't want to give up on that final roster spot by plugging in a bad play, so your research and homework needs to be on point.

Here are some of the best tools you can use to make the most out of your research process.


Of course! You probably know this by now, but numberFire offers some pretty sweet tools to help build your daily fantasy basketball lineups.

The most helpful, perhaps, is our daily fantasy matchup heat map. The heat map tells you a lot of need-to-know information all on the same page: matchup, over/under, spread, implied team total, Offensive Rating and Defensive Rating for the opponent, Pace and opponent Pace, Effective Field Goal Percentage and opponent Effective Field Goal Percentage allowed, fantasy points scored and allowed per game, and notes about back-to-backs and other such scheduling issues.

The reason I say this is the most helpful tool we offer is because it helps provide context for every decision you -- and we -- make. These types of factors, as you know if you've been following the prior articles -- can help get a leg up on the competition.

We also, of course, offer player projections for each and every day, tailored to your specific site of choice. These projections factor in injuries and opponent among other things, so they can really help propel your lineup making process.

Also, as a premium subscriber, you have access to our optimal lineup for each slate, which you can roll with if you wish, but you can also use it as a springboard for lineup tweaks. Plugging the optimal lineup into a massive GPP isn't the right way to go about long-term success, as the optimal seeks the most likely value -- not the biggest upside.

You can also use our tools to manipulate the optimal lineup. We offer a custom optimal lineup tool that helps you include and exclude certain teams and players. For instance, if you want to avoid a team who plays at a slow pace, just nix them from the player pool, and you'll have a lineup that avoids that for you.

But if you've done your research and have your player pool narrowed down, you can use the custom lineup combination tool to plug in the guys you're considering in order to get a proper combination to make it all work.


Basketball-Reference is a big go-to site for many daily fantasy players because of the variety of stats it offers.

Player pages are loaded with traditional, per-game, per-36 minute, per-100 possession, advanced, and shooting stats.

You can also scope out the most successful lineups a player plays with, as well as his on/off splits, which show how his team is impacted with and without that given player. In addition, you can easily find a player's splits in terms of home/road splits, days-of-rest splits, and other important variables.

The lineup tool and on/off splits are also available for each team. The same goes for the team's splits.

Another underrated part of the site is the head-to-head finder. So, in case you've ever wondered how DeMarcus Cousins has fared against Andre Drummond, you can find out easily.


NBAWowy is an invaluable asset that helps you see how a team is impacted with and without certain players on the floor.

What happens to Chris Paul's production when both DeAndre Jordan and @Blake griffinBlake Griffin are on the bench? Just search for it, and you'll see tons and tons of stats, such as Usage Rate, Offensive Points per Possession, shooting distance, Assist Percentage, and basically everything else you can think of.

Makes sense, yeah?

But in all seriousness,'s stats section is a fantastic source.

You can scope out advanced player and team stats and filter by date, opponent, and other important measures.

The more you toy around with it, the cooler the info you'll find. For example, you can see how a player defends his opponents in terms of field goal percentage allowed in comparison to their season-long average, which can be very helpful when identifying matchups to target and avoid.

You can also see the best catch-and-shoot players in the league as well as the best players on the pick-and-roll -- both the ball handler and the roll man.

I won't list everything that the site has to offer -- you just have to explore and have fun with it.

Nylon Calculus

Nylon Calculus is a sweet site that offers some cool stats such as True Usage Rate and Points Saved. These stats go a step deeper than just Usage Rate and something like blocks per game or even Block Percentage.

While you don't rack up fantasy points for deterring shots without blocking them, you can avoid elite rim protectors who may not look elite based on block numbers.


ESPN is a solid hub for general NBA stats, but perhaps the best place to go is to their Real Plus-Minus page -- particularly for the Defensive Real Plus-Minus section.

Defensive Real Plus-Minus is an in-depth, one-number defensive stat that provides some good context about how a player impacts a team's defense. Avoiding tough matchups becomes easier with this stat, and targeting weak defenders is equally easy.

NBA Savant

NBA Savant is more of a cool site than a clear DFS haven, but it's not without its applications.

You can get a quick snapshot of, say, how two teams compare in terms of shot selection. If a team doesn't attempt many shots near the rim, your sneaky shot-blocker could have severely capped upside, for example.

You can also see how certain defenders have defended certain shooters, which can help you avoid a rough matchup for a certain player. It's higher-level information and isn't easy, but on a short slate, you can potentially avoid a landmine or target a player who abuses an opposing defender.