Daily fantasy basketball is less volatile than most daily fantasy sports, thanks to the predictability of minutes and production rates. Using offensive efficiency and fantasy points per minute in your personal projections can really help improve your play on a nightly basis. The thought process is pretty simple: If we can predict a player’s minutes, then we can multiply it by his Fantasy Points per Minute (FP/Minute) to come up with a fantasy point projection for each player.
A player’s FP/Minute is calculated by taking his average fantasy points per game and dividing it by his average minutes per game. This will give us the most basic FP/Minute calculation. This is a useful statistic to use in daily fantasy basketball because it can give us an idea of how well a player would perform, given a certain number of minutes. The FP/Minute statistic is indicative of future performance, especially when combined with the other factors that affect fantasy production.
Once we have our FP/Minute calculated, we need to predict the minutes for each player to come up with our projection. Predicting the minute distribution of teams in the NBA is more of an art than a science. We can use a player’s average minutes on the season, but this is extremely shortsighted. There are few players in the NBA that see a consistent number of minutes throughout the course of the entire season.
Recent playing time is a great base to start with when trying to predict a player’s minutes. Look at a player’s average minutes over their last 10 games, as well as over their last few games. Look for trends in a player’s minutes, as it could be a sign of things to come. The expected minutes should then be adjusted with any news that comes out. Injuries impact minute distribution more than anything else in the NBA, but there are also trades and rotation changes that happen throughout the course of the season.
If you want to take your daily fantasy basketball projections to the next level, we can use a projected FP/Minute rather than the actual FP/Minute. The simple approach only takes the past into account. Adjusting the FP/Minute calculation will allow us to include all factors that play a role in determining fantasy production. Examples include injuries, the matchup, the expected pace of the game, the total of the game, the blowout potential of the game and a player’s recent performance.
Using Projected FP/Minute can be a great tool in daily fantasy basketball, but we have to make sure that we don’t go overboard. Adjusting the FP/Minute too high or low will cause each player’s projection to be unrealistic. My general rule of thumb is to adjust a player’s FP/Minute by a maximum of 15%. This means that the maximum difference for a player that averages 50 fantasy points per game would be 7.5 points. This method takes quite a bit of trial and error, but once you master it, you will have a terrific set of projections to build lineups with.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Notorious) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.