The most common statistics used in daily fantasy basketball are defense vs. position rankings, minutes played, recent production, and pace of play. While all of these statistics are useful when building lineups, there are also some advanced statistics that can help take your research to the next level. These statistics can all be used separately or together. They give us a clearer picture of how fantasy production is derived.
Usage rate is defined as the percentage of a team’s offensive possessions that a player uses while on the court. There is a long formula for this statistic, but it basically comes down to how involved a player is in his team’s offense. Only a player’s shot attempts and his assists both impact his usage rate. A simple touching of the basketball during a play does not impact his usage rate.
This is a great statistic to use for daily fantasy basketball, because it tells us how involved a player is offensively. Since the majority of players’ fantasy production comes on the offensive end of the floor, it’s important to target players that have a high usage rate. It’s also important to note that a player’s usage within an offense can change with an injury or a trade.
Player Efficiency Rating (PER)
Player Efficiency Rating is a statistic that was created by ESPN’s John Hollinger. It is an overall rating of a player’s per-minute statistical production. In other words, it measures a player’s overall impact on a game. This is another useful statistic in daily fantasy basketball because fantasy production is derived solely from a player’s ability to fill up the stat sheet. A player’s PER can be a good indicator of future success.
A player’s rebound percentage is the number of total rebounds a player obtains while on the floor, compared to the total rebounds available. Rebounds are a large part of fantasy production, especially for big men. A player with a high rebound percentage is obviously going to excel in matchups against teams with a poor rebounding differential.
Adjusted Value Formula
If you have played daily fantasy basketball, then you have probably heard of the term “reaching value.” The term value can take on different meanings in daily fantasy sports, but the term reaching value is fairly straightforward. A player reaches value when he lives up to the production that was expected or “needed” from him in a single slate of games.
The most common value method in daily fantasy basketball is the 5x salary method. The thought process is simple: in order to reach the goal of 250 fantasy points on DraftKings, we need each player to put up 5x as many fantasy points as his salary, since the total salary cap is $50,000. If each player can produce 5 fantasy points for every $1,000 of salary that he costs, the lineup will reach the goal of 250 fantasy points. This method is then used to apply the value concept to individual players. If a player were listed at a price of $6,000, he would need to score 30 fantasy points to reach value ($6k x 5 = 30 fantasy points).
The 5x salary method is simple and can be useful when building lineups, but it falls short in the assumption that we need the same type of production from players at all price points. It is much easier for a value play to reach 5x salary than it is for a superstar. Even if your superstar player doesn’t quite live up to his 5x salary value expectation, your value plays can make up for the difference.
Instead of the simple 5x salary approach, a slight adjustment to the formula makes reaching value much more realistic for players at all price points. The goal of 250 fantasy points remains the same, but this method requires more production out of the value plays and less production out of the superstars.
Adjusted Formula: ($50k x 4) + (8 players x 6.25 points) = 250 fantasy points
To illustrate this, let’s take a look at what we need for a player to reach value using both methods. First up, let’s take a look at a player that is priced at the bare-minimum of $3,000.
Simple: $3k x 5 = 15 fantasy points
Adjusted: ($3k x 4) + 6.25 fantasy points = 18.25 fantasy points
Now let’s take a look at a player that is priced at $12,000.
Simple: $12k x 5 = 60 fantasy points
Adjusted: ($12k x 4) + 6.25 fantasy points = 54.25 fantasy points
As you can see, the adjusted method requires more production from the cheaper players and less production from the superstars. If you use a spreadsheet in your daily research, this is a quick and easy change that will make reaching value a more realistic concept for players at all price points.
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.