While the NBA season is still very early, the teams that are going to be somewhat of a contender are starting to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. On DraftKings NBA DFS, it is the same way. We are starting to learn who are the players that will consistently get people into the money on tournaments & cash games, and while we always want the Steph Curry/James Harden/Anthony Davis/Chris Paul type of superstar for all 8 of our spots, we have to recognize that realistically, that absolutely can’t happen.
It’s at that point when you have to look at some of the rising stars of the league who are going to truly make an impact, particularly rookies & players under the age of around 27 years old. Many times, those types of players are much fresher & don’t have the ailments like Kobe Bryant & Dwight Howard. In their cases, they will rarely play back-to-back games through the season to keep them fresh for a possible playoff run (or in Kobe’s case, just so he doesn’t completely break apart).
Many times, the theory in tournament play (& many times in cash play) is that you don’t play players on the backend of a back-to-back. I can agree with that on some of the established stars, especially if they happen to be on a road trip, but young players can still be productive & should be considered, especially on nights when you may not have an option but to play players who may have had a hard game the night before. Can the production be off? Absolutely. However, I will take my chances on the future of the NBA rather than old, grizzled veterans who just may not have the legs to go.
For example, #1 overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns has been one of the most dominant centers in the league to start of the season, averaging 37.8 DK points per night. On November 9 & 10, Towns & the T-Wolves were in Atlanta to play the Hawks & the following night they had to be home to play against the Hornets. Towns is young in that he only has the one year played in Kentucky – 37 games total & he is under 21 years old. In those two games, Towns had 40 & 46 DK points respectively – on a back-to-back.
Philadelphia 76ers C Jahlil Okafor put in 29 & 34 DK points on November 8 & 9, in Atlanta & against Charlotte at home. Okafor didn’t look like he had lost a step & for a big man, like Towns, Okafor has to watch out for his legs & back being hurt & tired. At this point in his young career, those ailments haven’t had time to present themselves as issues.
Another idea to think about when playing your DK leagues (especially for novice players) is to not worry about the team’s records. One of the great things about playing daily fantasy basketball is that it is a very individual-based game. It takes an overall team effort to win in regular basketball, but in DK fantasy basketball, a player can be on a terrible team, but have great offensive sets & individually great players who are capable of putting up 40-50 fantasy points per night.
If you see great fantasy plays with great players on terrible teams like the Lakers, 76ers, Pelicans, & other ‘bottom of the barrel’ teams, don’t let that deter you. Those teams are most likely in a rebuilding mode, full of young players, & will get plenty of minutes on a nightly basis because, in theory, they have nothing to lose & they are just having the opportunity to play free-spirited ball each night. Plus, with having those type of players on bad teams, most times, their salaries are much lower & are considered great value picks due to not really being established yet.
To win in DFS, it’s almost a situation where the team records don’t exist – unless you have disgruntled players who constantly complain (hello, DeMarcus Cousins) to coaches & could bring down the entire team in the process. Most times, with young players on bad teams, they are expected to be bad & to be able to learn the NBA game. Which means lots of shots, sometimes bad turnovers, but more times than not, the upside is incredible. And the best part about that type of strategy – not many of your competitors are always willing to take the risk on youth over experience.
Use the youth movement – especially the excellent one happening in the NBA right now – to your advantage before these young guns of the league who may be costing around $5k to $6k are costing $10k or $11k on DraftKings fantasy basketball.