Whether you’ve tried season long fantasy basketball or not, the nuances of daily fantasy hoops are actually relatively easy to pick up. If you’ve never played in a daily league (known as Daily Fantasy Sports or DFS), then the first idea to familiarize yourself with is the idea of a salary cap. In DFS, each player has a specific price for each game set, which is based on their past performances. You start with $50,000 and draft 9 players while staying under the budget.

Celebrate the holidays with DraftKings Holiday Classic, which has $200,000 up for grabs on Christmas Day

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#1) Defense vs. Position Stats

DvP stats are the easiest way to get a quick understanding of matchups. DraftKings actually shows defense vs. position figures next to a player’s name in the draft lobby, but there are a number of places where you can find these stats. Essentially, defense vs. position stats show you the stats allowed by each team against one of the five positions on the floor (PG, SG, SF, PF, C). DvP stats allow you to identify which teams struggle against each position, and from there you can try to exploit the matchups to find both value and studs to target. The important thing to realize with DvP stats is that they don’t necessarily make a bad player better, but they can push a mediocre player into an above-average game and they can really help star players post high-ceiling games.

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#2) Pace of Play

You can use sites like NBA.com to find each team’s pace, which is the number of offensive possessions a team averages per 48 minutes of play. Essentially, the higher a team’s pace is, the better they tend to be for daily fantasy purposes. The theory behind it is simple; higher paced teams have more offensive possessions thus more opportunities for fantasy points.

#3) Vegas Lines

Vegas Lines for over/unders are usually going to tell you some stats very similar to pace of play, but you can also use the spread for insight into your daily fantasy basketball play. Games with double digit spreads tend to be a bit riskier, since the chance of a blowout could leave one of your players on the bench for the majority of the 4th quarter. As we’ll discuss in a moment, playing time is crucial in daily fantasy basketball and you don’t want to get two-thirds of a game out of one of your top players. On the same note, games that are really close on the spread are expected to be more back-and-forth and that could lead to a player getting more time on the court than his typical allotment.

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#4) Minutes

Minutes are king in daily fantasy basketball, don’t ever ignore that. Sometimes it’s difficult to target a bad player in line to see a lot of minutes, but what you have to remember is that playing time in basketball leads to constant opportunities for rebounds, assists, blocks and steals. It seems almost too simple, but you want to try and find guys who will be over that 30 minutes played mark at all costs. If you’re just starting out, look at player game logs in the draft lobbies and check recent minutes. If a guy looks to be getting ample playing time, he’s usually a solid daily fantasy hoops option when you combine some of the other factors discussed above.

#5) How to Get Started

1.) Draft Your team for the Holiday Classic today
2) Watch the games and track scoring live on DraftKings.com
3) Win a share of $200,000. First Place wins $25,000. All prizes will be paid in cash at the end of the night