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Matchups and Correlation NBA 2/8

I want to preface this article with an explanation about NBA players and market correlations. My brother Danny, a writer for Fantasy Winners, used to work on Wall Street at one of the biggest high frequency trading companies in the world. While working there, he learned how to run correlations to predict that movement of markets. While Danny was studying daily fantasy sports, he realized that he could use the same formula’s he used to run market correlations on NBA players and accurately predict future performance.

A market correlation will range anywhere from -1 to +1, -1 meaning there’s a perfect negative correlation and +1 meaning there’s a perfect positive correlation. Most of the time, correlations on data to project the performance of NBA players will usually run between +.5 and -.5, which is still a pretty strong indicator. Over the past several months, we’ve run correlations on several pieces of data. Some examples of correlations we’ve run are the following:

1) How much does a player’s performance correlate to the pace of play of his opponent?

2) How much does a player’s performance correlate to his opponents fantasy points allowed per game to his specific position?

3) How does a player’s previous performance versus the team he will face tonight correlate to his performance?

These are only a few examples of the correlations we’ve calculated to predict future performance.

While this correlation data isn’t publicly available to you (yet), I’ll mention this data throughout this article. While all this information may seem totally foreign and confusing initially, our hope is that you will eventually grasp these concepts and use them to create your fantasy lineups. If you have any questions, feel free to tweet us @Dfantasywinners. Good Luck!

Something I love about DFS NBA over half way into the season is almost every team has player each other already. One of the strongest correlations we’ve found is previous performance, meaning that if a player performed well in his previous matchup with his opponent, he’ll likely perform well in the next game versus that same opponent. If we also find that he has a high correlation to some things his opponent does badly, the chances he will do well are astronomical. 6 of the 7 matchups tonight are teams that have played each other in the past, so predicting who will perform tonight should be easy and fun.

Damian Lillard – In one of Lillard’s previous games against the T-Wolves, he went off for 36/6/6/3, an absolute monster game. But in a game later in the year, he had a dud 14/1/5/1 game. That being said, when we did a study on how player’s did in previous matchups, we found that the stats that most correlated with future performance were: Field Goals Attempted, Assists, and Turnovers (yes, high turnovers are good). The reason for this, we think, is that a player’s performance mostly has to do with how much he has the ball in his hand. Even in Lillard’s poor game, he did take 17 shots, dish out 5 dimes, and turn it over 3 times. He also played only 33 minutes because of a solid performance from the Portland bench.

From a previous performance perspective, we expect Lillard to do well. He also has some correlation to both DvP vs PGs (Minnesota is one of the worst) and rim protection (Minnesota is THE worst). He’s also only $7,000 on Fan Duel. He’ll be in all my lineups tonight and is a must-start.

Kevin Martin – Martin shot the ball 22 times and 15 times in his two previous games with Minnesota, but didn’t get much else. He also correlates slightly with pace of play. I’m not sure I can reasonably predict that he has a good game because none of his indicators are strong, but he is cheap on both Fanduel and Draftkings so he’s worthy of consideration.

Danny Green – Green had a sick game against the Bobcats, posting a 17/5/2/3/2 line absolutely filling up the stat sheet. While he only took 6 shots and had 2 assists, he did have 3 turnovers and 3 steals (which does correlate to future performance, while blocks do not). It’s not the strongest correlation, but he’s only $4,200 on FanDuel so he’s very worthy of a start.

Terrence Jones – Last time the Rockets face Milwaukee, Jones took a whopping 20 shots and shot 10 free throws to boot. Milwaukee is very bad against big men, especially PFs, so I expect Jones to have another good game tonight. His $7,000 salary on FanDuel is a little ridiculous, but he’s very reasonable on DraftKings at under $6,000.

Steph Curry – In two games against the Suns this year, Curry has averaged 17 FGAs, 8 FTA, 12 assists, and 6.5 TOs. All of these are awesome indicators of future performance. Curry correlates with absolutely no stats so we won’t get any help from those correlations. However, with two strong previous performances and a very reasonable $9,700 salary on FanDuel, Curry will be in many of my lineups tonight and I can’t recommend him enough.

Alec Burks – Burks is only a GPP play for me because he comes off the bench and is a ridiculous risk. However, in his last game against Miami he had 17 FGAs, 7 assists, 4 steals and 2 TOs and had a 50+ fantasy point night. Utah is a 10 point underdog but that actually works in Burks favor because Utah will more readily go to their bench if they get down. I think Burks is someone to consider tonight.

John Henson – He’s coming off the bench tonight so he should only be considered in GPPs, but in his previous matchup against Houston he took 12 shots and took down 15 boards (for big men, rebounding in the previous matchup has a relatively strong correlation to future performance). I also project that the player he’s playing behind, Ersan Illyasova, will do badly, which opens up minutes for Henson. Henson is a player who’s capable of going for 50 fantasy points and filling up a stat sheet, so for GPPs he’s worth consideration.

Players I Hate

Corey Brewer – Thinking of taking a flier on a cheap starter playing in a fast-paced game? Brewer only took 6 shots and 8 shots respectively in his previous 2 matchups with Portland, and averaged only 1 assist and 1 turnover. Minnesota’s game plan seems to be to completely ignore Brewer.

Ersan Illyasova – Took only 3 shots against Houston in their last matchup.

Andre Iguodala – Took only 4 shots with no assists and 2 turnovers in their previous matchup. With Curry and Lee expected to do well, Iggy should take a back seat in the offense as usual.

Good Luck Tonight!

View all posts by Max J Steinberg
Max J Steinberg

About the Author

Max J Steinberg Max Steinberg is a professional poker player and a top Daily Fantasy player who uses his creativity and mathematical abilities he cultivated as a poker player to win money on both DraftKings and FanDuel. He already has several big tournament scores to his name including the Victiv Bowl and countless MLB Monster wins. Follow him on twitter @maxjsteinberg.

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