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Three False Signals To Avoid In Daily Fantasy NBA

A quick look at fantasy points for individual players in their past several games is a check most daily fantasy players do to see who is worth playing and who isn’t. While fantasy points in the past several games can be a good first pass at who to consider playing and who are the best plays of the day, they can also paint a false picture of future success. Here is what you need to look out for when looking at past fantasy production.

Don’t Chase Blocks And Steals

A player who is on a roll in the blocks and steals department is going to look like a really good play. Recently, Kyle Lowry had a game against the Heat where he recorded 7 steals and over 52 fantasy points overall. A lot of people played him two days later in his next game, but Lowry only managed 21 fantasy points and 1 steal. People who rolled with Lowry because of his recent fantasy production got burned, and rightly so.

Blocks and steals are not something that a player will drastically improve at collecting throughout the season. For the most part, they are a mix of luck and skill. If an opposing player loses the ball in your general direction and you grab it or a player shoots an easily blockable shot in your general vicinity, you got lucky, and that sort of thing happens all the time.  But those occurrences do not mean a players skill has changed. They didn’t suddenly become quicker or a better leaper or grow taller. So we shouldn’t expect their expected steals and blocks to change much from their season or career average in the future. That’s why I generally recommend looking at blocks and steals from a larger sample, and ignoring recent trends.

Overtime Games Inflate Stats

There were over 10 players in last nights Denver/New Orleans game who hit 5x value in terms of fantasy points to salary.  In case you missed it, Anthony Davis nearly had a quadruple double and scored over 80 fantasy points. But the game went to double overtime, so nearly everyone in that game who got minutes is going to look a lot better than they really are.

As we’ve talked about in other articles, minutes plays a huge part in fantasy point production. A 5 minute overtime period may not seem like much, but when the top players in the league score greater than 1 fantasy point per minute, it can be the difference between a good fantasy day and a great one. If a game goes to multiple overtimes, almost every starter is guaranteed to have a great fantasy day. Overtime games can make players look like they’ve been awesome in their past several games, but should be discounted when considering future fantasy performance.

Benefiting From Injured Players

Injuries can have a drastic impact on expected fantasy points for players on a team because of increased minutes and offensive roles for healthy players. However, once an injured or rested player returns, that effect is now negated.

Any NBA fan knows how crazy good Russell Westbrook has been in daily fantasy the past several weeks. This is mostly because Westbrook has benefited greatly from the absence of Kevin Durant from the Thunder lineup. It’s not like Westbrook is going to become mediocre once Durant returns, but his fantasy production will go down. Some people who will look at Westbrook’s past several games when Durant returns will think he’s still worth his 12000+ salary. But the past several games won’t be factoring in the impact of Durant’s return, and therefore will make Westbrook look a lot better.

You should always be looking into how injuries will impact healthy teammates, but understand that impact will not continue once that player returns to the court.

 

Summary

 

  • Looking at fantasy points in the past several games to find good or great daily fantasy plays can be misleading.
  • Players with a large amount of blocks and steals in the past several games are likely to revert to their season average in the future.
  • Players who have played in one or more overtime games are going to have inflated fantasy statistics.
  • When players have done well because they have benefited from an injured teammate, we shouldn’t expect those benefits to continue once the teammate returns.

View all posts by Daniel Steinberg
Daniel Steinberg

About the Author

Daniel Steinberg Daniel Steinberg is a former bond trader at a multi-billion dollar proprietary trading firm in Chicago. He uses his knowledge of statistics and his creativity from his career as a poker professional to create the most advanced Daily Fantasy statistical analysis that you will find anywhere. Follow him on twitter @DanielSingerS

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