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NBA Strategy: Are Blowouts Favorable to Big Men?

The common knowledge used to be in NBA DFS that you should avoid blowouts at all costs. However, research has started to show that isn’t necessarily the case, as is shown in this article. Blowouts are very bad for teams on the losing end, but they are actually favorable for teams doing the blowing out. A blowout implies large amounts of success on the defensive end (rebounds, blocks, steals) and large amounts of success on the offensive end (points and assists). So despite starters only getting 25-30 minutes in blowouts, their fantasy points in that short time tend to be high.

But are blowouts favorable for all positions?

My hypothesis is because big men tend to have better statistics in defensive categories (mainly rebounds), that they should do very well in blow outs, while guards should not do as well or even do poorly.

Methodology

  • I found 20 games in which a team was up 20 points or more by the 4th quarter and starters averaged less than 30 minutes.
  • I compared those players stats in those games to their season averages with a few exceptions. Anyone who were only starting because of injury had “season average” numbers that reflected their more recent production.
  • I took the difference between the two and averaged for PF and C in a group and PG and SG in another group.
  • There were a few flaws in my approach. First off, good teams were disproportionately used and bad opponents were also disproportionately used. Secondly, season average was not always a good measure of someones expected production. However, neither of these factors should favor big men or guards so it should not have a large effect on the outcome.

GuardsBig men

Results

Big men on average scored 4.95 fantasy points above their season average in blowouts. Guards on the other hand hit their averages, scoring -.1 fantasy points below their season average, a negligible amount.

There were some non statistical observations I made as well. It did seem that players that had good averages in rebounds did better overall. This is sensible as in a good defensive performance there will be a lot more missed shots and therefore a lot more rebounds most of all.

Conclusions

There are some rather obvious conclusions: Don’t avoid taking players from teams that are heavily favored, because blowouts will not have a negative impact, and actively target big men on heavily favored teams.

But there are some other questions that come up. It seems that bad teams such as Milwaukee and Utah may give up a lot of fantasy points to big men not because they are soft on the interior, but because they are so bad offensively they give up more rebounds, steals, and blocks. Does that mean when these teams face a poor defensive team that they will not give up as many points to big men? That will require more research.

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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