NBA Strategy: Injury Impact Part 3 – Positions, Pace, and Efficiency
I explored two of the main components of injury impact in part 1 and part 2 of the Injury Impact series, specifically how team injuries impact roles and minutes. The last factors to consider when looking at how injuries impact fantasy production is the positions of replacement starters and the pace and offensive efficiency of their team.
Point Guards And Big Men Have The Most Expected Fantasy Points
Let’s look at a breakdown of the fantasy points per 36 minutes of each NBA position in so far this season.
In general, point guards and big men have the highest fantasy point production of any position, while shooting guards and small forwards lag behind. Why is this? Mostly because big men tend to have higher rebounding outputs than other positions, and the PG position tends to control the ball the most, leading to more shot attempts and assists.
Therefore, when injured starters are replaced at the high output positions, we should expect more fantasy production from them than from replacement players at the SG and SF positions.
Better, Faster Offenses = More Fantasy Production
When a backup PG, PF, and C replace an injured starter, they are likely to have good fantasy production. How good their fantasy production is depends a lot on their expected minutes and their skill as a player. But nearly as important is the pace and offensive efficiency of the team they are on.
Faster pace simply means more possessions per game for that team, which leads to more fantasy point opportunities. Offensive efficiency refers to how many points per 100 possessions a team averages. Offensive efficiency is a measure of how well a team plays on offense, which means making a high percentage of shots and playing high-assist, team basketball. A player who comes into a fast paced, efficient offense will have much higher expected fantasy production than a player on a slow paced, poor offense.
To measure a teams “fantasy friendliness,” DFW has created a metric called Strength Of Offense. Strength Of Offense is simply a combination of offensive efficiency and pace, with pace having the higher weighting. When trying to decide whether a spot starter is a good fantasy play, look at the Strength Of Offense data. Golden State, Phoenix, and Dallas have the highest SOF ratings, and therefore are great teams to target replacement players. Miami, New York, and Utah have the lowest SOF ratings and will not be great teams to target replacement players.
- PG, PF, and C positions have the best fantasy output per 36 minutes.
- Faster paced and more efficient offenses have higher fantasy output than slower paced, less efficient teams.
- Strength Of Offense measures the “fantasy friendliness” of a team. Higher Strength Of Offense means larger expected fantasy output for replacement players. Target the replacements for injured starters on teams with high Strength Of Offense ratings.