FanDuel NBA Week In Review – (Thu. 1/30/2014 – Wed. 2/5/2014)
The first version of the FanDuel NBA Week in Review is here with a look back at the last week of fantasy basketball action that started with a whisper on Thursday evening January 30th and ended with a bang on the high-flying Super Wednesday night of February 5th where over $700,000 in guaranteed prize money was up for grabs on FanDuel.
We’ll dive into that sweet sweet data and see which players had the most influence on the daily basketball landscape last week. I’ll also highlight a big winner from Super Wednesday and dissect their roster in hopes of uncovering some insights on how to turn your lineups into the tournament champions of the future.
Let’s get started!
Top Performers (Most Fantasy Points Per Game)
All data includes games played between 1/30/2014 – 2/5/2014. Player prices shown are as of 2/6/2014.
1. LeBron James – MIA, SF ($10,600) – 58.9 fantasy points per game
2. Kevin Love – MIN, PF ($11,100) – 57.8 fantasy points per game
3. Tim Duncan – SAS, PF ($8,600) – 51.7 fantasy points per game
4. Blake Griffin – LAC, PF ($9,700) – 51.0 fantasy points per game
5. John Wall – WAS, PG ($9,300) – 50.8 fantasy points per game
6. Al Jefferson – CHA, C ($9,700) – 48.1 fantasy points per game
7. DeMarcus Cousins – SAC, C ($9,400) – 47.6 fantasy points per game
8. Dwight Howard – HOU, C (8,600) – 47.3 fantasy points per game
9. Anthony Davis – NOR, PF (10,000) – 46.6 fantasy points per game
10. Rudy Gay – SAC, SF ($8,100) – 44.5 fantasy points per game
LeBron James leads the parade of frontcourt players topping the league in fantasy scoring last week on the back of his recent surge in assists and defense, where he’s averaging 15.0 and 9.3 fantasy points per game respectively to go along with his customary scoring and rebounding. With nine of the top ten performers from last week being frontcourt players against the lone guard in John Wall, it’s starting to look pretty clear that the backbone of any strong FanDuel lineup relies on stacking studs at forward and center.
It’s no surprise to see King James as the number one fantasy performer in any week, but to not see Kevin Durant anywhere in the top ten is absolutely shocking. The Durantula has been the most consistent and dominant fantasy performer in the NBA this year and priced in the clouds at $12,200 he can single-handedly decide the fate of your lineup on most nights. Lately he’s been deciding it in the wrong direction with an average of just 43.4 fantasy points over four games last week. That’s no paltry total for most players, but for Durant it’s only 3.56 per $1,000 in FanDuel salary, which extrapolated out to a full $60,000 roster adds up to just 213.6 points. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him turn it around quickly, but be careful investing more than 20% of your available salary cap in a guy that’s not blowing the roof off the arena every night.
Best Values (Most Fantasy Points Per Game Per $1,000 in Salary)
1. Danny Green – SAS, SG ($3,600) – 28.9 fantasy points per game
2. Marvin Williams – UTA, PF ($4,400) – 32.6 fantasy points per game
3. Jared Sullinger – BOS, PF ($5,800) – 41.7 fantasy points per game
4. Shaun Livingston – BKN, PG ($5,100) – 34.7 fantasy points per game
5. Brandon Bass – BOS, PF ($4,500) – 30.5 fantasy points per game
6. Samuel Dalembert – DAL, C ($3,500) – 23.1 fantasy points per game
7. Patrick Mills – SAC, PG ($3,700) – 24.2 fantasy points per game
8. Jordan Farmar – LAL, PG (5,400) – 35.2 fantasy points per game
9. Dante Cunningham – MIN, PF (3,700) – 24.1 fantasy points per game
10. Wes Johnson – LAL, SF ($4,000) – 25.5 fantasy points per game
The best value list looks a little bit more diverse with four backcourt players against six frontcourt players. The set of guards that provided the most value for their salary last week demonstrates the potential that can be found hidden in even the lowest price range at those positions. Had you run with the uninspiring trio of Danny Green, Shaun Livingston, and Patrick Mills on a night when they all played, you could have expected something in the range of 87 fantasy points for $12,400 in FanDuel salary. That gives some great perspective on just how expensive Kevin Durant is, and it supports the concept that if risks need to be taken in a FanDuel lineup they are ideally done in your backcourt.
Another thing we see here is the presence of multiple players from the same team in more than one instance. We have two Celtics and two Lakers, something that tends to happen when a team is in flux due to either injuries or coaching decisions. Those can be great opportunities to take advantage of an underpriced player, or spot an overpriced one to avoid, before the FanDuel pricing mechanism catches up to shifts in team rotations.
Biggest Busts (Fewest Fantasy Points Per Game Per $1,000 in Salary)
Only includes players priced at or above $5,500 and with at least 2 games played last week.
1. Jodie Meeks – LAL, SG ($6,000) – 13.5 fantasy points per game
2. Tyreke Evans – NOR, SG ($6,400) – 14.4 fantasy points per game
3. Trey Burke – UTA, PG ($5,700) – 15.4 fantasy points per game
4. Gordon Hayward – UTA, SG ($7,700) – 21.6 fantasy points per game
5. Jameer Nelson – ORL, PG ($5,900) – 17.5 fantasy points per game
6. Joe Johnson – BKN, SG ($5,600) – 17.2 fantasy points per game
7. Ramon Sessions – CHA, PG ($5,800) – 18.1 fantasy points per game
8. David Lee – GSW, PF (8,300) – 25.9 fantasy points per game
9. Evan Turner – PHI, SF (6,700) – 21.0 fantasy points per game
10. Michael Carter-Williams – PHI, PG ($8,100) – 25.8 fantasy points per game
Look at all those guards! A full eight out the ten biggest busts of last week were point guards or shooting guards, putting one last line of emphasis under the risk involved with nearly any backcourt player. Just a few weeks ago Trey Burke, Gordon Hayward, and Joe Johnson were lighting up the fantasy world and offering tremendous value for their price. Now they’re killing trusting owners on a nightly basis. So is the fickle nature of guards in the NBA, due in many cases to the unpredictability of players that rely on the jump shot as their primary means of scoring.
Big men can struggle too, but they are less prone to cold streaks on dunks and layups and tend to chip in enough rebounds to avoid utter disaster most nights. Sure you have to pay top dollar for that kind of consistency, but you’re far more likely to get something resembling what you paid for from a forward or center.
Big Winner Spotlight – Jukestick jumps the Super Slam, turns $25 into $13,000
Super Wednesday night on FanDuel is the primetime of daily NBA fantasy and the biggest prize in the pool is first place in the $120K Wednesday Super Slam. Any FanDuel user looking to hit it big should take a serious look at entering that tournament each week. Jukestick did just that on February 5th and dropped a fantastic score of 389.5 fantasy points, good enough to turn a $25 entry fee into $13,000 in prize money in one night. Here’s a look at the high-scoring team:
Danny Green ($3,500) was the bargain play of the night priced at the position minimum and finding himself logging over 46 minutes in a double-overtime affair against the Wizards. Green’s shot was falling particularly from three-point range as he went 5-11 from beyond the arc on his way to 22 points, with nice multi-category contributions in rebounds and defense. Green recently returned from injury at a time when the Spurs need a healthy body, so minutes should continue to be plentiful for the fourth-year shooting guard. Green was 22.7% owned in the Super Slam, which means he didn’t get you to the money on his own, but his presence made a big difference against opponents who whiffed on one of their value plays.
LeBron James ($10,600) continued his run of strong play scoring over 30 points for the third time in his last four games and falling just two rebounds shy of a triple-double for the second straight game. His offensive game has been heating up but it’s his defense that has been the difference maker in his return to fantasy dominance with 12 steals and three blocks in his last three games combined. In the ongoing debate of who to break the bank for at SF between LeBron and Durant, LBJ has given us a resounding answer, at least for the time being. With his ownership percentage hovering below the 30% mark, there’s still time to buy in and get an advantage on the non-believers who soured on LeBron after his disappointing early season results.
Blake Griffin ($9,700) has really stepped it up to another level this season, partially due to the absence of Chris Paul, but mostly because he’s just a massive beast. As good as he’s been all season, it seems we are still just scratching the surface of what Blake’s best is. Over the last week he averaged 51 fantasy points primarily on the strength of his offensive game alone, with 32.8 fantasy points per game from scoring points and 12.0 fantasy points per game from rebounds. The only thing keeping him in mortal scoring territory is his inconsistent returns on defense and continued struggles at the free throw line. His 66 fantasy points on Wednesday are a sign of just how dominant he can be, and something we’ll likely see a lot more of in the future. He seems underpriced below $10,000 and underowned at just 17.7% in the Super Slam.
Jared Sullinger ($5,800) is another big that’s been heating up, albeit at a much lower price point than Blake Griffin. Sullinger has dealt with inconsistent minutes at times this year but is starting to look like the focal point in Boston with 35 or more minutes played in each of his last three games, pushing Kris Humphries and to a lesser extent Brandon Bass to the side. Sullinger has double-doubled in each of his last three games and last week put up an average of 33.2 fantasy points per game from scoring points and rebounding alone, ending up at 41.7 fantasy points per game in total. Nearly half of all FanDuelers saw his big night coming against the friendliest of matchups in Philadelphia and took his 46.5 fantasy points to the bank on Wednesday night.
Larry Sanders ($5,400) was the biggest X-factor to have a huge night on Wednesday as the Milwaukee center has dealt with injuries for pretty much the entire season and has delivered extremely inconsistent production when he has played. Just 10 days prior to this 48 fantasy point gem he dropped a 3.8 fantasy point night on unsuspecting owners. That gives some explanation for his mere 4.1% ownership rate, despite being criminally underpriced for a player of his vast talent and potential. Only the savviest owners noted the fact that he had basically double-doubled every night since the January 25th disaster and made the prescient call to include him in their lineups. If he continues to get minutes and do remotely close to what he’s capable of, Sanders could be a top value player in the weeks to come.
Meanwhile, Rajon Rondo ($6,300), Brandon Knight ($6,700), Dwyane Wade ($7,300), and Khris Middleton ($4,400) averaged 33.5 fantasy points apiece and did enough to keep this nearly flawless lineup at the top of the standings. Jukestick put together the right combination of reliable studs, risky veterans, and rising value picks and ended up on top of the Super Slam, edging out second place finisher Graeson13 by a slim margin of 2.1 points.
Here’s a link to the $80K Fri Bomb tournament if you want to take your shot at another big prize ($9,000 for first place). And make sure to keep an eye out for the next $120K Wed Super Slam tournament that takes place on Super Wednesday February 12th for your next chance to win the $13,000 first place prize.