A lot can happen in one week of fantasy NBA action on FanDuel and it’s important to take stock of those recent trends to help inform your lineup decisions for upcoming contests. With the NBA taking a few days off for the All-Star break, this is as good a time as any to immerse yourself in studying the data so you can be armed to the teeth with insights and 100% ready to conquer the competition when games resume on Tuesday. With that in mind, here’s a look back at the top performers, best values, and biggest busts of the week that was in the NBA.
All data covers games played between 2/6/2014 – 2/12/2014. Player prices shown are as of 2/13/2014.
Top Performers (Most Fantasy Points Per Game)
1. Kevin Durant – OKC, SF ($12,300) – 54.5 fantasy points per game
2. Kevin Love – MIN, PF ($11,300) – 51.3 fantasy points per game
3. LeBron James – MIA, SF ($11,000) – 49.8 fantasy points per game
4. Blake Griffin – LAC, PF ($10,000) – 49.8 fantasy points per game
5. Dwight Howard – HOU, C (9,100) – 47.6 fantasy points per game
6. Joakim Noah – CHI, C ($8,600) – 46.8 fantasy points per game
7. Goran Dragic – PHO, PG ($8,800) – 45.8 fantasy points per game
8. Chris Kaman – LAL, C (5,100) – 44.8 fantasy points per game
9. Josh Smith – DET, SF (8,400) – 44.7 fantasy points per game
10. DeMar DeRozan – TOR, SG ($8,800) – 44.6 fantasy points per game
Kevin Durant recovered nicely from a down week that saw him fall out of the top ten performers list with three fantastic games this time around, leaving him comfortably atop the pack in average fantasy scoring. Besides leading all players in fantasy points generated from actual points scored with 35.3 per game, Durant has offered tremendous multi-category contributions with averages of 10.0 and 11.5 fantasy points per game from rebounds and assists. He’s put the Thunder on his back in the absence of Russell Westbrook, which has left him looking a little bit tired late in games, but he should only get better with some rest over the break. His price tag represents more than 20% of your available salary cap, which makes him tough to afford, but he’s done little to deter ownership with his unparalleled production.
Frontcourt players continued their general dominance of the top performers list with only two guards represented in the top ten after only one guard made it last week. John Wall was that lone man last week, and his rapid descent from 50.8 fantasy points per game to 33.7 per game this week demonstrates the lack of consistency that comes with even the best backcourt players. As good as Goran Dragic and DeMar DeRozan are, the odds are against them making this list again next week. The only players on both last week’s list and this week’s list were Kevin Love, LeBron James, Blake Griffin, and Dwight Howard. Those are the kind of players you can rely on to produce night in and night out with rare exception.
Best Values (Most Fantasy Points Per Game Per $1,000 in Salary)
*Only includes players with at least 2 games played last week.
1. Chris Kaman – LAL, C (5,100) – 44.8 fantasy points per game
2. Nate Wolters – MIL, PG ($3,900) – 31.1 fantasy points per game
3. Cory Joseph – SAS, PG ($3,700) – 27.1 fantasy points per game
4. Draymond Green – GSW, SF ($3,500) – 24.9 fantasy points per game
5. Taj Gibson – CHI, PF ($6,400) – 44.4 fantasy points per game
6. Kelly Olynyk – BOS, C ($3,700) – 25.3 fantasy points per game
7. P.J. Tucker – PHO, SF ($5,300) – 36.1 fantasy points per game
8. Kirk Hinrich – CHI, PG (3,900) – 26.5 fantasy points per game
9. Marco Belinelli – SAS, SG (4,200) – 26.5 fantasy points per game
10. George Hill – IND, PG ($5,600) – 35.2 fantasy points per game
Chris Kaman like a wrecking ball this week after entering the Lakers starting lineup, easily providing the best value of any player in the league at 8.78 fantasy points per thousand dollars in salary. That’s almost a full point per thousand dollars better than the next most valuable player in Nate Wolters, who had a fine week himself with a 7.97 mark. Kaman hasn’t seen regular minutes in quite some time, but he’s always shown a knack for piling up stats when on the court. If he continues to start for injury-depleted Los Angeles, there’s no reason he can’t keep putting up something in the ballpark of his averages from the last week of 23.0 / 12.8 / 5.0 / 5.3 fantasy points per game from points / rebounds / assists / blocks. That would make him hugely valuable and majority owned until his salary catches up with his new role.
Juxtaposed against the top performers list, the best value list highlights the merit of low-priced backcourt players that can fit into a lineup nicely with expensive big men. The key is to keep up with the latest news on injuries, rotation changes, and schedule issues (like aging vets in back-to-back games) to develop an unfailing awareness of which players are in position to significantly outperform their value. As always, Twitter is the best source for the most up-to-date information and an indispensable tool for any FanDuel user.
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. Terrence Jones – HOU, PF ($6,600) – 14.2 fantasy points per game
2. Derrick Favors – UTA, PF ($6,400) – 17.6 fantasy points per game
3. Tony Parker – SAS, PG ($6,600) – 18.4 fantasy points per game
4. Kenneth Faried – DEN, PF ($5,500) – 15.6 fantasy points per game
5. Jameer Nelson – ORL, PG ($5,500) – 16.2 fantasy points per game
6. Anderson Varejao – CLE, C ($7,000) – 20.9 fantasy points per game
7. J.R. Smith – NYK, SF ($5,700) – 17.5 fantasy points per game
8. Darren Collison – LAC, PG (6,200) – 19.6 fantasy points per game
9. Arron Afflalo – ORL, SG (6,100) – 19.8 fantasy points per game
10. Thaddeus Young – PHI, PF ($7,000) – 22.7 fantasy points per game
Terrence Jones was looking like a budding star for the Rockets just a couple of weeks ago, but he’s really regressed since then despite continuing to receive serious minutes. He’s remained somewhat effective in the rebounding department, but he’s struggled defensively and his scoring has dwindled with an overabundance of jump shots and an inability to capitalize at the charity stripe. The future remains bright for Houston’s second-year power forward, but growing pains like this are keeping him out of most FanDuel lineups these days. We can only hope his price tag continues to drop to a point where his upside will make him a favorable play in time to catch his inevitable return to productivity.
Anyone who has been playing on FanDuel long enough has a list of guys they just won’t play under almost any circumstance, usually due to being burned multiple times by that player in favorable matchups in the past. Derrick Favors is a recent addition to my version of that list, along with guys like Brandon Jennings, J.R. Smith, and Roy Hibbert. Things could change, but they’ve all shown an inconsistency and softness that makes them hard to trust even in the best possible scenario. Of course every player has the potential to be a good play at the right price, but effectively refining your list of trustworthy options is an important ongoing effort as you try to improve your FanDuel results over time.
Big Winner Spotlight – Richham goes ham on 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 Super Slam, a tournament that every FanDuel user should take a serious look at entering each week. Richham did just that on February 12th and dropped a score of 355.5 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:
Nate Wolters ($3,900) He didn’t quite match Kyle Lowry in fantasy scoring on Wednesday, but Wolters was the point guard that made the difference in this lineup. Priced at just $3,900 and owned by only 8.6% of entries in the Super Slam, Wolters showed a dynamic all-around game that delivered an incredible 9.4 fantasy points per thousand dollars in salary. He’s played over 32 minutes in three straight helpful fantasy performances, culminating in flirtation with a triple-double against the Pelicans. The Bucks have one of the strangest and most unpredictable rotations in the NBA, and Wolters doesn’t particularly stand out among Milwaukee’s backcourt options, but as long as he’s getting minutes and remains priced below $5,000 he’s a steal.
Gordon Hayward ($7,100) Hayward has been up and down this year with stints of greatness seemingly always followed by a stretch of injury or disappointment. Without a doubt he’s on an upswing now and despite the inconsistency he’s established himself as one of the top options at shooting guard on FanDuel. His diverse contributions allow him to overcome shooting struggles and still deliver a solid outing, as demonstrated by the 44.9 fantasy points he put up on Wednesday despite going 3-17 from the field (17.6%). It didn’t hurt that he was facing the league’s most absent defense in Philadelphia, although it did facilitate his ownership on more than 38% of entries in the Super Slam, which slightly hampered the impact of his output.
Eric Gordon ($5,500) took advantage of Anthony Davis’ horrible foul-plagued night to lead the Pelicans in scoring on Wednesday. It’s hard to believe that just 2.5% of entries included Gordon in their roster with the prolific scorer priced at just $5,500 and facing a porous Milwaukee defense. He was coming off of two quiet games in a row, but he had also scored at least 18 actual points in his three previous games with a spattering of multi-category contributions. He’s not his team’s best player, which can hurt a guy that relies on volume shooting to be a star, but as long as he stays in this price range he’ll be showing up in a lot of top FanDuel lineups.
Draymond Green ($3,500) was widely owned at 20.8% for his second consecutive valuable night in his recent run as a replacement starter for injured Warriors David Lee and Andrew Bogut. With Lee already returned and Bogut likely due back shortly after the All-Star break, Green’s run of relevance may already be over. He’s definitely a name to keep in mind in the future when Golden State’s big men are dealing with health issues. He’s also a great example of the type of replacement player to keep your eyes out for when late news is breaking each night. Any time you get something like the 8.17 fantasy points per thousand dollars in salary that Green put up on Wednesday, you’ve got quite a head start on the competition.
LeBron James ($11,000) was faded by quite a few FanDuel users with arguably the league’s best fantasy player owned at under 30% in Wednesday’s Super Slam. It’s somewhat understandable given LeBron’s relatively slow start to the season and the absolute dud he put up on February 8th with just 23.9 fantasy points. Aside from that game, the King has been on fire over the last month and his price while astronomical is still $1,300 lower than Kevin Durant’s. With Dwyane Wade a shadow of his former self and only sporadically available to play, LeBron is the focal point of a team’s offense more so than he’s been since he left Cleveland. That’s going to lead to a lot of good nights and plenty of great ones like the 67.1 fantasy points he put up on Wednesday. I still like Durant better going forward, but James isn’t far behind and remains eminently more affordable.
Meanwhile, Kyle Lowry ($8,200), Kevin Love ($11,300), Patrick Patterson ($5,100), and Zaza Pachulia ($4,300) all provided solid value between 4.1 and 5.3 fantasy points per thousand dollars in salary to round out this potent lineup. Richham put together the right combination of reliable studs, risky veterans, and rising value plays and ended up on top of the Super Slam, edging out second place finisher Generalz3 by a slim margin of 2 fantasy points.
Here’s a link to FanDuel’s upcoming CBB $12K Before the Madness Saturday Main Event tournament if you want to take your shot at another big fantasy hoops prize ($2,500 for first place) while the NBA takes its All-Star break. Make sure to also keep an eye out for NBA contests resuming on Tuesday February 18th, and mark your calendar for the next $120K Wed Super Slam tournament that takes place on FanDuel on Super Wednesday February 19th for your next chance at that cool $13,000 in first place prize money.