FanDuel NBA Week In Review (Thu. 3/13/2014 – Wed. 3/19/2014)
by Owen O’Brien (follow Owen on Twitter @0wen0Brien)
Another exciting week of NBA action has come and gone on FanDuel leaving us less than one month away from the end of the regular season. It’s unfortunate that basketball season ever has to end, but the good news is that this late in the year we’ve got a ton of data to work with and trends have been firmly established. Of course the most relevant data of all is what you have done for me lately! 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 starting on Thursday March 13th and ending with a shower of prize money on Super Wednesday March 19th.
Top Performers (Most Fantasy Points Per Game)
All data covers games played between 3/13/2014 – 3/19/2014. Player prices shown are as of 3/20/2014.
1. Anthony Davis – NOR, PF ($10,700) – 64.5 fantasy points per game
2. Nicolas Batum – POR, SF ($7,800) – 48.2 fantasy points per game
3. Kyle Lowry – TOR, PG ($9,100) – 47.2 fantasy points per game
4. Joakim Noah – CHI, C ($9,300) – 46.7 fantasy points per game
5. DeMarcus Cousins – SAC, C ($9,400) – 46.6 fantasy points per game
6. Kevin Durant – OKC, SF ($11,700) – 46.3 fantasy points per game
7. LeBron James – MIA, SF ($10,500) – 46.0 fantasy points per game
8. Blake Griffin – LAC, PF ($9,800) – 45.0 fantasy points per game
9. Russell Westbrook – OKC, PG ($8,900) – 44.6 fantasy points per game
10. Paul Millsap – ATL, PF ($8,200) – 43.9 fantasy points per game
Anthony Davis must be butter because he is on a roll right now finishing as the top scoring player in fantasy basketball in back-to-back weeks. The Brow actually upped his average score of 59.7 fantasy points last week to a crazy 64.5 this week, more than 16 fantasy points better than the next best performer in Nicolas Batum. That’s an immense difference and when healthy there’s no reason not to make Davis the first guy you load into your lineup every night he plays. Of course, that’s an important caveat as Davis sat unexpectedly on Wednesday due to an upper respiratory infection, single-handedly dooming almost 25% of lineups on FanDuel on the biggest night of the week. It looks like he’s recovered quickly and will be right back at it against the Hawks on Friday.
Aside from Davis, a few other reliable studs remained on the top ten fantasy scorers list in both of the last two weeks including Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Blake Griffin, and Russell Westbrook. Given those names aside from Westbrook, and the presence of only two guards in the top ten, it’s safe to say the big men are still reigning supreme on FanDuel these days. With the prices of even the highest tier options coming down a bit over the last few weeks, you can certainly pay for points in your frontcourt if you can find enough backcourt bargains to balance out your salary cap. If not, a combination of Lowry and Westbrook looks pretty menacing atop your lineup these days.
Best Values (Most Fantasy Points Per Game Per $1,000 in Salary)
Only includes players with at least 2 games played over the last week.
1. Rodney Stuckey – DET, SG ($3,500) – 26.4 fantasy points per game
2. Aaron Brooks – DEN, PG ($4,400) – 28.6 fantasy points per game
3. Drew Gooden – WAS, PF ($3,500) – 22.6 fantasy points per game
4. Joe Johnson – BKN, SG ($5,300) – 33.0 fantasy points per game
5. Nicolas Batum – POR, SF ($7,800) – 48.2 fantasy points per game
6. Gorgui Dieng – MIN, C ($3,900) – 23.8 fantasy points per game
7. Ricky Rubio – MIN, PG ($6,800) – 41.4 fantasy points per game
8. Anthony Davis – NOR, PF ($10,700) – 64.5 fantasy points per game
9. Shawn Marion – DAL, SF ($4,900) – 29.4 fantasy points per game
10. Ray Allen – MIA, SG ($4,000) – 23.8 fantasy points per game
Rodney Stuckey has been largely irrelevant from a fantasy perspective this season despite his proven ability to score points in bunches. He’s struggled with inconsistent minutes and unreliable production, which stems from the fact that Detroit just has a lot of good players and too many offensive options to allow Stuckey to carve out a significant role for himself. Now he’s suddenly ascended to the top of the value list at a fantastic 7.54 fantasy points per thousand dollars in salary last week, in part due to a newfound starting role with Andre Drummond sidelined with a neck injury and the Pistons turning to a smaller lineup. That said, Stuckey was already seeing more minutes and usage prior to Drummond’s absence, which should mean a continued uptick in short-term value for a guy priced near the minimum on FanDuel.
It seems Anthony Davis’ salary just can’t rise fast enough on FanDuel as he keeps popping up on the top value list each week despite his frequent price hikes. As good as he was in putting up an incredible 6.03 fantasy points per thousand dollars in salary spread across a full $10,700 or 18% of your total cap, which paces out to a 361.8 total lineup score, Nicolas Batum might have been the most valuable player of the week with an even better 6.18 value mark against his also significant $7,800 salary. That paces out to 370.8 fantasy points across a full $60,000 cap, the kind of production that can go a long way to helping your lineup compete.
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. Wilson Chandler – DEN, SF ($5,600) – 11.7 fantasy points per game
2. James Harden – HOU, SG ($8,900) – 21.4 fantasy points per game
3. Tyson Chandler – NYK, C ($7,000) – 16.9 fantasy points per game
4. Nikola Vucevic – ORL, C ($7,400) – 18.0 fantasy points per game
5. Kyrie Irving – CLE, PG ($8,000) – 19.6 fantasy points per game
6. Chandler Parsons – HOU, SF ($6,400) – 16.8 fantasy points per game
7. Gerald Green – PHO, SG ($6,200) – 18.6 fantasy points per game
8. Arron Afflalo – ORL, SG ($6,000) – 18.1 fantasy points per game
9. Andre Iguodala – GSW, SF ($5,500) – 17.5 fantasy points per game
10. Khris Middleton – MIL, SF ($5,600) – 18.2 fantasy points per game
It was a bad week to be a Chandler with three of them making the biggest bust list this time around. Wilson was the worst of them all with a measly 2.10 fantasy points per thousand dollars in salary. Coming off a stretch of helpful recent contributions the Nuggets small forward disappeared in three straight games despite receiving his customary playing time, ending the week on an even worse note by missing Wednesday’s game with a hip injury. He might miss another game or two but should be back in action soon, and as predictable as his return to bust status was it would also be no surprise to anyone to see him get right back on the volume shooting train and start putting up big scores again.
Nobody busted harder last week than James Harden, aside from maybe Kyrie Irving who looks to be lost for the rest of the season with a bicep injury. Harden was absolutely miserable from a fantasy perspective last week with scores of 10.4, 31.1, and 22.7 fantasy points from a player priced in the clouds at his position. Quite a few FanDuel users swallowed the poison pill of Harden as they chased the results he had from the prior week that included an epic 72 fantasy point night against Portland. A couple of big blowouts this week against Chicago and Utah can be blamed in part for Harden’s sudden downturn, but even when he was on the court he wasn’t the guy doing the damage for Houston. He’s one of the best in the game and will get back to delivering helpful results soon, but there’s reason to be a little cautious until he puts up a couple good outings in a row.
Big Winner Spotlight – Daoweezy Grills the Super Slam, Turns $25 Into $12,000
Super Wednesday night on FanDuel is primetime in daily NBA fantasy and the biggest prize in the pool is first place in the $110K Super Slam, a tournament that every FanDuel user should take a serious look at entering each week. Daoweezy did just that on March 19th and put up a score of 350.8 fantasy points, good enough to turn a $25 entry fee into a cool $12,000 in prize money in one night. Here’s a look at the high-scoring team:
Ricky Rubio ($6,800) came out of nowhere to drop one of the best triple-doubles we’ve seen from a point guard this season with 22 points, 10 rebounds, 15 assists, and some fine efforts on the defensive end as well. Despite playing 49 minutes, Rubio committed only three turnovers and put up one of the top value games of the year at 9.34 fantasy points per thousand dollars in salary. To put that in perspective, if Kevin Durant put up that ratio at his $11,700 price tag, he would have 109 fantasy points. Rubio’s performance was even more impactful given his presence in just 4.3% of lineups entered in the Super Slam. I expect he’ll get right back to his woeful shooting ways and return to his solid but unspectacular 25-35 standard fantasy point range next time out.
DeMar DeRozan ($7,700) had been quiet for way too long given the new standards he’s set for himself this year and it was just a matter of time before he got back to being one of the most dynamic and explosive scorers at his position in the entire NBA. That’s happening now with back to back 45+ fantasy point outings, the latest of which came almost entirely off his shooting ability against New Orleans. The majority didn’t trust him yet coming off his prior standout effort with just 10.8% of entries including him in the Super Slam, but I’d bet that trust will be a lot stronger and more widespread when he’s next in action on Friday. Given the struggles of James Harden and dearth of other top options at shooting guard, DeRozan should be top of mind for all FanDuel users looking to stock their backcourt with serious upside.
Kawhi Leonard ($6,400) has been producing very consistently since returning from an injury to his non-shooting hand, but that production shot through the roof on Wednesday as Leonard nearly doubled his recent scoring average against the feeble Lakers defense. As bad as Philadelphia has been on defense this season I’m starting to think the Lakers are actually significantly worse at this point and make the best possible matchup for any player on FanDuel. This isn’t necessarily news as they’ve been poor all season, just a statement of the critical mass that their mediocrity has reached. When a talented but unexplosive guy like Leonard puts up 46 fantasy points on a team, the proof is in the pudding, to the chagrin of all but 10.6% of entrants in the Super Slam on Wednesday.
Amir Johnson ($5,900) was part of the winning Super Slam lineup for the second week in a row, which makes it all the more surprising that the Toronto power forward was included in just 12% of lineups in the big tournament on Wednesday. I doubt many users intentionally faded Amir but rather were lured by the Humphries siren and ensnared in his inevitable collapse or hamstrung by the late-breaking scratch of Anthony Davis. It’s so easy to lose track of a guy that’s been playing well in the perpetual motion machine that is NBA fantasy, but this serves as a reminder that the recent past can often be the most informative data source available to a FanDuel user. Johnson has looked really good of late and is getting the minutes and usage to keep him relevant for the rest of the season.
Gorgui Dieng ($3,900) was the only player priced below $5900 in this extremely balanced lineup and he came through with flying colors in his bargain role with his second straight double-double in his newfound starting center job in relief of the injured Nikola Pekovic. Dieng had gotten almost no serious run this season prior to those two games so he’s definitely come out of nowhere, but any time a near 7-footer gets 25+ minutes they immediately warrant consideration on FanDuel for the rebounds and blocks alone. He was a popular punt play on Wednesday appearing in 23% of lineups in the Super Slam, and I expect that number to continue to rise as long as Pekovic remains sidelined. It will be interesting to see what Minnesota does with Dieng when Pek returns as he’s shown fantastic efforts particularly on the defensive end.
Meanwhile, Rajon Rondo ($7,900), Monta Ellis ($7,200), and Taj Gibson ($5,900) each provided solid value between 5.0 and 5.5 fantasy points per thousand dollars in salary, enough to help Daoweezy overcome the single bust in this lineup in Josh Smith ($8,300). Since Smith was owned by over 59% of entries in the Super Slam, his poor outing was shared by enough FanDuel users to give Daoweezy some breathing room and allow him to finish in first place by a slim margin of 3.3 points ahead of runner-up Meilliem, who still walked away with $7,000 in second-place prize money.
Make sure to visit FanDuel to enter the $95K Fri NBA Primetime Slam tournament if you want to take your shot at another big prize ($10,000 for first place). And don’t forget to keep an eye out for the next $110K Wed NBA Super Slam tournament that takes place on Super Wednesday March 26th for your next chance to win the $12,000 first place prize.