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The Numbers Game

Daily Fantasy Review

by Ryan Knaus
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

Daily fantasy leagues are a booming part of the sports landscape, and they lend themselves to clear-cut quantification. Today I'll use the FanDuel scoring system to take a look back at the 2013-14 season and answer some questions I had while setting my lineups this afternoon. For instance, which teams allowed the most 'fantasy points' to their opponents? Which player positions were the most valuable, and which were the scarcest?

 

 

And here’s the FanDuel scoring system:

 

Points: 1.0

Rebounds: 1.2

Assists: 1.5

Steals: 2.0

Blocks: 2.0

Turnovers: -1.0

 

Owners must use a $60k 'salary cap' to build the best possible nine-player lineup, with the following position requirements: PG, PG, SG, SG, SF, SF, PF, PF, C

 

Question #1: What does the dispersion of scoring look like? This is the broadest possible look at the top 300 players from the 2013-14 season, showing a predictable concentration of value in the top-50 and a slow but steady decline through picks 100-300.

 

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Question #2: What does the scoring breakdown among the top-200 players look like?

 

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As this shows, scoring is easily the most dominant factor in FanDuel, with blocks coming in at a paltry 3.9% of total 'fantasy points' accrued. Points were followed by rebounds (21.7%) in importance, so it's little surprise that the top four FanDuel options last season were Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, LeBron James and DeMarcus Cousins. Targeting lenient defenses is critical (more on that later) and fantasy owners should also keep an eye on which teams allow the most rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. That type of information is readily available on a dozen different websites including NBA.com.

 

Question #3 & #4: Narrowing the focus to the top-200 players, how many of them were PGs, SGs, SFs, PFs or Cs? And how many FanDuel points did each position-type average?

 

Top-200 FanDuel Values (2013-14), by Positions

Position

# of players

Average FanDuel 'points' per game

PG

50

30.83

SG

47

27.43

SF

25

30.03

PF

44

29.81

C

34

30.15

 

This shows that small forwards were conspicuously scarce in FanDuel leagues, especially since each owner was required to start two. With so little depth at the position, it's essential to figure out which players are up against lenient defenses. A mediocre SF against the Lakers, Wolves or Nuggets could be a better value than a typically excellent SF who is matched up with the Bulls or Grizzlies. Centers were the most plentiful position in the top-200, relatively speaking, since each team only requires one 'C' in their lineup. I was mildly surprised to see so many shooting guards, but SG was the one position with a drastically lower average score. There were 47 SGs in the top-200, in other words, but only six were in the top-50: James Harden, Monta Ellis, DeMar DeRozan, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant and Gordon Hayward.

 

Question #5: How many players did each NBA team contribute to the top-200?

 

Team

# of top-200 players

Atlanta

6

Boston

7

Brooklyn

7

Charlotte

4

Chicago

8

Cleveland

7

Dallas

7

Denver

8

Detroit

7

Golden State

10

Houston

7

Indiana

7

L.A.Clippers

8

L.A.Lakers

10

Memphis

5

Miami

5

Milwaukee

9

Minnesota

5

New Orleans

8

New York

6

Oklahoma City

5

Orlando

6

Philadelphia

4

Phoenix

8

Portland

6

Sacramento

4

San Antonio

8

Toronto

7

Utah

6

Washington

5

 

The Warriors and Lakers were the only teams with 10 players who made the cut, with no other teams having more than eight players in the top-200. The teams with five or fewer players were the Heat, Grizzlies, Bobcats, Timberwolves, Thunder, 76ers, Kings and Wizards. I'm not quite sure what the common thread is there, as those teams ranged from fastest to slowest pace, highest to lowest offensive efficiency, etc. The Sixers are particularly surprising, as they had a revolving door of players and (as we'll see) yielded the most FanDuel points of any team to their opponents.

 

Question #6: Matchups are an essential part of constructing daily fantasy lineups. How many 'fantasy points' did each team allow to their opponents per game?

 

Philadelphia

253.1

LA Lakers

248.8

Denver

234.9

Minnesota

234.7

Detroit

233.5

Milwaukee

229.3

Cleveland

228.7

Houston

228.2

Sacramento

228.1

Atlanta

228.0

Orlando

227.1

New Orleans

226.4

Dallas

224.6

LA Clippers

224.1

Utah

222.9

Boston

222.1

Phoenix

222.1

Washington

221.9

Golden State

220.9

Brooklyn

220.5

Portland

220.2

Oklahoma City

219.7

San Antonio

216.7

Toronto

216.2

Charlotte

216.2

Miami

215.9

New York

212.6

Chicago

211.7

Memphis

209.5

Indiana

206.4 

 

Inefficient defenses and fast-paced offenses are a theme among the teams that allowed the most FanDuel points, and vice versa for the stingiest teams. That said, fantasy owners absolutely must look deeper into how each team is performing vs. a specific position. The Heat gave up the 5th-fewest points overall last season, for instance, but they were routinely torched by opposing centers due to their undersized frontcourt. RotoGrinders.com has a terrific tool that addresses this need...click here to check out their "NBA Defense vs. Position" tool.

 

Question #7: Where can I dig deeper?

 

The RotoGrinders crew is pumping out a ton of content on Rotoworld this season, be sure to check that out. You can also follow the Rotoworld Daily account on Twitter for live updates, column links and much more.

 

The next page contains a list of the top-200 players in FanDuel last year, including how many 'fantasy points' they averaged per game.

 

 

 

 

 

Top-200 FanDuel players (per game) for 2013-14

Name Per-game FanDuel 'Points'
Kevin Durant 56.63
Kevin Love 52.74
LeBron James 52.27
DeMarcus Cousins 50.32
Stephen Curry 49.37
Carmelo Anthony 48.23
Chris Paul 47.78
James Harden 47.75
Blake Griffin 47.63
Russell Westbrook 47.02
LaMarcus Aldridge 46.01
John Wall 45.55
Anthony Davis 45.14
Dwight Howard 44.19
Al Jefferson 43.74
Paul George 42.27
Joakim Noah 42.12
Michael Carter-Williams 42.08
Ty Lawson 41.65
Paul Millsap 40.91
Kyrie Irving 40.71
Kyle Lowry 40.57
Pau Gasol 40.29
Al Horford 39.68
Monta Ellis 39.18
Goran Dragic 39.10
Isaiah Thomas 39.07
Rajon Rondo 39.03
DeMar DeRozan 38.94
Eric Bledsoe 38.72
Rudy Gay 38.64
Dwyane Wade 38.37
Tim Duncan 38.34
Jrue Holiday 38.25
Damian Lillard 37.70
Dirk Nowitzki 37.62
Josh Smith 37.60
Zach Randolph 37.51
Kemba Walker 37.42
Andre Drummond 37.11
David Lee 36.96
Kobe Bryant 36.87
Gordon Hayward 36.74
DeAndre Jordan 36.50
Brandon Jennings 36.00
Nikola Vucevic 35.86
Thaddeus Young 35.85
Brook Lopez 35.55
Nicolas Batum 35.43
Jeff Teague 35.30
Mike Conley 35.19
Serge Ibaka 35.11
Marc Gasol 35.11
Ricky Rubio 35.03
Greg Monroe 34.88
Brandon Knight 34.51
Chandler Parsons 34.35
Lance Stephenson 33.59
Spencer Hawes 33.18
Tyreke Evans 33.04
Nikola Pekovic 32.79
Marcin Gortat 32.66
Derrick Favors 32.41
Victor Oladipo 32.24
Deron Williams 32.18
Nene Hilario 31.65
Tony Parker 31.51
Chris Bosh 31.38
Luol Deng 31.34
David West 31.32
Ryan Anderson 31.18
Trevor Ariza 31.01
Kenneth Faried 30.92
Derrick Rose 30.79
Bradley Beal 30.78
Jameer Nelson 30.75
Arron Afflalo 30.66
Jamal Crawford 30.19
Carlos Boozer 30.02
Klay Thompson 29.82
JJ Hickson 29.57
Jeff Green 29.49
Kawhi Leonard 29.47
Kendall Marshall 29.36
Jimmy Butler 29.29
Jared Sullinger 29.29
Evan Turner 29.02
Kevin Martin 29.02
Reggie Jackson 28.44
Tobias Harris 28.41
Taj Gibson 28.40
Markieff Morris 28.37
Andrew Bogut 28.33
Dion Waiters 28.23
Eric Gordon 28.19
John Henson 28.18
Trey Burke 28.08
Paul Pierce 27.75
Wesley Matthews 27.75
Anderson Varejao 27.67
Robin Lopez 27.66
JR Smith 27.47
Roy Hibbert 27.45
Tristan Thompson 27.27
Terrence Jones 27.11
Jeremy Lin 27.06
Jonas Valanciunas 26.97
Manu Ginobili 26.95
Raymond Felton 26.94
Joe Johnson 26.92
Tony Wroten 26.81
Tyson Chandler 26.77
Mario Chalmers 26.58
Gerald Green 26.55
Nick Young 26.51
Andre Iguodala 26.35
Randy Foye 26.34
Gerald Henderson 26.34
Enes Kanter 26.26
Alec Burks 26.03
Wilson Chandler 25.85
Jodie Meeks 25.84
Amir Johnson 25.82
Andrea Bargnani 25.76
Avery Bradley 25.56
Shawn Marion 25.29
DJ Augustin 25.25
Kyle Korver 25.22
DeMarre Carroll 25.09
Jordan Farmar 25.03
Andray Blatche 24.56
Ramon Sessions 24.54
Jose Calderon 24.49
PJ Tucker 24.37
Josh McRoberts 24.35
Chris Kaman 24.15
Darren Collison 24.13
JJ Redick 24.09
Mike Dunleavy 23.78
Vince Carter 23.78
George Hill 23.76
Larry Sanders 23.76
Ersan Ilyasova 23.73
Khris Middleton 23.71
Corey Brewer 23.65
Brandon Bass 23.45
Jordan Hill 23.36
Rodney Stuckey 23.23
Patrick Beverley 23.23
Miles Plumlee 23.16
Channing Frye 23.06
Zaza Pachulia 23.05
Timofey Mozgov 22.84
Steve Blake 22.82
Kirk Hinrich 22.70
Jarrett Jack 22.53
Mo Williams 22.50
Matt Barnes 22.47
Wes Johnson 21.96
Jordan Crawford 21.84
Amare Stoudemire 21.82
Tony Allen 21.70
Boris Diaw 21.68
Shaun Livingston 21.64
Jason Smith 21.60
Lou Williams 21.31
James Anderson 21.29
OJ Mayo 21.22
Tiago Splitter 21.18
Kevin Garnett 21.10
Andrew Bynum 21.02
Glen Davis 21.00
Steve Nash 20.99
Caron Butler 20.94
Greivis Vasquez 20.89
Al-Farouq Aminu 20.83
Marco Belinelli 20.75
Kris Humphries 20.56
Kelly Olynyk 20.55
Patrick Patterson 20.48
Marvin Williams 20.36
Draymond Green 20.35
Danny Green 20.26
Devin Harris 20.08
Will Bynum 20.05
Samuel Dalembert 19.94
Giannis Antetokounmpo 19.75
Harrison Barnes 19.73
Aaron Brooks 19.58
Nate Robinson 19.55
James Johnson 19.49
Omer Asik 19.42
Terrence Ross 19.38
Marcus Morris 19.34
Brian Roberts 19.18
Jason Thompson 19.13
Kyle O'Quinn 19.06
Jermaine O'neal 19.02
Ray Allen 18.76
Kyle Singler 18.75

 

 

This is the final 'Numbers Game' column, at least for a while, as I'll be writing a new column every Wednesday beginning next week. I'm still pondering the topic/theme, so send me a note on Twitter or via email if you have any suggestions!

Ryan Knaus

Despite residing in Portland, Maine, Ryan Knaus remains a heartbroken Sonics fan who longs for the days of Shawn Kemp and Xavier McDaniel. He has written for NBC Sports Edge since 2007. You can follow him on Twitter.