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Derrick Rose
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The Numbers Game

Fantasy Efficiency

by Ryan Knaus
Updated On: January 16, 2019, 4:56 pm ET

Today's column looks at fantasy efficiency and production from a variety of perspectives. Which players have performed better during home games vs. away games? Who among reliable, every-night players has been the best fantasy output relative to expectations? Which bench players have been the best values, and who averages the most fantasy points per minute?

 

The players with the highest fantasy points per dollar ratio (based on FanDuel salaries) were Derrick Rose, Emmanuel Mudiay, Derrick Jones Jr., Shabazz Napier, Tristan Thompson, Jeff Green and Noah Vonleh. They've all averaged a minimum of 5.1x value based on their prices this season, and only six other qualifying players have hit 5x or better -- Bam Adebayo, Taj Gibson, Bojan Bogdanovic, Paul George, Nikola Vucevic and Trevor Ariza. It's hard to rely on Taj right now with his role uncertain as coach Ryan Saunders experiments with a 10-man rotation and gives Dario Saric more latitude, but the rest of those players should remain steady values -- especially Ariza, who is enjoying huge minutes as a two-way cog for the Wizards.

 

 

Player

PTS/$ Ratio (FanDuel Salaries)

Total Fantasy Points

Total Minutes

Derrick Rose

5.50

6959

948

Emmanuel Mudiay

5.39

7204

876

Tristan Thompson

5.33

6437

896

Jeff Green

5.26

8524

1018

Noah Vonleh

5.16

8934

1076

Bam Adebayo

5.15

7856

798

Taj Gibson

5.05

8681

996

Bojan Bogdanovic

5.04

8178

1246

Paul George

5.04

8256

1343

Nikola Vucevic

5.02

8199

1199

Trevor Ariza

5.01

7896

1273

Bryn Forbes

4.98

9040

1141

Serge Ibaka

4.97

8431

1065

Domantas Sabonis

4.97

7732

928

Anthony Davis

4.95

8285

1331

Kyrie Irving

4.93

7595

1127

Marcus Morris

4.92

7629

957

Cory Joseph

4.92

8178

1011

Myles Turner

4.92

7741

1031

Cody Zeller

4.92

7634

850

Pascal Siakam

4.90

9118

1256

Malcolm Brogdon

4.90

8189

1058

De'Aaron Fox

4.90

9023

1264

Deandre Ayton

4.88

9077

1282

Ed Davis

4.87

8846

727

 

The top fantasy values among players who come off the bench, or have primarily been reserves this season, are as follows:

 

Player

Average PTS/$ Value

Total Starts

Derrick Rose

5.5

11

Jeff Green

5.3

14

Bam Adebayo

5.1

5

Jeremy Lin

5.1

0

Richaun Holmes

5.1

1

Nerlens Noel

5.1

1

Domantas Sabonis

5.0

2

Cory Joseph

4.9

0

Ed Davis

4.9

1

Jordan Clarkson

4.9

0

Mason Plumlee

4.9

11

Montrezl Harrell

4.8

0

Tony Parker

4.8

0

Monte Morris

4.8

1

Alec Burks

4.8

11

DeAndre Bembry

4.8

3

Terry Rozier

4.8

4

Jose Barea

4.8

0

 

I ended on Barea intentionally, the better to lament his season-ending Achilles surgery. I hope it doesn't prove to be career-ending for the 34-year-old, whose clutch play during the Mavs' 2011 Finals win vs. the Heat is etched in my memory (he didn't even shoot well in that series but broke down Miami's defense with his dribble penetration and, as I recall, made buckets when it mattered most). He's listed at a generous 6'0" and it's not easy for a guy his size to make an impact in the NBA, let alone do it consistently for 13 seasons. The outpouring of support for him, from his own team and opponents, speaks for itself -- he's a consummate professional. He's only helped fantasy owners with assists this season (5.6 per game), though, so let's move on.

 

Below, we're looking at which players have averaged the most fantasy points per minute. This is based on cumulative, season-long stats, and I'm still excluding guys who have played fewer than 200 total minutes. Say goodbye to Will Barton, Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, Kevin Love, Robert Williams and dozens of others. There are still more than 340 players who qualify, so the sample size is robust.

 

Player

Minutes

Fantasy PTS/game

Fantasy PTS per Minute

Anthony Davis

37.0

62.3

1.69

Giannis Antetokounmpo

33.5

55.2

1.65

Joel Embiid

34.0

52.0

1.53

James Harden

37.0

56.3

1.52

Nikola Jokic

31.1

45.5

1.46

LeBron James

34.7

50.5

1.46

Nikola Vucevic

30.8

44.8

1.46

Hassan Whiteside

26.2

36.8

1.41

Karl-Anthony Towns

33.8

47.0

1.39

Paul George

35.4

48.2

1.36

Jusuf Nurkic

27.1

36.9

1.36

Kevin Durant

36.0

48.8

1.36

Andre Drummond

33.3

44.5

1.34

Nerlens Noel

14.4

19.2

1.33

Kyrie Irving

32.2

42.5

1.32

Kawhi Leonard

34.9

45.9

1.32

Domantas Sabonis

25.1

32.1

1.28

Rudy Gobert

31.8

40.7

1.28

Ben Simmons

34.1

43.1

1.27

Montrezl Harrell

25.0

31.6

1.26

JaVale McGee

23.2

28.8

1.24

Julius Randle

29.4

36.3

1.24

Kemba Walker

34.4

41.9

1.22

John Wall

34.5

41.6

1.20

Blake Griffin

35.7

42.8

1.20

Richaun Holmes

17.9

21.4

1.20

Damian Lillard

35.4

42.2

1.19

DeMar DeRozan

35.1

41.8

1.19

Clint Capela

34.0

40.3

1.19

Enes Kanter

26.5

31.3

1.18

 

The leaders in this list aren't surprising. Anthony Davis, Giannis, Embiid, Harden...of course. My first surprise was Nikola Jokic at No. 5 overall for fantasy-points-per-minute, and I was also pleased to see Jusuf Nurkic near the top of this esteemed list. Nerlens Noel, Domantas Sabonis, Montrezl Harrell, JaVale McGee, Julius Randle and Richaun Holmes also make the list of big men with huge per-minute upside. The list of guards is smaller but it's worth mentioning that De'Aaron Fox, Jrue Holiday and even Lou Williams just missed the cut despite being in the top-30. Alas, J.J. Barea was also in the mix as the No. 41 player for per-minute DFS value, just ahead of Luka Doncic.

 

This is also a good moment to point out the league-leaders in total minutes played:

 

Player

Total Minutes

Jrue Holiday

1,498

Bradley Beal

1,469

Damian Lillard

1,452

Kevin Durant

1,438

DeMar DeRozan

1,438

Klay Thompson

1,392

C.J. McCollum

1,375

Marc Gasol

1,364

Justin Holiday

1,358

Karl-Anthony Towns

1,353

Paul George

1,343

Kemba Walker

1,342

Anthony Davis

1,331

P.J. Tucker

1,327

LaMarcus Aldridge

1,323

Mike Conley

1,323

Jamal Murray

1,307

Tobias Harris

1,300

James Harden

1,297

Clint Capela

1,291

Josh Richardson

1,289

Steven Adams

1,282

Deandre Ayton

1,282

Garrett Temple

1,278

Kyle Kuzma

1,277

 

That's two J. Holiday's in the top 10 for cumulative minutes played. The list is simply great news if you own most of these guys, since most of them are just in-their-prime stars being turned loose. It's worth pointing out that certain teams have multiple players, indicative of a coach willing to lean on his starters/stars. Durant and Klay, Jrue and AD, Dame and CJ, and perhaps the most surprising to me -- Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. A close second in the 'surprise' department is DeRozan and Aldridge, as I just didn't anticipate Gregg Popovich working his key veterans quite this much through the season's first 45 games. It's worth noting that the Rockets have three of the top-25 players in total minutes with P.J. Tucker leading the way, followed by Harden and Clint Capela (No. 26 overall).

 

I'm focusing on minutes played for a reason -- playing time is one self-evidently of the most important factors in fantasy production. The correlation coefficient between total minutes and total fantasy-points scored (using the official NBA points-league system) is 0.6641 among the top-200 players. That indicates a strong positive linear relationship: when minutes go up, so do fantasy points.

 

Home vs. Away

 

This data cut indicated what you'd expect -- players fare better for fantasy when playing at home. They averaged 4.53x value based on FanDuel prices in home games, compared to 4.41x values in away games. That's not a huge difference but we're talking about a sample size of more than 12,000 individual games, so it adds up quickly.

 

The fantasy-relevant players who have thrived the most at home this season, compared to their fantasy production in away games, are Robert 'Time Lord' Williams, Rodions Kurucs, Thomas Bryant, Jeff Green and Harry Giles. Other players with pronounced benefits at home vs. on the road include Hassan Whiteside, Paul Millsap, DeAndre Bembry, Myles Turner and Joe Harris. Every player I just named has produced at least 1x-value better during home games this season, relative to their DFS salary on FanDuel (a decent proxy for overall fantasy expectations).

 

If Myles Turner's average fantasy value has been $7,000, for instance, he's putting up 1.114x value better during home games -- a difference of nearly almost eight fantasy points. Once again, these may seem like small totals but we're talking about huge, season-long sample sizes...these aren't recent trends, they are ongoing factors that have decided fantasy matchups in both DFS and season-long.

 

The players who have fared better on the road include Luke Kornet, Rajon Rondo, Kelly Oubre, Elfrid Payton, Brook Lopez, Marvin Bagley, Derrick Jones Jr., Justise Winslow, Dennis Schroder and Marcus Smart. I'm not delving into the 'why' of this data -- I'm just reporting what I've found by crunching the numbers. Payton, for instance, is averaging more points on the road (+4.5) on far better shooting (53.8% vs. 45.5%), more 3-pointers (+0.7), rebounds (+0.7), assists (+0.7), steals (+0.2) and even blocks (+0.1), with fewer turnovers (-1.0). He he's only played in 13 games all season due to injuries, but most of the guys on this list have many more games and are (apparently) habitual road warriors.

 

Writing this column demands hours of spreadsheet management and I'm eager to hear from readers with specific questions they'd like to see answered. If you have any insights or questions, you can always send me an email or find me on Twitter @Knaus_RW. Good luck this week.

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.