You have to approach every position in NBA DFS differently
When picking players in daily fantasy basketball it’s important to understand why you are picking them. This seems obvious but most people will rely solely on the past few games never thinking about how the player accrued those fantasy points in the first place. If you understand how then you can make better decisions on why. Different skill sets shine in different situations. These aren’t robots who punch out numbers. They are elite athletes who are utilized in a variety of different situations depending on coaching, opponent, playing style and more!
Not all point guards have the same skill set. If Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook both hit 50 fantasy points they got those 50 fantasy points in completely different ways.
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Some of the ways they accrue fantasy points depend’s on skill sets, size, speed, athletic ability and roles on a team. These roles vary from team to team as different coaches have different coaching styles. Below is a breakdown of how to approach each position and what to look for when picking them.
Point guards need not to only score but also to defend (steals) and dish (assists) since those are worth more points. Both Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul can also take over the game if called upon in entirely different ways and end up with the same amount of fantasy points. Chris Paul is like an elite NFL pocket passer similar to a Peyton Manning in his prime while Russell Westbrook is more of a Cam Newton type player. Then there is Stephen Curry who is arguably a small step above Westbrook or Paul for his ability to drain three-pointers from anywhere on the court. When faced with the same hurdles they all may choose a different way over them. The key is to target players who have multiple ways to dominate a game. Below are what you should be looking for when picking the point guard position.
Minutes=opportunity, so we normally need a PG who plays heavy minutes. Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook will each get 30 minutes per game. Their price reflects that. A player like Michael Carter-Williams, Deron Williams, Tyreke Evans or Tony Parker may not reach 30 minutes per game for different reasons. The reasons could be poor play, coaching decisions, fatigue, opponent or just an all around bad game.
Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook will each get 30 minutes per game. Their price reflects that. A player like Michael Carter-Williams, Deron Williams, Tyreke Evans or Tony Parker may not reach 30 minutes per game for different reasons. The reasons could be poor play, coaching decisions, fatigue, opponent or just an all around bad game.
Low turnovers, no negative points. A player like Russell Westbrook turns it over a lot but makes up for it with his incredible ability to take over a game through points and assists. Chris Paul hardly ever turns it over. There are point guards who may have incredible athletic ability who turn it over quite a bit. Their playing time will be spotty in this case and you will have to carefully pick and choose when to play them.
Usually, PGs with more size around 6′ or taller are less injury prone. Shorter point guards could turn it over more as they will have players with more length guarding them. They can also get shut down easily unless they have the skill set of Allen Iverson. That is rare, so shorter point guards have a lower upside. Isiah Thomas is a short point guard who can take over a game but beyond that they are rare.
Price vs. production. Highest salary doesn’t always dictate best performance. When you pay for a player you’re paying for what he CAN do, not what you think he WILL do. If Russell Westbrook starts a game off with 5 turnovers he can come back in the second half and bust the game wide open reaching value in the process. If a player like Deron Williams has 4-5 early turnovers he may get benched or may not reach value. This is reflected in his price. Paying up for a point guard usually means he does a lot of different things really well while also being able to take over a game when called upon.
PGs are like a QB in NFL and need to be respected and liked by teammates. The point guard is often times the shot caller who directs traffic and facilitates the offense and sometimes the defense. Chris Paul is a great defender at the position. Russell Westbrook is not. Westbrook puts an incredible amount of pressure on the opposing point guard which is a form of defense in itself. He will never be an elite defender and doesn’t really have to be as he can make it up on the other end.
PG/C or PF synergy important. Often times stacking is needed to maximize points (pick & roll). This is one of the few stacks in daily fantasy basketball that pays off. Often times starting players on the same team can have a negative correlation as if one has a big game the other will not.
Understand coaching tendencies. Does the head coach want to run the ball through PG or is their superstar on a team at other position that will hog the ball? Sometimes the point guard is a complimentary piece. For example, Patrick Beverly and Ty Lawson are a complimentary piece on the Houston Rockets. The team goes through James Harden first and everyone else compliments him any way they can.
Watch out for foul prone point guards. Even though guards don’t usually get into foul trouble, some overly aggressive guards accumulate fouls.
If it’s a guard by committee, sometimes the backup guard can be used if price is right. Especially if the shooting guard is a superstar or focal point.
Point Guard Examples
Elfrid Payton: Middle of the road price, a physical freak, good top end speed 6’4 with the wingspan of 6’7. Played heavy minutes by default because the PGs behind him were journeymen, Coaching system favored his uptempo aggressive play.
Dennis Schroder: Rest and injury situations. Whenever Teague was out. Whenever Teague struggles Schroder is waiting in the wings.
Tyreke Evans: Jrue Holiday was injured and stepped in for him and posted some monster fantasy performances.
Examples of Good synergy with Center/Power Forward
Anthony Davis, DeAndre Jordan, Rudy Gobert, Al Jefferson, Dwight Howard. All run pick and roll. Nerlens Noel as well. They can get lob-dunks. By knowing this, pairing pg with front court player is an added advantage for lineups
You want volume shooters here. Scoring #1 criteria for picking shooting guards. James Harden doesn’t play defense but can score on anyone. DeMar DeRozan can score in bunches but can also contribute in other areas. Jimmy Butler is an elite scorer who plays elite defense. It’s their scoring prowess that opens up other areas of their game.
Size matters as SG sometimes plays SF position, want to 6’5-6’8 shooting guard. A guy who can only play the SG position may have a short leash on some teams. JJ Redick is a one trick player but plays a big part on the Clippers while having teammates who can pick up the slack for him. Tony Allen, Danny Green and JR Smith can have big games but only if their shot is falling. They don’t do much else for their respective teams.
Game flow is important to consider when choosing shooting guards. the shooting guard the focal point? James Harden is a player who is the focal point of the team. The plays are funneled through him and often times they live and die by “The Bearded Ones” shooting stroke.
Consider pricing when selecting shooting guards. Could find value here either in injury replacements or rotational guard. Jamal Crawford, Kevin Martin, Victor Oladipo often hit value quick. The scenarios you should keep an eye out for is if the starter or backup gets injured. If JJ Redick gets injured, Jamal Crawford would get a boost in minutes by default instead of coming off of the bench.
Triple threat guards, shoots, assists, and defends. Jimmy Butler good example here. He can also defend well and is one of the best defenders at his position.
Combo guards like Monta Ellis and Eric Bledsoe are very useful and good value that could enable you to pick a cheaper point guard because combo guards do double duty. They are a glitch in the matrix playing multiple positions who can also dish out assists and score in bunches.
Just like PGs, minutes=opportunities. We want volume so minutes are very important. Shooting guards usually get rotated quite often so make sure the player chosen is getting enough minutes
Some of the best players in the game (Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Kevin Durant) all fit this category. So initial instinct would be to roster these players every time. You could build your teams around any three of these players on any given night and be successful. They do so many different things well they can rack up fantasy points in a hurry. Carmelo isn’t what he used to be but is still among the best. Lebron and Durant are still in their prime.
Pricing really can dictate the choosing of this position. Because size now matters you really want to choose an athlete for this position.
Nicolas Batum is a good example who isn’t a big name but flirts with the elite level as he can post monster stat lines. He defends (steals), shoots (3pointers), passes the ball in transition (assists) and he is lengthy at 6’9 (freakish athlete). Also usually not overpriced. He isn’t as consistent as some other players but still has a large upside.
Once again, we want volume, so minutes really matter. There are small forwards who play big minutes but don’t produce many points. They are cheap but can only do one thing and often times that’s score.
Starters are far more effective than reserves in this position. So paying up for a talented guy is recommended.
An example of what I like to call a “Glitch in the Matrix” is Jeff Green. Jeff Green a very capable starter prefers to come off the bench. So this team rotates their small forwards and Green usually gets 25+ minutes easily. Green can do a lot for a team but is inconsistent and his bench role means you still have to pick your spots with him. If he starts because of an injury he can be an auto play because his price tag provides roster flexibility.
Boston Celtics are yet another team that rotates players all the time. Head Coach Brad Stevens(former college coach) takes a committee approach and players sub in/out with a quickness.
Some shooting guards end up at small forward position either based on injury or strategy(ie. Jimmy Butler, Kobe)
Fantasy gold in my opinion of all positions. Full of stars and full of reserve player values. On any given night you can find multiple power forwards who are cheap and can have monster games.
You want to target a guy that can be a quadruple threat. Anthony Davis, Derrick Favors, Pau Gasol, Lamarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin to name a few.
Points are a good indicator of gold but there are several power forwards who can block, rebound and dish out assists. These guys are a huge source of statistics and monster stat lines.
When Amir Johnson was out, Tyler Hansbrough filled in nicely and only cost minimal value. Other bench rotational players like Luis Scola and Boris Diaw also gave value from scoring off the bench.
Versatility also a big value. Players like Anthony Davis, Gasol, Aldridge play multiple positions which keeps them on the floor longer.
Minutes=opportunity but be careful not to choose a Power Forward who might get into a lot of foul trouble. Serge Ibaka is a good example of that.
Got to find the true value in Power Forwards as it could enable you to stack up Center and Point Guard. Center has a good correlation to Power Forwards usually. Examples: Blake Griffin/DeAndre Jordan. Rudy Gobert/Derrick Favors. Terrence Jones/Dwight Howard.
Long gone are the days of “Dominant Centers.” With the advent of “Stretch” Power Forwards/Centers, Big men now do more than just rebound and clean-up around the basket.
Similar to PFs, we want to choose a Center that can be a triple threat (scoring, rebounding, assists). Tim Duncan comes to mind even at his advanced age. Even though plays don’t get ran enough for him, Rudy Gobert also comes to mind. Let us not forget a freakish athlete like Deandre Jordan.
We also got to look at some dark horses that emerged from injury to starters or just underutilized.
Hassan Whiteside was largely unknown until he burst on the scene shortly before Chris Bosh injury.
Enes Kanter trade from Utah Jazz opened up two doors. One for him in OKC and one for Rudy Gobert. Both flourished.
Bismack Biyombo did so well in a relief role for Al Jefferson that Toronto Raptors chased after him in Free Agency.
Robin Lopez got overpaid from the Knicks because of his size and willingness to do the dirty work.
The Key emphasis from all five position is minutes=opportunity. Choose a player with minutes and almost always that is the way to cash.
When picking NBA players there is no general rule of thumb. The best thing to do is to aim for the situation and not the points. The fantasy points quantify and measure. They are the results and decides who wins and who loses.
Remember this important fact: When picking NBA players in daily fantasy the price you pay is for what they CAN do, not what they WILL do.
Different players have different skill sets. Some of them, like Stephen Curry or James Harden, can shoot their team out of a 20 point deficit resulting in a monster fantasy game. Others are only good in short spurts or are the 4th or 5th option on a team like Danny Green. You’ll learn over time which players can do what and which ones can take control of the game when their backs are against the wall.
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