Course No. M 302
One way to gain an edge over your competition is Market Exploitation. A great way to incorporate this strategy is to compare the salaries of players from site to site. For instance, Jimmy Butler is $7,700 on DraftKings and $8,700 on FanDuel on a given night where you were looking to roster him. The scoring between the two sites is very similar, so you will be getting nearly identical scoring from him on both sites. However, due to the $1,000 discount, he becomes a significantly better play on DraftKings than he is on FanDuel. Blindly rostering the same player on multiple sites is a losing proposition. The $1,000 in extra salary not only lowers Butler's value threshold, but it also opens up more salary for you to spend elsewhere. It is imperative that you take advantage of subtle differences like this one when building your lineups.
Another good way to find value is to search for underpriced players. While this may seem like a daunting task, it is actually pretty simple. When looking at a player's salary on a given site, take note of their average fantasy points per game (FPPG). An example would be Chris Paul, who is listed at $10,000 on FanDuel and is averaging 40.2 FPPG, and based on this information you can assume that he will return just over 4X salary on a given night. However, you must keep in mind that situations change due to injuries and other contextual factors. In Paul's case, he is actually averaging 44.1 FPPG since Blake Griffin's injury, so the original numbers are not always as they seem. For this reason, it is imperative to keep tabs on player news and build your rosters accordingly.
Analyzing Game Logs
A good strategy is to review a player's previous 10 games and determine their average FPPG during that span while also taking note of any key injuries that may have altered their production in any way. After doing this, simply take the player's salary and use it along with their FPPG in order to determine which players are most or least likely to reach and exceed their value threshold.
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Keeping up with player news is essential for many reasons, and another great way to find value is to target players who have been thrust into a bigger offensive role due to an injury. A perfect example of this is Brandon Bass. In 4 games prior to Jared Sullinger's season-ending injury, he played an average of 22 minutes per contest, while averaging just under 12 FPPG. In 3 games since Sullinger's injury, Bass has averaged over 35 minutes and 29 FPPG. His price hasn't yet increased to account for his expanded role with Sullinger out of the picture, making him a great play at his current price point.
Many times, you can find a player in a unique, new situation where their salary hasn't been adjusted for a new situation. For example, Mo Williams had value in Minnesota while Ricky Rubio was hurt, but lost all appeal upon his return. He was traded to Charlotte as a replacement for the injured Kemba Walker, and instantly became a value option, since his price was still similar to that of a backup. Sometimes sites take a few games to adjust these prices, so your window to exploit these situations is generally very small. Finding these spots and exploiting them can pay huge dividends.
There are times where a situation is pinpointed into a single night of value, which makes the entire research process essential each and every day. For instance, a player may be coming off of a huge performance in their previous game, and are playing a back-to-back. You can roster a player coming off of a huge game, and often beginning a hot streak at a discount before sites have the opportunity to adjust their price accordingly.
Monitor Twitter for Late-Breaking News
Late-breaking news is 100% vital when making your final lineups, especially in NBA DFS. Make sure that you are monitoring the latest news and injury concerns all the way up until lineups lock. Players can tweak an ankle warming up, come down with the flu, or even arrive late to the arena because of traffic (I'm looking at you, Jared Sullinger). The edge you can gain by simply being observant can be immense on any given night. Many times, you can find beat writers tweeting out very specific information about a player, such as a specific amount of minutes they will play, or if they feel sick but are going to attempt to play through it.
No matter what your game selection may be (50/50, H2H, GPP), implementing these strategies will be vital to your success in DFS.