Four Tips for Winning More Money in NBA Daily Fantasy

The Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) business is boomin’. People all around are putting in lineups on all kinds websites (the biggest two being DraftKings and FanDuel) and paying attention to basketball in a different way than ever before. Instead of cheering for teams, bettors have turned their attentions to specific players in order to win some big money.

Growth of FanDuel from the years 2011-2014. Graphic provided by Rotogrinders.

I have found myself spending at least an hour daily paying attention to fantasy sports, whether that be researching to find my perfect lineup or constantly checking my phone and seeing how my drafted players are doing. That brings me to this: it takes time to be a successful DFS player. I started DFS in 2014. I felt like I had enough sports knowledge that this would be easy money, but I quickly found myself at the bottom of contests not knowing what I was doing wrong. I’m writing this to help those that are finding themselves in the same situation. I’m going to give some tips that I have found useful in becoming a better DFS player.

Choosing the Right Contests

There are two main type of contests on DraftKings and FanDuel: cash and GPP (Guarenteed Prize Pools). Cash lineups are less risky but also less rewarding. These are your double ups, 50/50’s, and head to head matchups. You have a better chance of winning these, but the reward is pretty much what you put in. Personally, I love playing double ups. Just under 50% of the contestants will win and double their money.

GPP’s are your high risk high reward contests. Only a small percentage of contestants will win money but if you absolutely kill it and come first and a large entry contest you could come away with thousands on a smaller bet.

Sure, GPP’s sound way better, but DFS is a grind and the season is long. Most won’t find themselves building a bankroll this way. Spend more money on those low-reward cash contests and don’t throw away your money.

Use Your Resources

Until you have time to do a lot of full on research and have additional resources that you pay for, Rotogrinders and FantasyLabs should be very helpful. Both of these sites provide free tools including podcasts to help you become a better DFS player.

Use Statistics to Your Advantage

There are a lot of statistics out there to look at, so finding the right ones is key to winning more money.

The best statistic to use is minutes. More minutes correlate to higher point totals. If you see a player will be on limited minutes, you’ll probably want to stay away from them because they won’t have as much opportunity to score as they would when playing their full minutes. On the other hand, when a starter doesn’t play it’s going to open up minutes for other players around them. Targeting a player who takes over that starting role is how we find the best value on the slate.

Another important statistic is DvP. This tells us how well a team can defend certain positions. For example, when choosing a center, you likely won’t want to play one who will be defended by players like Marc Gasol or Myles Turner. You have to pay attention to this though, because this number could be misleading. If Gasol was out for a game then playing a center would be fine against Memphis, even though the DvP doesn’t look favorable. You also wouldn’t want to use this early in the season where the sample size is small.

I start every days research with looking at Vegas odds. Experts spend a lot of time coming up with over/unders and teams point projections, and we should be taking advantage of that. A game with a higher projected score will give us more fantasy points. Be aware of the games that have blowout potential. A blowout will result in starters not playing as many minutes.

There are many other statistics to use such as usage rate or PER, but finding out how to value each statistic will depend on how well you do.

Be Available Before Lock

This is very important for NBA daily fantasy. Injuries can be announced minutes before lock and can shake up your whole lineup. Check your lineups about 15 minutes before lock. Make sure none of your players have been listed as out because a score of a zero from a player can completely kill your lineup. My biggest tip here is have “if” statements. You should know if a player is designated as “questionable” during the day, so when you’re initially creating a lineup tell yourself “if player A doesn’t play then I will insert player B.” It may not always be such an easy swap, but be ready because injury news can happen minutes before lock (and unfortunately after lock as well).

Want to compare lineups or need some advice? Find me on Twitter where I post my DraftKings cash lineup almost nightly.

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