An Introduction to Scoring in Daily Fantasy Basketball
I'm sure everybody remembers his or her first fantasy football, basketball, baseball, or what-have-you league. You know, way back before you felt like you were an expert on the subject.
You grab a draft magazine or print out some rankings and start drafting your team like the wizard of a general manager you always knew you could be.
Then you realize your league commissioner failed to mention to you that it's a two-quarterback and you had no idea. Or maybe your magazine rankings were for a roto basketball league but you're in a head-to-head set-up.
But don't let it happen when you foray into daily fantasy football or daily fantasy basketball. Unless you're well-versed in fantasy football scoring, the set up -- four points for a passing touchdown? one point per every 10 rushing yards? points allowed by team defenses? -- can actually be really confusing.
Fantasy basketball scoring is much simpler -- especially in daily fantasy formats.
For now, we're going to focus on the NBA scoring rules from FanDuel, which are very straightforward. That makes the initial learning curve a lot less steep than it could be.
Let's break things down.
This is the big one.
Points are glamorous, sure, but they often dictate the floor and ceiling that certain players can provide. That makes them important.
If you're a season-long aficionado looking to break into daily fantasy hoops, savvy strategies like punting points just won't cut it.
FanDuel's scoring system for points is easy. Every made basket is awarded as it is on the court. A foul shot is one fantasy point, a two-point field goal is worth two fantasy points, and a three-pointer is worth three fantasy points. FanDuel doesn't reward any bonus points for a three-point shot. Sorry, Stephen Curry.
It also doesn't factor in field goal or free throw percentages, which makes it easier to target high-volume "chuckers" (like Monta Ellis), poor-shooting guards (like Kemba Walker), or guys who can't make free throws (like DeAndre Jordan), who would demolish your percentage categories in traditional, season-long fantasy basketball.
A point is a point is a point. Sounds a lot easier than tallying up passing yards and sacks and the like, yeah?
Not all rebounds are created equal on the basketball court, but for the purposes of daily fantasy scoring, they are. FanDuel rewards 1.2 points for each rebound, which -- of course -- is more than a free throw.
Naturally, though, rebounds aren't as prolific as points are, making the extra 0.2 points per board an intriguing proposition. That also makes a putback score (a rebound plus a basket) worth 3.2 points for the combination. On a related note, offensive rebounders such as Kenneth Faried are fun to roster.
The points awarded for rebounds also make tracking every possession with one of your players on the floor quite an experience, especially when hoping long rebounds will kick out to your guards, who generally don't see many boards in relation to their frontcourt counterparts.
During the 2014-15 season, only 22 guards averaged at least 4.0 boards per contest, and only 8 topped 5.0 per game. Just one guard ( Russell Westbrook, 7.3) averaged better than 6.0. In that same season, 83 frontcourt players maintained a rebounds per game mark of 5.0 or better.
Not all sites award 1.2 points for rebounds, and FanDuel doesn't offer a double-double bonus, but that doesn't mean that Andre Drummond's 20-point, 20-rebound games aren't welcome on your squad.
If a board is worth 1.2 points, what's a helper worth? Easy. FanDuel awards 1.5 points per assist.
Again, big assist numbers aren't exactly common (in the three years spanning from 2012-13 to 2014-15, only 127 instances included 15 or more assists in a single game). More than 1,000 occurrences of 15-plus rebounds in that span exist.
However, this makes frontcourt players who can fill up the assist column worth your while. In 2014-15, only LeBron James (7.4), Blake Griffin (5.3), Nicolas Batum (4.8), Joakim Noah (4.7), and Gordon Hayward (4.1) topped 4.0 in the helper category on a per-game basis.
35 guards were at 4.0 or better, but only 8 notched 7.0 or more per game, and just 4 dished out 8.0 or more per contests.
Elite assist men will often cost a higher allotment of salary than their lower-usage counterparts, but targeting a pass-first point guard in the right matchup can provide access to a high ceiling.
Nothing on the basketball court establishes dominance quite like a rim-protecting, into-the-first-row block. They're also valuable in fantasy scoring. A block nets your player two full fantasy points.
But they don't exactly come easy.
During the 2014-15 season, only 38 players averaged a full block per contest. Only two of them ( Danny Green and K.J. McDaniels) were guards, and both averaged 1.1 per game. Only six players -- John Henson (2.0), Tim Duncan (2.0), DeAndre Jordan (2.2), Rudy Gobert (2.3), Serge Ibaka (2.4), and Anthony Davis (2.9) -- secured two blocks per game.
Of course, a player such as Anthony Davis, who recorded at least one block in all but three contests last year, can help mitigate an off-night in the points column by filling up the stat sheet in another way.
When they do happen, they're rewarding both on the court and on the fantasy scoreboard, but chasing blocks can prove to be maddening.
The guard-centric equivalent of the block is the steal. Both are worth two points on FanDuel. Both are fairly elusive, though 73 players during the 2014-15 season averaged a swipe per game.
Only four players -- Kawhi Leonard (2.3), Westbrook (2.1), Mike Conley (2.0), and Steph Curry (2.0) -- averaged at least 2.0 steals per game, making them a hard-to-target stat -- just like with blocks.
Of course, when some of the league's best all-around contributors -- your Westbrooks and Currys -- are elite guys in a two-point category such as steals, then you see why certain players can post monstrous fantasy outings while others -- guys who can only score or guys who can only get boards and blocks -- generally don't.
Turnovers are about as complicated as FanDuel's basketball scoring gets, and that's because they're worth one negative point. However, trying to avoid turnovers -- something pretty serious in traditional, season-long fantasy basketball -- probably isn't the best route.
High Usage Rates and high turnover numbers often go hand-in-hand, and avoiding turnovers often means avoiding stud guards and ball-dominant players.
Turnovers can stifle the usefulness of unproven guard, but you'll learn to take the turnovers at the end of the stat line if your players are dropping a full line in the other categories.
For reference's sake, here is the full breakdown of NBA scoring.
|3-Point Field Goal||3 Points|
|2-Point Field Goal||2 Points|
|Free Throw||1 Point|