How to DFS: Basketball Edition

As a new basketball season is now upon us, so is another year of making money with daily fantasy basketball. I’m excited to be starting a new DFS series with Hoopscritic and will be posting daily about my favorite picks and plays on FanDuel and DraftKings. If you are new to playing DFS basketball, or just new to DFS in general, here are a few tips that will make your season a profitable one.

Minutes, Minutes, Minutes:

There is not a single thing more important in building successful lineups than knowing how many minutes a player is expected to play. Unlike in football or baseball, where a player can have a huge night with just one play (like a home-run or 70-yard TD pass), basketball requires him to be on the floor for an extended period of time. Opportunity is everything for a DFS roster and more minutes leads to more opportunity.

A player who exemplifies this is Brandan Wright of the Memphis Grizzlies. Wright is an incredibly productive player and has been one of the best reserve big men in the NBA for years. However, playing less than 20 minutes per game limits his upside in DFS. He’s certainly a viable “punt” option on most nights because of his productivity in his limited role, but it is important to distinguish a player’s real life value and their upside in DFS on a nightly basis.

Also, keep close attention, especially in the first couple weeks of the season, is how coaches balance and use their rotation. Do some starters have a short leash? Will he let the bench play extended minutes if they are playing well? Is he using an 8 or 10 man rotation? Knowing the answers to these questions can give you an edge in roster construction.

Role and Usage

The next most important factor after learning how minutes will be distributed is learning what role each player has in their team’s system.  Know who’s asked to be a “3 and D” guy and who’s asked to be a playmaker and scorer. Figure out each team’s offensive hierarchy so there are no surprises about how many fantasy points a player is capable of.

Related to role is basketball reference statistic called “Usage Rate.” Essentially, it gives an idea about how often a guy is used when he’s on the floor. Which is fantastic for us, because it gives us a snapshot at exactly what we want to know; the amount of opportunity a guy is getting in his minutes. There are exceptions to this rule, (Tyson Chandler, DeAndre Jordan, Kyle Korver, etc.) but for the most part, guys with higher usage rates are better players to target for DFS.

Know your DFS site scoring system

While most DFS sites have a similar scoring system, there are subtle differences that make a big difference in what statistics should be more valued. Since I’ll be posting write-ups about Fanduel and DraftKings, here are the ways you accumulate points for both sites:


3-pt FG= 3 points

2-pt FG= 2 points

1 FT= 1 point

Rebound= 1.2 points

Assist= 1.5 points

Block= 2 points

Steal= 2 points

Turnover= -1 point


3pt- FG= 3.5 points (+0.5 bonus for 3pt FG made)

2pt- FG= 2 points

1 FT= 1 point

Rebound= 1.25 points

Assist= 1.5 points

Block= 2 points

Steal= 2 points

Turnover= -0.5 points


Double-Double= +1.5 points

Triple-Double= +3 points

A Few Notes:

-Neither site penalizes for missed shots.

– Efficient 3pt shooting is highly incentivized on DraftKings.

-Double-Double machines like DeAndre Jordan, Kevin Love and DeMarcus Cousins get a nice boost on DraftKings.

Don’t be “Starstruck”

A common trap that many new DFS basketball players fall into is putting as many big stars as they can into their lineup and filling the rest of their slots with minimum salary guys. That’s not to say that it isn’t a strategy that can work, but on most slates, there are better ways to optimize a lineup. Winning rosters often differentiate from the pack and don’t just have the two best players on the planet with a bunch of nobodies.

Injuries and late scratches

Injuries affect basketball quite a bit as it creates opportunity for a cheap salaried player to get big minutes in that night’s game. Not knowing a guy is out often ruins your lineup as everyone else was able to plug and play the best value play of the slate. Staying up to date on injuries and potential injuries is simply a necessity to playing DFS basketball.

Late scratches are all too common in basketball, which is why it’s a good idea to spend at least 15 minutes before lineups lock to make sure all your guys are playing. There’s nothing worse than seeing a 0 next to a player’s name in an otherwise flawless lineup. Following a team’s beat reporter on Twitter and checking RotoWorld for player updates are two sources I use to be sure my guy is in the game.



There you have it! I’m looking forward to a profitable NBA season where I can hopefully help you make a little money. Please feel free to ask any DFS questions on my twitter @AsmusSports.

1 Comment

  1. Amazing article.It is so nice to read a sports article or for that matter any article that is written by someone who is not only knowledgeable but also articulate and does not resort slang or inappropriate language.BRAVO


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