Playing the Small Slates Versus the Large Slates for Daily Fantasy Basketball
Now that NBA is back in full swing, I figured I’d talk about a popular topic in DFS.
What’s better to play, small slates or large slates?
Basketball isn’t like any of the other sport in DFS because it’s the only game where one player can make or break you.
In baseball, you can have a player (or even two!) score you 0 and you can still cash in your double ups.
But good luck taking a goose egg (or single digit performance) in basketball and being successful.
In baseball, I loved short slates when I thought the best pitching option wasn’t the top pitcher in the eyes of the public.
I was really successful on days I found that edge, especially on FanDuel where you can only roster one pitcher.
So Here’s My Take on the Subject
You should come up with your own conclusions to whether you like playing on short slates or not, but here is what I’ve found.
First and foremost, I feel there is a lot less skill in these games (four or less) because odds are most people will have the top play of the day.
You can break down all the analytics you want, but when there are only four games going and someone like Russel Westbrook is playing, the general public will probably play him.
Now if you think that he’s a fade because of his price and matchup, then you should probably play.
The other thing that makes playing these games difficult is you usually have two options at certain positions, sometimes three.
Well I’ve always been told that a monkey can flip a coin and be right half the time so the same can be said on determining who’s the top play when it’s between two guys.
I personally like the larger slates for this reason because the answer isn’t so clear when you have five or six options to choose from.
An Example of What I’m Talking About
I know the season is early, but you will see instances like the following a lot.
Basically there were two plays at power forward last Thursday (a three game slate).
You could choose between Milsap Or Aldridge at the power forward.
Their ownership was almost exactly the same and they were both around 50% and the best you could hope for was either a wash, or your guy was better.
Milsap put up about 50 fantasy points and Aldridge put up about 28 making one side the clear favorite to cash in double ups.
All the projections and analytic sites had these two as about the same play as far as ratings go.
Again, a monkey could choose one and have the same odds as you on being right.
Now this last trend is coming up more and more as DFS evolves and becomes more popular.
You are going to notice that there are a lot of the same teams.
There is a part of me that hates this, and another part that isn’t that bothered by it.
The reason (this is my opinion) is because people are signing up for sites and using their optimal lineup. Or they are buying them off someone, but I believe it’s the first thing.
Now I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t have access to almost every site that offers optimal lineups even though I never use them.
I like to see what these sites are saying so I have an idea of what people are going to be doing.
I personally like to research everything for myself first then come up with my team. Then I look at all the lineups that these sites are giving out so see if there is a common player being used that I possibly overlooked.
But the bottom line is I’m now playing a computer or even a house lineup as I refer to them.
Sometimes these lineups are really similar to mine (especially on the short slates) and it makes playing a lot less appealing.
Again, this is personal, but I do get upset when I find plays I like and see that some other site is giving it away.
More people than you think use this method for making teams and I base this on the trains in the standings that are the exact same team with ten games going one on.
The odds of that many people having the exact same team are very unlikely and you know something is going on.
But, when that lineup hits and does well you are at a disadvantage in smaller games.
You can’t find good pivots on the short slates sometimes to take advantage of the slackers who hit a button and enter a team.
I will still play on the smaller slates because I love DFS and I love watching basketball.
I have the NBA League Pass and enjoy watching all my guys play and almost look forward to losing sleep because I need to wait for the West Coast games to end so I know where I stand.
But until I find that I’m wrong with all my assessments made in this article, I will play a lot less than I would normally play on a full slate of games.
The edge we look for is kind of lost when people have a greater chance of being lucky by picking the right plays without even knowing why that particular play was the right play.