If you play DFS basketball then you know that finding value is key to being successful. So how do you find value and how do you know when to use it?
These are two very different things and knowing this will make you a successful DFS basketball player.
The first way to find value is pretty simple and I don’t need to tell you to check injuries. If a player is out and the backup who typically plays 15-20 minutes a night is going to play 30 or more, then you have found value. It’s pretty simple and you will know about it because every advice site will being telling you to play that player.
The other way to find value is to look at playing trends. You will notice that some players will be worked gradually into a lineup whether it’s because they are rookies or because they are coming off an injury.
Simply put, players are typically priced according to their minutes, usage, and production. So when you see rookies hovering around $5k or less on FanDuel pay attention to their role on the team. (Check out the minutes tools available through FantasyLabs and FantasyCruncher)
A great example would be a player like DeAngelo Russell for the Lakers.
When he was averaging about 18-25 minutes a game and his price was about 4.7k, he’s not worth playing. But when you start reading that a coach is going to start playing him more, he becomes a value play.
Most likely, his price won’t adjust until his production does so you need to take advantage of it.
Other things to pay attention to is the way teams are playing. Some teams will adjust the way they play against certain teams or because of other injuries on the team.
The perfect example of this would be the Washington Wizards. Granted none of the starters were really getting hurt so you didn’t have that much value in the backups. But the secondary big men on the team were getting hurt and they started playing with a smaller lineup meaning they were basically playing with three guards.
Gary Neal was benefiting from this and started seeing 30 minutes a night. Same could be said with the Raptors because they were finding more success playing small and Corey Joseph was getting 30 minutes.
Both Joseph and Neal were a little more than minimum price getting starter minutes.
Knowing How To Use Value
One of the biggest mistakes in DFS basketball is trying to create value when it isn’t there. Or not utilizing the value that is there because you want to play the stud at that position instead.
First, don’t create value to play big name players. By creating value I’m talking about finding a guy who only plays 20 minutes on most night, but sometimes plays 25 on occasion. You need to calculate value by points per thousand dollar salary. Typically FanDuel is 5x and DraftKings is 6x meaning a $4000 player needs to get 20 fantasy points on FD and 24 on DK.
If you find yourself playing someone like Cody Zeller because you he is the only guy that will fit on your roster at his price, you are making a mistake. Granted, there may be times to use him like when Jefferson is out and he is seeing mid to upper 20’s in minutes, but not when he’s seeing 20 minutes give or take.
The key to Value Plays is finding (and always using) the guys that can easily get over their 5x or 6x salary. So if you find a player that is 4k but has been getting a lot of minutes and exceeding 5x on a nightly basis, you need to roster him.
What this does for you is give you some leeway with your expensive players that may get to value, but not quite get over it. It’s okay if a 10k player can only get you 45 when they need 50 because hopefully your 4k value play will score more than 20 points.
On nights where there is a lot of value at a lot of positions, you need to consider a players usage. I love taking point guards whenever I can and have no issue fading Studs like Curry and Wall.
Point guards touch the ball so much making it much easier to score fantasy points. So it’s not as hard for a point guard to rack up assists and even baskets because they will have more looks.
The same can’t be said about wing players who typically rely on shooting. First, they need to get the shots to make value because they typically don’t get many rebounds and get few assists playing on the wing, and when they do get shots they need them to fall.
Players like CJ miles and JJ Redick are hard to roster for that reason because they are so scoring dependent. I don’t mind taking big men as value either because they are always under the rim meaning they can get their fair share of rebounds and put backs, but overall I prefer players that are touching the ball the most.
Sometimes it’s hard to fade a good stud player in a great spot, but it’s what separates the good DFS players from the bad ones. I wish I knew about this when I started because I always started by building my lineups with the best players and worked my way down when it needs to be the opposite.
If you have a SG at the minimum price who’s getting over 30 minutes and getting 7X a night, he becomes the must play of the night. Not Harden sitting at 11k against the Denver Nuggets.
Think of it like this, what’s more reasonable to achieve? The value play PG at $3500 getting 24.5 points or Harden getting 77?
Even if there is another value play at another position but is inconsistent or just doesn’t have the ceiling, you need to play the value player with the higher ceiling always.
Pat Beverly has a ceiling of about 26 even though his floor is 18. Sure he won’t let you down, but you should be looking at the guys like DeAngelo Russell who is almost the same price and has hit 40 points before.
So what I hope you get out of all of this is the following:
- Find your value by finding who is mispriced.
- Try your best to find the ceiling of all the value plays and take the value plays with the highest ceiling.
- Don’t build from the top down and plug in a guy because he’s all that fits on your roster, instead find the value plays with the highest ceiling and plug them in and go from there!
- Sometimes you wont’ be able to play the “experts” play of the day because you filled that position with value plays but that’s okay. That’s how people end up losing anyway.