Fantasy Basketball Blog Fantasy Basketball

Mission Possible: Black People Absolutely Use NBA Analytics

My name is Dr. Andre’ Snellings, and I absolutely LOVE NBA analytics. And…in case you didn’t know…I’m as black as the ace of spades, like my grandma used to say.

As you probably know by now, that “confession” was in response to Michael Wilbon’s article Mission Impossible: African-Americans & Analytics that has the premise that black folks don’t talk about sports in terms of advanced analytics.

Why the Thunder can beat the Warriors

On the first Monday of May, I went on the Rotowire Fantasy Sports Today radio show on XM/Sirius with Chris Liss and Jeff Erickson, and was asked to weigh in on the Thunder vs Spurs series. The Spurs had just beat the Thunder by roughly 100 points in the first game of the series, and Liss gave me an over-under of 5.5 games for that series. I took the “under”, that the Spurs would finish off the Thunder in five.

Yeah, not all predictions pan out.

So now, two weeks later, the Thunder have completed their unlikely comeback over the seemingly juggernaut Spurs, and are gearing up for a series against the even-more-invincible-seeming Golden State Warriors. The Warriors are the defending champions, they won an NBA-record 73 games this season, they continued to win even when unanimous MVP Stephen Curry got injured, and now Curry is back and doing Curry-like things. The Warriors beat the Thunder all three times they played this year, including by a combined 23 points in two games at Golden State. In a related note, the Warriors have home court advantage in this series.

So of course, when Ken Crites asked for my picks…I said Thunder in six.

Wait, what?

The FanDuel Partner Basketball Championship – Contest No. 10

Reaching the final stage of the five-week competition known as the FanDuel Partners Basketball Championship (FPBC), RotoWire has nudged its way into second in the standings with the help of our daily fantasy (DFS) tools. In Wednesday’s 10-game slate, we trusted in former teammates Andre Drummond and Brandon Knight to augment Chris Paul in his long-running rivalry with Stephen Curry. However, Paul fell short of his standard with just 31.2 FanDuel points (FDP), while Drummond (51.3) and Knight (50.1) both eked past the 50-FDP threshold. With the help of four other 30-plus FDP showings, namely Kevin Love’s 44, RotoWire posted its top score of the contest (325.3) and fifth 300-FDP performance in the last six.

To wrap of the FPBC, we’ll again touch on the Top 5 FanDuel plays of the day.

Elfrid Payton, PG, ORL at MIA ($5,400) – Only three games removed from missing five outings due to an elbow injury, Payton initially eased into action but exploded Wednesday in Detroit, posting a triple-double on his way to 48 FDP. While his production on the glass can expect to scale back against another team with a rebound rate among the NBA’s Top 6, he should benefit from a backcourt sans Victor Oladipo, who will don street clothes Friday as a result of a wrist concern. With Oladipo out of the picture, Payton should take on most of the ball-handling duties, while also filling a portion of the offensive void. The Heat’s pace factor may force a bogged-down affair, but Payton posted 29.9 FDP in 33 minutes during their other matchup this season on Dec. 26, which if repeated would reap greater than 5.5 times his current sticker price.

James Harden, SG, HOU vs TOR ($10,800) – Harden represents far and away the top-scoring two-guard on the schedule Friday, as he’s churned out at least 35 percent more FDP than the available options at the position over the past five games, according to RotoWire’s NBA Daily Fantasy Value Report. The preceding likely induced RotoWire’s Daily Lineup Optimizer to generate his name, though the value associated with his projection could spur owners to search elsewhere.

FD Lineup - 25 Mar 2016

Fear not, though, as this Houston-Toronto clash is accompanied by the median over/under (212) of the evening, which may be understated following a 113-107 victory by the visiting Rockets on March 6. In the course of that contest, Harden constructed 68 FDP on the backs of 40 points (11-20 FG, 3-7 3Pt, 15-19 FT), 14 assists, five rebounds, and one steal in 43 minutes. On the heels of three point-assist double-doubles in the last four tilts, he’ll attempt to break through again.

Nicolas Batum, SF, CHA at DET ($7,700) – Elite small forwards like Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Carmelo Anthony each have the night off, so the hunt is on for palatable options. During an exploration of the aforementioned Value Report, a check of recent workloads reveals that Batum has notched the most FDP per minute (0.96) of those SF to rack up at least 35 minutes in the last five games.

FD Lineup2 - 25 Mar 2016

In two games versus the Pistons in 2015-16, Batum’s lines have yielded more than 1.00 FDP per minute – 1.05, to be exact. If duplicated Friday, a significant sum should accrue, as he’s received 34-plus minutes in 12 straight games, and 15 of 18 since the break.

Paul Millsap, PF, ATL vs MIL ($7,700) – Given the price tag, Millsap has fallen short of 5X his value in seven of the last 10 outings. Overall, his output is nothing to sniff at – 15.9 points (on 50 percent shooting), 9.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.0 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game – but his allotment of minutes (32 per game) and subpar stroke from three-point range (26 percent) during that span have impacted his offerings. Looking to turn the page, Millsap will welcome the sieve that is the Bucks into Philips Arena. Over the course of the past 10 games, Milwaukee’s frontcourt has conceded the sixth-most FDP (45.8 per game) to power forwards and fifth-most FDP (50.8 per game) to centers, per RotoWire’s NBA Defense vs. Position Stats tool. Millsap himself didn’t contribute to those marks, but two previous showdowns with the Bucks produced a whopping 54 and 52.2 FDP, which would equate to 48.4 FDP per 36 minutes and 6.3X his prevailing salary.

Tim Duncan, C, SA vs MEM ($4,900) – After the Spurs ruled out Kawhi Leonard, Boris Diaw, Danny Green, and Patty Mills for Friday’s contest, the rotation was whittled down enough to consider the likes of Tony Parker and Duncan, who are typically too inconsistent to rely upon for DFS purposes. On Monday of this week, Duncan informed the basketball world that his all-around chops remain intact, as evidenced by 42 FDP in 31 minutes at Charlotte. The showing mimics a pair of fruitful endeavors against the Grizzlies already in this campaign, including 37 and 32.5 FDP in 67 combined minutes. Assuming he can exploit a frontcourt without the services of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, Duncan should have no problem aiding Friday’s pursuits.

FD Lineup1 - 25 Mar 2016

The FanDuel Partner Basketball Championship – Contest No. 9

The FanDuel Partners Basketball Championship (FPBC) has grown tight, with less than 13 FanDuel points separating the Top 5 competitors. Ringing in in third place overall, RotoWire has put together four 300-FDP showings in the past five, riding James Harden (53 FDP) and Karl-Anthony Towns (51.7) to 312.1 on Friday. Once again, we’ll cover the Top 5 FanDuel plays of the day.

Chris Paul, PG, LAC at GS ($9,900) – After dialing up RotoWire’s Daily Lineup Optimizer, the player that stands head and shoulders above the others is Paul, who seems to thrives in the quicker environment presented with Stephen Curry and company on the other side.

The FanDuel Partner Basketball Championship – Contest No. 8

The end is near for the FanDuel Partners Basketball Championship (FPBC), which features nine sites within the fantasy sports industry competing twice per week over the course of a five-week span. In the seventh installment Wednesday, RotoWire posted 309.8 FanDuel points (FDP) on the backs of Kevin Durant (52.9), Anthony Davis (51.8), and Victor Oladipo (42.5). However, non-existent showings from Marcus Smart (12.9) and Nikola Mirotic (8.7) ultimately hindered our cause. While one can peruse the current standings here, we’ll again delve into the Top 5 FanDuel plays of the day.

The FanDuel Partner Basketball Championship – Contest No. 7

At this point in the game, the FanDuel Partners Basketball Championship (FPBC) has brought nine sites in the fantasy sports industry within striking distance of the top spot after wiping away the two lowest scores for each entity. RotoWire sits comfortably in sixth place with a pair of 300-point nights among six contests and four remaining on the slate. Once again, we’ll explore the Top 5 FanDuel plays of the day to aid in the decision-making process.

Brandon Jennings, PG, ORL at CHA ($3,500) – The Brandon Jennings plan is entirely contingent upon the health of Elfrid Payton’s right elbow, which is reflected in RotoWire’s Daily Lineup Optimizer:

The FanDuel Partner Basketball Championship – Contest No. 6

Squaring off against eight other sites in the fantasy sports industry, RotoWire has so far fared well in the FanDuel Partners Basketball Championship (FPBC), with back-to-back 300-point outings pushing us into third in the standings. Considering half of the journey is in the rearview mirror, we’ll be seeking another fruitful night in order to continue the climb. With that in mind, here are the Top 5 FanDuel plays of the day.