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Why “Points Per Minute” is the Single Most Important Stat in DFS (Fantasy Basketball)

by Vaughn Dalzell | @VaughnDalzell | Featured Writer
May 23, 2020

Lonzo Ball is a cheap option in DFS with stellar fantasy PPM over the final 10 games of the season.

The NBA season is in talks of potentially coming back according to Shams Charania and games will be played without fans most likely in Houston, Las Vegas, and Orlando. If the NBA does come back, daily fantasy will be back in full swing and there are a few pointers worth noting for the continued 2019-20 season.

The Effect of the Coronavirus

The season will be altered indefinitely, and even if it’s shortened to five or 10 games to finish out the regular season, we should see a shortened playoff field as well. Most of the players will struggle with fatigue, not being in game-shape, but statistics like fantasy points per minute (PPM) will be of assistance when DFS comes back.

The first few games of the returned season won’t be worth putting all your money on in fantasy, but once the playoffs come around – then we’re talking. You should focus on spending your DFS dollars on younger players like Ja Morant, Zion Williamson, and Lonzo Ball that do it all and have young and fresh legs, but also expect players like LeBron, Kawhi, and Giannis to chase the championship ring whether their teammates are ready or not.

Using Fantasy points per minute you can distinguish which players are being utilized on the court the most, and with so much in the air for the NBA, expect more bench players to see action if the basketball returns.

Points Per Minute

Fantasy PPM should be your singular most important stat in fantasy basketball for many reasons. The main reason being you are able to see how much of a fantasy impact a player makes in the time they are on the court. It’s the best tool for bench players to maximize your cheap DFS chances at hitting on the big payout without using stars like LeBron or Kawhi every single night.

Fantasy PPM breaks down how many statistics a player records per minute whether that’s points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, or turnovers. Using FanDuel’s points per minute to be consistent in this article, we’ll take a look at Rudy Gobert and Steven Adams as two-player examples among others I’ll compare.

On the season, Gobert averaged 1.24 fantasy points per minute and averaged 40 fantasy points per game in over 34.5 minutes. His 15.1 points and 13.7 rebounds were among the league-leaders of all centers, but how effective was he in that limited time?

Using his teammate Tony Bradley Jr. as an example; Bradley only averaged 10.4 minutes per game but a whopping 1.25 fantasy points per game over his last 10 contests and 1.35 in his last five. In those final five games, Bradley was averaging 6.6 points and 5.4 rebounds in 14.4 minutes per game, compared to Gobert’s 12.6 points and 9.2 rebounds in 33.4 minutes. If Gobert hadn’t started the coronavirus spread, a player like Bradley was climbing the charts as a cheap fantasy option in all formats, but you wouldn’t know unless you used fantasy PPM.

A comparable player that has a higher fantasy point per minute to maximize in your lineup before choosing the often-too-expensive Gobert is Oklahoma City Thunder center, Steven Adams. Adams was on a roll to end the season with 1.24 fantasy PPM over his last 10 games, much higher than Gobert’s 0.99.

Gobert often cost $2,000 or more than Adams but averaged only 10 more fantasy points per game on the entire season with 10 more minutes played on average. Head-to-head over their last 10 games, they each outscored each other five games apiece and Adams averaged slightly more fantasy points (32.61) over those 10 than Gobert did (32.57).

Drafting a player like Adams in your lineup would provide plenty of spare cash in case you wanted to upgrade from a player like Dennis Schroder (0.92 FPPM) to D’Aaron Fox (1.17). Saving your money by using fantasy PPM over the last five or 10 games is the easiest way

Bankroll Management begins with Fantasy PPM

Adams was owned far less than Gobert despite the differential, and because FanDuel and DraftKings show fantasy points per game on the season, you could miss how valuable choosing a player like Adams over Gobert. Gobert clearly outranks Adams, 40 to 30 in fantasy points per game, so to the naked-eye, Gobert is a clear choice.

Using fantasy PPM, you can save a handful of money in DFS, and use that to select a sample of sleeper picks, as well as those guaranteed standouts. If the season comes back, players like Lonzo Ball (1.28), Mitchell Robinson (1.20), Coby White (1.13), and Robert Covington (1.02) are all cheap options in DFS with stellar fantasy PPM over their final 10 games of the season.

Capitalizing on a player’s last 10 games in fantasy PPM is more instrumental to your success rather than looking at home/away splits or recent stats. Most statistics don’t tell you the true value of player but cross-referencing with player usage rating and advanced stats like ceiling and floor factors are beneficial free tools to boost your confidence in selecting a cheaper player with a strong PPM.

If the NBA season returns next month, start practicing using PPM before the 2020-21 season starts next season using Swish Analytics and RotoCurve as primary resources. Check out FantasyPros daily fantasy page and utilize the optimizer, cheat sheets, and more for your DFS lineups to get an edge over your competition this summer.

Vaughn Dalzell is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Vaughn, check out his archive or follow him @VaughnDalzell.

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