Which Players are More Valuable on Specific DFS Sites? (Fantasy Basketball)
Whether you’re new to daily fantasy basketball or a seasoned professional, be sure to check out our Daily Fantasy Basketball Glossary. You can get started with Why “Points Per Minute” is the Single Most Important Stat in DFS or head to more advanced strategy — like The Do’s and Don’ts of Building a Contrarian DFS Lineup — to learn more.
Playing in NBA DFS contests is a great way to scratch your itch for fantasy sports in new ways and make some money along the way. If you’re new to the game and deciding where to play or you’ve been playing DFS for a while and want some insight into the inner-workings of contests across multiple sites, we’ve got you covered. The three largest and most popular sites to play daily fantasy baseketball are FanDuel, Yahoo, and DraftKings. Each site has its own unique scoring system, roster construction, and budget. Let’s take a look at how those differences impact player value depending on your platform of choice.
Let’s take a look at how the scoring breaks down in standard NBA games on FanDuel:
For source information on FanDuel scoring, visit here.
FanDuel scoring follows the scoring rules that many season-long leagues employ. As is the case on any of the sites we’ll discuss, defensive stats count for the most points, then rebounds and assists, followed by real-world points. Turnovers lose points. There are no additional bonuses for three-point shots or statistical milestones such as double-doubles.
Roster Construction and Budget
On FanDuel, your lineup consists of nine players (PG, PG, SG, SG, SF, SF, PF, PF, C), and the budget is $60K. There are no utility positions.
Here’s how the scoring breaks down in standard NBA games on Yahoo:
For source information on Yahoo scoring, visit here.
Yahoo scoring is exactly identical to FanDuel scoring. Statistics are rewarded with the same point totals, and there are no additional bonuses.
Roster Construction and Budget
On Yahoo, your lineup consists of eight players (PG, SG, SF, PF, C, G, F, UTIL), and the budget is $200. Unlike FanDuel, there are additional roster spots. The G spot can be filled with either a PG or SG, the F spot can be filled with either a SF or PF, and the UTIL spot can be filled with a player from any position.
Finally, we come to DraftKings. Here’s basic breakdown from a DraftKings Classic NBA contest:
For source information on DraftKings scoring, visit here.
|Made 3pt Shot||+0.5 Pts|
This is all pretty standard fare when it comes to fantasy basketball scoring theory, but there are some modifications from the traditional scoring seen in FanDuel and Yahoo with a handful of very notable exceptions. The structure is familiar – points are the lowest scoring statistics, while rebounds and assists follow in the next tier, trumped by defensive stats (blocks and steals). However, after that, DraftKings scoring really deviates from the other sites we’ve mentioned.
Turnovers are typically a loss of one point, but here, they only count for half of that. Three-pointers are rewarded as an additional half a point. Blocks and steals are devalued on DraftKings as compared to FanDuel and Yahoo. Both are worth only +2 compared to +3 on the other sites. Rebounds gain an additional +0.05 (1.2 on FanDuel and Yahoo compared to 1.25 on DraftKings), though this is a negligible difference. On DraftKings, your players would need to grab 20 rebounds to equal a one-point advantage over rebounders in FanDuel and Yahoo. That’s small potatoes.
Finally, bonuses are rewarded for double-doubles and triple-doubles. These bonuses are not available on FanDuel and DraftKings.
Roster Construction and Budget
On DraftKings, your lineup consists of eight players (PG, SG, SF, PF, C, G, F, UTIL), and the budget is $50K. This lineup construction is exactly identical to Yahoo. The G spot can be filled with either a PG or SG, the F spot can be filled with either a SF or PF, and the UTIL spot can be filled with a player from any position.
Now that we know the scoring, roster composition, and budget that these sites have to offer, which players are more valuable and where?
- Three-point shooters on DraftKings: Say you pay up for Steph Curry and he strokes eight triples on a Tuesday against Orlando. That’s 24 points (1 fantasy point per real-world point), plus an added bonus of 4.0 points (0.5 x 8). For long-range specialists, this can add up quickly.
- Turnover-prone players on DraftKings: Guys who frequently cough the ball up certainly get a boost on DraftKings, where turnovers only cost you half of what they cost you on FanDuel and Yahoo. Russell Westbrook, Luka Doncic, and LeBron James all ranked in the top five in turnovers in the 2019-20 season, and they were all slightly more valuable on DraftKings.
- Triple-double machines: Funny enough, the three guys I just mentioned above were all top five in the NBA in triple-doubles during the 2019-20 season, and James and Westbrook have a history of stat-stuffing throughout their careers. It’s only a three-point bonus once per player, but it’s still a nice little boost, especially if you were going to include any of these guys already.
- Centers on FanDuel: FanDuel is the only one of the three sites that does not offer a utility position of some kind. This means that while you’re able to potentially play two centers in a DraftKings or Yahoo lineup, you’re limited to just one in FanDuel. That makes the position especially scarce and even more valuable, because you only have one chance to hit on a player you put into your lineup. The double-double bonus on DraftKings may have you wondering why I’m selecting FanDuel, but the 1.5-point bonus is a one-time thing per player and doesn’t make up for the lesser points you receive for blocks and steals on DK.
- Top-dollar Players on FanDuel: Top-dollar plays are far easier to incorporate into lineups on FanDuel due to the percentage of total budget they occupy. For example, Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s average FanDuel salary for 2019-20 was equivalent to about 18.5 percent of the total $60K budget. On DraftKings, that percentage was nearly 24 percent, and on Yahoo, it climbed to a staggering 28 percent. Though this is just one example, the price point is generally the same for studs in all three formats. For this reason, five-figure stars can be a liability on DraftKings and Yahoo, because if they don’t produce a sizable return, they can tank your entire lineup. There’s a little more room for error on FanDuel, and the liability isn’t nearly as high.
- Cheap Players on DraftKings and Yahoo: Because top-dollar plays take up such a large percentage of a lineup’s total budget on these two sites, it’s particularly important to hit on cheap plays. If you want to get an elite fantasy option like Trae Young or James Harden into your lineup, you’ll need to save a lot of money elsewhere. This isn’t as important on FanDuel, where the highest salaries represent less than 20 percent of the lineup’s total budget.
There are plenty of notable differences in the lineup rules for all three sites, and this is just an overview of the types of players you might want to target on each. For more in-depth strategy analysis, tips, tricks, and tools, be sure to visit FantasyPros’ DFS section. It’s a great resource for new and experienced players alike.
Thanks for reading, and best of luck in your DFS contests!