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Benny “The Eagle”, Vol. 8: Match Game
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Vol. 8 – Match Game

Benny “The Eagle”: Vol. 1
Benny “The Eagle”: Vol. 2 – Having Second Thoughts
Benny “The Eagle”: Vol. 3 – The Used
Benny “The Eagle”: Vol. 4 – The Law of Diminishing Returns
Benny “The Eagle”: Vol. 5 – Something Smells Gamey
Benny “The Eagle”: Vol.6 – Going Around and Around with the Round Ball
Benny “The Eagle”: Vol.7 – Processing the Process

I’ve never been much of a hockey guy, as duly noted a couple weeks back, but there were a few years in college on the bald prairies that hockey was the only thing to do on Friday night. So, there I was, a guy who could barely skate, flailing about the ice like an injured seal making myself useful to my team by sacrificing my body diving in front of frozen pucks. All season, I skated as hard as I could and unleashed my wicked wrist shot when possible – the only gift street hockey gave me – and tried not to be a human shorthanded situation. It did give me the opportunity though to slash people at will and just blame it on sheer ineptitude. Having a long stick and no shame came in handy. I covered it in duct tape and wrote “The Beast” on it with a sharpie. No matter how talented or not the players I faced were, I was easy pickings at least until “The Beast” attacked.

Similarly, in DFS, anyone can look up a game log and see how many points a guy has been scoring in recent weeks. There’s far more to making good lineups though than just picking talented players who have played well. Paying up for past production is a losing strategy in real life and DFS. Looking at future matchups to accurately project what will happen is what you need to win.

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Macro-matchup Indicators

Think of this as seeing the forest for the trees. It’s the big picture look at the games as a whole, with an eye to finding high scoring and competitive game environments. Games like this tend to keep all the starters playing high minutes right through the end of the game and provide more opportunities for points to be accrued.

Vegas Lines

You can spend all day combing through advanced metrics, and probably should spend some time, but you can easily let Vegas do a lot of the work for you. When they set out their game total over/under lines and point spreads it quickly gives you an idea of which games should be expected to be higher scoring, faster paced, and competitive. Ideally, I look for game with a total of over 200 and a point spread of 8 or less. A tight point spread is especially important for assuring the stars you paid up for get their full playing time. Games that are blowouts often lead to key players sitting in the fourth quarter and really limiting their ceilings.

Team Defensive Efficiency

I’ll get to looking at Team Defense vs Position stats a little later in the micro-matchups section. That’s quite a bit different than the Team Defensive Efficiency metric. Just looking at a team’s average points per game allowed tells you some things, but it’s hard to compare teams defense on a level playing field given that they can often play at a very different pace. Team Defensive Efficiency is measured in points allowed per 100 possessions. When you have a common baseline to measure from, you can really see how porous a team’s defence is overall apart from the pace they play at.

You can find continually updated matchup stats in the Team & Opponent section of our premium content. Just click on the “Advanced” tab in the top left hand corner. You can then sort through different matchup stats including Team Defensive Efficiency from there.

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Pace

We all know entertaining basketball when we see it. Not many people get too fired up about a great shutdown zone defence and elite perimeter swing passes. We all want to watch end to end transition basketball with big dunks. Timothy Mozgov isn’t famous for much, but he’ll always have “Mozgoved”. That’s why the NBA has a dunk contest and not a defensive shuffle competition. Good DFS research is all about quantifying data though and not the eye test as premium chat regular clafakis pointed out a couple weeks back. So how do we quantify high paced exciting basketball?

Again, like with Team Defensive Efficiency, it’s important to find a common baseline to measure all teams from. There you wanted to see points per possessions, with pace however you are looking to a team’s possessions per 48 minutes: the standard length of a game excluding overtime. Teams that run a lot in transition basketball as opposed to half-court offences tend to get more possessions, give up more possessions, and thus create more opportunities for scoring stats to be accumulated. Again, you can find all this statistical goodness here on the Team & Opponent page here if you sort by “Pace” under the “Advanced” tab.

Micro-matchup Indicators

Think of this more as examining an individual tree for its rings, bark, leaf vein patterns and number of crawling parasites within it.

Defense vs Position

Like I mentioned earlier in the Macro-matchups section, this is a very different calculation than Team Defensive Efficiency. Whereas that analyzes points allowed per 100 possessions for an entire team, this measures what team’s defensive efficiency is versus each position. If you’ve been following along with me, you’ll remember my look at Efficiency a few weeks back.

Defensive Efficiency is measured very similarly:

((Points + Rebounds + Assists + Steals + Blocks) – ((Field goals attempts – Field goals made) + (Free throws attempts – Free throws made) + Turnovers))

Again, it’s hard to tell exactly what a dense statistic like this is actually telling you, but it gives you a common metric to compare team’s ability to defend a given position well.

Our go to page for defensive metrics that are referenced in the Premium Podcast and cliff notes is HoopsStats. You can find a plethora of mind numbing statistical goodness there. In particular, you can find their defensive matchups stats here. For purposes of finding good matchups, the higher the EFF number in the opponent’s stats page, the better a matchup it is for offensive production.

Individual Defenders

This is where the eye test comes more into play. As a casual fan of the NBA, I don’t have the depth of player knowledge yet to know which individual players are more talented defenders. I know that Chris Paul is an excellent individual defender and that James Harden cares about defending about as much as Allen Iverson cares about “Practice”. Beyond that, I really depend on the experts here to keep me informed about changes in lineups that will affect what their defense vs position abilities will be. If a team has had injury trouble with key defensive players it will affect their season long Defence vs Position numbers. When they get those players back, yearlong stats may take a while to normalize again. It pays to listen to the eye test from people who know what they’re talking about. This is where going Premium, really comes in handy.

Bankroll Update

Entry fees this week:
DraftKings:     $54
FanDuel:         $51
Total:              $105

Winnings this week:
DraftKings:     $39.25
Fanduel:          $27
Total:              $66.25

New this week: -$38.75
Bankroll:         $320.26

Unfortunately, it was a down week this week. When you’re playing primarily GPP’s though, wild swings are kind of part of the territory. I had a really rough Christmas day that brought down the rest of the lot. I put too much faith put in Rajon Rondo, Stephen Curry, and Gorgui Dieng in good spots and they delivered big lumps of coal in my stocking. It was a wonderful Christmas filled with some awful basketball lineups for me. I hope you took advantage of the week of free premium here and had a better week than I did. Hopefully, we’ll continue to see all you new members of the DailyRoto community in the chat and the forum. Happy New Year!

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