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Handling the chaos of NBA DFS lineup lock

Handling the chaos of NBA DFS lineup lock
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Handling the chaos of NBA DFS lineup lock

One of the most difficult aspects of NBA DFS is dealing with all of the late news that inevitably floods in. In MLB we get almost all the lineups before roster lock on a nightly basis and it’s very rare for a scratch to occur after lineups are released. Furthermore, if such a late scratch occurs, it generally doesn’t severely alter the landscape of the day.

Meanwhile, in NBA there are scratches galore and there is not an official lineup release like there is in MLB. The result is a much more chaotic lineup lock period. Not only does news come in fast, without a centralized place to follow, but it can completely flip the DFS landscape in a matter of minutes. For one, you can’t take a zero in NBA. It’s instant death. You can survive a zero in MLB. Secondly, when someone is scratched in MLB the shockwaves are minimal. You generally remove the scratched hitter from consideration and then give a small bump to the opposing pitcher and small hit to the surrounding batters. If you do nothing, your EV (expected value) doesn’t shift dramatically. The lone exception would probably be a high end starting pitcher being scratched and replaced by an awful starting pitcher. That exception in MLB is the norm in NBA. If Kevin Durant is a late scratch it leads to serious changes in theoretical optimal lineup construction (which is more of a science in NBA than MLB due to less variance):

  1. You have to remove Kevin Durant from all your rosters or else you’ve lost before the games begin
  2. You have to get Russell Westbrook in your lineups as his value increases exponentially when Kevin Durant is out
  3. Since Russell Westbrook is an expensive point guard, this means you’ll have to ditch your more expensive players at other positions and focus on values that previously didn’t make your final cut

It’s possible for one bit of news breaking at 6:55 PM to cause you to completely overhaul the roster you’ve taken all day to perfect. Imagine what happens when it’s several bits of news.

The goal of this strategy article is to provide some tips and a general outline to help you deal with the chaotic NBA lineup lock period. The average DFS NBA player is a lot smarter at this time this year than they were at this time last year, and one of the ways we can get some edge back is dealing with late breaking news properly.

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