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Player Selections – NBA

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If you have read my previous articles, you know how many points per dollar you need from the players you are selecting. But what factors do you need to take into consideration when picking players? Read on!

  1. Check the Lines…

There is nothing worse than paying a large portion of your salary cap for Harden, LeBron or Westbrook, to then see them spend the last quarter and a half on the bench because the game is a blow-out.
The first thing I do, before I even open the Draftstars app, is go to my favourite bookie and check the lines. What I’m looking for is games that are predicted to be close and high scoring. Obviously, the higher the score in the game, the more fantasy points there are to go around.

This is the reason that I try my hardest to avoid selecting players that play Memphis, Utah and San Antonio. Slow paced, low scoring games are rarely conducive to big fantasy scores. Teams like Atlanta, Sacramento and the Los Angeles play at a fast pace and their games are generally high scoring.

Essentially, if there is a small line (6 points or less), these are the teams I like to attack from a fantasy perspective! Of course, these lines are just an indicator and like anything, games don’t always go to script.

However in general, a good way to start your line-ups is to work out which players are likely to be involved in a fast paced, high scoring, close game.


  1. Check the Injuries…

This is probably the single most important thing in selecting players for your line-up. In general, players prices are based on their form and, to a lesser extent, their season average.

Unless you have players with a fantastic match up, looking for teams affected by injury is the most effective way to find players at bargain prices. Any time a starting player is injured, someone must be affected. Depending on the player that is out, often multiple players get a huge boost.

A great, current example is the LA Lakers. Lonzo Ball struggles to achieve 30 fantasy points with Rajan Rondo in the side, as they share minutes. Rondo gets ruled out, meaning Ball’s minutes go up, the first game he plays without Rondo he nails 60 fantasy points in 40 minutes.

Sure, his price is going to reflect that after a game or two, but the secret is getting the players that will get extra minutes/production as a result of injury. Brandon Ingram had an extended stretch on the sidelines, during which Kyle Kuzma knocked back 40+ fantasy points on a nightly basis. As soon as Ingram came back, his minutes and production dropped. But using this information, we know that if Ingram is out, play Kuzma.

I use these specific examples because it is quite common for new players to automatically assume that the player coming into the starting line-up is always the one that benefits. This is sometimes the case, but it depends on the player. This is a trend that you need to watch, to learn which players will be most likely to get the biggest boost when injury strikes. Chris Paul is out now, meaning Austin Rivers goes into the starting line-up. In this case, Rivers is playing 30 minutes a game and struggling to get 20 points. James Harden on the other hand, is handling the ball at a ridiculous rate because without Paul in the line-up, all the offence runs through him.

There are also examples when both the player coming into the starting line-up and a star benefit. Timberwolves are a perfect example of this. With Derrick Rose and Jeff Teague sidelined, Tyus Jones at $6k comes into the starting line up. Is it Jones that benefits here, or one of the regular starters? The answer is both. Jones is no offensive beast, but someone must feed the ball to Karl Anthony Towns, who takes over the offence with these guys out. First 2 games without Rose and Teague, Jones at $6k went off, scoring 32 points and 40 points and going way over value.

In the same games, KAT was priced at $16k and dropped 85 and 67 fantasy points. Yes, you read that correctly – 85!! Both these players were priced as if Teague and Rose were playing. I’ll admit the first day I had Jones (I know to play him without the other point guards, if he’s priced low), but missed KAT. Cost me big!

Every team is different. I could go on and on, giving 1000 examples and list every player that should be getting a boost with certain players out and what the best match ups are at each position. At the end of the day, you aren’t always going to get it right. However, the players that suddenly smash out a score way above their average and that seem completely random? Usually you will find it could have been predicted by following injuries and match ups.

The final example that I’m going to use is the winning team from January 3rd, to highlight my points. Here is the winning team, and I’m going to break it down.


Terry Rozier – $7k. Irving out (Injury)                                               39.25
Tyus Jones – $9k. Rose and Teague out (Injury)                                33
Josh Hart – $8k. LeBron and Rondo out (Injury)                                38
Furkan Kormaz – $5k. Butler out (Injury) + (Match up)                    20.75
Brandon Ingram – $10k. LeBron out (Injury)                                     36.75
DeMarre Carroll – $7k. Crabbe, RHJ out (Injury) + (Match up)        31.75
Anthony Davis – $20k. (Match up)                                                     80.25
Justice Winslow – $11k. (Match up)                                                   25
Joel Embiid – $18k. Butler out (Injury) + Suns (Match up)               75.25

How could he afford all the expensive players with great match ups?

With cheap players that were a huge chance to score way above their price due to injuries to key players.

To new players, the team above may seem random and lucky. Based on the breakdown, you can see that it is anything but. This is a very well researched team. All you have to do to be able to afford the stars, is work out which players are underpriced for the role they are likely to play.

Analyse the injuries, check the game match ups and you will quickly start profiting at this game!


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