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NBA DFS: Basketball news and DraftKings data analysis for Friday, Mar. 13th

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With the NBA suspended for the next few weeks, we take a look at some stats the season has left us with up to this point.

Dallas Mavericks v Phoenix Suns Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to your daily NBA DFS digest at FakeTeams, gents. With the league suspended the news will dry, but I’ll keep doing my best to bring you the last bits that drop from the league as often as it makes sense.

On top of news I’ll be breaking down some of the trends and stats we’ve logged during the first five months—or around 65 games—of playing time. With that out of the way, let’s get it popping.

Hoop Land Times: News and notes from around the Association

  • First things first. We’re in for a 30-day hiatus at the very least, as told by the very own NBA commish Adam Silver yesterday.
  • Good news also came from Silver, who said that the league could be restarted later when the Coronanightmare is gone with the Finals—perhaps—taking place in July or late, which in principle shouldn’t be a concern.
  • The NBA won’t fine Rudy Gobert for his pre-diagnosis behavior in the press room, etc. Makes sense, but Gobert’s actions were just reckless and something you all should avoid doing out there. Remember, stay safe by keeping others safe.
  • Also regarding Gobert, it looks like the whole Jazz are a bit against the Frenchman and the relationship between him and the rest of the members of the team has gone a little bit sour after all of what has happened during the past few hours. We’ll see how this impacts the future of the franchise and the player, and if it ultimately leads to a definitive separation.
  • Not NBA news, but something that will affect kids hoping to make it to the L in the future: there won’t be any HS All-Star games this spring, with the Jordan Brand Classic and the renowned McDonald’s All-American game being canceled.
  • Closer to the league, no March Madness either this year. This one is a real bummer, as for some players (be it seniors, potential one-and-dones, etc...) this was an once-in-a-lifetime chance of playing in the Tourney. Sucks.

What’s cooking? Statistical trends from the 2020 season

If you have taken a quick look at the image leading today’s column, you might have noticed something. Who the hell are those two guys doing joking in warmups and... who the hell are those guys!? I don’t blame you. If you are not a hardcore NBA fan—kudos to you if that’s the case but you’re still reading this— you might not know them. At the end of the day, both are oddities in the league.

To the left, Boban Marjanovic. He’s a giant (7-foot-4, 290 pounds). He’s also played 223 games in the NBA for the Spurs, Pistons, Clippers, Sixers, and now Mavs. To the right, Aron Baynes. He’s a viking when he’s not playing basketball. He’s also played 469 games in the NBA for the Spurs, Pistons, Celtics, and now Suns. So, what do they have in common? They both broke the game of DFS basketball during the last week of the season before its suspension.

If you don’t know how DFS basketball works on DraftKings, it is very simple. Each player gets assigned a salary each night, you pick a few guys, build a lineup within a budget, and let games develop to check the final score of each player—and everyone together—at the end of the slate to see how you did. Expensive players are almost always surefire bets to score many fantasy points, but the value they return is not high: at the end of the day, you’re paying a lot for them. When seeking value you’re after many fantasy points coming at cheap prices. That is what we call ROI (Return On Investment) and it is easily calculated: just divide the player’s fantasy points by his price.

As a rule of thumb, we can consider ROI values at 5 to be a reasonable expectation for the price (a 1:2 relation; for example someone priced at $10K yielding 50 DKFP, which is already a great bounty that would be at the top of the slate’s scores). Anything over 5 would be a really valuable play, and under it a rather poor one.

The image on top of this paragraph shows the best performers of each of this season’s slates. As you can see, most of them are bunched inside the 60-to-80 DKFP clip and provided ROIs (VAL) between 6 and 8 on average. More than that can be considered insane value in return of investment... and that is precisely what Aron—yes, that Suns logo at the top of the image represents him—and Boban did just a few days ago.

While Baynes finished Mar. 6’s slate with his 69.5 DKFP, Marjanovic couldn’t do so on Mar. 11—he finished with a great 57.75 DKFP, though, and second on the day. Instead of looking at just the no. 1 slate-players, let’s take a look at the whole league.

Nothing left to guess. Aron Baynes and Boban Marjanovic both killed the game in a span of six days, from Mar. 8 to Mar. 13 logging ROIs of 23.17 and 19.25 respectively. The point to their left approaching the 20-mark is Jahlil Okafor, who had himself a very valuable day on Jan. 15 that went for a ROI of 19.

Obvoisly, both Baynes and Marjanovic did something no one could have reasonably expected, thus their massive ROIs given their super-low prices.

Aron Baynes’ second most valuable game came all the way back on Nov. 1, when he reached a ROI of 13.99 after getting 58.75 DKFP priced at $4.2K. The third-best ROI was of “just” 10 when he got 42 DKFP at $4.2K on Jan. 5.

Boban Marjanovic’s games have been of all types too. His second-best ROI came close to his best one when he reached 34 DKFP at $3.1K back on Mar. 3, and he also had two games with ROIs of 9.5 and 9.75 back in mid-January.

As is always the case, both Boban and Aron were never going to be prominent fantasy players, much less on DFS contest. But they fit the profile of boom/bust plays that you might be looking for to end filling your lineup any day, providing massive upside for cheap peanuts. In fact, here is how their prices have ranked on average this season.

Not a great return in fantasy points (Baynes averaged 22.7 DKFP, Marjanovic 13), but with prices below the $4.5K thereshold they always made for good what if fliers. Following our rule for ROI values, at that price it’d be enough for them to get around 22.5 DKFP to give you a reasonable return, so if you were the lucky one to pick them those two days they went for the kill, congratulations, you rostered yourself a couple of slate winners!

If you have any comment or question about the daily column, tonight’s games, players involved in them, or even season-long fantasy NBA topics, just drop it below or reach out to me on Twitter at @chapulana and I’ll get back to you as soon as I grab a keyboard!