Get Rich From Fantasy

Beginner’s Fantasy Basketball Guide

NBA Strategy Guide

For the average NBA fantasy player, they are used to dealing with managing their IR list and navigating through the free agent pool night after night in order to field (or court?) a semi-respectable team. However, playing NBA daily fantasy games on FanDuel can alleviate these issues and give the fantasy player the freedom to draft a new team every night. With all the stat lines and players available in the NBA, playing fantasy basketball can be daunting but with this guide, even a beginner will be able to successfully enter FanDuel daily NBA games and have a decent shot at success.

Let’s Get Started

First and foremost, a new player will need to know how the site and daily fantasy sports work. Each day that there are more than two NBA games happening league wide, FanDuel will run a variety of contests. If someone has never played fantasy sports before at all, it is imperative to gain an understanding of the term “salary cap.” In nearly all FanDuel NBA games, there will be a $60,000 max budget that can be spent on a team. Every player in the NBA is assigned a dollar value before every game and the object of the game is to build the best team possible without exceeding the $60,000 salary cap.

Obviously, players with more value and a consistently better statistical output, will be have higher dollar amounts associated with them. Their “price” also takes into account their match-up for that evening. For example, let’s take James Harden and LeBron James who are both having extremely successful 2014-2015 campaigns. If Harden was matched-up against Minnesota and James was playing Golden State, Harden’s price may be more given the favorable match-up.

Strategy comes into play when the player must pick and choose between affordable players with decent match-ups and expensive players with great match-ups, obviously, the salary cap is in play so that nobody can field the Western Conference All-Stars. Each night, one must draft; 2 PG’s, 2 SG’s, 2 SF’s, 2 PF’s and 1 Center. In total, 9 players must be split among the player’s allotted $60,000 max budget. This is where skill comes into play, finding the perfect mesh between great players and affordable players who may have big nights is extremely difficult. But with a little practice, anyone can achieve this success.


FanDuel houses a standardized scoring system based off the stats a player accrues on any given evening. Take a look:

3-pt FG = 3 points
2-pt FG = 2 points
FT = 1 point
Rebound = 1.2 points
Assist = 1.5 points
Block = 2 points
Steal = 2 points
Turnover = -1 point

First off, one should take notice of the fact that turnover’s do take a point away. So when choosing between a point guard who has the ability to put up a lot of points but they turn the ball over often or a player who is safe with the ball but may not fill the basket as much can be a difficult decision. Also, notice that blocks and steals are worth 2 points as those stats are more difficult to obtain.

There is something that standard ESPN and Yahoo leagues typically outline in their scoring breakdowns that is not present here, negative points for missed field goals. Like stated above, standard leagues will typically take away points for missed shots, on FanDuel, there is no negative. Therefore, when Kobe Bryant goes 28-46 from the field and hits 7 of his 13 three-pointers along with 18-20 free throws, his missed shots did not matter. Now, this does not mean that a cheap player who chucks up a ton of bricks should be drafted, but someone who still hits 40+% of their shots and they take a lot of them, is usually a solid bet. The next step in this process will be how one puts the perfect line-up into play and how different games work and the return money that is obtainable.

Games and Strategies

FanDuel has numerous game options available for players with all budgets. Whether someone is Mr. Deep Pockets and wants to drop $5,200 on a head-to-head game (H2H) or just wants spend a buck and hopefully turn it into much more, there are budgeted games available for anyone.

Head-To-Head Games (H2H)

One of the most popular games modes is the head-to-head game. This is fantasy sports at it’s roots where a player battles it out with one other individual. This other individual can be a buddy anywhere in the country or a well-known online player that will be a challenge. The format is simple, the one who gains the most points, wins the match-up.

When it comes to the budget, there are games available that only cost a dollar to get in. These are good for someone just starting out, this way they can learn what it takes to win and maybe increase the budget from there. For those who want to put a little more on the line, there are games that range from $1.00 all the way up to $5,300. Regardless of the buy-in the winner will walk away with roughly 90-95% of the money on the line. Meaning, if it is a $1.00 game, the winner receives $1.80, which is 90% of the total pot. If someone wins a $5,300 buy-in H2H, they will receive $10,000, which is equivalent to around 94%.

In the H2H format, it is beneficial to play multiple games at the same time, meaning, after a line-up is created, find multiple different opponents to play against. The reasoning behind this is that the player has better odds of running into a poor line-up. If they play just one opponent, that opponent could easily have a big night, playing multiple opponents provides better odds on making return.


One of the most popular games on FanDuel is the 50-50. In this game mode, fields of players ranging from 6-120 players are battling it out to finish in the top half of the field. If a player finishes in the top half, they receive their 90-95% return. In a game with 50 players, the person who finishes first and 24 are both considered winners and receive the same compensation. Buy-ins range from $1.00 to over $1,000 and typically, the more money involved means the fewer players that will be in the field.

This game mode is one of the most popular because there is truly a 50% of winning. Some strategy can come into play here given that the amount of players involved have an effect on the value of an individual player. Many players will do their best to put “sure thing” players into the line-up. Typically, expensive players with great match-ups. By no means should one avoid all of these players but within the 50-50 game, it is important to find a player or two that fly under the radar. The “sure-thing” players will typically be owned by a large percent of the field, therefore, that individual didn’t really gain anything on the rest of the field.


In addition to the 50/50s and H2H games, there are also leagues. These are pretty straight forward and are typically similar to the more traditional fantasy leagues. The amount of players range from 3 players up to 100 competitors. Typically, leagues are set up so that only the best of the best win. In games that have three or five players, it is typically a winner take all situation. In leagues that have 10 or more players, the payouts are given to the top three, five or ten players, with the winner getting more than second or third place. Like stated above, leagues are modeled after the classic fantasy league where first place pays the most and so on.

Buy-ins for this game are very FanDual typical. They range from $1.00 to $5,300, with the more high dollar games typically including less players. Strategy for league games on FanDuel are similar to the strategies outlined for 50/50 leagues. If there are 100 competitors in a league, there will be a large number of people who draft the “sure thing” prospects and like said before, if 80% of the people in a league draft the same player, there is no gains made. In League games, it is imperative to find some under the radar players who can provide good stat lines alone with a good price.


This is where the big bucks are made. Every night in the NBA, FanDuel will provide some big paying tournaments. These games typically have a lot of participants but pay out massive amounts of cash. They range in size from about 60 people all the way up to 20,000. The money involved can be as low as $1.00 and can be over $1,100 dollars. The payouts are set-up just like leagues where the top player is paid the most and the remainder receive an allocated amount based off where they finish. Just like all other game modes, the more money involved means less people in the field.

There is also a game mode within tournaments called, “Double Ups.” These games are extremely similar to the 50/50s but instead of paying the top half of the field, they pay the top 45% but they double the buy-in. It’s simple really, finish in the top 45% and get double the money in return.

When it comes to strategy for tournaments, it is a broken record. Finding the players who can fly under the radar will benefit greatly. Some tournaments have thousands of participants and nearly every participant will start Steph Curry against the Lakers. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but if 75% of the field own the same player, gaining some ground can be difficult. Double Up’s are different however, all a player needs to do is finish in the top 45% and they win double their buy-in. In this situation, having some of those sure thing players can benefit. It doesn’t matter if someone finishes 1st or 42nd in a field of 100, they win the same.

Good Luck

Remember, the strategy above is simply a guideline to get started. After practicing and getting into some games, it will become easier and easier to field a competitive team. The NBA can be difficult to predict because there are so many players involved, but having the skill set to find that perfect mesh between affordable options and guaranteed quality plays, will result in great returns and a lot of success.


GRFF Staff

GRFF Staff

Where the hell am I and where are my shoes.

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