How to avoid late-night heartbreak in NBA daily fantasy

Oct 25, 2016 |
How to avoid late-night heartbreak in NBA daily fantasy
If you're forced to build a roster that is reliant on guys who don't hit the court until hours after the fantasy cutoff, then make sure you settle on the safest options available.
Photo By - USA Today Images
If you're forced to build a roster that is reliant on guys who don't hit the court until hours after the fantasy cutoff, then make sure you settle on the safest options available.
Photo By - USA Today Images
We've all been here before.

You painstakingly research every possible option for your daily fantasy cash-game or tournament lineups before putting together what you believe is the best collection of daily fantasy rosters you can assemble. You enter them into a variety of contests before the 7 pm cutoff, then breathe a sigh of relief and watch - as that Los Angeles Lakers sleeper you thought was primed for a big game is scratched 20 minutes prior to tip-off. In a flash, all of your precious lineups are in tatters.


Sometimes, there's just nothing you can do. Late roster developments are a part of playing daily fantasy, and even the most seasoned players will occasionally find themselves with an enormous roster hole thanks to a late-night scratch. It stings, for sure, but there are ways in which you can limit the possibility of being on the wrong end of a late shakeup.

Here are three tips you should follow if you'd like to increase your chances of fielding a full active roster:

Make Your Late Options Elite

If you're forced to build a roster that is reliant on guys who don't hit the court until hours after the fantasy cutoff, then make sure you settle on the safest options available. Star players will cost you dearly, especially if you opt for multiple high-salary guys - but you know they'll be in the lineup night in, night out, and contribute the kind of stat lines that can give you a much-needed late surge in both tournaments and cash game competitions.

Choosing to roster elite players on Western Conference home teams is beneficial for another reason: the majority of the top teams in the conference tend to run at a faster pace than their East counterparts, particularly when they face off against one another. That means more points, which means more DFS success. As long as you don't mind sweating out their playing status, you stand to make significant gains well after most of the competition has used up its minutes.

Take More Early Risks

By spending up on players in Western Conference home games, you'll need to save cash elsewhere - and the most logical step is to look for bargains in the earlier games, since you will already know who is slated to start in those contests. The grind of the NBA season leads to plenty of nights off for regulars, and players who are inserted into the starting lineup in their place are bound to be available at a reduced cost - giving you plenty of low-salary options to choose from.

This tactic certainly isn't without fault; if, for example, you're dealing with a nine-game slate but only two games start at the fantasy roster cutoff, your truly safe low-cost options will be minimal. Conversely, if seven out of eight games on the schedule start at 7 pm, you really don't stand to benefit much by relying on players from the only late game. But more often than not, the sked balances in such a way that you can take shots early and stock up on big guns later on.

We're Talkin' 'Bout Practice

Shootarounds are a terrific barometer of how a team plans to go into a specific game, at least from a roster standpoint. If a player misses shootaround due to injury concerns, it's safe to say that player is no better than a 50-50 shot for the game that night. There are exceptions, of course; perhaps a player is simply looking to avoid aggravating the injury prior to game time. But you should always be wary of any player who doesn't participate in the game-day practice.

On the other side of the coin, the majority of players who take part in shootaround will be in the lineup that night. And in a sport where lineup information often isn't available until right before tipoff, that's one of the most trustworthy options at your disposal when it comes to building your daily fantasy lineup. Pay close attention to which players are participating in practice; if you're considering a player in a late game, you had better make sure he doesn't miss shootaround.

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