It has been nearly two months, and legal sports betting in Arizona continues to go strong. But what many may not realize is that it has also been two months of legal daily fantasy sports launched in the state.
While sports betting may grab the headlines, daily fantasy has created a significant following and has assisted in the popularity of DraftKings and FanDuel, not only in Arizona but also nationwide. After all, both companies originated as fantasy sports operators before expanding into the world of sports betting.
With the NBA season now in full swing, PlayAZ wanted to give new customers a deep dive into DFS. Basketball fans in the Grand Canyon State have the opportunity to capitalize on the latest sensation practically every day. If you can keep an eye on a few things, it may give you a leg up on the competition.
Basics of NBA daily fantasy sports in Arizona
To date, The Arizona Department of Gaming approved six companies to operate daily fantasy sports in Arizona:
- Fantasy Sports Shark
- Underdog Sports
Daily fantasy sports ratchets up the concept of traditional fantasy sports several notches by allowing folks to enter contests and regularly set new fantasy lineups. While NFL fantasy players set one lineup a week per contest, NBA DFS players pick a new lineup every day.
That concept provides advantages and disadvantages. There are more contests over the course of a week, creating more chances to win and lose.
DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo primarily follow a salary-cap-based model, where you need to build a roster from a slate of games without going over a specific dollar amount. The DFS operator assigns each athlete a specific salary.
Once your team is set, you compete against the other entrants and the cumulative scores their lineups produce. Each contest has a preset prize structure and prize pool. The most common contests played during the NBA season are guaranteed prize pools and head-to-head games.
NBA DFS on select days offers smaller pool of players
The NBA schedule has a consistent pattern throughout most of the season. That being there are only three to five games that are played on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The main reason is to create compelling primetime matchups for the “NBA on TNT” slate of games on nights when basketball takes most of the spotlight.
Daily fantasy sports players can take advantage of that knowledge. Fewer games played means there are fewer players to choose from and put in your lineups. Because of that, it is likely that many contestants will have relatively similar lineups. Meaning you can gain an advantage in those slight differences.
For example, suppose the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers are two of six teams playing on a Tuesday night. In that case, there is a high likelihood that the Suns’ Devin Booker and Chris Paul, along with Lakers LeBron James and Anthony Davis, will be featured in most lineups. But putting a player like the Suns’ Mikal Bridges in your lineup could make the difference. And that is if all the athletes are “healthy-ish.”
Load management impact on NBA daily fantasy
The two words that may define the current era of NBA basketball may be “load management.” And while it may be a problem for fans watching, it could help daily fantasy players win big.
Load management is a program NBA teams and players use to monitor the physiological stress (or load) a player endures so that he’s able to recover and decrease the risk of injury or chronic fatigue.
NBA fans will often tune in to find their favorite players sitting on the sidelines in street clothes. It got so bad at one point that the NBA issued regulations on resting players that could cause teams to face fines for sitting healthy players in instances that include nationally televised games.
But a player’s health status is a big key in daily fantasy. In the NBA, most injuries get the label of “day-to-day.” Meaning, teams have their medical staff evaluate injured players on a daily basis. Most DFS apps in Arizona will not change the salary of an injured star player, whether they end up playing or not.
Keeping an eye on the injury report can give contestants a head start in setting lineups. That way, you can find out which low-cost players will see more playing time because of an injury or load management to a high-priced star player.