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Ryan Knaus

The Numbers Game

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NBA Fantasy Floors & Ceilings

Wednesday, December 12, 2018


Fantasy owners are always looking for a competitive advantage, particularly when playing the waiver wire or building daily lineups. If you're choosing between similar players on a busy Friday night, should you prefer Mike Muscala vs. the Clippers or Marvin Bagley III vs. the Lakers? The matchups are similar for opposing big men, but we can look at each player's expected range of values as a deciding factor. To get there, we'll expand on last week's NBA Consistency & Volatility, using that data to project players range of likely fantasy values -- in fantasy parlance, we're establishing their 'floor' and 'ceiling'.

 

Let's use Wesley Matthews as an example. The veteran has averaged a modest 23.7 fantasy points per game this season (according to the system endorsed by the NBA and used by Yahoo, FanDuel and more sites). He's also had a remarkably low standard deviation (basically, the amount to which his fantasy output varies night-to-night) of just 5.6 fantasy points. That made him the 26th-most consistent player in last week's analysis, and we can posit an expected range of values between 18.12 (floor) and 29.26 (ceiling). We don't need to examine the math behind it, but there's a roughly 68% chance Matthews will fall between those values. If we want even greater certainty, we can say there's a 95% chance that he'll fall between 12.6 and 34.8.

 

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Before looking at floor/ceiling values for the top-200 players, I want to share a few charts sent to me by reader Danon Gabriel The! He visualized the data from last week's column and it's worth taking a minute to soak up the results.

 

The first chart shows every player with four distinct quadrants, showing players with low fantasy points per game or high points per game; low consistency or high consistency.

 

 

Here is a closer look at the bottom right quadrant -- players who don't score many fantasy points but can at least be relied on for consistent production. Derrick Favors stands out, along with Lou Williams, Jaylen Brown and the aforementioned Wes Matthews. Low fantasy points but high consistency:

 

 

Low fantasy points and low consistency (players you'd generally seek to avoid, especially in DFS):

 

 

High fantasy points but low consistency (boom-or-bust stars):

 

 

High fantasy points and high consistency (every-night studs):

 

 

Thanks again to Danon for those great charts! The effort is much appreciated. We won't stop there, however, as the floor and ceiling await.

 

Editor's Note: Looking for an edge when it comes to fantasy hoops? Our new NBA DFS Toolkit has a Lineup Optimizer, Customizable Projections, Next Man Up tool and more for FanDuel, DraftKings and Yahoo! And for season-long, the NBA Season Pass provides weekly projections, rankings, Pickups of the Day and more.

 

When looking at these charts, remember that the values under '1SD' represent the expected fantasy-point range in nearly 70% of games. I've arranged the players in descending order, from highest to lowest ceiling.

 

 

NBA Official Fantasy Points (per game)

Floor (1 SD)

 Ceiling  (1 SD)

Floor & Ceiling Difference (1 SD values)

Anthony Davis

61.35

52.33

70.37

18.04

Giannis Antetokounmpo

56.71

46.50

66.92

20.42

James Harden

53.20

43.67

62.72

19.04

Kevin Durant

51.26

39.93

62.58

22.66

Joel Embiid

52.55

42.57

62.54

19.97

LeBron James

49.95

38.56

61.34

22.78

Andre Drummond

46.38

32.70

60.06

27.36

Russell Westbrook

51.15

43.17

59.13

15.96

Nikola Jokic

42.87

29.03

56.72

27.70

Victor Oladipo

40.36

24.54

56.18

31.64

Hassan Whiteside

40.10

24.18

56.02

31.84

Kyrie Irving

41.55

27.42

55.67

28.25

Blake Griffin

43.28

31.07

55.48

24.41

Nikola Vucevic

44.52

33.88

55.16

21.28

Damian Lillard

43.69

32.72

54.65

21.93

Karl-Anthony Towns

42.56

30.82

54.31

23.49

Kemba Walker

43.52

33.03

54.01

20.98

Stephen Curry

44.54

35.37

53.72

18.35

Kawhi Leonard

44.73

35.92

53.54

17.62

DeMar DeRozan

41.58

30.15

53.02

22.87

Paul George

45.11

37.67

52.55

14.89

Marc Gasol

42.55

32.64

52.46

19.83

Jimmy Butler

38.24

24.82

51.66

26.84

Ben Simmons

40.77

29.97

51.58

21.61

John Wall

42.44

33.44

51.44

18.00

 

NBA Official Fantasy Points (per game)

Floor          (1 SD)

 Ceiling    (1 SD)

Floor & Ceiling Difference          (1 SD values)

Clint Capela

41.10

30.86

51.33

20.47

Jrue Holiday

43.07

35.66

50.48

14.82

Rudy Gobert

40.87

31.43

50.31

18.88

LaMarcus Aldridge

37.23

25.20

49.25

24.05

Julius Randle

34.09

20.18

48.00

27.82

Mike Conley

37.45

27.07

47.82

20.74

Kyle Lowry

38.27

29.01

47.53

18.52

Donovan Mitchell

34.03

20.76

47.29

26.54

D'Angelo Russell

33.84

20.71

46.97

26.26

Devin Booker

37.64

28.53

46.74

18.22

Chris Paul

38.56

30.73

46.39

15.66

Montrezl Harrell

33.93

21.62

46.25

24.64

Zach LaVine

39.04

32.01

46.07

14.06

Enes Kanter

32.86

20.04

45.68

25.63

Bradley Beal

37.78

30.23

45.34

15.11

De'Aaron Fox

35.73

26.16

45.31

19.15

Draymond Green

31.35

17.97

44.74

26.78

Jusuf Nurkic

34.97

25.56

44.38

18.81

Jaren Jackson Jr.

28.77

13.18

44.37

31.19

Aaron Gordon

33.16

22.05

44.27

22.22

Caris LeVert

31.64

19.43

43.86

24.43

Tristan Thompson

30.80

17.93

43.68

25.75

Derrick Rose

29.31

15.01

43.61

28.61

DeAndre Jordan

33.92

24.43

43.42

19.00

Tim Hardaway Jr.

31.88

20.50

43.25

22.76

 

NBA Official Fantasy Points (per game)

Floor          (1 SD)

 Ceiling    (1 SD)

Floor & Ceiling Difference          (1 SD values)

Paul Millsap

30.72

18.46

42.98

24.52

Deandre Ayton

34.46

25.98

42.93

16.95

T.J. Warren

28.72

14.73

42.71

27.97

Trae Young

29.37

16.30

42.43

26.14

Klay Thompson

33.22

24.02

42.43

18.41

Nikola Mirotic

35.99

29.72

42.25

12.52

Josh Richardson

33.44

24.94

41.93

16.99

Eric Bledsoe

33.50

25.29

41.71

16.42

Tobias Harris

36.28

31.49

41.07

9.58

Domantas Sabonis

32.70

24.39

41.01

16.61

Jamal Murray

30.84

20.75

40.92

20.17

Andrew Wiggins

27.27

13.85

40.69

26.83

Goran Dragic

27.50

14.33

40.67

26.35

Dennis Schroder

31.01

21.74

40.29

18.55

Jarrett Allen

29.06

17.84

40.28

22.43

Ricky Rubio

28.62

17.06

40.19

23.13

Robert Covington

30.82

21.63

40.00

18.37

JaVale McGee

30.63

21.38

39.89

18.50

C.J. McCollum

31.02

22.18

39.86

17.68

Wendell Carter Jr.

28.47

17.20

39.75

22.55

Steven Adams

35.79

31.93

39.66

7.73

Kent Bazemore

25.78

12.01

39.55

27.53

Khris Middleton

33.06

26.72

39.41

12.70

Myles Turner

29.53

19.70

39.37

19.67

Buddy Hield

29.27

19.17

39.37

20.20

 

NBA Official Fantasy Points (per game)

Floor          (1 SD)

 Ceiling    (1 SD)

Floor & Ceiling Difference          (1 SD values)

Otto Porter

27.05

14.74

39.36

24.62

Willie Cauley-Stein

31.01

22.86

39.17

16.31

Jabari Parker

29.45

19.76

39.14

19.38

Harrison Barnes

27.26

15.68

38.85

23.17

Gary Harris

28.40

18.03

38.77

20.73

Danilo Gallinari

31.60

24.52

38.67

14.15

Markieff Morris

23.70

8.86

38.54

29.67

Serge Ibaka

30.77

23.04

38.49

15.44

Nemanja Bjelica

24.47

10.62

38.32

27.70

Marvin Bagley III

25.62

13.02

38.23

25.21

Trey Burke

21.14

4.08

38.20

34.12

Pascal Siakam

30.02

22.00

38.04

16.03

Jayson Tatum

30.26

22.60

37.92

15.31

Evan Fournier

26.17

14.55

37.79

23.24

Jeff Teague

29.17

20.80

37.54

16.74

Luka Doncic

33.37

29.66

37.07

7.41

Al Horford

30.59

24.22

36.95

12.72

Noah Vonleh

24.16

11.50

36.83

25.32

Justin Holiday

27.60

18.38

36.81

18.43

Rajon Rondo

24.59

12.39

36.79

24.39

Darren Collison

24.23

12.14

36.33

24.18

Gordon Hayward

25.99

15.77

36.20

20.42

Emmanuel Mudiay

22.89

9.80

35.98

26.18

Rudy Gay

27.55

19.12

35.98

16.86

Joe Ingles

26.96

18.09

35.83

17.74

 

NBA Official Fantasy Points (per game)

Floor          (1 SD)

 Ceiling    (1 SD)

Floor & Ceiling Difference          (1 SD values)

Jeremy Lin

20.00

4.26

35.75

31.49

Jeremy Lamb

28.51

21.33

35.70

14.37

Dennis Smith Jr.

25.11

14.56

35.66

21.09

Spencer Dinwiddie

26.68

18.12

35.24

17.13

Dwyane Wade

25.68

16.20

35.16

18.95

Kyle Kuzma

27.70

20.30

35.10

14.79

Jonas Valanciunas

24.96

15.00

34.92

19.92

Trevor Ariza

25.00

15.13

34.88

19.75

E'Twaun Moore

22.59

10.66

34.51

23.85

Larry Nance Jr.

22.96

11.52

34.39

22.87

Kelly Oubre

22.12

9.89

34.35

24.47

Lou Williams

27.39

20.71

34.07

13.37

Taj Gibson

24.95

15.97

33.94

17.97

Malcolm Brogdon

26.55

19.49

33.62

14.13

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

22.16

10.75

33.57

22.83

Marcus Morris

24.07

14.73

33.41

18.68

Alex Len

21.39

9.41

33.36

23.95

Brook Lopez

23.26

13.17

33.36

20.19

Lonzo Ball

23.60

13.92

33.28

19.35

Reggie Jackson

25.34

17.48

33.19

15.71

J.J. Barea

23.37

13.67

33.06

19.39

Boban Marjanovic

17.94

2.85

33.03

30.18

Brandon Ingram

26.24

19.55

32.93

13.38

Jae Crowder

23.52

14.32

32.71

18.39

Damyean Dotson

21.44

10.21

32.68

22.47

 

NBA Official Fantasy Points (per game)

Floor          (1 SD)

 Ceiling    (1 SD)

Floor & Ceiling Difference          (1 SD values)

Bogdan Bogdanovic

24.61

16.68

32.53

15.85

Taurean Prince

25.08

17.73

32.42

14.69

Eric Gordon

23.89

15.46

32.32

16.87

J.J. Redick

25.14

17.98

32.30

14.33

Bam Adebayo

21.13

10.00

32.27

22.28

Nerlens Noel

19.42

6.85

31.98

25.13

Dewayne Dedmon

22.49

13.04

31.93

18.89

Collin Sexton

21.69

11.49

31.88

20.39

George Hill

20.04

8.32

31.77

23.45

Jordan Clarkson

24.04

16.35

31.73

15.39

Allonzo Trier

18.72

5.97

31.47

25.50

Terrence Ross

23.45

15.43

31.46

16.04

Jerami Grant

24.22

17.10

31.34

14.24

DeAndre Bembry

21.64

12.01

31.27

19.26

Rodney McGruder

24.65

18.21

31.08

12.86

Iman Shumpert

19.83

8.64

31.01

22.36

Al-Farouq Aminu

22.96

14.92

31.00

16.07

Thaddeus Young

22.27

13.63

30.91

17.28

Derrick Favors

25.39

19.91

30.88

10.97

Mitchell Robinson

17.51

4.18

30.83

26.65

Bojan Bogdanovic

23.27

15.78

30.76

14.99

Stanley Johnson

19.29

7.89

30.69

22.80

Jeff Green

19.78

8.98

30.58

21.60

Tyreke Evans

20.50

10.46

30.55

20.09

Jonathan Isaac

20.31

10.11

30.51

20.39

 

NBA Official Fantasy Points (per game)

Floor          (1 SD)

 Ceiling    (1 SD)

Floor & Ceiling Difference          (1 SD values)

Marvin Williams

19.74

9.18

30.31

21.13

Dario Saric

20.77

11.26

30.29

19.03

Wayne Ellington

19.20

8.18

30.22

22.04

Juancho Hernangomez

19.01

7.87

30.16

22.28

Ryan Arcidiacono

18.72

7.28

30.15

22.87

Fred VanVleet

20.24

10.36

30.12

19.76

Nicolas Batum

22.82

15.54

30.10

14.56

Cory Joseph

20.53

11.04

30.01

18.97

Tony Parker

18.87

7.76

29.98

22.23

Kyle Anderson

22.75

15.63

29.88

14.24

Josh Hart

19.43

9.06

29.81

20.76

Shelvin Mack

19.70

9.71

29.69

19.98

Monte Morris

19.88

10.10

29.66

19.56

Garrett Temple

20.22

10.90

29.54

18.64

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

21.19

12.84

29.53

16.69

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

21.75

14.14

29.36

15.22

Evan Turner

22.37

15.43

29.30

13.87

Marcus Smart

20.44

11.59

29.30

17.70

Wesley Matthews

23.69

18.12

29.26

11.13

Tyler Johnson

21.59

13.97

29.22

15.25

Danny Green

20.63

12.13

29.13

17.00

Josh Okogie

18.48

7.93

29.03

21.10

Rodney Hood

21.02

13.35

28.69

15.34

P.J. Tucker

21.42

14.54

28.29

13.75

D.J. Augustin

21.62

14.98

28.25

13.27

 

NBA Official Fantasy Points (per game)

Floor          (1 SD)

 Ceiling    (1 SD)

Floor & Ceiling Difference          (1 SD values)

Kevin Knox

15.04

1.88

28.21

26.33

Trey Lyles

18.74

9.47

28.02

18.56

Cody Zeller

21.99

16.08

27.91

11.83

Markelle Fultz

19.49

11.38

27.60

16.22

Dorian Finney-Smith

19.03

10.66

27.40

16.74

Mikal Bridges

15.79

4.28

27.30

23.02

Dwight Powell

18.44

9.59

27.29

17.70

Terry Rozier

18.10

9.12

27.08

17.96

Patty Mills

18.56

10.40

26.73

16.34

Miles Bridges

18.01

9.42

26.60

17.18

Joe Harris

21.14

15.68

26.59

10.91

Mohamed Bamba

17.57

8.61

26.53

17.92

DeMarre Carroll

15.75

5.17

26.33

21.17

Malik Monk

16.87

7.47

26.27

18.80

Jaylen Brown

20.35

14.47

26.23

11.76

Maxi Kleber

17.14

8.07

26.21

18.13

Josh Jackson

16.63

7.23

26.02

18.79

Avery Bradley

15.53

5.44

25.62

20.19

Ed Davis

18.20

11.56

24.85

13.29

James Ennis

15.82

6.94

24.69

17.74

Allen Crabbe

15.17

6.23

24.10

17.87

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

13.66

4.71

22.60

17.89

Marcin Gortat

15.67

8.90

22.44

13.54

Antonio Blakeney

13.39

4.93

21.85

16.93

 

As you can see, the highest-ceiling players are not created equal. Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook have relatively low differences between their expected floor and ceiling values, whereas guys like Hassan Whiteside and Victor Oladipo have been all over the place. As I mentioned last week, these numbers do not include DNPs, but they do include injury-shortened games -- that's just one more form of inconsistency. 

 

If you're tired of an inconsistent guy like Donovan Mitchell, consider targeting similar players near him in this list but who have lower floor/ceiling disparities. Jrue Holiday has been terrifically consistent, for instance, as have Zach LaVine and Bradley Beal. The glaring red blotch under Jaren Jackson Jr. is no surprise, of course, but I didn't expect to see Derrick Rose, Julius Randle and Jimmy Butler show real inconsistency. I might just have a blind spot for that trio since I don't own them in any leagues this season.

 

Tobias Harris and Steven Adams were highlighted last week as being extremely consistent, and that's worth mentioning again. Yes, their ceilings don't look great since they're buried in the middle of the top-100 in this analysis. But then again, they both have a floor of 31+ and that's invaluable in most fantasy formats -- Otto Porter and Jarrett Allen might burn you any given night, but owners know what they're getting from Harris and Adams.

 

Look over the data and see how your teams fare. Are you too heavily invested in high-risk rookies like Kevin Knox, Trae Young and Jaren Jackson Jr.? If so, try to rebalance your team with lower-risk options via trade and/or the waiver wire. Do you tend to target stars with huge gaps between their floor and ceiling, resulting in frustrating DFS losses? Betting on sheer upside can pay off in tournaments, for instance, but you might opt for higher-floor guys in 50/50 and smaller leagues. There are many ways to apply this data and I hope it helps RW readers! If you have any questions or insights, you can find me on Twitter @Knaus_RW.