Throughout this NBA season I’ll be sharing some interesting notes and quotes I come across while doing my research for the upcoming DFS slate in a new feature called: Jeremy’s Daily Jewels.



The Bill Belichick Mindset is one where a person is always looking to exploit any little edges they may have over their competition.


As the NBA season progresses, we’ll need to rely on more than just season-long DvP and over/unders for our preparation. Being able to react correctly to late injury news is probably the biggest key to NBA dfs.


Let’s dive into a real-life scenario that played out last week. When Giannis Antetokounmpo was ruled out an hour or two prior to lineup lock, many of us rushed to get Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe into our lineups. Middleton smashed as expected, but Bledsoe had to have let down those who rostered him – when everything is considered. With Shabazz Napier being the free square of the night, Bledsoe and his 30.4 Fanduel points (31.0 season average) occupying the other PG spot prohibited many from playing Russell Westbrook (the chalk before the Giannis news) who put up 58.


But could we have been able to see Bledsoe’s displeasing performance coming in advance?


I’ll make the case that we probably should have.




How Useful are Usage Bumps?



Eric Bledsoe’s usage rate for the season is 28.0%.


Without Giannis on the court, Bledsoe’s usage rate rises to 32.5% – a 4.5% increase (there are many websites where this can be calculated). But approximately how many more Fanduel points does this usage bump translate to?


Let’s figure it out using some basic math skills.


When Bledsoe is on the court this season, his team is playing at a pace of 95.57. Pace represents the number of possessions per game.


(95.57/48) = 1.99 possessions per minute


In short, a player’s “usage” is defined as the percentage of his team’s possessions that end with the ball in that player’s hands – either field goal attempts (fga), free throw attempts (fta), or turnovers.


To keep things simple, we’ll assume that a change in a player’s usage only increases or decreases his fga, while his fta and turnovers remain the same.


Bledsoe is averaging 31.0 minutes per game on the season.


(31.0*1.99) = 61.7 possessions per game


Earlier I noted that Bledsoe’s usage increased 4.5% without Giannis, and this turns into 2.78 extra fga for Bledsoe.


(61.7*0.045) = 2.78 extra fga


This season Bledsoe has attempted 339 field goals, which include 119 three-point field goal attempts. From this we can calculate 64.9% of his shots are two-pointers and 35.1% are three-pointers.


Of the 2.78 extra shots per game Bledsoe is expected to take, he should attempt:


(2.78*0.649) = 1.80 more two-point fga per game


(2.78*0.351) = 0.98 more three-point fga per game


His two-point field goal percentage on the season is 53.6%, so we expect him to make:


(1.8*0.536) = 0.96 more two-point fg made


Bledsoe’s shooting 29.5% on three-pointers this season.


(0.98*0.295) = 0.29 more three-point fg made


When we add the results up, we see that Bledsoe’s 4.5% usage bump is expected to translate to:


(0.96*2)+(0.29*3) = 2.79 more points scored per game


Who wouldn’t love that?


Well, probably someone who’s done a deeper dive into the numbers.




The Bigger Picture



Another factor for us to look at in this scenario is how Bledsoe’s shooting percentage changes without Giannis on the court. For the season, he’s shooting only 38% without Giannis, 6% lower than his average.


If we plug in his fga numbers with and without Giannis (the latter being what we just calculated), look what happens to his points resulting from field goals.



With Giannis

9.1 2PA @ 53.6% = 9.8 points

5.0 3PA @ 29.5% = 4.4 points

14.2 points


Without Giannis

10.9 2PA @ 47.6% = 10.4 points

6.0 3PA @ 23.5% = 4.2 points

14.6 points



Once we factor in Bledsoe’s shooting percentage without Giannis on the floor, his 4.5% usage bump only translates to 0.4 more points scored per game.


This means that the 6% dip in his field goal percentage all but cancels out his 4.5% gain in usage.


Next we can look at how Giannis’ absence affects Bledsoe in other statistical categories.




Eric Bledsoe Averages Per 36 Minutes

Bledsoe chart.jpg



We see here that Bledsoe is averaging 6.0 less Fanduel points per 36 minutes when he plays without Giannis.


Projecting this out over the 31.0 minutes per game that Bledsoe averages, it becomes 5.2 less Fanduel points per game.


Suddenly that 4.5% usage bump doesn’t look so good.


So the next time Giannis sits a game out is Bledsoe an auto-fade? Not necessarily. Depending on Bledsoe’s price, matchup, and the rest of the PG crop on that slate, his 30-or-so fantasy points could be all that you need.


In short, usage percentage is only one small factor to consider when it comes to predicting a player’s performance. To get a more accurate prediction using on/off stats, it’s every bit as important to consider changes in the player’s shooting percentage, as well as their peripheral stats.





Back2Back Watch:


The Nets, Bulls, Mavericks, Nuggets, Pacers, Grizzlies, Kings, Raptors, and Jazz are all on the front-end of a back-to-back.


The Pistons should be very well rested, having only played 2 times in the last 8 days.



Lets Talk About Pace, Baby:


IND (11)         @        DET (21)

TOR (10)        @        DAL (26)

ORL (6)          @        MIA (25)

CHI (12)         @        MIL (23)

BKN (4)          @        SAS (29)

MEM (30)      @        PHX (2)

UTA (27)        @        DEN (17)

SAC (28)         @        LAC (16)


(League rank as of 12/25)



I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below.



You can follow Jeremy on Twitter @zinneDFS