There are a couple of huge changes to DraftKings’ NBA DFS contests this season. One brings back an old rule, while one changes the entire nature of how the game is played on this site. We take a look at how the changes on DraftKings ahead of the 2016-2017 NBA season might affect your DFS strategy.
We begin with the change that will make NBA DFS on DraftKings great again. The worst decision this site ever made was to remove positional flexibility, thereby restricting lineup construction by only allowing users to insert one player per position. Now players will once again be listed as SG/SF or PF/C, which is huge for several reasons.
The first thing that positional flexibility allows for is the ability to fade a weak position. This is especially important on a short slate, where there are no quality options at C and you feel much more comfortable using a PF/C in that slot. You will no longer be restricted regarding your lineup construction, creating many more possibilities that will keep you busy all afternoon as you look for a way to craft that nearly perfect lineup.
This change can also alter your overall strategy in cash games and GPPs by allowing you to stack more shooters. For example, now you can use Ryan Anderson as a PF/C, or go safer by using four different PGs (one at SG as a PG/SG) and the other two at G and UTIL. However you want to shake it, this change is going to help DFSers who know the game of basketball.
Are there any negatives to the re-implementation of positional flexibility? Well, if you prefer the simple slate approach, when there are only X options for X positions on a 4-game night, then you might not enjoy the endless possibilities created by flexibility. It will make it more difficult to win large tournaments because of all the increased possibilities and might take some thinking outside of the box using a PF/C in that hard-to-fill center spot. In the long run, it should make NBA DFS more fun on DK.
Removal of Late Swap
This is a very surprising change and one that might indicate a merger with FanDuel down the road. While DK and FD are working their way around Antitrust laws in this country to form a true Monopoly on the DFS market, DraftKings has adjusted its contest format to FanDuel in that you can no longer swap players out after the first games begin around 7 p.m. EST.
First, let's go over the negatives. Removal of freedom is never an objectively great thing, especially for DFSers that love to watch games unfold and shuffle their lineups between 7 pm and 8 pm based on how their first couple players are performing.
It also removes the ability to pivot away from injuries, which has been a risk on FanDuel without late swap. So, if DeMarcus Cousins is a true game-time decision, but his game is not tipping off until 10:30 p.m. EST, you're left with a difficult choice on whether to play him at a VERY low ownership rate or avoid that risky option and a potential 0 in your lineup.
Which brings us to the changes in GPP strategy based on the removal of this change. If you want to go against the grain in DraftKings' massive tournament formats, starting an injured player that is a GTD can certainly accomplish that goal. This will favor the DFS users with better research tools in terms of whom they follow on Twitter and how they read and interpret the news. It's going to come down to making the correct guess when a star player could sit later in the slate, and getting on the right side of the potential changes that might occur.
Conversely, cash game strategy on DK needs to be much more conservative given this change. Like on FanDuel, you'll want to stay away from anyone that has a question mark in terms of his availability. You're unable to swap out an injured player and unable to pivot onto their replacements in the middle of the slate, so stay safe with the healthiest, most consistent players out there.