Rolls right off the tongue, right? In the interests of keeping PETA happy, I’m going to save a few vowels and just call him Alphabet for the rest of this article (I wish I knew who came up with that nickname so I could give them credit right in these parentheses).
I’ll preface what you’re about to read (oh great, a preface) by saying that this article is meant to last for a week, but some of the information will be a tad outdated (outdated, not useless). Daily sites change their player salaries on the fly, so some of the salary information I’m working with will have changed a bit. For instance, Alphabet is only $5,000 on FanDuel as of press time, but there’s a very good chance he’ll be more or less expensive six days from now. If he’s more expensive, you’re going to be happy you read this column. If he’s less expensive, well, let’s just say my readership may not be as high next week (sorry in advance if that happens, XN Sports).
OK, preface over. I’ll stop hedging my bets now and tell you why I like Alphabet at the price he’s at for the next week.
The Bucks’ 19-year-old rookie has recently been compared to Scottie Pippen and is a complete physical freak. He’s 6-foot-10 (and growing), extremely athletic, and has all the upside in the world. While his numbers don’t scream “must-start”, he’s seen a big uptick of minutes as of late and his across-the-board numbers are just too hard to pass up when he gets 30-plus minutes. Alphabet is only averaging 6.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.6 steals, and 0.8 blocks per game, but those numbers are skewed a bit since he’s a rookie and didn’t play a ton early in the season. He’s capable of putting up at least two steals and two blocks on any given night and usually supplements those numbers with some respectable totals in the points, rebounds, and assists columns.
Alphabet does have one impediment that has the potential to derail my hopes (Hello, Newman Larry Drew), but the Bucks just aren’t good and bad teams lend to playing young talent. In Milwaukee’s last 10 games, Alphabet has topped 30 minutes in seven of those and bringing it back to daily fantasy, he’s topped 25 fantasy points in four of those (remember, He’s currently priced at $5,000). As long as he’s getting minutes, Alphabet generally produces.
One of the most important…no, THE most important thing about daily fantasy is maximizing dollar value. You obviously have to hit on the right players no matter how much you spend, but it will help a lot more if you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Since you have to fit your daily roster within a salary cap, a player’s production relative to his salary cap hit becomes of the utmost importance (think of it as the cost of his draft position, if you’re a season-long fantasy player new to daily sports). Playing Kevin Durant every night is great, but you’re forced to take more risks on cheaper players elsewhere. And if Durant doesn’t output almost 35 percent more fantasy points than other players at his position (35 percent is about how much more his salary is than other small forwards not named LeBron James), you’ve basically sunk a large chunk of your salary cap into an investment that I’m pretty sure Giovanni Ribisi tried to sell that poor guy in Boiler Room.
In order to figure out how to maximize dollar value, I like to look at a pretty simple (yet effective) stat that is essentially Points per Dollar – let’s call it DV (Daily Value) in keeping with the whole Alphabet theme. If you take a player’s fantasy points per game and divide that by his cost (I’m losing a few zeros too in the results, for simplicity sake), you get a pretty good idea of how much value (or DV) you’re getting out of him relative to other options at his position. This is not an exact science. In most cases, I’m looking at a small sample size (five games just to keep things recent) and ignoring matchups. If you use this as a baseline before you start looking at matchups, it’s a pretty helpful way to see if worth paying the piper on a certain player you’re looking at.
Let’s take a look at an example. Who would you rather have?
Player A: DV = 402. Which is 31.32 points per game in his last five games divided by 78 (originally $7,800)
Player B: DV = 456. Which is 33.32 points per game in his last five games divided by 73 (originally $7,300)
Player A was Damian Lillard and Player B was Darren Collison. Over their last five games, Collison was more valuable than Lillard (who is the better player). It’s also worth noting that Collison cost less than $7,300 in each of those last five games so his DV would have been even higher if I had done this yesterday (I told you it’s just a baseline). It’s a nice, cozy safety blanket to go with a really good player like Lillard, but hot-off-the-bench Collison has generally been a better value as of late.
So how does Alphabet compare to some other shooting guards (all of whom cost more) over their last ten games?
Brad Beal: 395 DV
Dion Waiters: 398 DV
Victor Oladipo: 403 DV
Dwyane Wade: 417 DV
James Harden: 420 DV
Klay Thompson: 422 DV
Randy Foye: 423 DV
Monta Ellis: 424 DV
ALPHABET: 426 DV
DeMar DeRozan: 458 DV
Wesley Matthews: 470 DV
As I said, this is not an exact science since daily sports is about one day’s stats not ten day’s, but it’s pretty interesting to see the type of general value that Alphabet has provided in relation to guys like Wade and Harden. It’s even more amazing when you consider how good Alphabet’s DV would be if you took out the three games where Larry Drew played yo-yo with his minutes (it would be a ridiculous 611), but I don’t want to cherry pick the stats. Even without cherry picking, the numbers show that Alphabet has generally provided better daily fantasy value as of late than Harden, Wade, Thompson, Ellis, Beal, and Oladipo.