This is the How-To guide for the Spreadsheet Sports Daily Fantasy Basketball System. If you’re interested in purchasing the tool you can do so from the Daily Fantasy Basketball Spreadsheets page
The biggest requirement for using the tool is that you have a copy of Microsoft Excel 2003 or later. Excel for Mac 2011 will work fine as well. You’ll also need to make sure you have the free add-in Solver installed in your version of Excel. To do so, follow these instructions from Microsoft if you don’t already have Solver enabled. When you open the spreadsheet you’ll be prompted to “Enable Macros.” Click “Yes” when you see the prompt as a yellow bar across the top of your worksheet. The very first time you open the sheet you’ll need to allow the “Solver” functionality to be run from the click of a button. To do this:
1. Click “View” in the top ribbon in Excel
2. Next click “View Macros” and then click “Edit” on the “Run_Model” macro.
3. Click Tools > References and make sure that the box next to Solver is checked. It should look like this below:
When you open the NBA Daily Projections spreadsheet you should see 3 tabs. They are organized according to the workflow you’ll use to generate the best possible lineup with your own customized adjustments. When you open the sheet you should start on the Minute Changes and Hunches tab which should look like this:
Minute Changes and Hunches
The most important thing to remember with this tab is to only make changes to the columns highlighted in yellow. The first section “Players with Minutes Adjustments” is where you would plug in players that you know are going to play a different role than normal for that particular game. The best example is when a starter that plays heavy minutes is injured and the backup is going to be thrust into the starting role. When you type in the player’s name in the “Player” column you’ll see their Average Minutes (season average minutes per game) appear. In the “New Minutes” column – enter in the value you think they will play that night. The Minutes Change and Minutes Adjustment will appear automatically and will change the player’s projection according to the number of fantasy points per minute they typically score. You don’t have to worry about entering players who are out for the night into this section. That should be done in the next section…
In the “Players Who Will Not Play” section simply enter in the players that won’t be playing that night. You can also use this section to enter in players that you absolutely don’t want to include in your lineup. All players in this section will have their projection set to 0.
The last section: “Hunch Adjustments” is simply a place to apply your own thoughts and integrate them into the historical numbers used by the projection system. Say you just have a feeling that DeMarcus Cousins is going to go off tonight against the Warriors. You can add Cousins to this section with a value of 8 which means that whatever value the projection system spits out for Cousins it will automatically add 8 points on top of it. This also works the opposite way if you put a negative value in the “Manual Fantasy Points Adjustment” column.
Remember, only make changes to the columns in yellow – the rest of them have formulas that are used to display values once you add in a player. This page requires you to spell the name of the player correctly. If you misspell the name it won’t work as intended so be sure to check the second tab “Adjustment Selection” for the player’s name. Speaking of, you are now finished with the first tab and can move on to the “Adjustment Selection” tab which should look like this:
This tab gives you the full picture of how each player’s situation looks for that night’s game. You’ll get more stats than you probably need that are all refreshed daily. First, you’ll see the result of all the situational factors for each player – whether they’re playing at home or on the road, the opponent, whether his team is the favorite or underdog, the betting total for the game, and whether the player is coming off at least 1 day of rest or playing on a back-to-back. You’ll also see the “Adjustment” that should be applied to each player based on the specific situational factor. The way the adjustments are calculated are by comparing the player’s average fantasy points in that given situation to the player’s overall season average fantasy points. So if a player scores 25 fantasy points at home but only 20 overall then the Location Adjustment would be +5 if the game was at home and -5 if the game was away. You’ll also see recent trends as the player’s Last 5, Last 10, and Last 15 average fantasy points are all calculated and displayed.
To determine what adjustments you’d like to apply you have to make decisions on what you think is most important. If you think the opponent is the most important factor in how a given player will perform then you should assign the most weight to that factor. In the top right you’ll see the set of controls that determine what adjustments get used in the final projection. You can choose Yes/No on whether to apply the adjustment at all. Alternatively, you can assign a weight to each adjustment. The weight is limited to a value between 0 and 4. It’s generally a good idea to make sure that the total weight doesn’t add up to anymore than 2. The higher the weight you assign to each adjustment the further from the players’ season average fantasy points the projection will be. When the new sheet is posted each day I will default the values to what I’ve tested to be the best possible projection, but you’re free to make changes if you think otherwise. Once you’re done making your adjustments it’s time to determine the optimal lineup.
Now that you’ve done the hard work of setting up all your adjustments it’s time to let the spreadsheet do it’s work and determine the best possible lineup that takes all your work into account. When you get to this page all you should need to do is click the “Run Model” button. For those of you familiar with Excel, there is a Solver Model set up behind the scenes that returns the lineup that maximizes the total fantasy points yet stays within the salary and position constraints. It should take about 15-20 seconds for the model to run, and when a box pops up telling you that Solver has found a solution and asks you if you’d like to keep it click “OK”. Now you’ll see the best possible lineup you could choose assuming you’ve made perfect projections. If the results don’t seem right you can always go back and tweak the adjustment weights or minute changes and then click “Run Model” again to get a new lineup.