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Intermediate NBA DFS: Floor/Ceiling

We continue our breakdown of the basics for NBA DFS. In this section, we look at floor and ceiling, with definitions and some basic strategy.

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid shoots against the Brooklyn Nets during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

In daily fantasy basketball, like in most things, getting the fundamentals down is integral toward laying a foundation of knowledge to build from as you progress as a player. For DFS, that means understanding statistics and which ones will help you most in building your lineups. One of those is Floor, which we will discuss below.



That thing below you right now. Just kidding. Floor in NBA DFS is the lowest possible fantasy point total a player could achieve on a given slate. This is the simple definition. The more taxing way to calculate floor would be to figure out fantasy points per minute over a period of time (5 games, 10 games, the whole season) and finding the mean average. Once you weigh that for possible outcomes in both directions, you have floor (and ceiling) for a player. Ceiling, as you may have guessed, is the highest possible fantasy point total a player could achieve on a given slate.


Identifying Floor plays

It’s not too tough to figure out which players will generally have a high floor. If you don’t want to do the math or use a fancy pay website, well, it’s really easy actually. There is an exact science to floor but there’s also a more broad look.

One of the obvious stats is rebounding. Players who average more rebounds per game usually have higher floors. Chances are if that player reaches his averages for both points and rebounds, they’ll be able to reach a minimum fantasy point total that is higher than others. Andre Drummond, Hassan Whiteside, Rudy Gobert and Domantas Sabonis are among some of the players with the best floors in NBA DFS at the center position.

Floor in Cash Games

Floor is a term that will pop up a lot if you’re reading articles about cash games. In 50/50 contests and Double-Ups, floor is one of the more important stats to weigh. The higher a players floor, the less chance of said player busting your lineup. So if we can craft a lineup and project the floor, it gives us a baseline for what that particular lineup is capable of scoring. The higher that number is, the easier it will be to realistically hit the cash line.

Identifying Ceiling Plays

Since we’ve gone over floor plays pretty extensively, I’m sure you have a decent idea of how to figure out the ceiling plays. Players with a high ceiling are going to be targeted heavily in all formats. This is mostly because in NBA DFS everybody should be trying to score the most amount of fantasy points, right? In order to do so, you need to maximize the amount of points you could potentially score. Players with high ceilings are usually guys priced up, the James Harden’s, Giannis’ and LeBron’s of the world.

The easiest way to pick out a players’ ceiling is looking at the matchup, the lines on the game and recent performances. If a player is in a prime matchup against a poor defense, that players’ ceiling increases. If that player also is in a game with a high Over/Under, bump up that ceiling again. The perfect storm is all three, a player who is streaking into a prime matchup with a high point total.

Ceiling in GPPs

Because tournaments have larger fields and the payout structure is different from cash games, we need to consider ceiling plays heavily. Since we’re trying to outgun the field and score the most points, the most logical strategy is to maximize that outcome by fitting in plenty of players with high upside. In order to do that, we need to identify a player’s ceiling. To do that, you can use similar factors to finding out floor, just the other side of the spectrum. Ceiling plays present themselves when players are injured and other players need to step up. A plus matchup in a spot in which injuries are present means a player’s expected fantasy point total will rise.