The Risks of Anthony Davis

Playing Anthony Davis is cash games is very risky.

Anthony Davis is an unbelievable basketball player. He’s one of the best Bigs in the league, averaging over 45 Fantasy Points per game. As of the writing of this article his salary is $10,000 on Draftkings and $10,300 on Fanduel.

AD is by far the best player on his team. He has the highest usage rate on the team and is by far their biggest defensive asset. In spots where you are finding cheap good value and need to fill out your line up with a pricey Power Forward he would seem like an excellent option.

AD however has one fatal flaw; he is very fragile. As of the time of this writing the Pelicans have played 44 games and he has left the game for good 5 times before the 4th quarter.

He has also been injured leading to leaving the court for parts of games, which also greatly affected his minutes. Luckily these games were close or he may not have come back at all.

He has missed 5 games so far this season and is likely to miss more with a concussion.

Last season he suffered six game ending injuries. Over the last two seasons he has played in 108 games and been injured 12 times, or 11% of the time.

The thing is though these things, to a certain extent, are factored into his price. But what is actually going on?

Here is a table of his last 10 games on Draftkings:

Date    Opp      Salary            FP

1/25    HOU     $10,000    20

1/23    MIL     $10,000    48.25

1/21    DET     $10,000    49.25

1/19    MIN      $10,000    48.25

1/18    MEM    $10,100    44.5

1/15    CHA     $10,300    39.75

1/13    SAC     $10,400    47

1/08    IND      $10,600    4.25

1/06    DAL      $10,300    60.25

1/02    DAL     $10,300    52

Can you tell which days he’s been hurt?

In the NBA you are generally looking for expensive players to score at least 4.5-5x their salary (depending on the site and slate). That means that you are looking to draft AD on days you think he will score ~45+ points (general rule of thumb, definitely subjective and not always true).

What you can tell from the above sample of 10 days of AD scoring FP is that he either has a good day or a very bad day. There is no value in cash games scoring 275 Fantasy Points if you only needed to score 250 to win. There is a tremendous amount of risk to scoring 245 points…

When AD busts, like on January 8th, your lineup is probably going to zero. You effectively lost ~40 points worth of value. On 1/25 he was a bit more generous, scoring 20 FP before leaving for good, but even in a “favorable” injury situation you are still missing out on 20-30 expected points.

Think about how many times you missed cashing in a double up by 5 or less…

Can you really afford to give away 20+?

Here is a table that shows ROI on double ups based on In The Money %’s

As you can see every 1% you cash above 50% equates to 2% roi.

Let’s say you cash 55% of the time, an impressive winrate. If AD has an 11% chance of sending your LU to 0% you will now cash ~49% of the time and go from being a big winner to a losing player.

There are two caveats

First, your LU won’t always go to zero. Sometimes you will have an otherwise solid day and still cash or maybe his ownership is really high and it doesn’t matter that much.

Second, all players have some level of injury risk. AD just happens to be one of the riskiest and definitely the most risky at his fantasy price point.

I’m not saying to never play AD in cash and I definitely think he’s an amazing GPP (tournament) player.

The point is this; you may want to consider only playing AD in cash when he has no lingering health risks, is in a dream matchup, and/or is likely to be high owned. By doing this you are limiting downside, which is one of the most important features of a successful cash game lineup.

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