NBA Fantasy: The Impact of Rest on Production

A few weeks ago, I quantified the impact of playing at home on fantasy performance, and now it's time to consider how rest affects statistical production. Utilizing Yahoo's handy-dandy split statistics, I was able to parse out team averages based on the number of days rest into four categories: no rest, one day, two days or three-plus days. I looked at the last five seasons of data, but didn't use this year's numbers due to the compressed schedule.

To quantify production, I used the NBA's Efficiency statistic:

EFF = ((Points + Rebounds + Assists + Steals + Blocks) - ((Field Goals Att. - Field Goals Made) + (Free Throws Att. - Free Throws Made) + Turnovers))

The chart below shows the average total team Efficiency by year and by days of rest. The last set of columns show the five-year average.


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Clearly, playing back-to-back hurts production on the second night. Over the last five years, teams averaged 108.7 EFF with no rest compared to 111.7 with one day of rest. That's an increase of 2.8%. With two days rest, teams averaged 112.2 and with three-plus days of rest, they averaged 111.7. So the big jump in production comes with the first day of rest. After that, the extra rest doesn't really seem to have much of an impact.

A couple of other interesting things to note:

*Of the 150 occurrences (30 teams x five seasons), 106 had a higher EFF after one day of rest than after no rest. That works out to 70.7%, which seems low. But when looking at a specific team for a specific year, our sample size is a lot smaller, and other factors like game location (home/away) or strength of schedule could be impacting those numbers. That's why it's better to look at the full-five year span and league averages.

*For the five-year sample, just four teams (MIL, MIN, NJN and POR) averaged more EFF after no rest than after one day of rest. Only the Nets (105.8 with no rest versus 103.9 with one day of rest) averaged more than 1.1 additional points after no rest.

These results are probably more useful for season-long owners who set their lineups daily and for daily fantasy enthusiasts. When considering two similar players with similar matchups, the player who just had a day of rest has the slight edge, and that slight edge could be the difference between winning and losing.

John Paulsen is an award-winning fantasy football writer, who currently covers fantasy football for and daily fantasy basketball for DraftDay. Follow him on Twitter.

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Updated Monday, Mar 5, 2012