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Fantasy Friday: Austin Rivers vs. A Blank Spot

Who's better: Austin Rivers or a blank spot in your daily fantasy lineup?

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Judging by the 2000+ views the Austin Rivers trade column received yesterday, it seems that, like him or not, you have an opinion about him.

I have one too, but that's irrelevant here. What is relevant is a thought that occurred to me earlier. Given that FanDuel awards negative points for turnovers, is a blank lineup spot more valuable than Austin Rivers? Let's dig in...

As a reminder, here are the standard FanDuel daily basketball tournament scoring rules: point = 1 point, rebound = 1.2 points, assist = 1.5 points, block = 2 points, steal = 2 points, turnover = -1 point.

Now, here are Austin's 2013-2014 per game statistics: 6.8 points, 1.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.2 blocks, 0.5 steals, and 0.9 turnovers.

So, I immediately see that he is not the turnover machine I presumed he might be. I don't have to actually do the math to see that he will only average -.09 points per night, which won't cancel out his other contributions, modest as they might be. I also looked to see if he's had some terrible two point, seven turnover single-game performance this season for which he might have been worth less than zero, but alas, it isn't the case. Much to my chagrin, Austin Rivers seems to always be worth something on FanDuel.

There are, however, other daily fantasy sites. There is one in particular -- it shall go unnamed since FanDuel has been kind enough to sponsor this, as you know -- that penalizes missed field goals and free throws in addition to turnovers. This site's scoring rules are similar to FanDuel's except that missed field goals and free throws are each worth -.05 points.

On an average night, Austin Rivers misses exactly 4 field goals and 0.8 free throws. Add that to his turnovers and he gives away just shy of 3.5 points per night. Still not enough to even wipe out his other stats. Drat.

Austin Rivers, it turns out, is still worth more than a blank lineup spot. For what it's worth, he will cost you just the FanDuel minimum of $3,500 against your salary cap, which makes him equal to C.J. WIlcox, the Clippers' 1st round draft pick who has only played in a total of 4 games this season.

He's not worth less than nothing, nor is he worth nothing. He's just not worth much.

As always, head over to FanDuel to register and play their NBA fantasy games.

Disclaimer: Even though this is a sponsored post with affiliate links, all of the opinions in this post are my own. And as an FYI, FanDuel gave me some cash to play its daily fantasy games.