Read below for the fantasy basketball Forecaster
In weekly transaction leagues, the schedule is one of the most important factors in determining how to fill out your fantasy basketball lineups. All fantasy teams have a hierarchy of player calibers, with a set of "best players" surrounded by a cast of lesser but still productive players from which to draw your weekly starting lineup.
All things being equal, a manager would start their best players every week and fill out the rest of their lineup based on things such as matchups. However, all things aren't equal.
The schedule changes the bottom line, because teams can play a different number of games, against a different caliber of opponents, with different breakdowns of home vs. road, back-to-backs, rest nights, etc. All of these things matter, and as I've seen this season, they often matter more than a player's caliber.
For example, would you rather get two games of a great player at 35 minutes per night against tough competition or four games of a lesser player at 30 minutes per night against high-paced, weak competition? When looking at it quantitatively, it's surprising (to me) how often the correct answer is actually the lesser player -- yes, based on schedules, sometimes even star players should sit for a week.
Thus, below, we have the Forecaster, which provides a scheduling and matchup tool to help you make better-informed lineup decisions for the upcoming week.
We also take your weekly prep to another level with my weekly projection rankings. Here, you'll find my top-150 weekly rankings, based on ESPN standard points-league scoring, so you can compare players to determine which players to start, sit, stream or drop for the week ahead. I also provide several typical starters whom you might want to sit and several bench/free agents whom you might want to stream.
Without further ado, let's check out the Forecaster.
The week ahead
The schedule this week is more tilted toward teams with great schedules having great scores than teams with below-average schedules having bad scores. There are eight teams with Forecaster scores of 8 or higher. But there are only three teams with Forecaster scores less than or equal to three; all three of those teams only play two games.
The Bucks score the only perfect 10 on the Forecaster with four games and could be of interest with Khris Middleton sidelined. The Clippers and Pelicans turned their four-game schedules into 9s, while the Rockets, Spurs and Trail Blazers earned 8s. The Suns also earned 8s, but with five games that make them worthy of attention in the Weekly Rankings.
On the other side of the coin, the Pacers, Grizzlies and Magic only play two games each and each earn the minimum scores. The Pacers earned a 2 on the Forecaster, while both the Grizzlies and Magic earn 1s, which might suggest you should look elsewhere for production this week.
As always, we recommend you checking out those weekly projection rankings to see our take on which players might be worth starting or sitting due to the combination of the schedule and injuries.
Forecaster matchup ratings are based upon a scale from 1 (poor matchup) to 10 (excellent matchup). These are calculated using a formula that evaluates the team's season-to-date and past-10-games statistics, opponents' numbers in those categories and performance in home/road games depending on where the game is to be played. The column to the left lists the team's total number of games scheduled, as well as home games, and lists the overall rating from 1 to 10 for that team's weekly schedule.