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Fantasy Basketball Forecaster for week of Nov. 23-29

Jamal Crawford is averaging 23.3 points in his last three games for the Clippers. Juan Ocampo/Getty Images

We can learn valuable lineup management lessons from daily fantasy competition, as DFS reduces our more macro lens in season-long leagues to a nightly granular level. The research involved in DFS leans heavily on specific matchup trends and implied point spreads and totals. We can apply many, if not all, of these practices to our lineup management in redraft leagues. Huge Wednesday and Friday slates often offer us lineup dilemmas at various positions. I'm often seeking to maximize my utility spots for busy bills.

One helpful and simple key is to consider which teams afford the highest and lowest shooting percentages to opponents from various spots on the floor. Using the league's robust tracking data, we can identify the Kings, Rockets and Pelicans all ceding generous shooting percentages to opponents within six feet of the rim. Meanwhile, the imposing Spurs frontcourt and those of the Bulls and Jazz have proved far stingier in the paint. The Warriors are allowing the lowest 3-point percentage on defended attempts, while the previously stout Grizzlies (39.7) cede the highest rate of defended shots beyond the arc.

Diving into the deep and diverse tracking data from the league can help offer an edge when setting lineups and eyeing waiver and trade acquisitions. ESPN Insiders have access to our Hollinger NBA stats, which can reveal the richest usage rates in the league, offering a window into valuable rising assets like Utah's Alec Burks, who rates seventh among NBA shooting guards in usage rate, an estimate of the team play he consumes while on the court.

Matchup ratings are based upon a scale from 1 (poor matchup) to 10 (excellent matchup), and are calculated using a formula that evaluates the team's year-to-date and past 10 games' statistics, their opponents' numbers in those categories, and their 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 1-10 for that team's weekly schedule.

Soft setups

Numbers game

We've championed the Mavericks' Zaza Pachulia as a worthy waiver add already this season, but it merits mention once again to note he's eighth in the league in rebounding opportunities at 19.8 per game. Each opportunity is defined by being within 3.5 feet of an available board. On a thin frontcourt thinned even more by the DeAndre Jordan drama this past summer, Pachulia is a sound daily investment and cheap trade target in redraft formats.

Reducing production to per-touch can prove revealing at best, and interesting at worst. We can consider Andrew Wiggins' elite efficiency emboldening as he earns more usage of late, as the second-year star is third in the league for players with at least 15 minutes per game with .469 points per touch. Of the widely available and interesting fantasy assets on the per-touch leaderboard, the Suns' T.J. Warren is particularly interesting. If the mercurial Markieff Morris is ever dealt, Warren could become a surprise fantasy star.

The Pistons' Reggie Jackson and Celtics' Isaiah Thomas are both bound to sustain strong statistics given rich driving rates, as both are top 10 in the league in points per game from drives. Without any signature big box scores just yet, pursuing shares of Jackson in trades is ideal, as he's also sixth in the NBA in usage rate but isn't often priced as a top-tier asset in redraft leagues.

Ratings roundup

The Bulls and Trail Blazers claim the only two-game schedules for the coming week, and thus both net 1 ratings in the process. As if the Warriors needed help, they face three generous space-and-pace foes, while the Spurs claim four favorable pace-and-scoring matchups, with three coming at home. Other than fading assets on the Bulls and Blazers, the Nets and Lakers both face unfavorable road-heavy schedules. For those chasing extra games at the end of the week in head-to-head formats, we find the Lakers, Nets and Raptors as the only teams that play on both Saturday and Sunday. In leagues that limit weekly transactions, identifying teams with busy weekends is a prudent angle to maximize results. You'll notice the NBA doesn't play on Thanksgiving, but full slates on either side of the holiday more than make up for any scheduling losses from Thursday.

Player pickups: Identifying values in both ESPN leagues

For this early small sample of the season, we discuss an undervalued asset available in at least half of ESPN leagues at each position.

Point guard: It's likely smart to add Marcus Smart at some point soon. Even as the Celtics' deep rotation limits the scoring ceiling for Smart, only four players averaged more than 1.9 steals last season, the rate Boston's combo guard is currently enjoying. ... If you have any inside info on why Mario Chalmers is NBA Jam "on fire" of late, please do let us know. But really, Chalmers isn't likely to sustain worthy production, but is worth a flier in deeper leagues until he cools off. ... It's about time to stash Tony Wroten and Brandon Jennings, as they return from respective injuries. We like Wroten more given the huge minutes and exposure (Wroten was top 15 in the NBA in usage rate last season) we can expect from a thin Philly backcourt.

Shooting guard: Jamal Crawford is a worthy bench asset for the big-game upside he offers when J.J. Reddick or Chris Paul is ailing. ... Jeremy Lamb is available in nearly 75 percent of ESPN leagues and is proving valuably efficient in boards, 3-pointers and points per minute for a Hornets team in need of his pop from the bench. ... After weeks of endorsing Denver's Will Barton, we finally find him owned in a slight majority of ESPN leagues. At the same time, Barton is free in over 40 percent of ESPN leagues and is seizing a starting share of minutes and usage with Wilson Chandler sidelined for the season.

Small forward: We suggest adding the Sixers' Robert Covington before he goes on a torrid shooting stretch. Covington was quietly top 10 in the NBA last season in 3-point field goals. An injury-plagued start to the campaign has RC3 available in over 65 percent of ESPN leagues. ... Jae Crowder leads the league in steals and continues to earn 30 minutes per night on a stable Celtics rotation. ... The Pacers' C.J. Miles is eligible at both shooting guard and small forward but is arguably best served at this more shallow position. Either way, versatile deployment only adds to Miles' profile as a valuable source for 3-point production.

Power forward: The Blazers' Mason Plumlee is a sound play in daily fantasy and a savvy addition in 12-team fantasy formats given a helpful mix of blocks, boards and shooting percentage. The Blazers' patchwork frontcourt will need to feature Plumlee going forward. ... The Mavericks' Dwight Powell is a similarly steady source of blocks and efficient scoring. If Powell ever sees an uptick in minutes, he could become a cheap double-double asset.

Center: Speaking of cheap double-doubles, the Pacers' Jordan Hill continues to merit deep-league interest with Myles Turner sidelined. ... Blocks are often one of the scarcest stats to source in fantasy hoops, which means Boston's Amir Johnson presents sound value as the team's long rim protector. ... I'm adding the Bulls' Joakim Noah where possible, as the versatile big is available in over half of ESPN leagues and is finally producing the diverse production we covet at center.