Fantasy basketball forecaster: Oct. 22-27

Pascal Siakam and his champion Toronto Raptors teammates have a terrific fantasy schedule to tip off the 2019-20 campaign. Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

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 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.

Without further ado, let's check out the 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.

The week ahead

Welcome to the 2019-20 season! The NBA campaign tips off Tuesday for what promises to be a hugely entertaining season, and storylines abound everywhere. There was a mass migration of talent this offseason that has changed the entire landscape, and as our fantasy basketball season begins, we'll finally get to see how these players fit into their new environments.

Ten teams begin the season with two games, while the other 20 play three times. There are a few back-to-back sets this week, but for the most part teams should be fresh, so those aren't likely to be huge factors.

The defending champion Raptors and the Jazz are the only two teams sporting perfect 10s on the Forecaster, as each has three games with one back-to-back set. The Thunder scored a 9, while each of the Clippers, Pelicans and Trail Blazers scored 8s with three games each. The Warriors have two great game scores this week, but with only two contests, they scored only a 6 on the Forecaster.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Cavaliers have the only 1 on the schedule with two games against the Magic and Pacers. The Hawks and Knicks also have only two games, and both scored 3s on the Forecaster. While all three teams, especially the Hawks, have good season-long prospects, this week might be the one to look for options elsewhere.