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, managers 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
This will be the first full week of the NBA season, which means we see a wider spread of game distribution than in Week 1. There are 14 teams that play four games this week, 12 that play three and four with only two games this week. Thus, if you have any impact players from the two-game teams, you will have some serious decisions to make about whether to start them on a light week.
The Warriors score a perfect 10, the Jazz a 9 and the Bucks and an 8 on the Forecaster this week. All have four games and a good schedule, which helped separate them from the other four-game teams. Marginal fantasy contributors on these teams, guys like Marquese Chriss or George Hill, could be worth considering starting in deeper leagues.
On the flip side, all four teams with only two games scored a 1 on the Forecaster. The Celtics, Grizzlies, Timberwolves and Wizards are all on the bottom of the scale this week. The Cavaliers are the only team to score a 2 on the Forecaster this week, and this with four games. The Nets scored a 3 with three games, but fresh off Kyrie Irving's huge start, it's unlikely that any fantasy teams would leave him on the bench.