Read below for the fantasy basketball forecaster
In weekly transaction leagues, the NBA 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 ability.
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 ones 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
Busy week in the association this week, with 15 teams playing four games, 14 playing three and only one team, the Bulls, playing only twice. Unsurprisingly, five of the six teams with Forecaster scores of 8 or higher play four games while the one with three games is elite. Similarly, all four of the teams with Forecaster scores of 3 or below play three or fewer games.
The Celtics turned in the only perfect 10 score on the Forecaster, with four games, zero back-to-backs, and two lovely matchups against the bounteous defense of the Hawks. The Clippers and red-hot Grizzlies turned their four games into 9s on the Forecaster, while the Mavericks and Rockets turned their four games into 8s. The Lakers are the only team with only three games to score an 8 on the Forecaster, but they are elite, have zero back-to-backs and face extremely friendly matchups against the Warriors and Rockets.
At the other end of the spectrum, the ice-cold Hornets and the two-game-having Bulls turned in the only 1s on the Forecaster this week. The Cavs have three games, including tough ones in Oklahoma City and against the Clippers, and scored a 2. The Warriors have two road games and a tough home game against the Lakers, and scored a 3.
As always, we recommend you checking out those weekly projection rankings to see our take on which players from may 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.