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-200 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.
Without further ado, let's check out the Forecaster.
The week ahead
The schedule this week has a lot of games scheduled, with 19 teams playing four games. Thus, the eight teams with three games and the three teams with only two games are at a distinct disadvantage in the Forecaster. Six teams have Forecaster scores of 3 or lower, including all three teams with only two games, while nine teams with four games scored 8 or higher.
The Bucks and Warriors both scored a perfect 10 on the Forecaster with four games. The Warriors did so partially on the strength of managing four games with zero back-to-backs, meaning they should be reasonably rested through the week. The Celtics, Thunder and Wizards turned their four games into 9 scores, while the Clippers, 76ers, Spurs and Jazz scored 8s.
On the other hand, the Suns scored a 1 with only two games after their busy five-game schedule the week before. The Rockets scored a 2 with their two games, while the Nuggets turned their two games into a 3 score. The Bulls, Cavaliers and Knicks play three games but still managed only a 2 on the Forecaster.
As always, I recommend checking out my weekly projection rankings to see my 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.