Here's a question that I received on Twitter (follow me @ProfessorDrz) this week:
@ProfessorDrz Should I trade Irving, Horford and J. Simmons for Donovan Mitchel, Dragic and Bradley? Considering in the playoffs boston and orlando only play 9 games
- Gustavo (@Gustav0chenchi) January 25, 2018
This tweet brings up a concept that fits along with the forecaster theme, that it's not too soon to start looking forward to the games schedule for the week(s) of the fantasy playoffs in head-to-head (H2H) leagues.
In this particular instance, I advised that Kyrie Irving and Al Horford were too much value to give up for Goran Dragic and Donovan Mitchell, and that not even the schedule could mitigate this difference. However, I think the question came from the right place, and the concept is something for you all to consider before your fantasy basketball trade deadline.
It is worth taking the time to look at the schedules for the main players of your team for the fantasy playoffs. If you don't like the schedule, casually look to make some trades, but don't sell your players too cheaply. Remember, the schedule in the playoffs doesn't matter if your team isn't good enough to get there.
Plus, there's a reasonable chance that the person you're trading with might not even be considering playoffs schedule, so wouldn't know to use the schedule against you in negotiations. Push the hardest bargains that you can, and make the trades good for your team, even without considering the schedule ... then, the schedule is icing on the cake of an already good deal as opposed to being the rationalization for why you just gave away value.
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 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.
The week ahead
This will be a games-heavy week, with 16 teams playing four games, 12 teams playing two games, and two teams playing twice. Because of this, there are a relatively large number of teams sporting high forecast scores this week (seven teams with a rating of '8' or better), with only a handful with terrible scores (four teams with a rating of '2' or worse).
The Chicago Bulls and the LA Clippers both come in with a score of '1' on the forecaster, with only two games each. During a week when so many teams have so many games, you're going to generally want to fade everyone on both the Bulls and Clippers, though it's understandable if you might have to start someone like Blake Griffin or Lou Williams with the way that they consistently produce.
The Dallas Mavericks and Detroit Pistons both scored a '2' in the forecaster with three games each. Both teams play the tough Miami Heat defense next week, and the Pistons also face the Grizzlies, but their other game is at home against the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Mavs' other two games are on the road but against the Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings.
These schedules aren't great (thus the low forecaster scores), but they aren't prohibitive either. If given the option, you might fade some of the lesser players on these teams, but you have to play your impact players like Andre Drummond and possibly Dennis Smith Jr.
At the other extreme, there are six likely teams from which to draw stream candidates: Oklahoma City Thunder (forecaster score of '10'), Milwaukee Bucks ( '9'), Toronto Raptors ('9'), Boston Celtics ('8'), Denver Nuggets ('8') and New York Knicks ('8').
All six play four games in this period. The Golden State Warriors also have a forecaster score of '8,' but that's because their offense is so great that the forecaster believes almost every matchup to be optimal for them. They have only three games this period, and with all four of their primaries healthy, there aren't a lot of available stream options on that team anyway.
From the other teams, some streamable options worth considering:
Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee Bucks (available in 39 percent of leagues): Brogdon was the NBA Rookie of the Year last season, but he stepped back this season when the Bucks brought in Eric Bledsoe. However, he has gotten his starting job back and is playing very well in the new year, averaging 15.9 points (53.1 FG%, 86.7 FT%) with 4.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.2 3-pointers and 1.1 combined blocks/steals during his past 11 games.
On a side note, not for streaming purposes, but it's important to note that Jabari Parker (available in 61.9 percent of leagues) is likely to make his season debut in the next couple of weeks. As such, if you have room, he's worth a speculative add before he returns and gets swooped up.
Michael Beasley, New York Knicks (available in 51.6 percent of leagues): Beasley is a bit of an enigma now, as the return of Tim Hardaway Jr. has made him less of a sure thing. When Kristaps Porzingis, Enes Kanter and Hardaway are all healthy, Beasley has some games during which he doesn't get off the bench enough to do his thing. However, there are plenty of times when either one of the three sits or Beasley just gets hot; when that happens, he can drop 20-plus points in a hurry, even off the bench.
Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics (available in 64.9 percent of leagues): Smart tends to have a poor game about once every three or four outings, but on the whole, he's a regular double-digit scorer who can also contribute to assists, rebounds, steals and/or 3-pointers on a given night. He missed Wednesday's game with a lacerated hand, so if that injury lingers, then Terry Rozier (available in 88.6 percent of leagues) would be the streamable Celtics guard in his place.