An all-too-underrated component of fantasy hoops is schedule analysis. Yes, most owners check how many games their players have in a given week before setting their lineup, and some even consider NBA team schedules during the fantasy hoops playoffs when drafting. But very few mine the hidden gems in the regular-season schedule that can lead to fortune. (By fortune I obviously mean the windfall of adulation and self esteem that accompany a fantasy championship.)
One type of hidden gem is the strong schedule stretch. A piece of coal can become a diamond when he has four straight weeks with four games! Believe it or not, weak schedule stretches can also be hidden gems. Not only can they help you make smart decisions about who to dump or trade, but early in the year they can also produce buy-low opportunities. (More on that later.)
So get your rock pick ready. But before you do, enjoy these pre-mined regular-season gems:
- New Orleans has three two-game weeks in a five-week span from Week 5 to Week 10. That would be a good time to dump any Hornets who are not essential to your long-term plans (think Hilton Armstrong, Devin Brown, and Darius Songaila). More importantly, owners of Peja should try to move him before that nightmarish stretch. Fortunately, he has some value at the moment thanks to the two treys he is raining per game. However, the chances of him maintaining any meaningful value are slim. Even if he does manage to stay healthy, his minutes will likely be limited all year long.
- The Clippers also have three two-game weeks in a five-week span. Theirs starts in Week 6. Again, that would be a good time to unload any bubble players from the Clips.
- Toronto has six consecutive weeks with four games, from Week 3 to 8. Great time to exploit some Raptors! However, you will want to lose those players immediately following Week 8, as Toronto has the worst possible schedule for the 11 weeks that follow.
- Boston has a ridiculous 11-week stretch of three-game weeks (from Week 3 to Week 13). Yes, you will want to keep that in mind when mulling the waiver-wire during that time, but the bigger issue is the buy-low opportunity this will create. First of all, the total stats for Celtic players will be deceivingly low at the end of that stint given their low number of games. Secondly, the Green will have the most games (41) of any team from that point on. In fact, they will have four games in six of the last eight full weeks of the season. With that in mind, Week 13 will be a great time to target any of the C's starting five.
- Orlando is the only team with three games during All-Star week. That will be a great time to stock up on Magic fringe players.
- The teams with the best post-All-Star schedules are Boston (32 games), Charlotte (31), Chicago (31), Detroit (31), Golden State (31), Houston (31), Memphis (31), Milwaukee (31), New York (31), Oklahoma City (31), San Antonio (31), Utah (31), and Washington (31). Target guys on these teams just before the All-Star break. You will especially want to go after guys with good playoff schedules.
- The teams with the worst post-All-Star schedules are Cleveland (28), Los Angeles Lakers (28), Orlando (28), Denver (29), Miami (29), Minnesota (29), New Orleans (29), and Phoenix (29). Look to unload guys from these teams just prior to the break...especially the ones with lousy playoff schedules.
- Boston and Charlotte have the most games after Week 18 (25).
- Houston has the most games after Week 20 (18).
To uncover more scheduling gems, see the games-per-week schedule grid at www.rotorebel.com. There you will also find an analysis of the NBA schedule during the fantasy basketball playoffs.