The Home Stretch Examined: Redemption Awaits You, Tyson Chandler
March: A month of renewal, a month of hope. Across the country, tens of thousands of fantasy basketball leagues draw to a breathless close, except of course for those populated by zombies.* A nation turns its lonely eyes to the final games of the season. Who has the most favorable schedule? Who is about to get mauled by the mighty Bobcats? To quote my Satanist high-school algebra teacher, let’s do this like Judas.
The assumptions are simple: high-paced teams with bad defense give up the most fantasy points; slow-paced, defense-awesome teams give up the fewest. I combined the Pace and DRtg categories to create a simple metric I’m calling FF, for Fantasy Friendliness, and it indicates which teams make for a Fantasy Friendly schedule, and which ones don’t. The answers are mostly unsurprising: the five FF-highest teams are the Warriors, Knicks, Kings, Pacers, and Suns. The five FF-lowest teams: the Cavaliers, Celtics, Spurs, Pistons, and Bobcats. (Charlotte has the eighth-best defense in the league, if you haven’t been paying attention, which no one has, because, it’s the Bobcats. Let me just throw this out there: “The Pittsburgh Pumas” has a nice ring to it. They wouldn’t even have to change the logo that much! Stern, let’s make it happen.)
I used FF to calculate which schedules should give up the most fantasy points per game, and for head-to-head purposes, the primary factor is how many games each team has left. New Orleans, Detroit, and Philadelphia all have the most, with 21; Milwaukee and Indiana are the worst off with 16 and 17 respectively. However, for roto leagues, the primary consideration should be the average FF per game, not the number of games. There, the teams with the most fantasy-friendly schedules are the Nuggets, Hornets, Jazz, and Kings; a gauntlet of pain and bewilderment, meanwhile, awaits the Heat, Pacers, Celtics, Hawks, or more accurately, their fantasy owners.
Here’s the data. A little context: for FF Per Game, a league-average schedule would rate 100.
|team||games left||total ff||ff pergame|
Bottom line: Hornets good, Pacers bad. New Orleans is already on a seven-game winning streak, and look to generate plenty of fantasy value down the stretch. Even fantasy laggard Tyson Chandler is worth a close look, especially for teams needing improved FG% and rebounding. Rasual Butler is a nice pickup; he provides scoring, threes, and even some rebounding. It is also fun to pronounce his name as though it rhymes with “casual.” Example: the dress code for this evening? Business Rasual. The Pistons are an unlikely source of fantasy goodness. If someone in your league has frustratedly jettisoned Rip Hamilton, give that masked man some love.
Meanwhile, the fast-paced Pacers may be slowed down a little over the next few weeks, although I still like Troy Murphy. Jarrett Jack has been a total animal (see below), but the schedule combined with the return of Danny Granger means he might not be as valuable over the next few weeks.
Here is the USE(LESS) Top 25 for the last ten games:
First of all, Mr. Wade has accomplished a USE(LESS) ten-game record. That is effing unbelievable, what he is doing. He is averaging a 35.3/5.7/10.7 right now. I just ate a handful of precription sedatives to keep me from flipping the hell out, and it’s not working at all.
Waivers: I know, I just said Jarrett Jack (#19) is not going to keep it up. But he’s available in a majority of leagues, and as the point guard on a run-and-gun team, he is probably better than your 13th guy. He’s available in the majority of ESPN leagues. Ronnie Brewer (#14) is only 80% owned; if you need steals, assists, or a guy who resembles a Simpsons character, he’s your man. I would also cautiously advise a Carl Landry (#22) pickup; his upcoming schedule is rough, and he just twisted his ankle, but he is sufficiently beastly that it probably doesn’t matter. Carl Landry! Second-highest True Shooting Percentage in the league. Tap that.
In conclusion: Pittsburgh Pumas. Catch the fever.
*Zombie teams are teams that have been abandoned by their owners; they lurch through the season with the same three guys on the bench, making each week’s outcomes that much more meaningless, bleakly and insistently pointing their bloodless fingers at the nihilism of all human endeavor. Zombie teams are the bane of my existence. Surely you will agree that they must all be rounded up and destroyed. Thank you for your time.