Did you enjoy the Super Bowl? Good. Now it’s time to get serious about daily fantasy basketball.
One of the most important tools I use when ranking players in fantasy football is Strength of Schedule (SOS) and the same principles can be used in daily hoops.
In the table below, you’ll find the average adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) — using DraftDay’s scoring system — for every team in the league. The reason the averages are “adjusted” is to remove schedule bias. For example, if a team has played mostly high-scoring teams (like the Lakers, Clippers and Kings have so far this year) then their raw fantasy points allowed (rFPA) would be inflated. By removing this schedule bias, we have more of an “apples to apples” comparison to use when evaluating matchups.
The lower the average, the better the defense. Daily and weekly fantasy owners will want to avoid the Sixers, Bulls, Celtics, Lakers and Blazers, if possible. The Clippers, Grizzlies, Hornets, Spurs and Hawks have also been pretty stingy defensively this season. It makes sense that seven of the top 10 teams in ESPN’s Defensive Efficiency (DE) are in the top 10 in aFPA as well. It’s unlikely that the two rankings will match up perfectly because DE doesn’t remove bias and a team with a strong DE could still give up a lot of fantasy points if they have a high pace (# of possessions per game). The Heat fall into that category this year.
On the flip side, owners should target players with matchups against the Bobcats, Kings, Wizards, Nuggets, Nets, Cavs, Warriors, Suns, Pistons and Knicks, who have all been generous in terms of aFPA this season. The Nuggets and Warriors should definitely be targeted on the road, as they tend to play far better at home.
Interestingly, the Knicks are #11 in Defensive Efficiency, but they give up a lot of fantasy points. This is because they rank #3 in overall pace. The more possessions an offense has, the more opportunities they have to rack up fantasy points.
Matchups can be crucial when deciding who to start. If you have to pick either Player A who faces the Sixers (-8.5%) or Player B who plays the Bobcats (+9.0%) you are typically better off taking Player B due a much better matchup.
For full-season owners who set their rosters once a week, it would be helpful to know how one player’s upcoming schedule compares to another. The table below shows each team’s schedule for the upcoming week along with the weekly average.
Based on this information, it looks like the Pistons (+5.6%) have by far the easiest schedule this week with two games against the Nets and one game against the Wizards. So it would probably be a good idea to use Greg Monroe early and often this week. The Rockets, Warriors, Heat and Suns also have favorable SOS this week.
Conversely, owners may want to avoid the Bobcats (-5.4%) who have the pleasure of facing the Celtics, Bulls and Clippers this week. The Lakers (-3.6%) and Cavs (-3.0%) also have especially difficult matchups this week.