In daily fantasy basketball, picking the best value players is only one piece of the puzzle. Another component is Strength of Schedule, which helps fantasy owners identify the best matchups on any given day.
In the adjacent table, you will find the average adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA), using DraftDay daily fantasy basketball scoring system, for each team over the last 30 days. The reason the averages are adjusted is to remove schedule bias. For example, if a team has played mostly high-scoring teams (like the Jazz, Lakers, Suns and Blazers have recently) 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.
Bottom line: the lower the average, the better the defense. Daily and weekly fantasy owners will want to avoid the teams indicated in red, especially the Clippers, Celtics, Grizzlies, Heat and Spurs. The Knicks, Bulls, Hornets, Thunder and Wizards round out the top 10 toughest matchups over the past 30 days. A quick look at ESPN’s Defensive Efficiency rankings shows the Clippers in the middle of the pack at #16, but keep in mind that DE doesn’t remove schedule bias and are full-season rankings. Pace (# of possessions per game) is also removed from DE, and since the Clippers are the 5th-slowest team in the league, they become a bad fantasy matchup.
On the flip side, owners should target the Cavs, Kings, Warriors, Bobcats, Lakers, Timberwolves, Nuggets, Nets, Mavs and Pistons, who represent the top 10 fantasy matchups over the last month. The Jazz, Hawks, Bucks, Blazers and Magic are safe matchups as well.
Matchups are key when deciding who to start. If you have to pick Player A who faces the Clippers (-10.2%) or Player B who plays the Cavs (9.7%), you’re generally better off going with Player B, because all else being equal, he should produce at a much higher rate, which can be expected to be around 20% in this case. This is the most extreme comparison, but even a 4%-6% swing is significant when making tough lineup decisions.
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.
It’s a short week with only four days worth of games, but the Lakers (with one game against the Kings), Thunder and Bulls appear to have the best weekly schedule. Conversely, fringe playeres on the Heat, Cavs and Warriors should probably be avoided.