Well you cannot worry about the playoffs until you make them, but you should be preparing in advance to maximize your return on the season within a season.
Week 19 Matchup Rankings
This weekly ranking is based on opponents’ points given up per possession based on pace.
Well you cannot worry about the playoffs until you make them, but you should be preparing in advance to maximize your return on the season within a season. Most people’s playoffs will start with this or next week’s slate of games. Some last two weeks per round, others just a single week depending on the size of the league. For those of you who play roto leagues, congrats, you are part of the master race and can carry on maximizing your games.
Prepping for the playoffs can take many forms. First and foremost, you should be versed in the weekly schedule for your playoff weeks. Sure, a few months ago you could slack off, not worry about picking up and dropping people all week to get the edge on your matchup, but this is the playoffs. If you want to make an early exit, feel free to half-ass it. Once you’ve got your schedule in front of you, time to map your games played.
Now split your team into two groups; the starters and the expendables. Your starters are why your team is where it stands today. Depending on the size of your league, around half of your team should be in that starter’s category, either that or you are not in the playoffs. The bottom half of your team you have a decision to make. Are they expendable or not? You should already be set with a few of your streaming guys that you know can be dropped, but I would encourage you to make the droppable list bigger in the playoffs. Hot waiver wire guys and maximizing games can make or break your run to the championship.
Head out to that waiver, still have that schedule in front of you? Good, focus on players from teams with the most games played, no different from how you handled the regular season.
Now that’s taken care of, time to focus on your opponent. Just like in the NBA, a playoff series allows you to game-plan a strategy. Find your opponents’ schedule, map out their games played. How does it compare to yours? What are your opponents’ strong and weak categories? Are you set in rebounds, maybe that means a decent big-man becomes expendable and you can focus on a contested category?
Are you going to get blow away in FG%? Then pick up or stream guys who shoot poorly, but bring in other stats. It only matters about getting to the next round. Don’t start looking to next round until you got the series on lock though, that’s how teams lose focus.
What to Watch This Week
Milwaukee vs Chicago
The Greek Freak and Middleton have been playing out of their mind. With MCW out for the year, this looks to be the team they are going run with. Bayless is getting minutes, but we’ll see if he produces enough to own in standard leagues. Butler is back in Chicago and he is already back to his old ways. A life-saver for owners down the stretch. With a healthy roster (finally) the Bulls rotation changes to a Pau/Butler team, with the occasional appearance from Rose and Taj.
New York vs Denver
Melo is unhappy, Melo is happy, Melo is in, Melo is out… Figure it out Melo, Afflalo has been surprisingly good on this horrible team, and Tony Wroten is rumored to be signing for the Knicks. That could be a hot pickup for PG stats down the stretch, take a chance. Mudiay, Jokic and Gary Harris have been late season break-outs for the Nuggets. All great guys to run with for your playoff needs that other teams might not be paying attention to.
Detroit vs Dallas
We now have a big enough sample size to understand Tobias’s place on the Pistons. High minutes mean he will get the chance to figure it out, but it might take the rest of the season for the team to adjust around him. What’s this I see? A wild David Lee has appeared! Even in limited minutes, Lee is actually…. Playing…. Basketball…. I feel like Dallas has no choice but to use Lee in their rotations making him a great streaming option.
Atlanta vs Toronto
ATL has been in flux a bit with the rotations of Teague/Schroder/Bazemore, and Millsapy and Horford have been up and down. Toronto is an actual challenge for the Hawks and if there was ever a time to get their game together, this would be the game. Toronto is not doing much new, though I wish BISMACK would get more playing time. We could see the return of DeMarre Carroll soon, but Carroll never found is stride with the Raptors. Not sure if he would be worth a stash unless you are in desperate need down the stretch.
Minnesota vs OKC
The LaVine/Rubio experiment really has no choice but to work. I’m not sure it is great for the Wolves, but it is good for fantasy owners. Towns up against OKC will be a great watch. Ibaka’s horrible season continues, and that might just mean more time for Kanter in certain games. Considering that Towns is a destructive force, I doubt OKC wants to put the defense of Kanter on him.
Orlando vs Portland
A few injuries in Orlando have opened playing time for Super Mario and other fun bench players. Everyone is sick of Skiles stupid rotations, and I doubt he’ll suddenly change that during the end of the season. Jump on that Ed Davis bandwagon, I’m just not sure Davis will keep getting big minutes.
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