Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Basketball - A Great Draft Begins NOW! 2

Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

A Great Draft Begins NOW Part II

What is the difference between a Dallas Maverick and an Oklahoma City Thunder player?  It sounds like a bad joke, and in one way, it is.  On nights where 6 or less teams play in the NBA (I call them “odd” nights), the Mavericks only play on 4 of those nights this year.  The Thunder play in a whopping 23!  I can hear the murmuring from here…”So what?”  Allow me to explain, so you can translate this newfound knowledge into a fantasy basketball crown.

Now, this recognition of scheduling inequality benefits a head-to-head player a little more than a rotisserie player because pickups play such a vital role in head-to-head outcomes.  On many nights throughout the year, you will find your roster completely depleted because of the minimal amount of games playing that night.  Isn’t it thrilling when you see that some of your best players are playing on those “odd” nights?  You look at your opponent who is scrambling for third-string scrubs while you have explosive starters in your lineup.  You might be asking…”Doesn’t it all even out in the long run?”  Well, all teams play 82 games, but you’re missing the point.  When you go to pick up players on a night where there are 16 games being played, you have a great assortment of players from which to choose.  However, if you need players on a four game night, you might be lucky to scrape up Nando De Colo (no disrespect, Nando…I actually like watching you.  You just aren’t fantasy-relevant yet.)

Many stubborn owners refuse to acknowledge this important, strategic advantage.  We all know how vital our pickups can be in a close week.  The difference can be Ramon Sessions or Jerryd Bayless against Nando.  What side of the fence do you want to be on?

So who plays on the most odd nights?  I have learned to break down the season into two halves.  For example, the Milwaukee Bucks play on only one odd night in 2013.  However, in 2014, they play on eight odd nights.  You can use this information to target a Buck on the cusp of the New Year.  This gives Milwaukee a grand total of 9 odd nights for the year.  Without further ado, here is the 2013-2014 schedule break down.

Oct. 29 – Dec. 31 Jan. 1 – Mar. 15 TOTAL
ATL 7 7 14
BOS 5 5 10
BROOK 6 8 14
CHA 2 3 5
CHI 8 5 13
CLE 4 4 8
DAL 2 2 4
DEN 5 8 13
DET 7 3 10
GS   11   6   17
HOU   11   5   16
IND 4 9 13
LAC   12   7   19
LAL   12   8   20
MEM 7 3 10
MIA 8 7 15
MIL 1 8 9
MIN 6 7 13
NO 6 5 11
NY 8 7 15
OKC   12   11   23
ORL 9 4 13
PHI 3 6 9
PHO 5 6 11
PORT 7 2 9
SA 6 6 12
SAC 6 5 11
TOR 4 5 9
UTAH 3 3 6
WASH 7 3 10

As you can see, the big winners are the Thunder, Lakers, Clippers, Warriors, and Rockets.  Teams with favorable schedules include the Knicks, Heat, Hawks, Nets, Bulls, Nuggets, Timberwolves, Pacers, and Magic.  The big losers are the Mavericks, Bobcats, Jazz, and Cavaliers.

If the Durant/LeBron debate haunts you at night, let this be the deciding factor.  I believe Durant edges LeBron without schedule considerations, but when you factor in the table above, KD is the clear-cut #1 choice.

If you missed my original article, A Great Draft Begins NOW!, check it out.  In my next article, we will attempt to mine for fantasy gold by identifying NBA teams with the weakest benches.  As you should know, a weak NBA bench means major minutes and production for those golden starters.  See you Wednesday!

Tags: Draft Fantasy Basketball FantasyCPR Kevin Durant NBA Oklahoma City Thunder Russell Westbrook

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