Playoff Schedules for leagues with playoffs beginning on March 7th

Teams with 12 games:

UTA

Teams with 11 games:

ATL, DAL, DET, HOU, LAL, MIN, NOR, NYK, PHI, PHO, POR, WAS

Teams with 10 games:

BKN, CHA, CHI, CLE, DEN, GSW, MIA, OKC, ORL, SAS, TOR

Teams with 9 games:

BOS, IND, LAC, MEM, MIL, SAC

Teams with two-game weeks:

MIA – Week 21 (Semifinals), LAC – Week 22 (Finals), SAC – Week 22 (Finals), SAS – Week 22 (Finals)

Overall Analysis

  • This playoff setup and the setup that starts on March 14th (Week 21 in most leagues) are the setups that I recommend. I give this setup the edge as it gives you the best chance of avoiding the NBA’s silly season. I’m sure there will be some very annoying early shutdowns (I’m looking at you, OKC), but for the most part, teams will still be playing their top players their normal minutes.
  • Week 21 is the one issue with this setup. It’s a quiet week with only six back-to-back sets. The lack of back-to-back sets is going to make it very difficult to stream yourself out of trouble. Because of this, I strongly recommend keeping this week in mind when drafting. Outside of members of the Heat, who should be dropped on your draft board due to their two-game schedule, I wouldn’t make any major adjustments to your draft plans. I would just try to avoid having too many early-round studs with three-game Week 21 schedules.
  • I like Rudy Gobert around the turn in all leagues, and with this playoff setup, he is a no-brainer pick there if you feel comfortable punting FT%. With the Mavericks having 11 games in this setup, a Luka Doncic/Gobert Punt FT% strategy is going to be very tempting. This schedule also makes me very comfortable taking Donovan Mitchell in the third, even though he may finish a little lower than that on a per-game basis in nine-category leagues.
  • If you go with Jayson Tatum, Paul George, or Giannis Antetokounmpo in the first round, make sure that you pair them with second and third-round picks that have strong schedules. There are a handful of first-round players with 11 games in this setup, and if you select one of those three in the first round, you are going to need your second and third guys to outplay your opponent’s second and third guys. Making sure that your second and third-round picks have a strong playoff schedule is a great way to ensure that.
  • With the Clippers only having nine games during the fantasy playoffs and a two-game Week 22 schedule, I’m not stashing Kawhi Leonard in this setup. That move is very unlikely to pay off.
  • The Spurs have a two-game final week schedule, but play four games in both Weeks 20 and 21. I would not drop the Spurs’ top options on your draft board because of the two-game week. Make the finals and figure out how to work around the two-game week when you get there.
  • I would wait for a discount on Kings players on draft day due to their schedule. With a so-so Week 20 schedule and a brutal Week 22 schedule, De’Aaron Fox and friends will really only be a major help in one of your playoff matchups.
  • If you are in a league with byes and think your chances of getting one are good, then target players on the Sixers, Blazers, and Jazz. Those three teams play four games in both Week 21 and Week 22.

Week 20 Analysis

You can view Week 20’s full schedule here.

  • This is a very basic week, which we love to see during the fantasy playoffs. Ideally, fantasy playoff matchups will be decided by who has the better team, not by who has the better schedule. There are plenty of back-to-back sets spread out through the week and there are no teams with problematic schedules. On draft day, focus on beefing up your Week 19 and Week 21 schedules. Week 20 should not be a major issue.
  • The Nets’ three-game schedule does not include a back-to-back set and all three games come against playoff contenders. Week 21 will be a scary week for owners of the big three, but you shouldn’t run into issues before then.
  • The Sixers end the week with a Sunday game against the Magic. That is the first half of a back-to-back set, so that will be a scary game for Joel Embiid owners. That game is followed by a date against Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets, so a rest night for The Process is possible. March is a long way away and Embiid is not a lock to be on some type of load management program at that point, but that back-to-back set and the potential for problems in Week 19, does make me worry.

 

Week 21 Analysis

You can view Week 21’s full schedule here.

  • Week 21 on the other hand is a bit of a mess. There are two back-to-back sets starting on Tuesday and four sets starting on Friday. That’s it. There are no sets starting on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Saturday. It’s going to be very difficult to make up ground through streaming, so make sure that you keep this week in mind on draft day. If you go in the playoffs with a weak Week 21 schedule, you are probably not going to come away with a ring.
  • The Heat’s two-game week starts on Tuesday against the Pistons and ends on Friday against the Thunder. Both of those games should be layups for the Heat, which puts a one-game week for the Heat’s studs in play. Complicating things further is the fact that the second game comes on a night where 12 games are played and you are likely to be overloaded. All of the Heat’s role players will be drops after the Tuesday night game. I would try to hold the Heat’s studs due to their excellent Week 22 schedule, but if you are in a huge hole, do what you have to do.
  • This is a scary week for owners of the Nets’ big guns as the team will play its three games over a four-night stretch. Those three games also contain a back-to-back set that includes a game in Orlando. It’s easy to picture the Nets giving their stars a night off.
  • The Sixers play four games this week and only their Sunday game is part of a back-to-back set. If Joel Embiid is still in one piece at this point, it should be a very fun week for his owners.
  • The Nets, Bulls, Clippers, and Heat all finish their week on Friday. Unfortunately, there are no back-to-back sets starting on Saturday, but the frontloaded schedule will make it easier for those investing in the role players on those teams to pick up extra games.

 

Week 22 Analysis

You can view Week 22’s full schedule here.

  • Week 22 comes with a fairly normal schedule. There are plenty of back-to-back sets with at least one starting every day of the week. Unlike in Week 21, you will be able to stream yourself out of trouble this week.
  • The Clippers, Kings, and Spurs all play two games this week. A two-game week is always a tough pill to swallow, but it is an especially unfortunate predicament in Week 22 because a whopping 15 teams play four times. This will be a tough week to get through for Paul George owners and the brutal schedule makes it very unlikely that a Kawhi Leonard stash ends up working out. The Clippers play on Tuesday and Friday. Since this is the finals, all of the Clippers’ role players should be hitting the wire on Tuesday night and George (and Kawhi if he is active) should follow on Friday.
  • The Kings’ and Spurs’ schedules are especially rough because both teams start their week on Wednesday and play their second game on Saturday. Due to the poor schedule, you will likely find yourself dropping the role players on both teams at the end of Week 21.
  • The Bulls, Blazers, Rockets, and Heat have the best schedules this week. All four teams play their fourth game by Saturday night.
  • The Pacers’ and the Grizzlies’ role players will be droppable at the end of Week 21. Both teams do not start their week until Wednesday night.

 

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