Playoff Schedules for leagues with playoffs beginning on March 14th

Teams with 12 games:

PHI, POR, WAS

Teams with 11 games:

CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, LAL, NYK, OKC, TOR, UTA

Teams with 10 games:

ATL, BKN, BOS, CHA, IND, MIA, MIL, MIN, NOR, ORL, PHO, SAC, SAS

Teams with 9 games:

LAC, MEM

Teams with two-game weeks:

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

Overall Analysis

  • This playoff setup spends a little too much time in the NBA’s silly season for my liking, but it still comes with a reasonable finish date. Working in our favor is the very busy Week 23 schedule. I’m sure by that point we’ll be having our fair share of random sits, but with 23 teams playing four times in Week 23, those sits won’t be as painful as they would be during other weeks.
  • Week 21 is the main issue with this setup. There are only six back-to-back sets during that week and those six sets start on only two different days. That is going to make it difficult to win through streaming. Because of this, you will want to make sure that you come away from your draft with at least a decent Week 21 schedule. You don’t need to pay too much attention to your Week 22 and Week 23 schedules on the most exciting day of the fantasy calendar, but I would keep an eye on your quarterfinals schedule, especially if you play in a league without byes. I would not bank on making trades later in the year to strengthen that Week 21 schedule. It’s a great idea in theory, but in reality, there are very few fantasy leagues where fantasy managers are willing to trade away players with strong playoff schedules for those with weak ones.
  • I will never feel totally comfortable with drafting Joel Embiid in the first, but this setup does make drafting The Process a slightly less scary proposition. With the Sixers having four games every week of the playoffs, a missed game or two will not end your season. The Blazers and Wizards also have four games in all three playoff weeks. Because of this, I am not against reaching for Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal. I’d also move the role players on each team up your draft board.
  • On the flip side, I want nothing to do with Clippers in the setup, unless they come at a discount. They do have a four-game week, but unfortunately it comes in the finals, and you’ll have to play with a hand tied behind your back for two weeks to get there. If you decide to go with Paul George early, you need to make playoff schedule a priority with all of your other early picks. If you pair George with a couple of early-round players who only have three games in Week 22, you are going to need a lot of luck to survive the week. I don’t care how strong your team is, a two-game week from your first-round pick is extremely difficult to overcome.
  • The Heat, Kings, and Spurs also have two-game weeks, but their schedules are not quite as problematic because they all play four games in the other two weeks. I’d really only worry about that two-week if you are planning on targeting Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. A two-game week from your fourth or fifth-round pick isn’t the end of the world, so I wouldn’t bump down the Kings’ or Spurs’ main pieces too much, but it’s very tough to overcome a two-game week from your first or second-round pick.
  • The Grizzlies are the only team with a 3/3/3 schedule. With 15 teams playing 11 games or more, their studs are going to be less valuable during the fantasy playoffs than their per-game ranking. Given the poor playoff schedule, I would let Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. fall before selecting them. Both players are already very risky selections and the weak playoff schedule means that the payoff isn’t going to be that great.
  • If you are in a league with byes and think your chances of getting one are good, then target players on the Bulls, Mavericks, Pistons, Warriors, Rockets, Knicks, Sixers, Blazers, and Wizards. All nine of those teams play four games in both Week 22 and Week 23.

 

Week 21 Analysis

You can view Week 21’s full schedule here.

  • Week 21’s schedule is a tough one. 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 since this is only the first round, 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 outside of the three two-game weeks. 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 play 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 semifinals, all of the Clippers’ role players should be hitting the wire on Tuesday night.
  • 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 schedule 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.

 

Week 23 Analysis

You can view Week 23’s full schedule here.

  • This is a great schedule for a championship week. With 23 of the league’s 30 teams playing four times, this is one of the busiest weeks of the year. We love that because it makes random sits, which happen at this time of the year, easier to stomach. If your first-round player gets a night off, but still plays three games, it’s not the end of the world.
  • Despite the overwhelming majority of the league playing four times this week, there are not many back-to-back sets early in the week. However, you don’t want to wait too long to use your moves as there are 12 games on Sunday and you will likely already have a full roster on that day.
  • The Nets only have three games but none of those games are part of a back-to-back set, so owners of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving should be safe. I say should be because Durant is always a good bet to miss a large chunk of games and because Kyrie is impossible to predict.
  • There are 11 games on Wednesday and 12 games on Sunday. You may be overloaded on one or both of those days, but at this point of the season, that is not necessarily a bad thing, as you will likely have a random sit or two to deal with.

 

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