Fantasy Basketball Playoff Rankings for Yahoo Head-to-Head Leagues

The NBA season is more than half over, which means that the fantasy playoffs are roughly seven weeks away. For some teams, the next seven weeks will be a mad scramble to get into the playoffs. Others teams have already secured their playoff spot and are now focused on strengthening their fantasy teams for a playoff run. This week’s rest-of-season rankings will be focused on identifying players who can help you prepare for your fantasy playoffs.

So much of being prepared for the fantasy playoffs comes down to understanding the NBA schedule, which is unbalanced from week to week. As a result I asked RotoWire’s NBA schedule guru and Langston Galloway superfan, J.J. Calle, to share some tips to help prepare for the fantasy playoffs. In addition, I’ve provided rankings and auction values weighted for the number of games each NBA team will play during the fantasy playoffs. Today’s rankings and advice is meant for Yahoo! leagues. Look for a similar post meant for ESPN leagues in the near future.

Nuggets of Wisdom from J.J. Calle

All stats and schedule quirks are accurate as of 1/24/15. For a full breakdown of the Yahoo! head-to-head playoffs, consult this article.

In default Yahoo! head-to-head leagues, six teams qualify for the playoffs. The top two teams earn a bye. The playoffs are comprised of three one-week matchups: Week 21 (March 16-22), Week 22 (March 23-29), and Week 23 (March 30-April 5). 10 NBA teams play 12 games, 12 teams play 11 games, four teams play 10 games, and four teams play nine games during that three-week stretch.

If you’re guaranteed a bye during the first round, add players from the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers to your target list. Both teams play three games during Week 21, followed by four games apiece the final two weeks, joining the other 10 teams that play 12 games throughout the standard fantasy playoffs. You’ll also want to discount players on the Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic. They play a minimum five games over the final two weeks after playing four games each in Week 21. The Magic play two games during the semifinals, and the Cavaliers play two games during the finals.

The Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets are equipped with seven quality games apiece, permitting you to shuffle those players into your lineups on slower nights in leagues that don’t lock at the beginning of the week. The Washington Wizards and Orlando Magic possess a league-low one quality game each. The Magic’s one quality game lands on the first game of Week 21. In fact, by my count, the Magic plays the fewest games (36) and are scheduled for a minimum six quality games the rest of the season.

Additionally, be mindful of all the situations that could hold players out of games during the fantasy playoffs: the upcoming NBA trade deadline (February 19), teams with draft picks to protect might rest players at the end of the season (Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings), teams locked into a playoff seed would have nothing to gain by playing their starters at the end of the season, and understand coaching track records when it comes to resting players, etc.

Also, consider home/away splits and performance on back-to-backs. The Portland Trail Blazers are a machine at the moment, but they always travel the furthest of any NBA team by season’s end. They struggled near the end of last season and play a league-high five back-to-backs during Week 21-23. Denver plays 70 percent of their fantasy playoff schedule away from their altitude advantage. Brian Shaw plays Kenneth Faried two fewer minutes in road games (28.6 to 26.0), and Faried averages three fewer rebounds on the road (10.6 to 7.2), which is a gap of about five rebounds per 100 possessions. The Sixers play eight of their 12 games during Weeks 21-23 on the road. Michael Carter-Williams averages almost two fewer assists in road games (8.1 to 6.3). Nerlens Noel’s numbers drop off noticeably in road games, as seen below:

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Noel Games Minutes PTS REB STL BLK AST FG%
Home 18 30.4 8.5 6.8 2.0 1.7 1.9 51.5%
Road 22 29.8 7.9 7.7 1.2 1.4 1.2 38.1%

On a team level, the Sixers are significantly worse on the road in most categories (rebounds are a wash). Their pace is nearly identical in both settings, per NBA.com:

Sixers Games PTS BLK AST STL FG% TO Pace
Home 21 94.7 6.5 22.6 9.4 34.4% 18.0 98.83
Road 23 85.3 5.3 17.4 10.2 31.8% 19.1 98.13

I was surprised when I dug up the Blazers’ numbers. Collectively, they’re actually better the second night of a back-to-back if you ignore small sample size. See for yourself:

Blazers Games PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG%
0 Days Rest 10 105.9 45.2 23.9 7.4 5.5 11.5 44.8%
1 Day Rest 27 101.9 45.7 21.7 6.8 4.9 9.6 44.6%
2 Days Rest 5 101.4 47.4 22.6 6.8 4.0 10.6 43%

Yahoo Fantasy Playoff Rankings & Auction Values

Below are rankings and auction values based on RotoWire Projections for the Yahoo! fantasy playoffs. These rankings and auction values are intended for head-to-head leagues where RotoWire recommends focusing on the six positive counting categories (pts, rebs, asts, stls, blks, three-pointers), even if that strategy makes your team non-competitive in the other three categories. As a point of reference, I’ve also included the rest-of-season rankings for each player so that you can identify players whose value is different in the playoffs compared to the rest of the season.

Here are a few players who stuck out to me:

Klay Thompson (Regular Season: 11th, Playoffs: 4th): Not only did Thompson put up an incredible 37-point quarter recently, but he is on pace to become the 3rd player ever to average over three assists, rebounds, and three-pointers made in a season. He’s also averaging more than one steal and one block per game. No team plays more games during the fantasy playoffs than the Warriors, who play 12.

Kemba Walker (Regular Season: 22th, Playoffs: 11th): The Hornets also have 12 games during the fantasy playoffs, and are suddenly back in playoff contention.

Anthony Davis (Regular Season: 7th, Playoffs: 14th): Davis has been a monster this season, but the Pelicans have only 10 games during the fantasy playoffs. If you can trade Davis for a package that includes DeMarcus Cousins or Draymond Green in head-to-head Yahoo! leagues, I would recommend pulling the trigger.

Gordon Hayward (Regular Season: 23rd, Playoffs: 16th): The Jazz play 12 games during the fantasy playoffs, with only three back to backs.

LeBron James (Regular Season: 5th, Playoffs: 18th): LeBron’s Cavs have only 9 games during the fantasy playoffs, so if you can get anything close to top-5 value for him in a trade, you’ve got to do it.

Playoff Rank Playoff Value Player Team ROS Ranking
1 $62 Stephen Curry GSW 1
2 $55 James Harden HOU 2
3 $52 Damian Lillard POR 8
4 $49 Klay Thompson GSW 11
5 $48 Russell Westbrook OKC 4
6 $48 Kevin Durant OKC 3
7 $45 DeMarcus Cousins SAC 6
8 $41 John Wall WAS 9
9 $39 Draymond Green GSW 15
10 $38 Chris Paul LAC 10
11 $38 Kemba Walker CHR 22
12 $37 Michael Carter-Williams PHI 14
13 $36 Kyle Lowry TOR 13
14 $36 Anthony Davis NOP 7
15 $32 Blake Griffin LAC 12
16 $32 Gordon Hayward UTA 24
17 $32 Chris Bosh MIA 25
18 $32 LeBron James CLE 5
19 $31 Tim Duncan SAS 39
20 $31 Marc Gasol MEM 16
21 $31 LaMarcus Aldridge POR 36
22 $30 Wesley Matthews POR 35
23 $30 DeAndre Jordan LAC 19
24 $29 Andre Drummond DET 20
25 $29 Danny Green SAS 48
26 $28 Darren Collison SAC 29
27 $28 Brandon Knight MIL 27
28 $28 Rudy Gay SAC 21
29 $27 Kawhi Leonard SAS 55
30 $27 Rudy Gobert UTA 41
31 $26 Jeff Teague ATL 23
32 $26 Paul Millsap ATL 17
33 $25 Derrick Favors UTA 37
34 $25 Carmelo Anthony NYK 50
35 $25 Mike Conley MEM 26
36 $24 Jrue Holiday NOP 89
37 $24 Serge Ibaka OKC 31
38 $24 Ricky Rubio MIN 42
39 $24 Brandon Jennings DET 38
40 $23 Nicolas Batum POR 65
41 $23 Nerlens Noel PHI 46
42 $23 Monta Ellis DAL 30
43 $22 Gorgui Dieng MIN 34
44 $21 Ty Lawson DEN 18
45 $21 Joe Johnson BRO 61
46 $19 Al Jefferson CHR 63
47 $19 Trevor Ariza HOU 57
48 $18 Dwight Howard HOU 45
49 $18 Jarrett Jack BRO 74
50 $18 Bradley Beal WAS 53
51 $17 Jared Sullinger BOS 71
52 $17 Zach Randolph MEM 59
53 $17 Mason Plumlee BRO 79
54 $17 Greg Monroe DET 56
55 $17 K.J. McDaniels PHI 73
56 $17 David West IND 94
57 $17 Thaddeus Young MIN 54
58 $16 Jimmy Butler CHI 40
59 $16 Victor Oladipo ORL 32
60 $16 Rajon Rondo DAL 44
61 $16 Marcus Smart BOS 72
62 $16 Dwyane Wade MIA 80
63 $16 Mario Chalmers MIA 69
64 $15 Kyrie Irving CLE 28
65 $15 Andrew Wiggins MIN 52
66 $15 Tyreke Evans NOP 43
67 $15 Robert Covington PHI 70
68 $14 Jae Crowder BOS 121
69 $13 DeMar DeRozan TOR 76
70 $13 Kelly Olynyk BOS 105
71 $13 Dirk Nowitzki DAL 60
72 $13 Chandler Parsons DAL 58
73 $12 Markieff Morris PHO 49
74 $12 Kevin Love CLE 33
75 $12 Roy Hibbert IND 116
76 $12 Eric Bledsoe PHO 47
77 $12 Luol Deng MIA 95
78 $12 George Hill IND 120
79 $11 Kyle Korver ATL 68
80 $11 Giannis Antetokounmpo MIL 77
81 $11 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope DET 84
82 $11 Khris Middleton MIL 90
83 $11 Elfrid Payton ORL 64
84 $11 Evan Turner BOS 103
85 $10 Jamal Crawford LAC 91
86 $10 Robin Lopez POR 138
87 $10 Pau Gasol CHI 66
88 $10 Nikola Vucevic ORL 67
89 $10 Marcin Gortat WAS 88
90 $10 Lance Stephenson CHR 106
91 $10 Manu Ginobili SAS 127
92 $10 Al Horford ATL 75
93 $9 Corey Brewer HOU 115
94 $9 Paul Pierce WAS 86
95 $9 Solomon Hill IND 130
96 $9 Josh Smith HOU 102
97 $9 Goran Dragic PHO 51
98 $9 Enes Kanter UTA 104
99 $9 Tyson Chandler DAL 87
100 $8 Dion Waiters OKC 107
101 $8 Kenneth Faried DEN 62
102 $8 Patrick Beverley HOU 114
103 $8 Jeremy Lin LAL 99
104 $8 Jeff Green MEM 82
105 $8 Andrew Bogut GSW 125
106 $8 DeMarre Carroll ATL 81
107 $8 Brook Lopez BRO 132
108 $7 Ben McLemore SAC 100
109 $7 Harrison Barnes GSW 124
110 $7 C.J. Miles IND 162
111 $7 Courtney Lee MEM 93
112 $6 Matt Barnes LAC 97
113 $6 Greivis Vasquez TOR 111
114 $6 Kevin Martin MIN 135
115 $6 Jonas Valanciunas TOR 123
116 $6 Terrence Jones HOU 137
117 $5 Dante Exum UTA 96
118 $5 Channing Frye ORL 78
119 $5 Wesley Johnson LAL 122
120 $5 Jordan Hill LAL 128
121 $5 J.J. Redick LAC 109
122 $5 Ryan Anderson NOP 101
123 $5 Amir Johnson TOR 118
124 $4 Joakim Noah CHI 83
125 $4 Isaiah Thomas PHO 92
126 $4 Donatas Motiejunas HOU 134
127 $4 Tony Allen MEM 126
128 $4 Tony Parker SAS 156
129 $4 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist CHR 157
130 $3 Deron Williams BRO 229
131 $3 Cody Zeller CHR 149
132 $3 Boris Diaw SAS 159
133 $3 Rodney Stuckey IND 172
134 $3 Tobias Harris ORL 108
135 $3 Jose Calderon NYK 144
136 $3 Andre Iguodala GSW 133
137 $3 Trey Burke UTA 153
138 $2 Ed Davis LAL 143
139 $2 Jusuf Nurkic DEN 141
140 $2 O.J. Mayo MIL 131
141 $1 Avery Bradley BOS 147
142 $1 Arron Afflalo DEN 112
143 $1 Eric Gordon NOP 113
144 $1 P.J. Tucker PHO 117
145 $1 Wilson Chandler DEN 119
146 $1 J.R. Smith CLE 98
147 $1 Steven Adams OKC 146
148 $1 Patrick Patterson TOR 152
149 $1 Louis Williams TOR 155
150 $1 Marvin Williams CHR 168
151 $1 Derrick Rose CHI 110
152 $1 Zaza Pachulia MIL 151
153 $1 Brandon Bass BOS 173
154 $1 Jodie Meeks DET 164
155 $1 Larry Sanders MIL 236
156 $1 Nick Young LAL 167
157 $ – Tiago Splitter SAS 188
158 $ – Nene Hilario WAS 163
159 $ – Jared Dudley MIL 160
160 $ – Jason Smith NYK 140
161 $ – Luis Scola IND 199
162 $ – Reggie Jackson OKC 161
163 $ – Gerald Green PHO 142
164 $ – David Lee GSW 189
165 $ – James Johnson TOR 165
166 $ – Marreese Speights GSW 184
167 $ – Taj Gibson CHI 136
168 $ – Tim Hardaway NYK 166
169 $ – Kevin Garnett BRO 183
170 $ – Omer Asik NOP 139
171 $ – Kyle Singler DET 179
172 $ – Alan Anderson BRO 182
173 $ – Carlos Boozer LAL 171
174 $ – Marco Belinelli SAS 207
175 $ – Timofey Mozgov CLE 129
176 $ – C.J. Watson IND 202
177 $ – Spencer Hawes LAC 178
178 $ – John Henson MIL 174
179 $ – Tristan Thompson CLE 145
180 $ – Bojan Bogdanovic BRO 175
181 $ – Iman Shumpert CLE 154
182 $ – Jason Thompson SAC 176
183 $ – Jerryd Bayless MIL 177
184 $ – Alex Len PHO 169
185 $ – Shabazz Napier MIA 200
186 $ – Mike Dunleavy CHI 158
187 $ – Devin Harris DAL 181
188 $ – Bismack Biyombo CHR 218
189 $ – Terrence Ross TOR 190
190 $ – Jason Terry HOU 197
191 $ – Tyler Zeller BOS 208
192 $ – J.J. Hickson DEN 180
193 $ – Derrick Williams SAC 185
194 $ – D.J. Augustin DET 195
195 $ – Hollis Thompson PHI 219
196 $ – Kosta Koufos MEM 194
197 $ – Wayne Ellington LAL 203
198 $ – Gerald Henderson CHR 214
199 $ – Ersan Ilyasova MIL 193
200 $ – Evan Fournier ORL 170