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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:


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


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:

0 Days Rest10105.945.
1 Day Rest27101.945.721.
2 Days Rest5101.447.422.

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 RankPlayoff ValuePlayerTeamROS Ranking
1$62Stephen CurryGSW1
2$55James HardenHOU2
3$52Damian LillardPOR8
4$49Klay ThompsonGSW11
5$48Russell WestbrookOKC4
6$48Kevin DurantOKC3
7$45DeMarcus CousinsSAC6
8$41John WallWAS9
9$39Draymond GreenGSW15
10$38Chris PaulLAC10
11$38Kemba WalkerCHR22
12$37Michael Carter-WilliamsPHI14
13$36Kyle LowryTOR13
14$36Anthony DavisNOP7
15$32Blake GriffinLAC12
16$32Gordon HaywardUTA24
17$32Chris BoshMIA25
18$32LeBron JamesCLE5
19$31Tim DuncanSAS39
20$31Marc GasolMEM16
21$31LaMarcus AldridgePOR36
22$30Wesley MatthewsPOR35
23$30DeAndre JordanLAC19
24$29Andre DrummondDET20
25$29Danny GreenSAS48
26$28Darren CollisonSAC29
27$28Brandon KnightMIL27
28$28Rudy GaySAC21
29$27Kawhi LeonardSAS55
30$27Rudy GobertUTA41
31$26Jeff TeagueATL23
32$26Paul MillsapATL17
33$25Derrick FavorsUTA37
34$25Carmelo AnthonyNYK50
35$25Mike ConleyMEM26
36$24Jrue HolidayNOP89
37$24Serge IbakaOKC31
38$24Ricky RubioMIN42
39$24Brandon JenningsDET38
40$23Nicolas BatumPOR65
41$23Nerlens NoelPHI46
42$23Monta EllisDAL30
43$22Gorgui DiengMIN34
44$21Ty LawsonDEN18
45$21Joe JohnsonBRO61
46$19Al JeffersonCHR63
47$19Trevor ArizaHOU57
48$18Dwight HowardHOU45
49$18Jarrett JackBRO74
50$18Bradley BealWAS53
51$17Jared SullingerBOS71
52$17Zach RandolphMEM59
53$17Mason PlumleeBRO79
54$17Greg MonroeDET56
55$17K.J. McDanielsPHI73
56$17David WestIND94
57$17Thaddeus YoungMIN54
58$16Jimmy ButlerCHI40
59$16Victor OladipoORL32
60$16Rajon RondoDAL44
61$16Marcus SmartBOS72
62$16Dwyane WadeMIA80
63$16Mario ChalmersMIA69
64$15Kyrie IrvingCLE28
65$15Andrew WigginsMIN52
66$15Tyreke EvansNOP43
67$15Robert CovingtonPHI70
68$14Jae CrowderBOS121
69$13DeMar DeRozanTOR76
70$13Kelly OlynykBOS105
71$13Dirk NowitzkiDAL60
72$13Chandler ParsonsDAL58
73$12Markieff MorrisPHO49
74$12Kevin LoveCLE33
75$12Roy HibbertIND116
76$12Eric BledsoePHO47
77$12Luol DengMIA95
78$12George HillIND120
79$11Kyle KorverATL68
80$11Giannis AntetokounmpoMIL77
81$11Kentavious Caldwell-PopeDET84
82$11Khris MiddletonMIL90
83$11Elfrid PaytonORL64
84$11Evan TurnerBOS103
85$10Jamal CrawfordLAC91
86$10Robin LopezPOR138
87$10Pau GasolCHI66
88$10Nikola VucevicORL67
89$10Marcin GortatWAS88
90$10Lance StephensonCHR106
91$10Manu GinobiliSAS127
92$10Al HorfordATL75
93$9Corey BrewerHOU115
94$9Paul PierceWAS86
95$9Solomon HillIND130
96$9Josh SmithHOU102
97$9Goran DragicPHO51
98$9Enes KanterUTA104
99$9Tyson ChandlerDAL87
100$8Dion WaitersOKC107
101$8Kenneth FariedDEN62
102$8Patrick BeverleyHOU114
103$8Jeremy LinLAL99
104$8Jeff GreenMEM82
105$8Andrew BogutGSW125
106$8DeMarre CarrollATL81
107$8Brook LopezBRO132
108$7Ben McLemoreSAC100
109$7Harrison BarnesGSW124
110$7C.J. MilesIND162
111$7Courtney LeeMEM93
112$6Matt BarnesLAC97
113$6Greivis VasquezTOR111
114$6Kevin MartinMIN135
115$6Jonas ValanciunasTOR123
116$6Terrence JonesHOU137
117$5Dante ExumUTA96
118$5Channing FryeORL78
119$5Wesley JohnsonLAL122
120$5Jordan HillLAL128
121$5J.J. RedickLAC109
122$5Ryan AndersonNOP101
123$5Amir JohnsonTOR118
124$4Joakim NoahCHI83
125$4Isaiah ThomasPHO92
126$4Donatas MotiejunasHOU134
127$4Tony AllenMEM126
128$4Tony ParkerSAS156
129$4Michael Kidd-GilchristCHR157
130$3Deron WilliamsBRO229
131$3Cody ZellerCHR149
132$3Boris DiawSAS159
133$3Rodney StuckeyIND172
134$3Tobias HarrisORL108
135$3Jose CalderonNYK144
136$3Andre IguodalaGSW133
137$3Trey BurkeUTA153
138$2Ed DavisLAL143
139$2Jusuf NurkicDEN141
140$2O.J. MayoMIL131
141$1Avery BradleyBOS147
142$1Arron AfflaloDEN112
143$1Eric GordonNOP113
144$1P.J. TuckerPHO117
145$1Wilson ChandlerDEN119
146$1J.R. SmithCLE98
147$1Steven AdamsOKC146
148$1Patrick PattersonTOR152
149$1Louis WilliamsTOR155
150$1Marvin WilliamsCHR168
151$1Derrick RoseCHI110
152$1Zaza PachuliaMIL151
153$1Brandon BassBOS173
154$1Jodie MeeksDET164
155$1Larry SandersMIL236
156$1Nick YoungLAL167
157$ -Tiago SplitterSAS188
158$ -Nene HilarioWAS163
159$ -Jared DudleyMIL160
160$ -Jason SmithNYK140
161$ -Luis ScolaIND199
162$ -Reggie JacksonOKC161
163$ -Gerald GreenPHO142
164$ -David LeeGSW189
165$ -James JohnsonTOR165
166$ -Marreese SpeightsGSW184
167$ -Taj GibsonCHI136
168$ -Tim HardawayNYK166
169$ -Kevin GarnettBRO183
170$ -Omer AsikNOP139
171$ -Kyle SinglerDET179
172$ -Alan AndersonBRO182
173$ -Carlos BoozerLAL171
174$ -Marco BelinelliSAS207
175$ -Timofey MozgovCLE129
176$ -C.J. WatsonIND202
177$ -Spencer HawesLAC178
178$ -John HensonMIL174
179$ -Tristan ThompsonCLE145
180$ -Bojan BogdanovicBRO175
181$ -Iman ShumpertCLE154
182$ -Jason ThompsonSAC176
183$ -Jerryd BaylessMIL177
184$ -Alex LenPHO169
185$ -Shabazz NapierMIA200
186$ -Mike DunleavyCHI158
187$ -Devin HarrisDAL181
188$ -Bismack BiyomboCHR218
189$ -Terrence RossTOR190
190$ -Jason TerryHOU197
191$ -Tyler ZellerBOS208
192$ -J.J. HicksonDEN180
193$ -Derrick WilliamsSAC185
194$ -D.J. AugustinDET195
195$ -Hollis ThompsonPHI219
196$ -Kosta KoufosMEM194
197$ -Wayne EllingtonLAL203
198$ -Gerald HendersonCHR214
199$ -Ersan IlyasovaMIL193
200$ -Evan FournierORL170