The RotoWire Blog has been retired.

These archives exist as a way for people to continue to view the content that had been posted on the blog over the years.

Articles will no longer be posted here, but you can view new fantasy articles from our writers on the main site.

Fantasy Basketball Playoff Rankings for ESPN 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 weeks before the playoffs will be a mad scramble just to qualify for the fantasy postseason. Other 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 ESPN fantasy playoffs. Click here for Yahoo fantasy playoffs player rankings.

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 ESPN leagues.

Nuggets of Wisdom from J.J. Calle

All stats and schedule quirks are accurate as of 1/27/15. For a full breakdown of the ESPN head-to-head playoffs, consult this article.

In standard ESPN head-to-head leagues, four teams qualify for the fantasy playoffs, which are comprised of two two-week matchups (pictured below).

As detailed in the ESPN Head-to-Head Playoff Cheat Sheet article, standard ESPN leagues merge the week before and after the All-Star break (Week 16-17) into one matchup. To squash any confusion, Matchup 20 begins Week 21, due to the matchup consolidation. For a full explanation of ESPN's playoff schedule and rules, click here. Please consult your league settings before accepting this breakdown as gospel.

If you accessed the ESPN head-to-head playoff article linked above, you know the Charlotte Hornets play a maximum 18 games during the month long fantasy playoffs. The recently postponed Portland Trail Blazers/Brooklyn Nets game was rescheduled for April 6th (Week 24), elevating both teams into tier one of total games, joining the Hornets with 18. That is the only game scheduled for April 6th, the same day as the NCAA championship game, and now both teams play four games during the week instead of three. In the same vein, each squad picks up one additional quality game. The Nets will play the most home games (11) and, the Trail Blazers are tied with the Hornets for most road games (11) and back-to-backs sets (6) during the fantasy playoffs. The Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings are the only other teams to max out their games (10) during the finals (Week 23-25). Every team except the San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns plays two games during an abbreviated Week 25.

Technical fouls and flagrant foul points are an overlooked end-of-season factor.

A player is automatically suspended one game when they accrue 16 technical fouls, followed by a suspension every two additional techs. Russell Westbrook currently leads the field with 11 techs, averaging one every 2.8 games. At that rate, he'll reach critical mass before March. I'm not predicting Westbrook maintains his current pace, but it needed to be mentioned since his temper threatens your chances in the head-to-head fantasy playoffs.

Another wrinkle is coach Jeff Hornacek's team rule benching his players if they pick up a technical foul for arguing a call. Goran Dragic and Markieff Morris were the first culprits, but Hornacek reserves the right to apply his mandate on a case-by-case basis. He recently said, "...we don't have that hard-and-fast rule, but I may still sit him for the end of the game if I feel like it." As a team, the Suns lead the league in technical fouls.

A player is suspended one game when they earn six flagrant foul points, two games when they acquire seven points, and two games for anything over seven points. Kyle O'Quinn has four flagrant foul points, just one flagrant foul 2 away from an automatic suspension. He's the only player in immediate danger of incurring a suspension. Below are lists of the leaders in technical fouls and flagrant fouls as of January 27, 2015.

Technical Foul Leaders (as of 1/27/15)
Russell Westbrook, OKC11
Markieff Morris, PHX10
Matt Barnes, LAC9
Blake Griffin, LAC8
Eric Bledsoe, PHX7
Rudy Gay, SAC7
John Wall, WAS7
Tyson Chandler, DAL7
Flagrant Foul Leaders (as of 1/27/15)
Kyle O'Quinn, ORL4 points
Quincy Acy, NYK3 points

ESPN Fantasy Playoff Rankings & Auction Values

Below are rankings and auction values based on RotoWire Projections for the standard ESPN 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 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:

Damian Lillard (Regular Season: 8th, Playoffs: 3th): The Blazers play 18 games during ESPN's fantasy playoffs, thanks in part to a recent blizzard, and Lillard has a great chance to play in all of them - he has never missed a game in his career.

Kemba Walker (Regular Season: 141st, Playoffs: 10th): This is a risky proposition because he is out for at least the next six weeks, but Kemba has a league-leading 18 games during ESPN's fantasy playoffs. If he is healthy, he projects as a top-10 value.

Blake Griffin (Regular Season: 12th, Playoffs: 29th): Griffin has been awesome this season, but if you are locked into the playoffs, it may be time to sell high, the Clippers only play 15 games during ESPN's fantasy playoffs.

Danny Green (Regular Season: 41st, Playoffs: 31st): Green has been surprisingly good this season from a fantasy standpoint, and projects to be even more valuable during ESPN's fantasy playoffs where the Spurs play 17 games.

Kevin Love (Regular Season: 36th, Playoffs: 64th): A disappointing regular season projects to be an even worse fantasy playoffs for Love, whose Cavs play just 14 games during ESPN's fantasy playoffs.

Playoff RankPlayoff ValuePlayerTeamROS Rank
1$57Stephen CurryGSW1
2$54James HardenHOU2
3$52Damian LillardPOR8
4$48DeMarcus CousinsSAC3
5$47Russell WestbrookOKC5
6$46Kevin DurantOKC4
7$44Klay ThompsonGSW11
8$43Anthony DavisNOP7
9$40John WallWAS10
10$39Kemba WalkerCHR141
11$36LeBron JamesCLE6
12$35Draymond GreenGSW14
13$35Kyle LowryTOR13
14$32LaMarcus AldridgePOR29
15$32Wesley MatthewsPOR28
16$32Chris PaulLAC9
17$31Darren CollisonSAC20
18$31Gordon HaywardUTA23
19$31Jeff TeagueATL22
20$31Marc GasolMEM19
21$31Paul MillsapATL15
22$30Rudy GaySAC17
23$30Michael Carter-WilliamsPHI16
24$29Jrue HolidayNOP75
25$29Chris BoshMIA26
26$28Tim DuncanSAS38
27$27Brandon KnightMIL30
28$27Andre DrummondDET25
29$27Blake GriffinLAC12
30$27Ricky RubioMIN33
31$26Danny GreenSAS41
32$25DeAndre JordanLAC21
33$25Gorgui DiengMIN34
34$25Kawhi LeonardSAS49
35$24Nicolas BatumPOR48
36$24Monta EllisDAL27
37$24Mike ConleyMEM37
38$23Carmelo AnthonyNYK35
39$23Ty LawsonDEN18
40$23Serge IbakaOKC31
41$23Rudy GobertUTA42
42$23Derrick FavorsUTA39
43$22Al JeffersonCHR54
44$21Joe JohnsonBRO56
45$19Tyreke EvansNOP46
46$19Jarrett JackBRO66
47$19Thaddeus YoungMIN55
48$19Kyrie IrvingCLE24
49$19Trevor ArizaHOU52
50$19Victor OladipoORL32
51$18Mason PlumleeBRO71
52$18Rajon RondoDAL45
53$18Jimmy ButlerCHI50
54$17Zach RandolphMEM63
55$17Andrew WigginsMIN53
56$17Dwight HowardHOU44
57$16Kyle KorverATL58
58$16Greg MonroeDET60
59$16Bradley BealWAS62
60$16Nerlens NoelPHI51
61$15Jared SullingerBOS70
62$15Markieff MorrisPHO43
63$15Eric BledsoePHO40
64$15Kevin LoveCLE36
65$15David WestIND96
66$15Marcus SmartBOS78
67$15Mario ChalmersMIA68
68$14Hassan WhitesideMIA77
69$14DeMar DeRozanTOR74
70$14Dirk NowitzkiDAL59
71$13Dwyane WadeMIA80
72$13Elfrid PaytonORL61
73$13Al HorfordATL69
74$13Chandler ParsonsDAL57
75$13K.J. McDanielsPHI72
76$12Pau GasolCHI64
77$12Lance StephensonCHR92
78$12Nikola VucevicORL67
79$12George HillIND115
80$12D.J. AugustinDET88
81$11Goran DragicPHO47
82$11DeMarre CarrollATL76
83$11Kelly OlynykBOS95
84$11Khris MiddletonMIL87
85$11Jae CrowderBOS133
86$11Kentavious Caldwell-PopeDET89
87$11Luol DengMIA94
88$11Robin LopezPOR122
89$10Robert CovingtonPHI73
90$10Roy HibbertIND120
91$10Giannis AntetokounmpoMIL83
92$10Ryan AndersonNOP81
93$10Ben McLemoreSAC91
94$9Evan TurnerBOS103
95$9Josh SmithHOU100
96$9Jeremy LinLAL106
97$9Tyson ChandlerDAL90
98$8Corey BrewerHOU105
99$8Solomon HillIND130
100$8Marcin GortatWAS99
101$8Paul PierceWAS93
102$8Kenneth FariedDEN65
103$8Patrick BeverleyHOU104
104$8Jeff GreenMEM84
105$8Manu GinobiliSAS121
106$8Brook LopezBRO128
107$8Dion WaitersOKC109
108$8Channing FryeORL79
109$8Kevin MartinMIN114
110$7Jamal CrawfordLAC86
111$7Joakim NoahCHI82
112$7Courtney LeeMEM101
113$7Enes KanterUTA108
114$6Isaiah ThomasPHO85
115$6Andrew BogutGSW125
116$6Jordan HillLAL136
117$6Greivis VasquezTOR116
118$6C.J. MilesIND148
119$6Harrison BarnesGSW124
120$5Jonas ValanciunasTOR126
121$5Tobias HarrisORL107
122$5Terrence JonesHOU127
123$5Michael Kidd-GilchristCHR151
124$5Cody ZellerCHR143
125$4Amir JohnsonTOR119
126$4Deron WilliamsBRO210
127$4Eric GordonNOP117
128$4Matt BarnesLAC98
129$4Trey BurkeUTA135
130$4Jusuf NurkicDEN142
131$4Dante ExumUTA97
132$3Tony AllenMEM140
133$3Donatas MotiejunasHOU129
134$3O.J. MayoMIL134
135$3J.R. SmithCLE102
136$3P.J. TuckerPHO111
137$3Jose CalderonNYK123
138$3Derrick RoseCHI112
139$2Arron AfflaloDEN113
140$2Wesley JohnsonLAL150
141$2Tony ParkerSAS152
142$2Boris DiawSAS155
143$2Wilson ChandlerDEN118
144$2J.J. RedickLAC110
145$2Andre IguodalaGSW132
146$2Rodney StuckeyIND173
147$1Nick YoungLAL172
148$1Marvin WilliamsCHR161
149$1Brian RobertsCHR163
150$1Patrick PattersonTOR149
151$1Avery BradleyBOS146
152$1Louis WilliamsTOR153
153$1Ed DavisLAL168
154$1Omer AsikNOP144
155$1Gerald GreenPHO139
156$1Jodie MeeksDET167
157$ -Steven AdamsOKC147
158$ -Zaza PachuliaMIL156
159$ -Langston GallowayNYK154
160$ -Taj GibsonCHI137
161$ -Larry SandersMIL233
162$ -Nene HilarioWAS169
163$ -Reggie JacksonOKC158
164$ -Kevin GarnettBRO178
165$ -Tim HardawayNYK160
166$ -Brandon BassBOS175
167$ -Alan AndersonBRO177
168$ -Jared DudleyMIL162
169$ -Jason SmithNYK138
170$ -Timofey MozgovCLE131
171$ -Tiago SplitterSAS186
172$ -James JohnsonTOR159
173$ -Luis ScolaIND201
174$ -Carlos BoozerLAL176
175$ -Tristan ThompsonCLE145
176$ -Iman ShumpertCLE157
177$ -David LeeGSW189
178$ -Joe InglesUTA181
179$ -Jason ThompsonSAC166
180$ -Kyle SinglerDET187
181$ -John HensonMIL180
182$ -Bojan BogdanovicBRO170
183$ -Alex LenPHO165
184$ -Wayne EllingtonLAL192
185$ -Marreese SpeightsGSW188
186$ -Jerryd BaylessMIL179
187$ -Mike DunleavyCHI164
188$ -Marco BelinelliSAS195
189$ -Derrick WilliamsSAC174
190$ -Evan FournierORL171
191$ -C.J. WatsonIND205
192$ -Devin HarrisDAL185
193$ -Luc Mbah a MoutePHI193
194$ -Terrence RossTOR190
195$ -Thabo SefoloshaATL198
196$ -Jason TerryHOU194
197$ -J.J. HicksonDEN184
198$ -Elijah MillsapUTA199
199$ -Spencer HawesLAC183
200$ -Vince CarterMEM196