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Fantasy basketball forecaster: Dec. 2-8

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

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Read below for the fantasy basketball Forecaster


In weekly transaction leagues, the schedule is one of the most important factors in determining how to fill out your fantasy basketball lineups. All fantasy teams have a hierarchy of player calibers, with a set of "best players" surrounded by a cast of lesser but still productive players from which to draw your weekly starting lineup.

All things being equal, a manager would start their best players every week and fill out the rest of their lineup based on things such as matchups. However, all things aren't equal.

The schedule changes the bottom line, because teams can play a different number of games, against a different caliber of opponents, with different breakdowns of home vs. road, back-to-backs, rest nights, etc. All of these things matter, and as I've seen this season, they often matter more than a player's caliber.

For example, would you rather get two games of a great player at 35 minutes per night against tough competition, or four games of a lesser player at 30 minutes per night against high-paced, weak competition? When looking at it quantitatively, it's surprising (to me) how often the correct answer is actually the lesser player -- yes, based on schedules, sometimes even star players should sit for a week.

Thus, below, we have the Forecaster, which provides a scheduling and matchup tool to help you make better-informed lineup decisions for the upcoming week.

We also take your weekly prep to another level with my weekly projection rankings. Here, you'll find my top-200 weekly rankings, based on ESPN standard points-league scoring, so you can compare players to determine which players to start, sit, stream or drop for the week ahead.

Without further ado, let's check out the Forecaster.

The week ahead

There are only 12 teams with four games this week, compared to 16 with three, and another two teams play only twice. This distribution opened up the rankings such that two teams with only three games scored 8 or higher, while three teams with three games scored 3 or lower.

The 76ers and Trail Blazers both scored perfect 10s with four games each this week, while the Hornets and Nuggets turned their four game schedules into 8s on the Forecaster. The Bucks and Warriors both play only three games each, but both face only poor defenses and play no back-to-backs and thus turned in high Forecaster scores.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Knicks and Cavaliers both turned three-game schedules into Forecaster scores of 1 apiece. The Celtics and Spurs have two games each and score a 2 and 3 on the Forecaster, while the Grizzlies produced a Forecaster score of 3 with three games.

We also take your weekly prep to another level with my weekly projection rankings. Here, you'll find my top-200 weekly rankings, based on ESPN standard points-league scoring, so you can compare players to determine which players to start, sit, stream or drop for the week ahead.

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Forecaster matchup ratings are based upon a scale from 1 (poor matchup) to 10 (excellent matchup). These are calculated using a formula that evaluates the team's season-to-date and past-10-games statistics, opponents' numbers in those categories and performance in home/road games depending on where the game is to be played. The column to the left lists the team's total number of games scheduled, as well as home games, and lists the overall rating from 1 to 10 for that team's weekly schedule.