Schedule Strengths by Position

Ryan Knaus

With only eight days remaining in the NBA's regular season, I decided to go for broke in what will be the last Numbers Game column to deal with immediate fantasy values. In future columns scattered throughout the postseason, I'll look back to track rookie values throughout the season, determine which players beat their ADP by the widest margins, and more.

For this week, I'm refining my recent strength-of-schedule analyses to reflect individual positions. As an example, if you're debating between Al-Farouq Aminu or Marquese Chriss, it helps to know how easy or difficult each team's remaining schedule appears to be, based upon the recent fantasy value allowed by their upcoming opponents. It's even more helpful to know how difficult their opponents have been against power forwards. That's what we're after today.

Some details about the methodology.

1) First, I accumulated past-10-game data for every team, and used it to assign z-score-based values -- the higher they are, the more fantasy value they've yielded. The values reflect 9-cat but they provide an accurate guideline for overall values in the majority of fantasy formats.

2) Field goal percentages are weighted by number of attempts, although I debated this in the context of team data. For instance, the Blazers have held opposing PGs to just 39.5% shooting in their past 10 games, but those PGs have taken just 15.7 shots per game. Compare that to the Warriors, whose opposing PGs have shot almost the same at 39.3%, but on 18.3 shots per game. If you have thoughts, pro or con, let me know.

3) Make a grid with each team's remaining opponents, and replace the opponent's name with their corresponding 'value allowed'.

4) Tally up the numbers to arrive at strength-of-schedule ratings for all 30 teams, on both an average and cumulative basis (with just over a week remaining, the numbers are pretty similar).

I'd love to do something similar early next season, but I'm not a coder and I trouble-shoot my columns as I go along, which made this team-by-team, opponent-by-opponent, position-specific breakdown...laborious. During the offseason, I'll consider how I might 'hack' the column to make it quicker to produce, because I think it could be a terrific in-season tool. Let me know if you have any ideas.

With that preamble out of the way, let's get to it!

What this shows, for instance, is that John Wall has the roughest remaining schedule because his remaining opponents have stifled opposing PGs over their past 10 games. Read it horizontally, with positive numbers reflecting the easiest matchups, and vice versa.

On the easy end of the spectrum, all four of the Pacers' remaining opponents have been lenient vs. point guards lately, particularly the Bucks and Magic. Over their past 10 games Milwaukee, for instance, has given up a 28/7/7 line to Dennis Schroder, an 18/9/9 line to Rajon Rondo, a 16/5/4 line to Ish Smith, and a 13/5/4 line to Yogi Ferrell. That's in addition to big games from the likes of Isaiah Thomas and Kemba Walker...and things could have been worse if Russell Westbrook wasn't limited to 27 minutes due to the lopsided score on Tuesday.

This brings up a related point. If you simply want a list of how much fantasy value each team has allowed to opponents, head over to Rotoworld's Season Pass. All season long I've been providing monthly updates for value-allowed by teams, both on an overall basis and per position. The charts dive into category-specific detail. It's easier to show than to tell, so here's an example...this is a current table that just went up in the Season Pass:

You can view the other positions, as well as total value allowed, right here. I intend to continue these position-specific tables in future years, so keep it in mind for next season. Let's proceed with the strength-of-schedule data!

These charts are self-explanatory, but take your time examining which teams have the best or worst matchups remaining. In particular, pay close attention to when a team gets their best and worst matchups. If you own Jordan Clarkson, for instance, you'll notice that he draws tough matchups on Wednesday and Friday (vs. the Spurs (-5.08) and Kings (-6.03)...Sacramento has been shutting down SGs of late, apparently), but finishes with very promising matchups vs. the Timberwolves (+7.62), Pelicans (+5.77) and Warriors (Golden State is essentially neutral at +0.95).

I'm posting these tables on Google Sheets for you to view or download. If you choose to, you can delete each column once that game has been played to see updated average/cumulative values for each team's remaining schedule. If you have any other questions or insights, let me know!

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