If you play in a head-to-head league, it's very important to know who plays the most games in the postseason. When teams are more likely to rest guys late, that three-game week can turn into a two-game week and it could burn you badly like Will Ferrell in Austin Powers.
With that, let's take a look at some things that jump out on the schedule. If you want the hard data, go ahead and check out this schedule grid on a public Google Sheet.
The Nuggets have a lot of two-game sets with a whopping three before Christmas. They could see some slower starts to begin the year and it may limit the times you can play guys like Paul Millsap or Trey Lyles in deeper leagues. We'll get to the plus side of this later.
In the first full week, the Bulls really pick up games with three four-game weeks in the first four full weeks. There will be a downside to this later.
This Pistons have one of the weirdest one-game weeks of all time in November and they're not even travelling overseas. They do make it up on the back end, though.
The Blazers and 76ers both have a five-game week in the third week of the season, so keep an eye on those pickups on Oct. 29.
Pre-Break and Post-Break Games
59 games pre-break, 23 post-break: Nets, Clippers, Grizzlies, Pelicans, Suns, Spurs, Raptors
58 games pre, 24 post: Hawks, Celtics, Bulls, Cavs, Pacers, Knicks, 76ers, Wizards
57 games pre, 25 post: Hornets, Mavs, Nuggets, Warriors, Rockets, Lakers, Bucks, Wolves, Thunder, Blazers, Kings, Jazz
56 games pre, 26 post: Heat, Pistons
There are lot of teams with some front-loaded schedules, and it's overall bad news in H2H formats. You can't knock down Anthony Davis out of the top spot, but you may want to slide Jrue Holiday down along with other Pelicans. That said, we still can't knock down some of the young guys who figure to improve down the stretch. After all having 25 post-break games is only an 8.7% increase in game count.
On the flip side, some of those light starts could be valuable. The Warriors are heavy late and they'll be sitting guys, so this is big news for Jordan Bell. The Kings are also really busy, so maybe Harry Giles gets his groove going to be an impact player. Luka Doncic and Dennis Smith Jr. could be star players late in the year, too.
With the Pistons and Heat playing 26 games after the break, those guys make sense as All-Star Break targets.
Final three weeks:
Nine games: Nets, Bulls, Pelicans
10 games: Hawks, Clippers, Grizzlies, Wolves, Thunder, 76ers, Suns,
11 games: Celtics, Hornets, Cavs, Mavs, Pistons, Rockets, Pacers, Lakers, Heat, Bucks, Blazers, Spurs, Raptors, Jazz, Wizards
12 games: Nuggets, Warriors, Kings
So as you can see, a lot of teams play 11 games as the benchmark for what you'd like in the fantasy playoffs. What would you love? The 12-game stretch from the Dubs, Nugs and Kings gives them extra value in the playoffs. The Kings even go 4-4-4-4 in the final four weeks, too. Great news for the upside guys like Giles.
The downside? Yuck for the Pels, Nets and Bulls. As said above, I did bump Jrue down because of this, and the same for D'Angelo Russell. I'd still draft Jarrett Allen because they could be monsters late in the year.
The Hornets, Knicks and Wizards have 15 back-to-back sets. The Hawks, Rockets, Heat, Thunder, Suns, Blazers and Raptors have 12 B2Bs. Every other team has 13 or 14.
The Knicks have seven of those 15 back-to-back sets before Christmas. Porzingis could play around Christmas, but gotta think there's almost no chance he'll play in both games of a B2B before then.
OKC has three back-to-back sets in November (Nov. 1-2, 7-8, 23-24) and zero in October. Gotta think there's a decent chance Westbrook misses one of those early November games (11/1 at CHA, 11/2 at WAS).