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NBA Fantasy: Opponent and Home/Road Adjustments

3/23/2007
We're coming down the homestretch of the NBA season, which means that many fantasy leagues are hanging in the balance, either head-to-head leagues where the playoffs are starting or in roto leagues where the standings are changing from day-to-day. In my 44 roto leagues, I have a number of them already wrapped up. But there are still many that are up for grabs. It looks like I could win anywhere from 18 ($7,500 profit) to 25 ($13,750 profit) leagues depending how things shape up down the stretch. And as I witnessed last year, a couple points, rebounds or assists here or there may make the difference between bringing home the title or coming up empty handed.

In leagues where you set your line-up weekly, the decisions made at the margin are the ones that separate the winners and losers. As the season winds down, the decision on who to start and who to bench becomes even more critical. You need to play close attention to injuries and psuedo-injuries, as teams who are out of the playoff race start thinking more about ping-pong balls in the Oden-Durant sweepstakes (we'll be nice and lump it into 'building for the future') than about winning that 26th game.

Obviously, the start-bench decision is based on the following factors: A) the players involved, B) the fantasy owner's category needs (with a close eye on the competition) and C) the player's schedule (number of games, home/away and opponents). For example, would you start Raymond Felton next week with 3 games (Home vs ATL, Home vs MIL, at TOR) over Eddie Jones with 4 games (Home vs ATL, at TOR, at MIN, at DET)? The decision will vary based on your team's specific needs.

When it comes to opponents, most people have a sense of what the best and worst defensive teams are, and it's common knowledge that teams are more productive at home than on the road, so it's relatively easy to make some crude adjustments in your head. But let's look at the best and worst opponents and home and road adjustments from a pure fantasy perspective, category-by-category to get a clearer picture.

Here's the methodology, I compared each player's per minute game performance relative to his average season per minute production in each category. If an opponent is 'fantasy friendly' in, say, blocks, then in the long run players will average more blocks when they are playing that team.

SHOOTING CATEGORIES
TEAM2p%3p% FG%FT%2PA3PA FGAFTA
ATL +0.9%  +2.2%   +1.7%  -1.4%  +1.0%  -12.2%   -1.9%  +8.4% 
BOS +2.0%  -1.8%   +1.9%  +0.3%  -0.8%  -10.2%   -2.8%  +11.7% 
CHA +0.7%  +0.9%   +1.2%  -0.4%  +0.4%  -9.6%  -1.6%   +11.1% 
CHI -4.6%  -1.8%   -4.2%  -2.7%  -1.5%  +1.1%  -0.9%   +3.3% 
CLE -2.6%   -8.2%  -3.1%  -1.1%   -0.5%  -9.4%  -2.3%  -2.1% 
DAL -3.0%  -2.5%   -1.8%  -2.2%  +1.1%   -23.7%  -4.2%  +3.9% 
DEN +0.6%  +0.3%   +0.2%  -2.5%  +8.0%  +16.3%   +9.7%  -5.6% 
DET -2.5%  -6.9%   -2.9%  -0.3%  -3.3%  -9.1%  -4.5%   -7.1% 
GSW +1.3%  +3.0%   +0.8%  -1.1%  +2.8%   +20.7%  +6.6%  +9.8% 
HOU  -8.4%  -3.5%   -7.4%  -1.5%  -0.1%   -4.5%  -1.0%  -8.0% 
IND -2.5%  +5.4%   -0.6%  +1.2%  +2.7%  -14.3%   -0.8%  +7.9% 
LAC -0.3%  -4.8%   -0.9%  -0.4%  +0.4%  -3.4%  -0.4%   +4.1% 
LAL +1.6%  +0.5%   +1.4%  -0.5%  +0.5%  +1.5%  +0.7%   +5.0% 
MEM-Fratello +4.3%   +2.4%  +3.7%  -0.3%  -6.0%  -0.9%   -4.8%  -4.4% 
MEM-Barone  +6.3%   +13.0%   +7.7%  -0.3%  +9.5%   +4.1%  +8.5%  +4.3% 
MIA -2.0%  -0.3%   -2.2%  -1.6%  -2.7%  +8.9%  -0.3%   -3.2% 
MIL +6.0%  +2.0%   +4.4%  -1.1%  -2.0%  +13.7%   +1.3%  -1.5% 
MIN-Casey +0.2%   -3.6%  +0.3%  +0.6%  +3.2%   -11.7%  +0.0%  -15.8% 
MIN-Wittman +0.9%   -3.5%  -0.9%  +1.0%  -3.8%   +15.0%  +0.5%  -6.6% 
NJN -0.9%  -1.7%   -1.5%  +2.4%  -3.9%  +5.8%  -1.8%   +5.9% 
NOR -0.8%  -1.0%   -1.6%  +0.7%  -3.0%  +11.9%   +0.1%  -11.1% 
NYK +1.1%  +4.2%   +1.4%  +0.5%  -1.7%  +3.7%  -0.6%   -0.6% 
ORL -2.7%  -0.7%   -2.4%  +1.9%  -6.4%  -4.3%   -6.0%  +8.9% 
PHI +1.7%  +3.9%   +1.9%  -0.4%  -0.3%  +2.5%  +0.3%   -9.5% 
PHO -0.5%  -0.0%   +0.2%  +2.0%  +11.2%   -2.9%  +8.2%  -9.7% 
POR +2.3%  -0.2%   +2.2%  +3.0%  -2.5%  -8.2%  -3.8%   -1.8% 
SAC +2.0%  +3.2%   +1.6%  -0.8%  +0.7%  +13.2%   +3.3%  +0.2% 
SAS -3.4%  -7.8%   -2.8%  -3.1%  +4.9%   -22.9%  -1.0%  -18.1% 
SEA +3.9%  +1.5%   +3.2%  +0.1%  +0.4%  +5.1%  +1.4%   +0.1% 
TOR +3.0%  -0.3%   +2.1%  +1.7%  -0.5%  +7.4%  +1.2%   -12.4% 
UTA -1.5%  -2.2%   -2.1%  +1.6%  -7.6%   +2.9%  -5.4%  +19.0% 
WAS +2.8%  +4.6%   +2.3%  +4.3%  +0.5%   +18.0%  +4.3%  +1.5% 

H/A2p%3p% FG%FT%2PA3PA FGAFTA
Away-1.4%-1.3%-1.4% -0.0%-0.1%-0.3%-0.2%-2.1%
Home+1.4%+1.3%+1.4% +0.0%+0.1%+0.3%+0.2%+2.1%


NON-SHOOTING CATEGORIES
TEAMREBAST STLBLKTOPTS TOT
ATL -1.9%  -0.8%   -0.1%  +7.1%  +1.9%  +0.6%  -0.1% 
BOS -1.5%  +5.4%   +2.7%  +18.4%  -3.6%  +1.0%   +3.9% 
CHA +2.7%  -1.6%   +2.4%  +12.0%  -1.2%  +1.4%   +2.4% 
CHI +1.1%  -1.1%   +5.2%  +18.1%  +13.4%  -3.7%   -4.5% 
CLE -1.1%  -7.3%   -8.6%  -4.5%  -2.9%  -5.6%   -10.2% 
DAL -7.3%   -16.9%  -7.3%  -19.6%   -6.0%  -5.7%  -14.3% 
DEN +3.9%  +16.0%   +14.3%  +13.9%  +10.0%  +6.7%   +8.9% 
DET -2.9%  -5.5%   -12.5%  -25.4%  -6.6%   -7.7%  -12.7% 
GSW  +15.9%  +17.7%  +12.5%   +13.0%  +19.6%  +8.8%   +14.2% 
HOU -0.5%  -9.4%   -2.4%  -10.0%  -4.8%  -8.5%   -14.2% 
IND +0.7%  -3.0%   +11.2%  +10.1%  +6.5%  +0.2%   +2.5% 
LAC -2.9%  +0.4%   -3.3%  -11.7%  -7.7%  -0.7%   -4.3% 
LAL +0.3%  +3.5%   +10.1%  +3.4%  -2.1%  +2.6%   +4.9% 
MEM-Fratello +1.2%   +6.4%  -1.9%  +19.5%  +10.7%   -1.7%  +5.3% 
MEM-Barone +2.4%   +18.3%   +29.4%   +18.7%  -7.5%   +14.4%   +24.0% 
MIA -0.5%  -3.9%   -8.4%  -15.9%  -6.7%  -2.2%   -6.9% 
MIL +2.3%  +17.0%   +0.2%  +15.0%  +4.7%  +4.7%   +10.7% 
MIN-Casey -5.2%   -4.2%  -5.4%  -10.2%  -7.0%   -3.7%  -5.5% 
MIN-Wittman +0.8%   +4.3%  -0.8%  -4.6%  -3.7%  -0.6%   +0.9% 
NJN +2.2%  +3.7%   -1.4%  +2.4%  -3.6%  -0.6%  +1.6% 
NOR +0.9%  -5.1%   -5.7%  +1.4%  -8.5%  -2.5%  -2.4% 
NYK -4.6%  -3.0%   -2.0%  +10.0%  -7.7%  +1.1%   +1.8% 
ORL -8.0%  -5.4%   +16.2%  -4.0%  -1.0%  -4.2%   -1.6% 
PHI +0.7%  +7.1%   +3.0%  -14.7%  +4.6%  +0.1%   +2.6% 
PHO +6.5%  -9.3%   -4.1%  -14.7%  +2.0%  +4.5%   +0.1% 
POR -5.8%  -5.5%   -9.3%  -0.6%  -9.6%   -1.6%  -0.9% 
SAC +4.4%  +5.5%   -2.5%  +4.4%  +12.1%  +4.5%   +5.4% 
SAS -3.1%  -16.7%   +1.3%  -9.8%  -3.9%   -8.6%  -13.3% 
SEA +0.1%  +6.6%   -0.3%  -10.5%  +0.1%  +3.9%   +4.9% 
TOR +4.8%  +1.2%   -16.6%  -13.6%  -0.1%   +0.7%  +0.3% 
UTA  -11.0%  -12.5%  +3.8%   +8.8%  +2.0%  -1.2%  -3.0% 
WAS +5.5%  +10.8%   -12.4%  +6.1%  +3.7%  +7.5%   +10.3% 

H/AREBAST STLBLKTOPTS TOT
Away-1.5%-4.5%-0.7% -6.9%+1.4%-1.7%-3.8%
Home+1.5%+4.5%+0.7% +6.9%-1.4%+1.7%+3.8%


Any game against the Grizzlies is a must start. Get that dude in your line-up immediately. Again, there aren't a whole lot of surprises here, although it is helpful to look at it category-by-category to meet your specific needs. For example, the Warriors are the fantasy friendly team when it comes to rebounds but also cause the most turnovers.

One thing to note is that the team numbers above are independent of the home/road numbers, so home/road has a multiplying effect. For example, a player with a 45% FGP can be expected to shoot 49.14% against the Grizzlies at home but only 47.80% against Memphis at road.

Although the overall ranking might not be surprising, the magnitude might come to a surprise. The Spurs have traditional been the best perimeter defensive team, they give up 22.9% less 3-pt attempts per minutes and players shoot 7.8% worse against them from deep (they were -33.6%/-6.73% in the same two categories last year). However, the Mavs appear to be gaining ground (-23.7% 3PA, -2.5% 3P%).

Overall, the Grizzlies are the most fantasy friendly team with a 24.02% lift in total production (8-cat leagues) and the Mavs are just ahead of the Rockets as the stingiest with a -14.35% decrease in total production. Combined with the home/road impact of +/- 3.8%, this can mean the difference between the typical 63rd ranked player performing like the 25th ranked player at home against Memphis or like the 99th ranked player on the road against Dallas. That's a huge difference. The bottom line is pay attention to those match-ups. It could make all the difference. Good luck.

OVERALL IMPACT
TEAMTOTAL
MEM-Barone 24.02% 
GSW 14.22% 
MIL 10.66% 
WAS 10.31% 
DEN 8.93% 
SAC 5.36% 
MEM-Fratello 5.32% 
LAL 4.90% 
SEA 4.90% 
BOS 3.95% 
PHI 2.62% 
IND 2.53% 
CHA 2.36% 
NYK 1.81% 
NJN 1.59% 
MIN-Wittman 0.88% 
TOR 0.32% 
PHO 0.12% 
ATL -0.06% 
POR -0.94% 
ORL -1.58% 
NOR -2.38% 
UTA -3.02% 
LAC -4.32% 
CHI -4.45% 
MIN-Casey -5.53% 
MIA -6.88% 
CLE -10.17% 
DET -12.66% 
SAS -13.28% 
HOU -14.16% 
DAL -14.35% 

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