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NBA Draft Kit: Schedule Cheat Sheet

Mike Barner

Mike started covering fantasy sports in 2007, joining RotoWire in 2010. He currently focuses on the NBA. Before RotoWire, Mike wrote for KFFL.com.

Itís hard to believe that Iíve been playing fantasy sports for close to two decades. Can it really be almost 20 years? I remember as a kid waiting for our modem to stop making all those weird noises and finally get me online so I could check my teams.

I was hooked on Small Worldís fantasy games back then. Thatís right all you fantasy old timers, remember Small World?
Anyway, the point Iím trying to make is the reason we all keep coming back for more is because we love this. The fun of fantasy sports never stops, no matter how many things have changed over the years.

There is more information and fantasy advice out there than ever before. There are sleepers to target and busts to avoid for your draft. There are also plenty of stats out there, so many that you can probably make a case for a player to either be great or terrible at the same time if you really wanted to.

With the NBA season and fantasy drafts approaching, one area that is sometimes overlooked is the schedule. All teams play 82 games, but knowing when they play can give you the edge. Youíll know which players to target in trades toward the end of the season because they have more games still left on the table.

Letís break this down month-by-month and see where there are opportunities to gain that all important advantage and bring home a fantasy championship.


October

The vast majority of teams play three games in October, but the Suns, Kings, Nets and Spurs all play four times. One of these teams is not like the others. Teams that play only two games in the month are the Knicks, Timberwolves, 76ers and the Wizards.

November

The season is in full force now and five teams play 17 games each: the Lakers, Pistons, Thunder, Trailblazers and 76ers. The Nets, Bucks and Cavaliers all get the most rest in the month with only 13 games apiece. The extra rest to start the season might help LeBron James have fresh legs after Clevelandís title run last season.

December

Like November, there are five teams that play 17 times: the Grizzlies, Clippers, Rockets, Bulls and Mavericks. The Bulls have a lot of new faces this season. Will they have learned how to play together by now? The Thunder, 76ers, Hawks, Spurs and Raptors play the fewest games in the month with only 14.

January

The Rockets, Knicks and Raptors all lead January with 17 games each. Will Derrick Rose be able to get through that many games in a month? Will he even be healthy heading into the month for that matter? This could be a tough month for the Knicks. The Clippers stand alone for the fewest games (12).

February and the ďHalfwayĒ Point

More than half the season has passed by the time the All-Star break arrives, but this is an important time to take stock of where teams stand. The Rockets, Lakers, Grizzlies and Magic all lead the way with 58 games played by the break. The players on those teams are the ones you might want to look into trading away before your deadline. The Wizards, Bucks and Cavaliers have all played the fewest games (55). All three of these teams have some really valuable fantasy players that you will want to consider acquiring.

March

The Clippers, Wizards and Bucks all have packed schedules in March with 18 games each. One thing to consider is that the Spurs play 17 games in March, so be prepared to see them rest some players. The Lakers have the fewest games in the month with only 14. Rest toward the end of the season, thatís just what all those young legs on the Lakers need right?

April

There isnít a ton of separation in April as 10 teams play seven games each. The fewest games played in the month (five) is shared by only two teams: the Clippers and Pistons. The key here is that even though no team is separated by more than two games played in the month, every game counts. Watch the waiver wire for the hot players down the stretch to potentially add some value.

Very few things go as planned during the NBA season. Players get injured, traded or even suspended, leaving even the most seasoned fantasy players with a disappointing season sometimes. The one thing you can count on is the schedule. Whether you are a fantasy rookie or a fantasy veteran, you can never turn down an opportunity to gain an edge.