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Typically when looking at second half sleepers/targets there are a few things to look for. Players who are trending upwards, players who could fall into new situations because of trades, and teams that have favorable H2H schedules.
Players on teams with favorable schedules are perhaps the easiest to target. If you feel like you’re locked into the playoffs or can make it there with a few tweaks, one thing you can do is take advantage of the managers who don’t look at games played or schedules; especially past the current week. The other key piece is to actually know what weeks your playoffs start and end in. A lot of this depends on the number of teams in the playoffs are there bye weeks and so on. Standard leagues in Yahoo for example can start in Week 21 (March 16th – 22nd ) and can go all the way to Week 24, which is usually an elongated end of the season week which encompasses April 6th- 15th. In general however, it’s almost always a three week span so figure out which three weeks your playoffs are made up of.
Week 21 is pretty stacked with a majority of teams playing 4 games that week with the exception of Chicago, Houston, the Lakers, and Phoenix. So instead of who you should be targeting in week 21 you should probably be looking at do I own any players from these teams and if so, can I trade them for even value or even slightly less to get extra games when the time counts? The good/bad news is that Chicago and Phoenix have the two worst overall playoff schedules and you don’t have to fret about just Week 21 and reason with yourself about having a bye etc. Trade Pau Gasol and Bledsoe now!
Week 22 is similar in that it’s about an even split of 3 and 4 games for every team except Orlando who only plays 2 games and don’t play 4 games in a week anytime after that. It’s possible to see guys in Orlando start resting down the stretch with nothing to play for and injury historys (Vucevic, Harris, maybe even Oladipo.
Week 23 really brings to light one of the biggest issues some guys will be talking about and perhaps you heard some rumblings about it during your H2H draft – Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Overall one of the worst playoff schedules and a meager 2 games in Week 23 which could be championship for many teams. It’s why selling a hot Lebron James in the next few weeks might make sense as Cleveland’s lack of games are a big issue and Lebron has already shown once he’s willing to sit and lose games.
Week 24 features most teams playing 3 games with a handful playing 4 and the Clippers and Philly playing only 2. If this is your championship week banking on DeAndre’s blocks, CP3’s assists and steals, or even a return of Blake Griffin at full force might be a losing endeavor. The elongated week 24 (technically week 25) also feature every team but Phoenix and San Antonio (who play 1 games) playing two games. A lot of leagues are done by now since people get annoyed with guys resting at the end of the season, but if you’re in a league where these games count make sure you don’t own Spurs. More than likely you’ve been part of the rest of the Spurs to begin with and I heard the other day they also have the toughest remaining schedule.
So now that I’ve talked about which teams to avoid, let’s talk about the teams that have nice overall schedules and the players that make sense to try and get a hold of at a discount. Brooklynn, Charlotte, and Portland by far have the fattest schedules. Brooklynn is kind of a hot mess obviously, but if you’re a punt FT% and don’t own Mason Plumlee for the playoffs you’re doing yourself a disservice. I’m a gambler and might look to acquire Brook Lopez too, even if he does end up on another team. Charlotte-wise I would buy low in Gerald Henderson if I could. His FG% is pretty terrible, but if you can get 15, 4, 4 with a rank of 181 in Yahoo right now I’d look to acquire that. I’m torn on Big Al Jefferson, but if the price is right he’s a solid buy low. Portland is probably the trickiest team to try and acquire players from. The team is playing well, but their bench is pretty terrible at this point, which means they rely heavily on their starters and their fantasy owners know that. The asking price might be a bit high for these guys. That being said if you have a stud with a bad schedule moving him for a Lillard or Aldridge might make sense and acquiring Matthews or Batum in a similar fashion could work too.
The key with taking advantage is understanding that paying more now for returns later makes sense if you feel confident about making the playoffs and if you can get players who fit your team build (if you’re punting FT%, don’t overpay for Lillard).
As an example, if owned Lebron and had my playoffs from week 21-23 then he’d get you 9 games total, Portland on the other hand would get you 12 total. 3 extra games from Lillard and LMA I would take over Lebron.