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Fantasy basketball forecaster: Dec. 16-22

Paul George and the Clippers have four games during the week. Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire

Click here for weekly rankings

Read below for the fantasy basketball Forecaster


In weekly transaction leagues, the schedule is one of the most important factors in determining how to fill out your fantasy basketball lineups. All fantasy teams have a hierarchy of player calibers, with a set of "best players" surrounded by a cast of lesser but still productive players from which to draw your weekly starting lineup.

All things being equal, a manager would start the best players every week and fill out the rest of their lineup based on things such as matchups. However, all things aren't equal.

The schedule changes the bottom line, because teams can play a different number of games, against a different caliber of opponents, with different breakdowns of home vs. road, back-to-backs, rest nights, etc. All of these things matter, and as I've seen this season, they often matter more than a player's caliber.

For example, would you rather get two games of a great player at 35 minutes per night against tough competition or four games of a lesser player at 30 minutes per night against high-paced, weak competition? When looking at it quantitatively, it's surprising (to me) how often the correct answer is actually the lesser player -- yes, based on schedules, sometimes even star players should sit for a week.

Thus, below, we have the Forecaster, which provides a scheduling and matchup tool to help you make better-informed lineup decisions for the upcoming week.

We also take your weekly prep to another level with my weekly projection rankings. Here, you'll find my top-150 weekly rankings, based on ESPN standard points-league scoring, so you can compare players to determine which players to start, sit, stream or drop for the week ahead. I also provide several typical starters whom you might want to sit, as well as several bench/free agents whom you might want to stream.

Without further ado, let's check out the Forecaster.

The week ahead

This is a lighter scheduled week, with 18 teams playing three games and one playing only two. There are 11 teams with four games, though, and the players on those teams have the chance to accumulate big numbers. As one might expect, all five of the teams with high Forecaster scores play four games and all six of the teams with low scores play three or fewer.

The Bucks and Thunder netted perfect 10s this week with four games each and only one back-to-back between them. Keep an eye on the status of Giannis Antetokounmpo, who missed Thursday night's game, because if he sits, then his teammates would all get a statistical boost. The Clippers have four games and a Forecaster score of 9, while both the Trail Blazers and Raptors turned their four games into 8s on the Forecaster.

On the other hand, the Knicks and Cavs turned in the lowest scores of 1 with three games each. The Magic and Bulls turned their three games into 2s on the Forecaster, while the Lakers have three tough games against the Bucks, Nuggets and Pacers and netted a score of 3. The Warriors were the only two-game team, and they also scored a 3 on the Forecaster.

As always, we recommend you checking out those weekly projection rankings to see our take on which players might be worth starting or sitting due to the combination of the schedule and injuries.

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Forecaster matchup ratings are based upon a scale from 1 (poor matchup) to 10 (excellent matchup). These are calculated using a formula that evaluates the team's season-to-date and past-10-games statistics, opponents' numbers in those categories and performance in home/road games depending on where the game is to be played. The column to the left lists the team's total number of games scheduled, as well as home games, and lists the overall rating from 1 to 10 for that team's weekly schedule.