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2023 Fantasy Basketball Playoffs Schedule Analysis

NBA All-Star weekend has come to a close, which means two things. One, and maybe most obvious, we're in the "second half" of the 2022-23 NBA season. Two, and maybe more importantly for many of you, we're nearing the fantasy basketball playoffs. And with the fantasy basketball playoffs on the horizon, we also have the trade deadline looming. This can be different in every league, so make sure to check your league settings. In my home league, the trade deadline is Thursday, March 2.

For the majority, the playoffs begin in Week 21 (March 13 - March 19) and end in Week 23 (March 27 - April 2). For others, it starts in Week 20 as many commissioners have decided to forego the late-season shenanigans created by tanking NBA teams.

For this article, we'll look specifically at Weeks 20 through 23 to determine some players that could help carry your team to a championship depending on where you sit in the standings. We'll also look at players you might want to offload before the trade deadline as well as some guys you might be able to pick up for the stretch run. Let's dive right in!

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Fantasy Basketball Playoffs- Weeks 20 through 22

The graph above takes into account three different data points. The first data point is simply games played in a given week. The second is the number of times that team plays on a nine-game or more slate. Essentially, are you running the risk of having too many players playing on a given night that forces you to make some decisions as to who to bench. The third is the number of times that team plays back-to-back. Of course, there are certain players who are more likely to sit on a back-to-back, like Klay Thompson and Al Horford, for example.


What To Do If...

You're Going to Lock Up a First-Round Bye:

Focus on teams that play four games in Weeks 21 and 22 with minimal back-to-backs or times playing on a large slate. The Kings, Rockets, Warriors, Grizzlies, and Spurs each play eight games in those two weeks (your semifinals and finals). The Spurs are a really intriguing team to target. They play just two games in Week 20, so if you have that first-round bye, you can use that to your advantage in trade negotiations because the team with Zach Collins or Keldon Johnson probably doesn't have a first-round bye. Because of that, they will gladly unload their Spurs who play just two games in Week 20 for another player who gets them three or four games. These little things matter in the playoffs.

On the other side of the coin are the teams that play just five or six games in Weeks 21 and 22. If you roster any Knicks in particular, definitely look to offload them prior to the trade deadline, as they play a league-low five games those two weeks. Seven or eight games of even a guy like Desmond Bane is much better than five games of Jalen Brunson or Julius Randle, I promise you. Of course, it's a bit different if you don't have that first-round bye locked up, then you might want to keep Randle and Brunson as they play four games in Week 20. It all depends on your situation.

Players to Acquire: Cam Johnson (usage up 2.2% after trade to Brooklyn, steadier minutes, and the Nets have the most favorable fantasy playoff schedule), Zach Collins (averaging 15.8 points, 8.3 boards, and 4.5 assists in 30.5 minutes in four games since Jakob Poeltl was dealt to the Raptors).

Waiver Wire Additions (12+ Team Leagues): Malaki Branham, Jeremy Sochan, Kenyon Martin Jr., Jalen Suggs, Santi Aldama, Jose Alvarado

You're NOT Going to Lock Up a First-Round Bye, But Will Make the Playoffs (Of Course):

I always preach about just making it to the finals. Because of that, if you're not going to get a first-round bye, focus on Weeks 20 and 21, the quarter and semifinals. Once you get to the finals, you're most likely "in the money" and lots of things can happen. So let's focus on teams with favorable schedules early on in the playoffs.

The Nuggets, Bucks, and Heat all play eight games. Now, maybe the team with Tyler Herro has a first-round bye locked up. If they do, then maybe they're willing to offload him because he only plays six games in Weeks 21 and 22. Take advantage of situations like this. You can probably get Herro from him while you offload someone from the Timberwolves, Clippers, Suns, or Bulls that plays just two games in Week 20. If you're fighting to survive each round, you don't want guys that play just two games, especially if they come on large slate days.

Players to Acquire: Jrue Holiday, Tyler Herro, Brandon Ingram, Michael Porter Jr.

Waiver Wire Additions (12+ Team Leagues): Onyeka Okongwu, Jaylin Williams, Delon Wright, Kevin Love, Pat Connaughton, Shaedon Sharpe


Fantasy Basketball Playoffs- Weeks 21 through 23

What To Do If...

You're Going to Lock Up a First-Round Bye:

Now that you understand the strategy behind building a playoff-ready roster, let's take a look at some players to acquire and possible waiver wire additions if you're locked into a first-round bye in Week 21 of the playoffs.

Players to Acquire: Josh Giddey, Tyrese Maxey, Walker Kessler

Waiver Wire Additions (12+ Team Leagues): Josh Green, Aaron Nesmith, Jaylin Williams, Kenrich Williams, Talen Horton-Tucker, Jalen McDaniels

You're NOT Going to Lock Up a First-Round Bye, But Will Make the Playoffs (Of Course):

Remember, you need to win two rounds before you even get to the finals, prioritize Weeks 21 and 22 here.

Players to Acquire: Jordan Poole, Desmond Bane, Alperen Sengun, Keegan Murray

Waiver Wire Additions (12+ Team Leagues): Donte DiVincenzo, Kyle Anderson, Jeremy Sochan, Jarred Vanderbilt, Mo Bamba, Jalen Suggs

Good luck on your quest to win a fantasy basketball championship this season!

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