Ryan Knaus

Basketball Daily Dose

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Dose: Matchups by the Numbers

Friday, February 14, 2014

We're entering a six-day hiatus during the All-Star break, and in lieu of a typical Dose I'm substituting a statistical analysis showing which teams yield the most/least fantasy value to their opponents. In other words, if you play in an eight-cat or nine-cat league (roto or head-to-head) this column, and the accompanying spreadsheet, will reveal the best and worst matchups for your players on a given night. Anyone playing daily fantasy sports leagues should also find this very useful as a predictive tool, as I break down the teams you want to target or avoid on a category-by-category basis.


Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $70,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Tuesday night's games - the first games after All-Star Break. It's $25 to join and first prize is $9,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Tuesday. Here's the FanDuel link.


This column should be familiar to anyone who has read my 'Numbers Game' columns (which focused on individual players) or my 'Points League Primer' (which focused on teams). Drop me a line on Twitter or via email if you have any questions, with the understanding that my 'methodology' is home-brewed and I'm not a statistician.


I encourage anyone reading this to explore the spreadsheet from which the following information has been culled. It's my original creation and it took quite a while to compile, but you're free to use it however you please. If you want the original Excel file just drop me a note with your email address via Direct Message on Twitter. Without further ado, here is the 'summary' view of my spreadsheet (cumulative nine-category values):

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As became obvious when I ran a similar analysis for three different 'points league' scoring systems, the 76ers are by far the best team to face in fantasy leagues. The Pacers, meanwhile, are easily the worst team to face. This graph is jumbled but the point isn't to read every team name individually -- just notice how far away the outliers are from the 20-24 teams all huddled around the mid-point.


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Finally, here is a quick chart which I have actually printed out for my own personal reference. It displays the top-five 'best' and 'worst' teams to face if you're targeting a specific category (it's formatted better in the actual spreadsheet).


 Best (You want to play them)Worst (You want to avoid them)
Points Philadelphia 76ers (Best) Charlotte Bobcats
  Los Angeles Lakers Toronto Raptors
  Denver Nuggets Memphis Grizzlies
  Portland Trail Blazers Chicago Bulls
  Sacramento Kings Indiana Pacers (Worst)
3-pointers Philadelphia 76ers Chicago Bulls
  Cleveland Cavaliers Boston Celtics
  Miami Heat Phoenix Suns
  New York Knicks Portland Trail Blazers
  Milwaukee Bucks Indiana Pacers
FG Percentage Minnesota Timberwolves Houston Rockets
  Detroit Pistons Golden State Warriors
  Philadelphia 76ers Chicago Bulls
  Sacramento Kings Oklahoma City Thunder
  Utah Jazz Indiana Pacers
FT Attempts New Orleans Pelicans Atlanta Hawks
  Philadelphia 76ers Charlotte Bobcats
  Phoenix Suns San Antonio Spurs
  Sacramento Kings Chicago Bulls
  Denver Nuggets Minnesota Timberwolves
Rebounds Los Angeles Lakers Chicago Bulls
  Philadelphia 76ers Indiana Pacers
  Milwaukee Bucks Oklahoma City Thunder
  Orlando Magic Miami Heat
  Charlotte Bobcats Memphis Grizzlies
Assists Philadelphia 76ers Phoenix Suns
  Los Angeles Lakers Memphis Grizzlies
  Cleveland Cavaliers Golden State Warriors
  Detroit Pistons New York Knicks
  Los Angeles Clippers Indiana Pacers
Steals Los Angeles Lakers Phoenix Suns
  Philadelphia 76ers Los Angeles Clippers
  Detroit Pistons Memphis Grizzlies
  Golden State Warriors Charlotte Bobcats
  Houston Rockets New York Knicks
Blocks Philadelphia 76ers Portland Trail Blazers
  Chicago Bulls Dallas Mavericks
  Cleveland Cavaliers New York Knicks
  New Orleans Pelicans Los Angeles Clippers
  Orlando Magic Miami Heat
Turnovers Portland Trail Blazers Detroit Pistons
  Utah Jazz Minnesota Timberwolves
  Los Angeles Lakers Washington Wizards
  Denver Nuggets Philadelphia 76ers
  Charlotte Bobcats Miami Heat



A few quick notes...I've assigned a 'score' to each team in the nine primary fantasy categories based upon standard deviations, not simply league averages or ranks. This yields a much more accurate and robust picture of actual values. I accounted for free throw attempts without including any measure of free throw percentages because although some arenas may cause opponents to miss more frequently (awkward lighting, loud fans, balloon promotions, etc.) it seemed unwise to factor that into the equation. For field goals I have weighted attempts and percentages (for more on my approach read this). Also, note that these numbers are valid for every game played through Feb. 12, so they do not include Thursday's two-game slate in which the Bulls thumped the visiting Nets, and the Thunder rode a 43-point night from Kevin Durant to steal a road win vs. the Lakers.


I also updated my schedule grid this morning so that it only reflects the remaining nine weeks in the schedule. I may combine these team 'values' with a team-by-team ROS schedule analysis, which would result in very advanced strength-of-schedule ratings, so check back next week in case I find the time to pull that off. In the meantime, enjoy the All-Star festivities!

Despite residing in Portland, Maine, Ryan Knaus remains a heartbroken Sonics fan who longs for the days of Shawn Kemp and Xavier McDaniel. He has written for Rotoworld.com since 2007. You can follow him on Twitter.
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