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Post-All-Star schedule breakdown

I want to help set your team up for the rest of the season.

We are now only a little more than a month away from trade deadlines in most fantasy leagues. Which means your window of opportunity to make wholesale improvements to your roster is rapidly closing.

Last week, we focused on individual players who post large splits in their home-versus-road production. This week, I want to show you some ways I track splits and other stats expanded into team-wide production.

This is to help figure out which teams are going to be the most fantasy-friendly after your league's trade deadline. Think of it a strength of schedule translated into fantasy value, specifically tailored to gauge value after All-Star weekend.

Is it important to look at the end-of-season schedules in late January? Absolutely, because after your league's trading deadline -- save for the occasional waiver-wire pickup -- your lineup will essentially be locked in.

So that leaves you a month or so to make tangible changes to your lineups, and changes to the numbers your team puts up on a regular basis.

What are the factors I use to assess strength of schedule?

1. Games played: Obvious choice, but there's nothing more important. Some NBA teams play as many as 32 games after All-Star weekend. One team plays only 26, and several play only 27. That's a 16-19 percent drop in overall volume, which is enough of a swing in production to determine the winner of your fantasy league.

2. Home/road splits: You not only want a team to play as many games as possible, but as many home games as possible.

3. Pace: The amount of possessions a team uses per game. The higher the pace, the more volume fantasy numbers are generated. More shots, 3s, steals, assists, blocks, points, rebounds and turnovers.

4. Offensive efficiency: Not as important as pure pace in fantasy, but still a vital metric which measures the amount of points a team scores per 100 possessions. These are the teams that also have good percentages.

5. Pace of opponents: A high-volume possession team is only going to do so much against the grind-it-out squads of the league. Take a high-pace squad such as the Lakers, put them on the road in Chicago, and they'll be lucky to crack 90 points.

6. Players at or above 25 minutes per game: Heightened pace isn't going to mean much if said team has only three or four players at or above 25 minutes per game (MPG). That's a sign that the team's production is spread too thin across too many players.

7. Games played in April: If you're supremely confident in your fantasy team's chances, you'll want to pay attention to how many games different NBA teams play over the final two weeks of the season.

With the help of ESPN's Stats & Information department, I compiled numbers for each NBA team along these lines. I'm going to give you the top five and bottom five NBA teams, and some marginal players who will be affected.

In determining high pace and low pace opponents, the top and bottom 10 currently are used.

Top Five

1. Minnesota Timberwolves

Games played: 32
Home/road split: 16/16
Pace: 94.4 (14th in NBA)
Offensive efficiency: 99.8 (2nd)
High pace/low pace opponents: 15/10
Players over 25 MPG: 5
April games: 10
Marginal fantasy players affected: PG/SG Alexey Shved, PG/SG Jose Juan Barea, PG/SG Luke Ridnour, PG Ricky Rubio, PF Derrick Williams, PF Dante Cunningham

As Neil Tardy wrote in the Forecaster, the injury bug that has bitten Minnesota with Walking Dead-like power also spells fantasy opportunity. Combine that with an NBA-high 32 games, and you've got a team that bears a lot of watching. The biggest fantasy storyline? Ricky Rubio and whether or not he gets back to 100 percent in time to help owners.

2. New York Knicks

Games played: 32
Home/road split: 14/18
Pace: 93.2 (22nd in NBA)
Offensive efficiency: 108.7 (3rd)
High pace/low pace opponents: 6/11
Players over 25 MPG: 5
April games: 10
Marginal fantasy players affected: PG/SG Jason Kidd, PG/SG Iman Shumpert, PF/C Amare Stoudemire

The biggest name to watch, obviously, is Stoudemire, and whether he becomes a factor as his minutes ramp upward. Keep an eye on Shumpert, who could be a difference maker in steals over the final month of the regular season.

3. Miami Heat

Games played: 32
Home/road split: 15/17
Pace: 93.8 (18th in NBA)
Offensive efficiency: 108.8 (2nd)
High pace/low pace opponents: 3/19
Players over 25 MPG: 5
April games: 9
Marginal fantasy players affected: SG Ray Allen, PG Mario Chalmers, SF Shane Battier, SF/SG Mike Miller

Will Miami have the No. 1 seed locked down with a week or two to spare? We all expect the Heat to turn on the afterburners after All-Star weekend, which could lead to them opening up a lead in the Eastern Conference. If they do, it could lead to some extended rest for LeBron, Wade and Bosh, which would mean expanded roles and scoring opportunities up and down the roster.

One area of concern: the 19 upcoming games the Heat have versus low-pace opponents. I'm worried in general about the struggle between Eastern Conference contenders devolving into a late-season numerical cage match.

4. Milwaukee Bucks

Games played: 31
Home/road split: 15/16
Pace: 96.9 (4th in NBA)
Offensive efficiency: 99.3 (26th)
High pace/low pace opponents: 8/9
Players over 25 MPG: 3
April games: 10
Marginal fantasy players affected: SG/SF Mike Dunleavy, PF/C Larry Sanders, SF/PF Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, SF/PF Ersan Ilyasova, PF John Henson

Post-Skiles-Vortex-Of-Fantasy-Doom, you can see the Bucks' fantasy production beginning to nose upward. There's some solid young upside on this roster that could help teams down the stretch.

First and foremost, Ilyasova, who finally put it all together last weekend against Portland (27 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 3-pointers, 1 block). Ilyasova had a big second half last season; maybe someone can fool him into thinking it's still a contact year. I'm also intrigued to see how Sanders versus Henson plays out on the minutes front.

5. Washington Wizards

Games played: 31
Home/road split: 16/15
Pace: 94.1 (15th in NBA)
Offensive efficiency: 94.7 (30th)
High pace/low pace opponents: 9/17
Players over 25 MPG: 6
April games: 9
Marginal fantasy players affected: PF/C Kevin Seraphin, PF/C Nene, C Emeka Okafor, SF Martell Webster, SG/PG Jordan Crawford

Don't look now, but the Wizards have been surprisingly competitive since John Wall's return. Bradley Beal's development over the past month has been somewhat underreported, and you still might be able to swipe him from an unsuspecting owner stuck on season-long averages.

Aside from Beal, monitor how the Wizards dole out minutes amongst Okafor/Nene/Seraphin, and whether or not Webster locks down small forward in convincing fashion. There are a lot of players here hovering around the 25 MPG mark, which could mean a couple of breakouts … or just a bunch of depressing time-shares.

Bottom Five

26. Houston Rockets

Games played: 27
Home/road split: 15/12
Pace: 99.0 (1st in NBA)
Offensive efficiency: 104.5 (8th)
High pace/low pace opponents: 15/4
Players over 25 MPG: 6
April games: 8
Marginal fantasy players affected: SF/SG Carlos Delfino, PF Marcus Morris, PF Patrick Patterson

I'm still ranking the Rockets higher than a couple of 28-game teams due to their high-pace, high-efficiency attack and the 15 games against high-pace opponents. I love Delfino's potential, and he doesn't need more than 25-27 minutes a night to be a factor. I suspect Houston could still make another trade, most likely to relieve the logjam at power forward.

27. Detroit Pistons

Games played: 28
Home/road split: 11/17
Pace: 92.6 (25th in NBA)
Offensive efficiency: 101.0 (18th)
High pace/low pace opponents: 4/13
Players over 25 MPG: 6
April games: 8
Marginal fantasy players affected: PF/C Andre Drummond, SF/SG Kyle Singler

I get a lot of questions about picking up and stashing injured players like Kevin Love, Andrew Bynum and Anderson Varejao (OK, not him so much in the past 24 hours). To which I say, why not see if Drummond is available in your league? Here's a guy who's trending sky-high right now who could be averaging 15 and 10 by the final month of the season.

28. Sacramento Kings

Games played: 28
Home/road split: 15/13
Pace: 94.6 (11th in NBA)
Offensive efficiency: 101.6 (14th)
High pace/low pace opponents: 17/6
Players over 25 MPG: 4
April games: 8
Marginal fantasy players affected: PG Isaiah Thomas, PG/SG/SF Tyreke Evans, SG Marcus Thornton, PF Thomas Robinson, PF/C Jason Thompson

The Kings continue to be an amorphous, murky statistical miasma of frustration and statistical inconsistency. Too many OK-to-pretty good players, not enough defined roles.

29. Utah Jazz

Games played: 27
Home/road split: 15/12
Pace: 94.1 (15th in NBA)
Offensive efficiency: 103.9 (11th)
High pace/low pace opponents: 10/10
Players over 25 MPG: 6
April games: 8
Marginal fantasy players affected: SG/SF Gordon Hayward, PF/C Derrick Favors, PG Mo Williams, SG/PG Randy Foye

This is a fantasy situation that could be radically altered via trade. There seems to be a strong possibility that Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap gets dealt, which would open up minutes for Favors (and maybe even Enes Kanter). The other issue here is Mo Williams' prognosis and projected return from his thumb injury.

30. Los Angeles Clippers

Games played: 26
Home/road split: 15/11
Pace: 94.5 (13th in NBA)
Offensive efficiency: 107.3 (4th)
High pace/low pace opponents: 9/10
Players over 25 MPG: 5
April games: 8
Marginal fantasy players affected: PG Eric Bledsoe, SF Caron Butler, C DeAndre Jordan, SF Matt Barnes, PF Lamar Odom PF

The Clippers are sort of the yin to the Kings' yang. A team with too much depth at multiple positions, but manages to make it work thanks to team chemistry and veteran leadership. It still means a lot of inconsistency on the fantasy front. The league-low 26 post-All-Star games won't help the likes of Bledsoe and Jordan.