If there is anything I don’t like about playing fantasy sports, it is trying to read the tea leaves. I think it nearly impossible to guess what motivates strangers, let alone assuming that those motivations will manifest into fantasy points. That is why I try (unsuccessfully) to avoid “revenge games” and I often ignore things like contract years. We don’t know if someone’s going to be motivated to play better in a contract year, so I don’t consider it in my analysis.

This time of year, however, we have to consider motivation, at least to some degree. While coaches are, for the most part, trying to win every game during the regular season, there are different motivations with 2-3 games left. Teams that are out of the playoffs may try to get young players more minutes. Playoff teams may no longer have to worry about securing home-court advantage, but they are still trying to secure byes in the first and second rounds, while also ensuring their teams are healthy and rested for the...