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February 4, 2011
Start/Sit Projections
Week of Feb. 7

by Kevin Pelton


Using opponent data for each team on the upcoming schedule, Basketball Prospectus can estimate how much a player's performance will vary because of the defenses he will face in the next week. (See here for more details on the process.) Each week, Kevin Pelton will take a look at five players to use, five to limit, and an ideal pickup.

Must Plays

Andris Biedrins, C, Golden State Warriors (plus-10 percent)
Besides playing against teams that tend to struggle to defend the paint, Biedrins also gets the benefit of what should be a fast-paced week. The Warriors play the Phoenix Suns home and away and also take on the Denver Nuggets in games that are likely be played well into the triple-digits.

Mike Miller, SG, Miami Heat (plus-9 percent)
While the Heat is still waiting for Miller to find his shooting stroke on a consistent basis, he's been able to contribute more than expected on the glass. Thursday was the fourth time in the past six games Miller's rebound total has reached double-figures. Next week's schedule should help Miller increase his production in other categories.

Anthony Morrow, SG, New Jersey Nets (plus-8 percent)
Morrow's week might even be a little better than it looks. The New Orleans Hornets, who visit Newark on Wednesday, have already struggled to defend wings and will be without their best perimeter defender, Trevor Ariza. That could free Morrow for more open looks from beyond the arc.

Lou Williams, PG, Philadelphia 76ers (plus-7 percent)
Mike Bibby and the Atlanta Hawks are the gift that keeps on giving for opposing point guards. The 76ers face Atlanta on Tuesday and will then return home to take on Orlando. The last time Williams faced the Magic, he had 19 points and seven assists off the bench.

Carl Landry, PF, Sacramento Kings (plus-6 percent)
All four of the Kings' opponents during the upcoming week are below average when it comes to defending the post. Landry should be especially effective over the weekend against Oklahoma City and Phoenix. While he may give up size to Jeff Green and Channing Frye, Landry's strength should allow him to post up both players.

Tough Schedules

Landry Fields, SG, New York Knicks (minus-14 percent)
Fields has been a nice steal for fantasy owners just like he was the Knicks, but this is not the week to take advantage of his well-rounded game. New York faces both Los Angeles teams, who have given opposing wings a tough time, and plays just three total games.

Nick Young, SG, Washington Wizards (minus-10 percent)
Young might be too hot as a scorer to bench, but the concern is that his efficiency will become a problem against a solid slate of perimeter defenses, all of whom hold opponents at least nine percent below their usual production. Since Young provides little else besides scoring, he can't afford to see his shooting percentage dip too low.

Serge Ibaka, PF/C, Oklahoma City Thunder (minus-7 percent)
The big concern next week is Tuesday's matchup against the stout Memphis Grizzlies, but Ibaka's athleticism may be the right element to neutralize the Grizzlies' size. He had nine points and seven boards in the last meeting with Memphis, sparking the Thunder off the bench. If you're setting your lineups day by day, Ibaka should be good to go the rest of the week.

Hedo Turkoglu, SF, Orlando Magic (minus-6 percent)
Like the Knicks, Orlando has both teams from Los Angeles on the schedule during the week ahead. Turkoglu remains a better play than Fields because the Magic's other two opponents (New Orleans and the Philadelphia 76ers) offer much more favorable matchups for wings.

Ersan Ilyasova, PF, Milwaukee Bucks (minus-5 percent)
A strong five-game stretch where he has averaged 18.4 points and 8.6 rebounds has made Ilyasova a trendy fantasy pickup, but take heed that next week does not figure to be quite as productive for him. The Bucks do have a four-game schedule ahead, but that includes both Memphis and Washington, who have done a good job defending post players this season.

This Week's Pickup

DeJuan Blair, PF/C, San Antonio Spurs (plus-8 percent)
Available in 77 percent of ESPN leagues
Blair put together consecutive 14-point, 12-rebound double-doubles earlier this week. While that level of performance has tended to come and go from Blair this season, next week's schedule should help his chances of piling up big numbers. In addition to a tilt against the frontcourt-poor Detroit Pistons, San Antonio has two other above-average matchups out of four total games.

A version of this story originally appeared on ESPN Insider Insider.

Kevin Pelton is an author of Basketball Prospectus. You can contact Kevin by clicking here or click here to see Kevin's other articles.

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