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April 1, 2011
Start/Sit Projections
Week of April 4

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

Jordan Crawford, SG, Washington Wizards (plus-8 percent)
Crawford capped a high-scoring month of March (18.2 points per game) with a 39-point outburst against the Miami Heat on Wednesday. Crawford's shooting percentages have been less than stellar, but a friendly schedule down the stretch could help him improve on them. Three of Washington's four opponents next week are at least seven percent worse than average when it comes to defending opposing wings.

George Hill, PG/SG, San Antonio Spurs (plus-8 percent)
In the Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings, the Spurs face two of the teams that have struggled the most with defending point guards this season. Hill will make the most out of this in a reserve role, and could get some extra minutes late in the season if San Antonio manages to lock up home-court advantage throughout the playoffs and Gregg Popovich decides to rest starter Tony Parker.

Wilson Chandler, SG/SF, Denver Nuggets (plus-7 percent)
After a rough couple of weeks for Denver's perimeter players, the schedule evens out the rest of the way. The Nuggets play the Oklahoma City Thunder, which has been poor at defending the wing, twice, in addition to a meeting with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Chandler has averaged 19.0 points and 6.0 rebounds in two games against Minnesota this season.

Kris Humphries, PF, New Jersey Nets (plus-6 percent)
With the fantasy season winding down, time is running out for frontcourt players to feast on the Detroit Pistons' defense. Humphries gets his chance on Wednesday, and also plays the Toronto Raptors on Sunday. Those are ideal matchups for Humphries, who has established himself as one of the league's most consistent double-double threats.

Thaddeus Young, SF, Philadelphia 76ers (plus-5 percent)
Quietly, Young has been a consistent source of bench production all season long. His scoring average (12.3 ppg) ranks ninth among players who have started less than half of their games. Young's best matchup figures to come Wednesday against the New York Knicks, whose defense has been indifferent at times since the trade deadline.

Tough schedules

C.J. Miles, SG/SF, Utah Jazz (minus-10 percent)
For the second time in as many weeks, the schedule is unkind to Miles and the Jazz's swingmen. Two of their three games next week come against top teams (the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs) that have shut down the perimeter all year. Miles has shot just 33.3 percent from the field against the Lakers.

Luke Ridnour, PG, Minnesota Timberwolves (minus-7 percent)
There are three teams better than average at containing point guards on the docket for the Timberwolves next week. The Nuggets, who face Minnesota on Saturday, have been especially effective defending the point with the duo of Raymond Felton and Ty Lawson.

Nicolas Batum, SF, Portland Trail Blazers (minus-7 percent)
The Blazers also get the challenge of facing the Lakers next week, which ruins an otherwise average week of matchups. Since Batum is usually a borderline play under normal circumstances, there is little reason to have him in your lineup next week.

O.J. Mayo, SG, Memphis Grizzlies (minus-6 percent)
Seriously, how is Mayo still owned in more than half of ESPN fantasy leagues? He's scored more than 11 points in just one of his last eight games, including a goose egg the last time out against the Golden State Warriors. On top of that, Memphis has a tough slate ahead, facing two of the league's more unexpected good wing defenses (the Los Angeles Clippers and Sacramento Kings). It's past time to cut bait.

Channing Frye, PF/C, Phoenix Suns (minus-5 percent)
Phoenix starts next week with three tough post defenses, including the Chicago Bulls and the New Orleans Hornets. Those frontcourts won't leave many free rebounds for Frye, though he might be able to find some looks beyond the arc against New Orleans.

This week's pickup

Anthony Randolph, PF/C, Minnesota Timberwolves (plus-6 percent)
Owned in 54.2 percent of ESPN leagues

Randolph remains an enigma, but at least his good games are resulting in big numbers now that he is playing more minutes. Randolph combined for 55 points and 26 rebounds in a two-game stretch as a starter, and had 15 points, five boards and three steals even after starter Kevin Love returned to the lineup on Wednesday. He's worth a flier just in case Minnesota shuts Love down for the season at some point.

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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