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Fantasy basketball forecaster: Sit Blake Griffin for D’Angelo Russell this week?

You’re in a weekly transaction league, and you need to decide by Monday evening who your starting lineup will be for the week.

Should you consider sitting usual impact starters like Blake Griffin or Kemba Walker? Should you start someone like D’Angelo Russell or Dario Saric, who might generally be on your bench — perhaps even your waiver wire?

Let’s take a look at next week’s schedules and some player news to help quantitatively answer these questions for these players and many others.


Matchup ratings are based upon a scale from 1 (poor matchup) to 10 (excellent matchup). These are calculated using a formula that evaluates the team’s season-to-date and past-10-games statistics, opponents’ numbers in those categories and performance in home/road games depending on where the game is to be played. The column to the left lists the team’s total number of games scheduled, as well as home games, and lists the overall rating from 1-10 for that team’s weekly schedule.

The week ahead

This is a crazy week in the schedule, with one team playing the maximum five games and another team playing the minimum one game. In between them, 12 teams play four games, 12 teams play three games, and four play only two. It’s all over the place, and this week’s Forecaster results reflect that, with almost all of the scores in the 4-7 average range.

The Golden State Warriors play five games and are the only team to score a 10 this week. They are also dealing with injuries to two of their best players in Stephen Curry (abdomen/groin) and Draymond Green (toe), which could force them to miss some action this week. As such, the “potentially startable” section below will be littered with Warriors.

The Timberwolves scored an 8 on the Forecaster with four games, and they have their own intrigues. Jeff Teague has missed several games with an injured ankle and may miss some time this week, In Teague’s absence, Derrick Rose has put together a couple of throwback performances to vault himself back into the limelight. Plus, there is the ongoing Jimmy Butler saga — and uncertainties about whether he will play also affect his teammates’ values.

At the other end, the Detroit Pistons scored a 1 with only one game this week. The Charlotte Hornets scored a 3 with two games, while the Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings scored a 3 with three games each. The Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers all have only two games each and scored 4s on the Forecaster. Their limited schedules could have interesting ramifications for the startable/sittable lists below.

Potentially startable players

Potentially sittable players

I populated the potentially startable and potentially sittable lists using the following general guidelines, per the result of my Forecaster and season projection calculations. Assuming league sizes of 10 teams with 10 starters per team, players ranked below 80 would generally be questionable to start. Similarly, even for 12-team leagues with 10 starters, players ranked below 120 would generally not be expected to start.

Thus, the potentially startable list is comprised of players ranked below 80th in my season-long points rankings who ended up among the top 100 projected players for this week, utilizing the Forecaster. Conversely, the potentially sittable list is comprised of players ranked in the top 100 of the season-long points rankings who ended up outside of the top 120 projected players for this week, utilizing the Forecaster.

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