Commentary

Bench Nowitzki? Start Jerebko?

Sometimes you have to bench a No. 1 pick facing a tough schedule.

Originally Published: February 3, 2012
By Bradford Doolittle | Basketball Prospectus
Dirk NowitzkiJerome Miron/US PresswireNowitzki and his Dallas teammates face an uphill battle this week. Bench him.

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

These are players currently owned by fewer than half of the owners in ESPN Fantasy Basketball 2012 that may be worth a roster spot in the week ahead.

Must plays

Tayshaun Prince (Owned 45.7 percent, Opponent boost 27.5 percent)

It's been a down year for Prince, the first of a head-scratching four-year deal he signed with rebuilding Detroit before the season. However, his minutes have been steady and this is the week to load up on Pistons, who have two games against the Nets and one against the Wizards. The Nets have rated as the league's worst defensive team by allowing 111.2 points per 100 possessions and the Wizards are 24th at 105.5. Both of those teams have been especially poor against small forwards, which bodes well for Prince. And if you feel like you just finished watching Prince put up 21 points, six boards and four assists against New Jersey, you're not wrong. He put up those numbers on Wednesday. In one of the odder scheduling quirks in this odd season, the Pistons and Nets play three times over a 10-day span.