Fantasy basketball forecaster: Bench your Spurs this week?

This isn't an ideal week to use Spurs like DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay, but should you actually bench them? Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

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 DeMar DeRozan or LaMarcus Aldridge? Or perhaps starting someone like Eric Gordon or Frank Ntilikina, 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

There are 11 teams playing four games this week, 18 playing three and only one squad, the San Antonio Spurs, playing just two. Per the Forecaster, seven teams have a rating of 8 or higher this week, which indicates a very favorable schedule, while six teams have ratings of 3 or lower to indicate a very unfavorable schedule.

The Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder scored perfect 10s on this week's Forecaster, with four games and a favorable schedule. The Houston Rockets play four games and score a 9, while the Bucks and Knicks parlayed their four-game schedules into scores of 8. The Golden State Warriors and New Orleans Pelicans play three games each, but their potent offenses and favorable opponents netted them 9 and 8 scores, respectively, for the week.

On the other side of the coin, the Spurs have only two games and score the only 1 for the week. The Dallas Mavericks and Memphis Grizzlies play three games with a Forecaster score of 2, while the Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings have three games and a score of 3.

Potentially startable players

  • Schroder projects to have the highest point total among players on this list. He has remained an impact player for the Thunder, even with Westbrook back, and since the Thunder have such an excellent schedule, he projects to be a top-40 fantasy value this week.

  • Burke, Lopez and Prince also project to have top-50 fantasy values this week.

  • Plumlee, Henson, Bamba and Ntilikina are the four players who just sneaked into top 100 projected value for the week. They are more risky, but also may be more likely to be available on the free-agency wire.

Potentially sittable players

  • DeRozan and Aldridge both technically finished just inside the top 100 projections for the upcoming week, but they were both in the 90s. Considering that they are usually definite starters, currently ranked in the top 20 of my rest-of-the-season rankings, their score was low enough to mention as (shockingly) potentially sittable.

  • Booker is on this list again because of the continued uncertainty surrounding his hamstring injury. If not for that injury, he would likely not be on this list. Howard is expected to play this week, but his projections are a bit lower still because he just returned from an extended absence and may need to play himself up to par.

  • Carter made this list based on his season-long projections, but he has dramatically outplayed those projections in the last couple games since Bobby Portis joined Lauri Markkanen on the sideline, injured. With Carter's injured frontline-mates not expected to return anytime soon, he may actually project high enough to not deserve a spot on the "potentially sittable" list.

The injury adjustment caused players like Devin Booker (hamstring), Kevin Love (foot) and Dwight Howard (back) to slide down the Forecaster projections into the potentially sittable category. On the flip side, the injury adjustment wasn't enough to move James Harden to the sittable list, but it was enough to raise Eric Gordon and Larry Nance Jr. into the potentially startable list as the likely beneficiaries of added playing time for those injuries.

Keep in mind, these injury adjustments were made on players for whom it is not official that they will actually miss time next week. I'm working with the best information currently available, but of course, keep an ear out for injury updates by Monday, as more certain information will lead to more informed decisions.

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.