One of the reasons I prefer fantasy basketball to fantasy football is that in basketball it is much less likely to have your entire season derailed by an injury. That being said, opening night of the 2017-18 NBA season twisted my world view right along with Gordon Hayward’s ankle. Ouch!
It is when these things happen that I am reminded of two famous quotes: “Knowledge is power,” which I saw on a bumper sticker, and “Chaos is a ladder,” words spoken by the scheming Littlefinger in Season 1 of Game of Thrones. An injury can open the door for this year’s waiver wire MVP or at least offer a younger player an opportunity to get more minutes and become fantasy relevant. In order to take advantage you must not only act quickly, but you need to know which players will benefit the most, and that my friend is not easy.
So without further ado, here are the major injuries lingering around the NBA, some suggestions for which replacements to target, and whether you should stash, drop, or use an I.R. spot (if your league allows it):
After opening the season with a two-game appetizer, the NBA provided us with an 11-course meal on Wednesday. No low-carb dieting here, as fantasy manna was raining down from the heavens. All you can eat, baby! There were some impressive performances, as Hassan Whiteside went 26 and 22, DeMarcus Cousins went 28 and 10 with seven blocks, while teammate Anthony Davis went 33 and 18. On a side note, the Pelicans still managed to lose by 12. Trade alert already? Of all the performances, there was one that rose above the rest. Giannis Antetokoumpo went 37 and 13 with three dimes and three pilfers. The number one fantasy pick in many leagues, G showed why and looks poised to carry teams to the Promised Land. As Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, crossed the Red Sea, and climbed Mount Sinai to raise two tablets above his head, so shall G lead fantasy owners across the barren landscape and up the mountain so that they may lift the trophy and bring glory to those that had faith in him. So it was written by Missy Elliot 0:58….to Get Ur Freak On.
Man, you guys don’t even know. There’s been a mob outside my house every night for the past two weeks carrying tiki torches and screaming, “We want the Top 200 with stats!” Or at least I think that’s what they were saying. Anyways, big shout out to Rudy who waved his magic wand and created the beautiful looking spreadsheet below. It even sorts. Here is Rudy in his lab:
Oh, how I miss the Washington Bullets name. It would be so perfect for this iteration of the Washington basketball team. With that said, I get why it was changed. Two things, though. The football team is still named the Redskins. Nothing wrong with that, my good people of Washington DC? Well, at least my Native American brethren were given free reign over some casinos. Why Wizards? C’mon man! Anyways, as a Lakers fan, I probably should just STFU when it comes to nicknames. Back to this squad. There’s John Wall, who is faster than a speeding…wait for it….bullet. There’s Death Row DC, a nickname placed upon the team by Markieff Morris. Why Death Row DC?
“Death Row; that’s the type of team we are, that’s the type of team we want to be…A physical team that will kind of trash talk you a little bit, and that just don’t take no BS” – Bradley Beal
Sounds gangster to me. Definitely not Wizard-esque. This squad is tough and athletic. They lost in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but it was a great season. They won the division for the first time since 1979 and accumulated 49 wins after opening the season 6-11.
What a way to kick off the week! Well, that is, if you own Rudy Gobert! Monsieur Elbow says “No!” And “Oui, I own l’paint!” Absolutely monstrous 16/14/3/0/8 last night against the Pacers, hitting 7-12 from the field with only 1 TO.
So much swattage! His 13 blocks the last 2 games now gives him a 13.2/12.8/1.2/0.7/2.6 slash on the year, hitting 65% from the field. Oddly 65.5% from the stripe too! Which isn’t good, but not a punt either. BB Monster has him 20th overall in per game stats, and 12th in total. Absolutely insane draft day value, but it really grinds my gears he’s doing this this year, and not in 2015-16! Had him 11th and well above consensus, just one year too early – stupid FIBA wore him down. Focus on the NBA, you Frenchy! Oh shit, now he’s gonna hunt me with one of those elbows, NOOOOOO!!! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:
Welcome to the semis! If you’ve survived this long in your standard H2H formats, then you’re merely 2 wins away from a title. Hard to believe after the marathon! Just think of how many more games the NCAA title hopefuls have to win to get a National Title!
With a mere two weeks left, there’s only 14 more days of streaming on the docket, making every add/drop count. So now’s the time (if you haven’t yet, whaaaaaaaaaaa?!) to check out The Stocktonator! Check out or new short-shorts robotics to help with your streaming decisions for each and every day this upcoming week.
And well, I have one RCL team that WON’T need The Stocktonator, due to The Omen getting absolutely possessed last week! Damian Lillard is now my least favorite player, after going 49/1/5/0/1 with 9 treys last night on 14-21 shooting. He scored 141 points last week, hitting 19 treys, and shot 55% from the field while doing so. Cost me the playoffs with narrow wins in FG% and points for my opp in a 4-5 loss. I’m done with you, Omen! Doesn’t help he shot 36-36 from the FT line either. What a preposterous week. Not to mention that after their bad loss to the Pels last Tuesday, he held a players-only meeting which led to a huge win at San Antonio Wednesday, followed by two big wins against the East besting Hotlanta and HotMiami over the weekend. Why is Atlanta hot, but Miami isn’t?! Whoever named it Hotlanta hasn’t been to many other cities! Portland is the hot city right now though! Here’s what else went down over the hot weekend in fantasy basketball action:
The biggest news of the night comes from a guy who barely played at all. Less than 2 minutes into the game between Golden State and Washington, Warriors’ center Zaza Pachulia (12 points, 8 rebounds) fell into Kevin Durant’s left knee. KD walked away gingerly before heading to the bench and being whisked away into the locker room. Diagnosed with a hyperextended left knee, Durant did not return to the game.
Is this karma from the Basketball Gods for his comments about not wanting to come home to play for the Wizards? Kidding aside, this is terrible news to the Warriors, fans of the NBA, and fantasy owners. Hopefully KD’s injury isn’t long-term, but more will be known after examining the MRI results.
In the meantime, the Warriors wasted no time in reaching out to free agent Matt Barnes and are expected to sign him later this week. Released by the Kings after trading DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans, Barnes is excited to rejoin the Warriors, after playing for them from 2006-2008. I wouldn’t rush to add Barnes until more is known about KD’s injury, but Barnes has been useful for fantasy purposes before.
On happier notes, here are the other nightly notables:
Razzball Nation! The Trade Deadline is here! Fantasy Basketball’s most interesting day south of the year change has arrived, and fantasy owners have itchy trigger fingers on their wires, ready to find that newly minted asset after a deal. Forge me some upside, fantasy gods! Wait, wait, in no way did I mean to compare NBA GMs to gods… Vlade Divac is like, “that’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me!”
I’m going to try and keep this post updating throughout the trades up through the 3:00 PM EST deadline, then Slim and I will record the Pod and post a little later tonight. Be sure and keep up with the comments, and break news if you see a deal done before I or another commenter! Let’s throw around the last-minute rumors, and turn this into a Trade Deadline hub! Here’s the trades that have gone down so far (not including the Cousins one, which I do think will end up being the biggest deal of the “Trade Deadline” period though…), plus updates throughout the morning and afternoon:
We’re almost there! It’s almost the time of dunks, crappy exhibition games, and most importantly – the time of getting injured players back. Last night only had 2 games on the schedule, so it’s going to be a short wrap up today! In the first game, the Wizards had a solid win over the Pacers, with a final score of 111-98. The Pacers just didn’t manage any big performances. The second game was a lot more interesting, as Jimmy Butler won it with clutch free throws after a very questionable foul call on Marcus Smart. 104-103 Bulls win.