Maybe it’s because this is my first season writing for Razzball, but it seems like just about every week this season, there are a handful of fantasy stars who have come down with serious injuries.
Last week, I mentioned that LaMarcus Aldridge and Kobe Bryant would miss a significant amount of time. This week, we have more clarity on their situations.
Aldridge was supposed to have surgery on the torn ligament in his thumb and miss 6-8 weeks. He changed his mind and decided that he would play through the pain, just in time to beat my Wizards on Saturday night. He may miss a few games here and there, but as long as he can manage the pain, he should remain a top player. Hopefully you didn’t drop him prematurely.
Kobe Bryant on the other hand doesn’t have the option of playing through his torn rotator cuff. He’s out for the season and is droppable in all redraft leagues. There isn’t talk of retirement yet, but the future hall of famer’s career is coming closer to the end.
Just like Bryant, we’ve seen the last of Brandon Jennings for this season too, after tearing his Achilles. And it’s a shame because we won’t get to see plays like this anymore. But in all seriousness, ever since the Detroit Pistons released Josh Smith, Jennings has been a fantasy beast and somehow got the Pistons back in the playoff hunt. Releasing Smith is the best thing that has happened to the Pistons, since they won the NBA Championship.
Averaging 20.9 points, 7.2 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.5 threes per game in January, owners will be hard pressed to replace him.
D.J. Augustin will start for Jennings and should be picked up in all leagues. He’s seen his ownership levels rise 37% in the last few days so it might be too late, but grab him if he’s available.
In the first two starts without Jennings, Augustin put up 35/4/8 and 19/4/9. He followed up those superb games with an egg (2/1/4), but Augustin has been productive as a starter in the past. Unless the Pistons make a trade, he has no competition for minutes at the point. I can see Augustin providing scoring in the teens with 5+ assists a night. Not bad for a pickup.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope should also see a few more looks at the basket, but isn’t as much of an all-around player like Augustin. KCP will score and knock down threes, but little else.
The Charlotte Hornets just can’t catch a break. After getting Al Jefferson back from the disabled list, Kemba Walker went down with a knee injury. On Wednesday, he underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee and will miss a minimum of six weeks. Walker was really starting to pick things up after a slow start (23.6 ppg, 4.1 apg, and 3.9 rpg in January).
Walker owners should run and get D.J. Augustin, but if you strike out on him, Brian Roberts might be the next best point guard pickup. When he’s not playing second base for the Yankees, he’s playing point guard for the Hornets.
Now Roberts won’t dish out the assists like Augustin, but will shoot threes and can score, when given the minutes. As a starter last year for the Pelicans, Roberts averaged 11.9 points, 4.0 assists, and 1.1 threes per game. Owners needing to replace Jennings, Walker, or even Jrue Holiday, could do much worse than Roberts.
Dwayne Wade told reporters, “You won’t be seeing me for a while,” after hurting his hamstring this week. He expects to miss two to three weeks at the minimum, putting him out through the All-Star break.
Whenever Wade is hurt, Mario Chalmers always seems to step up. On Tuesday, he scored 21 points and dished out 8 assists in 34 minutes. Chalmers has been pretty disappointing over the last month, but perhaps this is a sign of things to come.
Luol Deng is also suffering from a calf injury and has been ruled out for Friday’s game. With both Wade and Deng out, Danny Granger will start at small forward for the immediate future. In Tuesday’s start, he scored 14 points with 6 rebounds and 3 3-pointers. No need to pick up Granger for now, but he could be a good value play in daily leagues.
After traveling to Los Angeles to get a second opinion on his knee, Tony Wroten has been diagnosed with a partial tear of the ACL in his right knee. Right now, there is no timetable, but it sounds like that surgery will be required to repair the injury, which should end his season.
Even with Wroten’s poor shooting and high turnover rate, he was still valuable in fantasy. Wroten remains the 76ers leading scoring, averaging 16.9 points, 5.2 assists, and 2.9 rebounds per game. It’s a big blow to the rebuilding 76ers.
Despite his inefficiencies, Wroten had a usage rate of 29.7, which put him at 8th in the league. That’s higher than Michael Carter-Williams (27.5)! With Wroten’s season over, someone (or multiple people) will have to fill that void on offense.
As a result, MCW gets a bump in value. He’s not someone who is available on waivers, but I would highly recommend trading for him. I think that MCW could have a spike in production, a la Brandon Jennings when the Pistons released Josh Smith. Jennings became a stud overnight in Detroit and I could see MCW getting a bigger chunk of Wroten’s opportunities on offense.
Covington has come out of nowhere to average 12.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.3 spg, and 2.2 3PT FGM. After being cut by the Houston Rockets, Covington has provided solid scoring, threes, and rebounds for owners. You’ll have to deal with his poor field goal percentage, but he’s been a great waiver wire addition and should continue to.
McDaniels’ ownership (23%) isn’t as high as Covington’s (57%), but he’s still a valuable fantasy asset for his ability to block shots out of position. You’re not going to find many shooting guards/small forwards who are averaging 1.4 bpg. He’s still not must own in standard leagues, but with Wroten out, McDaniels’ scoring and rebounds should rise, while still providing 2+ combined steals and blocks per game.
Just like McDaniels, Jerami Grant is another out of position shot blocker. He swatted 8 shots against the Knicks the other day. Granted it was the Knicks, but with that kind of athletic ability, he’s someone to monitor, if he can begin to contribute in other areas.
Owners shouldn’t worry about Kevin Durant’s toe injury. He’s missed two games and is questionable to play on Friday, but should be back in a few games to help get the Thunder back in the playoff hunt.
An MRI Thursday morning revealed a grade 1 adductor strain for Anthony Davis. He avoided major injury, as grade 1 injuries are the lowest, but he’s questionable to play Friday.
After hurting his wrist on a fall on Tuesday, Lebron James is considered doubtful for Friday’s game. James sat out Wednesday,= during Kyrie Irving’s historic night, and should be considered day-to-day for now.