It’s been a bad couple weeks for big men. A lot of top producing forwards and centers seem to have been bitten by the injury bug around Thanksgiving.

Initially, DeMarcus Cousins was only considered day-to-day with viral meningitis. After missing his 8th straight game, coach Mike Malone was unsure when he would get his big man back. He’s been ruled out for the rest of the weekend, with his playing status in jeopardy for next week.

While Cousins has been out, Reggie Evans has grabbed almost every available rebound. Well not really, but he has had games of 13, 14, and 20 rebounds, while starting for Cousins. Jason Thompson has offered a more balanced increase in production (11 ppg, 10.2 rpg, and 2.4 apg in last 5 games), but the biggest beneficiary has been Rudy Gay.

With Cousins declared out for at least the weekend, now is the best time to sell high on Gay. He has a usage rate (total number of possessions per 48 minutes) of 30.2 when Cousins is out, but a 25.3 usage rate when Cousins is playing alongside him. As a result, Gay has increased his scoring, rebounds, and assists with Cousins off the floor. Try to trade him this weekend for a top 20/30 player, before Cousins gets back and steals touches away from him.

Like Cousins, Dwight Howard continues to rack up the DNPs, having missed 11 straight games due to a knee injury. The good news is that Howard was able to take part in most of Tuesday’s practice, before sitting out Wednesday and Thursday’s games. Howard hopes to get in another couple days of practice, with hopes of returning to the lineup on Saturday against the Nuggets.

With Howard potentially returning on Saturday, it will push Tarik Black back to the bench and cut into some of Donatas Motiejunas production. DoMo should still have value with Terrence Jones and Kostas Papanikolaou out, but deep league owners should try and package him in a 2-for-1 deal while his value is high.

BREAKING NEWS: Brook Lopez is hurt. Well it’s not really breaking news to owners who have had to deal with his injury history. On Sunday, Lopez was diagnosed with a lower back strain. He has yet to play a full season of basketball since the 2010-11 season, but it appears that Lopez avoided a major injury this time. He’ll be reevaluated early next week, giving us a better timetable for his return.

In the meantime, Kevin Garnett and Mason Plumlee will see increased minutes. It might be a wise time to invest in Mason Plumlee, who could be in line for even more minutes if the Nets’ found a team stupid enough to take on Lopez’s salary. The Nets have been rumored to be trying to move Lopez, Deron Williams, and Joe Johnson.

Plumlee started Wednesday’s game and went 8/8 with 3 blocks in 28 minutes. With starter’s minutes, I could see Mason putting up numbers similar to what his older brother, Miles Plumlee, did last year in Phoenix (8.1 ppg, 7.8 rpg, and 1.1 bpg in 24.6 mpg). It might not be enough for standard leagues, but is something to consider for teams in need of blocks.

Another injury prone big man, Nikola Pekovic, suffered a setback to his ankle and may not return until mid-January. Pek missed 28 games last season with the same ankle injury. Since he has an injury history with his ankles, don’t look to have Pekovic back in your lineup anytime soon. Those who invested in Gorgui Dieng will be happy to have him seeing starter’s minutes well into January. He’s still available in 32% of Yahoo leagues so go grab him, if you haven’t already.

Fellow T-Wolf (what’s the singular version of T-Wolves? T-Wolf? T-Wolve?), Mo Williams has been ruled out for Friday’s game, with no timetable for his return. Williams has been suffering from back spasms, a lingering injury that has also sidelined Carmelo Anthony and Nikola Vucevic in recent weeks. Anthony only missed a few games, while Vucci Mane has been out 5 games and counting. Consider Williams day-to-day for the time being.

With Williams out, Zach LaVine has seen an uptick in minutes. In the four games that Williams has missed, he’s provided 14.5 ppg, 6.75 apg, and 4.25 rpg. Until we hear when Williams will return, LaVine is a fine pickup for teams in need of assists.

David Lee is targeting a return to the court on Monday. Well, we’ve heard that one before. We shall wait and see if that actually comes to fruition, but he’s traveling with the team on their upcoming road trip. Draymond Green continues to do a superb job filling in for Lee, but Lee will cut into Green’s minutes, even if Green remains the starter.

After missing 8 games with a bone bruise, the Suns are hopeful that Isaiah Thomas will return to the lineup on Friday. That’s no guarantee, but is encouraging news for owners.

Tony Wroten did not play on Wednesday against the Hawks, but has a chance to play on Friday. Even if he doesn’t play Friday, Wroten should be back shortly. In the meantime, Alexey Shved will be the backup point guard.

Lastly, Wizards sharp shooter Martell Webster went through his first full practice this season on Thursday, with hopes of returning around Christmas. Webster has been out all season, after surgery to repair a herniated disk in June. Webster was a relevant fantasy player last year, but Rasual Butler has been doing a good job in his role this year. I’m not recommending picking up Webster, but owners who have picked up the red hot Butler, should be aware that Webster might eat into Butler’s production.

  1. Zebo says:
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    who would you rather have: Wes Johnson, Demarr Carroll, or Kris Middleton?

    • PORKFOOT says:
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      @Zebo: I like Carroll personally but you are probably looking for an experts opinion. ;-P -WWJBD- what would J.B. do ?

      • Peter Kap

        Peter Kap says:
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        @PORKFOOT: I’m not JB, but I would agree that Carroll is the better play of the three. Does everything (except block shots) and sees plenty of minutes. I would then rank them Johnson and Middleton.

  2. Lasandro says:
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    Heya man! 14 cat roto, very shallow league (8 team): I just dropped bogut as he’ll be out for a short stint, and picked up taj with Noah sidelined for a bit. Do I let him play a couple more games before Noah returns then pick up dieng, or should I go ahead and pick dieng up immediately? I need FGM, high brds and a block.

    • Peter Kap

      Peter Kap says:
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      @Lasandro: Gibson and Dieng are going to give you fairly similar defensive stats, but Gibson will provide slightly more scoring and FGM. Since it’s a shallow league, even if you miss out on Dieng when Noah comes back, you should be able to find another big man.

  3. PORKFOOT says:
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    drop Mcdaniels for Covington ? I play 8 cat and points breaks our ties so his scoring could be difference maker. I just have a man crush on McDaniels that is practically embarassing.

    • Peter Kap

      Peter Kap says:
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      @PORKFOOT: McDaniels is the better overall player, but with Tony Wroten back, it’ll be interesting what happens to McDaniels’ minutes. I would wait another game to see if McDaniels still produces, but if it’s anything like Friday night, then I would be fine dropping him for Covington. With Covington, you’re really only going to get scoring and threes, while McDaniels provides more all-around stat lines.

  4. Dante Green says:
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    Hi guys I just dropped by to say….. BATUM IS AWFUL AS HELL! I DRAFTED HIM HIGH WHAT A WASTE OF PICK

    • Peter Kap

      Peter Kap says:
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      @Dante Green: I understand your pain. I’m a big fan of his game, but he’s been disappointing in fantasy. Granted, there is still value to be had with him, but you’re not getting the value where you drafted him. I hope he turns it around, but perhaps you can trade him to an owner that thinks he’ll rebound.

      • Dante Green says:
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        @Peter Kap: yo pete thanks for answering! As much as i would want to move batum i cant seem find the courage to do it! Lol. I’m keeping my faith up he’s gonna turn things around! SOONER I HOPE

  5. Dante Green says:
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    Does anybody know when DMC will be back in action? I’m trying to get him from his owner! Is dirk+mcw package enough to land him?

    • Peter Kap

      Peter Kap says:
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      @Dante Green: DMC took in a light practice on Friday and is expected to practice more next week. With that information, I would guess he’s another week or so away from playing, with a return right before Christmas. That’s no guarantee, but is a projection based on his practice schedule. I think that your offer is very fair. That’s two top 40/50 players for a top 10 player. Looks pretty even to me.

      • Dante Green says:
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        @Peter Kap: aright, i’ll try to make that trade happen! Thanks pete,

  6. Hype says:
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    Hey Pete, would you drop Terrence Jones in a 12er if you also have 2 other long term injuries?

    How would you rank these FAs for best value?
    Rudy Gobert
    Kyle OQuinn
    Mason Plumlee
    Mirza Teletovic
    Tyler Zeller
    Patrick Patterson
    Jodie Meeks
    Jeremy Lin
    Brandan Wright

    • Peter Kap

      Peter Kap says:
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      @Hype: He’s probably droppable, but it would depend on who those 2 other long term injuries were. Without knowing who they are, then I wouldn’t be able to give a strong answer.

      As for the pickup, I would pick up Jeremy Lin, Tyler Zeller, Brandan Wright, or Patrick Patterson, in that order. Ranking the rest, Teletovic, O’Quinn, Plumlee, Gobert, then Meeks.

      • Hype says:
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        @Peter Kap:
        Hey Pete, its Rubio and the ever injured Broke Lopez btw. I also have Kawhi but he’s only day to day I hope.

        • Hype says:
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          @Hype:
          Btw, just read McDaniels is also injured as well.. Add him to the list. Here’s my team:
          G-cp3,rubio*,holiday,mcdaniels*
          F-kawhi*,hayward,draymond,tjones*
          C-horford,brolo*,rolo,sullinger,jhill

          Now i got 5 out of 13 injuries. Should I stay the course with TJones still and tank the rest of december? Then try to catch up on January?

          • Peter Kap

            Peter Kap says:
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            @Hype: There’s no new update on Terrence Jones so I would move on from him. Rubio will be back soon. Sounds like the Spurs are being cautious with Leonard, but they rest their stars all the time. McDaniels is back and Brook Lopez is hoping for a return on Sunday. Jones is the only guy I would move on from. Otherwise, you should hopefully be healthier in January. Knock on wood…

  7. Carl says:
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    With Favors going down with a (possibly serious) ankle sprain, do you think Rudy Gobert is worth owning over Brewer, Giannis, or George Hill (currently stashing him) in a 12-teamer?

    Thanks!

    • Peter Kap

      Peter Kap says:
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      @Carl: I haven’t heard that the injury is serious. Despite leaving the arena in a walking boot, x-rays were negative and he’s questionable to play Sunday. Unless it’s more serious than initial reports are saying, I wouldn’t bother picking up Gobert over any of those guys.

  8. Toni Vidal says:
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    Hi boys,

    Dinasty: 12Team, roto, 9cat.

    Collison + Stephenson side
    or
    DeRozan side

    Thanks

    • Peter Kap

      Peter Kap says:
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      @Toni Vidal: Tough for me to trade for an injured player when we don’t know when DeRozan will be back. Knowing what we know now, I would prefer to have the Collison/Stephenson side. If the DeRozan owner is looking to sell low, then I would only offer one of those guys to start and see where that gets you.

  9. Kevin says:
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    H2H yahoo 10 team 7-cat (3ptm, pts, reb, ast, stl, blk, TO). no percentages!

    I’m sitting 2nd place but currently losing 0-7 to the 1st place person right now.

    do you think brandon jennings and greg monroe is droppable? i think jennings has a high ceiling in numbers since my league doesn’t care about percentages but his floor is so low right now. and monroe could be big if someone get’s traded. i tried to move brandon jennings and greg monroe but i can’t get any value back.

    what’s your 2 cents on dropping them for streaming spots? Thanks in advance!

    my team:
    brandon jennings, steph curry, monta ellis, mike conley, trevor ariza, kj Mcdaniels

    markieff morris, demarre carroll, paul millsap, andrew bogut, greg monroe, terrance jones, derrick favors.

    • Peter Kap

      Peter Kap says:
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      @Kevin: You’re right Jennings isn’t as bad, since percentages don’t count, but he’s in a bad funk right now. Since he’s an inconsistent player, I would hold onto him. I’m hopeful he’ll get red hot again shortly and then you can trade him. But I wouldn’t drop Monroe or Jennings. The first guy on your team I would drop is Terrance Jones if you wanted to stream. Otherwise, it looks like the waiver wire won’t have any players better than your roster.

  10. Steven says:
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    In a 10 team H2H points (non category) league so just looking for most production whatever stat it comes from.
    Having a tough time at the moment as I am stashing wiggins and derozan, but also have brook Lopez and Demarcus cousins. Have Durant so am really building towards the playoffs.

    Picked up KJ mcdaniels last week. Now Covington has become flavor of the month. My gut is that mcdaniels is a better long term play and that signing Covington would be just chasing stats. I feel like Covington will cool off but mcdaniels just isn’t getting the minutes increase I was hoping for.

    Is either guy going to be worth holding for the season? Or can I drop mcdaniels for a streamer with 4 games this week?

    • Peter Kap

      Peter Kap says:
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      @Steven: I would say both McDaniels and Covington are streamers. McDaniels is the better long term play because he offers more variety of stats, but if Covington is getting time over him, then he isn’t worth holding onto anyway.

  11. KD Owner says:
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    someone in my 14 team h2h 9cat league dropped Elfrid Payton. my assist category is one of my weakest; is there a chance for a second half resurgence?

    • Peter Kap

      Peter Kap says:
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      @KD Owner: Payton is a raw player, but is part of the long term plan for the Magic. Since the Magic aren’t playoff bound, I could see them playing Payton more in 2nd half of the season. Even with the amount of playing time now, he’s still giving value in steals and assists. Since this is a deep league, I would pounce.

  12. I am the Walrus says:
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    Drop Calderon for Covington?

    • Peter Kap

      Peter Kap says:
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      @I am the Walrus: In a vacuum, that’s fine. Really depends on what your team needs more of. Assists? Then Caledron. Points and rebounds? Then Covington.

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