TWO very different weeks in the NBA and NFL have fantasy coaches searching for the delete team button or cheering with joy. Kawhi Leonard, Aaron Rodgers, John Wall, Carson Wentz and of course Josh McCowan dictated injury headlines as the NFL playoffs continue to fire and the basketball season continues to throw us curve balls.
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*All fantasy stats and numbers are based on ESPN format fantasy leagues.
- FINALLY, after what feels like an eternity Kawhi Leonard (Spurs, SF) has returned. For 27 games owners have been staring at that dreaded O next to Leonard’s name, but no more. He made his season debut against Dallas and put up 13 points, six boards, one assist, one steal and one block. Kudos to those owners who held out, now it’s time to reap the benefits.
- I drafted Rajon Rondo (Pelicans, PG), then dropped him, then added him again just before he started channelling his vintage Boston days. Since the start of December, he has found his mojo averaging 11 points, 10.3 assists and 5.9 rebounds a night all while shooting 50% from deep. In other words, if he’s somehow on your waiver wire POUNCE!
- IF you need some help in the 3-point category a handy option may be to target a few Houston Rockets. I’m not delivering groundbreaking news when you learn that Houston takes the most 3’s a night by a wide margin and converts nearly 37% of them as a team. Obviously, players like James Harden, Chris Paul and Eric Gordon are already probably on rosters but don’t overlook Trevor Ariza (2.8 3’s PG last week) and Ryan Anderson (1.8).
MUST ADD – Kris Dunn, Chicago Bulls, PG
WITH Zach LaVine’s return incoming it seems like Kris Dunn is doing everything he can to lock down a starting spot alongside him. In the last seven days, Dunn has put up 15.5 points, eight assists six rebounds and 2.5 steals. as the Bulls have won four straight.
Other candidates: Caris LeVert (Nets, C, 27.7%) & Zach Randolph (Kings, PF, 74.0%)
MUST DROP – Jeremy Lamb, Charlotte Hornets, SG/SF
EARLIER on in the season, Lamb was thriving with Nic Batum sidelined. He started 12 straight games and scored in double figures all but once averaging over 30 minutes a game. He has been out of flavour lately with just 20 minutes a game shooting just under 33%. Pass.
Other candidates: Derrick Favours (Nets, PF/C, 69.6%) & Denzel Valentine (Bulls, SG/SF, 9.2%)
Image from sbnation.com
INJURY NEWS – TOWARDS the start of the week the talk was revolving around Joel Embiid (76ers, C) after he missed back-to-back games. Tro-el returned to burn the Timberwolves and play a career-high 39 minutes, so fear not fantasy owners. Porzinigs (Knicks, PF) left the Thunder game early last night with a knee issue, but appears to be fine, while Draymond Green (Warriors, SF/PF/C) has missed three of his last four games with a shoulder issue. Coaches who own John Collins (Hawks, PF) and/or John Wall (Wizards, PG) will happily accept them back in their starting squads, and after Danilo Gallinari made his return from injury he has missed three straight games. Avoid.
- A moment’s silence for the fallen fantasy breakout player. Now that you have got over the devastating loss of yet another prominent NFL star it’s time to regroup. If you are chasing a replacement for Carson Wentz you can look below in the must add section, or alternatively, I like the looks of Jimmy Garoppolo (vs. Titans).
- REJOICE Packers fans, the prodigal son returns. Aaron Rodgers has been cleared to play and while he is here to gun for a playoff berth in Green Bay he might just save your fantasy season too. Playing him against Carolina is slightly risky, but for their final two fixtures start A-Rod with no hesitation.
Image from ftw.usatoday.com
- THIS weekend the Baltimore Ravens play the Cleveland Browns and the Washington Redskins play the Arizona Cardinals. A combined total of 59 people will be watching those games and it’s highly likely that people will shy away from them from a fantasy perspective as well. However. The Browns and Cards are both bad on defense in real life football and fantasy, therefore Ravens and Redskins players may have a decent upside for this weekend’s matchup. I for one will be taking advantage of the matchup playing Samaje Perine and you should consider it too.
MUST ADD – Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles, QB
HIGH risk, high reward. The Eagles face the Giants, Raiders and Cowboys to close out the season who rank 32nd, 24th and 22nd for most points given up to opposing fantasy quarterbacks. Even though Wentz is gone, Foles could still be a solid waiver wire option to help you survive and claim fantasy glory.
Other candidates: Giovani Bernard (Bengals, RB, 58.7%) & Kenyan Drake (Dolphins, RB, 84.1%)
MUST DROP – Ryan Succop, Tennessee Titans, K
IT’S not all your fault Ryan, but it kind of is. Gone are the days when he was scoring in the 20’s and the mid double figures for us. Now instead, with the Titans struggling to move the ball, Succop has just six fantasy points in the last fortnight and offers very little upside moving forward over the season’s final three games.
Other candidates: Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Jets, TE, 50.1%) & Orleans Darkwa (Giants, RB, 59.3%)
INJURY NEWS – I won’t go into more detail about Wentz and Rodgers, but there are still other fantasy players who still need their injuries to be talked about. Another Philly fantasy relevant guy Jake Elliott (Eagles, K) has been cleared of any concussion damages. Owners will also revel in Gronk’s (Patriots, TE) availability after he served his suspension and for those of you who were starting Josh McCown (Jets, QB) will need to find a new QB after he suffered a broken hand against Denver.