SOME of you reading this are already league champions in the Fantasy Football world. If you fall in that bracket congratulations, if not then you still have work to do before Sunday. Be sure to read the list of players who are likely to be rested on the weekend and set yourself up for success. Those of you here for NBA news a pair of Cavaliers, Kawhi Leonard’s minutes and Griffin/Curry’s return fills your section. Enjoy!
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*All fantasy stats and numbers are based on ESPN format fantasy leagues.
- ISAIAH Thomas (Cavaliers, PG) has taken another step in his rehab with his return imminent now. After taking part in a 5-on-5 scrimmage Friday, Thomas will now likely return to the court early in the new year for Cleveland.
- THOSE of you who were expecting a full strength Kawhi Leonard (Spurs, SF) upon his return to the court have been somewhat disappointed so far. In his five matches back with the team Leonard has averaged just 19 minutes a game, however, he is coming off 21 points in a season-high 26 minutes. That makes him a perfect buy-low candidate for a trade should an owner in your league lack the patience to wait for his 25/6/6 averages to arrive.
- WITH Damian Lillard (Trailblazers, PG) returning any day now, Shabazz Napier’s recent fantasy surge won’t be sustained. The fourth-year guard has started the last two games though and with Lillard out he is averaging 19.3 points, 4.3 assists and three steals in the last week. Keep that in mind should D-Lil miss any more time and Napier garner more starts though.
MUST ADD – Ish Smith, Detroit Pistons, PG
NEED point guard help? Look no further than Ish, who will start for Detroit moving forward. A serious ankle sprain to his teammate Reggie Jackson means that Smith will be the man at point.
Other candidates: Austin Rivers (Clippers, SG/PG, 42.0%) & Tyes Jones (Timberwolves, PG, 11.2%)
Image from freep.com
MUST DROP – Jae Crowder, Cleveland Cavaliers, SF/PF
AS a Cavs fan I have watched a lot of Jae Crowder clanking shots and showing flashes of promise. Don’t get sucked in like me. If you have been, then just know as Thomas increases his workload and Tristan Thompson likely pushes for minutes, Crowder is the odd one out.
Other candidates: Mike Scott (Wizards, PF, 5.1%) & Greg Monroe (Suns, PF/C, 30.5%)
INJURY NEWS – BLAKE Griffin (Clippers, PF) and Steph Curry (Warriors, PG) owners can take solace in knowing that their stars will be back on the court soon. Curry is targeting the Grizzlies game on Saturday to make his return from an ankle injury. while Griffin may even suit up against the Lakers tonight. The news isn’t as good for Nikola Vucevic (Magic, C) and Jeff Teague (Timberwolves, PG) with the duo expected to miss over a month with a fractured hand and sprained knee respectively.
- I’M taking a little bit of a different philosophy for those of you playing your Fantasy Football SuperBowl this week. Most have concluded their seasons, but for those who haven’t, I will highlight the players to avoid, add and bench for the regular season finale.
MUST ADD – Jimmy Garoppolo, San Fransisco 49ers, QB
WITH the Rams resting a bunch of guys and with no reason to win expect Jimmy Jesus to go off! After single-handedly turning the prospects of the 49ers on their head in the past few weeks, Garoppolo has a chance to finish the season with a five-game winning streak. Lock and load.
Other candidates: Derrick Henry (Titans, RB), Eric Ebron (Lions, TE), Malcolm Brown (Rams, RB), Marquise Goodwin (49ers, WR)
Image from paulkuharsky.com
MUST AVOID – Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals, QB
IF you’re looking for a flier to score well in the season finale then Andy Dalton is not your man. The Bengals QB doesn’t have a great track record of success and will be squaring off against a Ravens team that still has something to play for. Avoid like the plague.
Other candidates: Chris Ivory (Jaguars, RB), Orleans Darkwa (Giants, RB), Saints D/ST
MUST BENCH – Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams, RB 😭
IT pains me to inform you fantasy coaches, but the brilliance of Todd Gurley won’t be seen in Week 17. With very little to play for the Rams won’t be taking any risk with their superstar ahead of the playoffs.
Other candidates: Le’Veon Bell (Steelers, RB)*, Kareem Hunt (Chiefs, RB), DeAndre Hopkins (Texans, WR), Jared Goff (Rams, QB), Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers, QB)*, Alex Smith (Chiefs, QB)
*These players are expected to miss the game but haven’t officially been ruled out. Watch their status closer to kickoff.