AS we near closer to All-Star break the health of players continues to be a concerning story across the league. Players who are returning from long injury layoffs and those who seem destined for a stint on the sidelines mean that waiver wires are more important now than ever. Be sure to make the most of your roster moves in the coming weeks to avoid falling out of the incoming playoff race.
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*All fantasy stats and numbers are based on ESPN format fantasy leagues.
HEADLINES THAT MATTER
- BOY oh boy, Kawhi Leonard (Spurs, SF) owners can’t catch a break. In the limited game time he has played he looked uncomfortable but has shown some signs that a return to his dominant self was just a matter of time. However, the Spurs have opted to shut him down indefinitely to rest his quad, the same injury that forced him to miss San Antonio’s first 27 games.
The word ‘indefinite’ makes it extremely difficult know how to handle this latest setback. If you have an IR spot on your roster than that’s your answer. It’s probably wise to hold onto him as his return should come sometime breifly after All-Star break. If you are in must-win mode though it’s probably worth taking the gamble and dumping him to get some production in the coming weeks.
- THINGS aren’t much better for Markelle Fultz (76ers, PG) either, despite the fact that he might return to the court soon. His jump shot literally looks broken as footage was released of Fultz getting shots up at training the other day. It’s a stretch to call him a bust already, but…
- HIS Sixers teammate Ben Simmons (76ers, PF/PG) hasn’t been in the best touch lately. In the last fortnight, he is averaging just 3.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists, which are a far cry from his December averages of 7.6 boards and 7.9 dimes. He is still scoring fine in bunches, but his value isn’t as high as it was earlier in the year.
- AFTER a wild week in the NBA a handful of suspensions have been given out to players. Trevor Ariza (Rockets, SF) and Gerald Green (Rockets, SF) were handed two-game bans for their role in the Clippers/Rockets postgame altercation, with the first game suspension served last night in Minnesota. The other culprit was Arron Afflalo (Magic, SG), who will miss just two games after throwing punches against Nemanja Bjelica (Timberwolves, SF).
MUST ADD/MUST DROP
MUST ADD – Bismack Biyombi, Orlando Magic, C
BISMACK became the sixth player this season to put up at least 10 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks the other night against the Timberwolves. Since Nikola Vucevic (Magic, C) went down with injury, Biyombi has thrived in the starting line-up averaging 9.5 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks. With Vuc on the shelf for another month or so, Biyombo needs to be on your team.
Other candidates: Tim Hardaway Jr (Knicks, SG/SF, 70.7%) & Dewayne Dedmon (Hawks, C, 22.5%)
MUST DROP – Gerald Green, Houston Rockets, SF
NOT only should you drop Green because of his recent suspension, but with Harden and Gordon dominating the line-up, his hot streak has well and truly cooled off. Green can still make 3’s and has scored in double-digits most nights, but shooting sub 40% from the field in the last two-weeks makes his value fairly low.
Other candidates: Jamal Murray (Nuggets, SG/PG, 56.4%) & Brook Lopez (Lakers, C, 55.7%)
- AFTER missing Houston’s last seven games, MVP favourite James Harden (Rockets, SG) made his return to action last night. Playing just 26 minutes against the T-Wolves, Harden was slightly rusty but still finished with 10 points (3-15 shooting), seven assists, two boards, two blocks and two steals.
- THE good injury news continues! D’Angelo Russell (Nets, PG) owners can rejoice as the point guard was upgraded to probable for Brooklyn’s game against Miami tonight. Having been out since mid-November due to a left knee injury, Russell will likely start with a reduced workload until he returns to full strength, however, he will be a nice mid-season boost.
Image from netsdaily.com
- DEANDRE Jordan (Clippers, C) missed his third straight game against the Nuggets on Wednesday and his return still remains day-to-day. It was always expected that Jordan was going to miss the last two games and even though he is questionable for Saturday’s game against the Jazz a return to action is likely.
- KYRIE Irving (Celtics, PG), Draymond Green (Warriors, SF/PF/C) and Marc Gasol (Grizzlies, C) are also under the dreaded day-to-day label having missed their team’s last outing. It’s expected that all three will return to action the next chance they get, but it’s worth monitoring their issues in case they are forced to miss more time.