The Portland Trail Blazers have been hit by the injury bug – and the illness bug.
Blazers All-Star PF LaMarcus Aldridge (illness) sat Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets due to what the team termed an upper respiratory illness. With Aldridge sidelined, it was F Meyers Leonard (illness) up from bed and into the lineup after dealing with an illness of his own. He posted seven points with 12 rebounds in 30 minutes. In Fantasy leagues which allow daily moves – as well as Daily Fantasy formats – Leonard might have some appeal Monday against New Orleans. However, Fantasy owners likely do not want to commit to Leonard for an entire week since Aldridge won’t be sidelined for long.
Blazers F Allen Crabbe has also gone from an afterthought to a starter for the Blazers due to the knee injury for F Nicolas Batum. The Frenchman Batum has been dealing with a right knee injury which has him on the Inactive List. Crabbe was decent enough with eight points, two assists and two rebounds in 31 minutes. However, big men Chris Kaman and Will Barton might still be more useful from a Fantasy perspective. Barton was good for eight minutes and three boards in just 15 minutes off the pine Saturday against the Nets, while Captain Kaman attempted 11 shots in 18 minutes off the bench, hitting three and getting to the line twice. He had 12 points, second most on the team despite the limited playing time.
As far as Batum, Casey Holdahl, digital reporter for NBA.com/Blazers, reports that the forward is targeting a return for Monday’s game. It is anything but a certainty, however, and with just three games on the schedule in the upcoming week, Fantasy owners in cumulative weekly formats might want to look elsewhere for their forward needs.
Meanwhile, the loss of the others for Fantasy owners has been the gain for those who have PG Damian Lillard. He has turned up the intensity, particularly on the offensive end, averaging 28.0 PPG over the past three outings with at least 27 points in each game. He also has gone for at least seven assists and five straight games, while posting four or more rebounds in nine straight outings. Is there anything Lillard can’t do?
Teams with four games (17): Boston, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio
Teams with three games (10): Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Minnesota, New York, Portland, Sacramento, Toronto, Utah, Washington
Teams with two games (3): Atlanta, Golden State, Indiana
MON Denver at Cleveland (7:00pm, NBATV), Chicago at L.A. Clippers (10:30pm NBATV)
TUE New Orleans at Sacramento (10:00pm NBATV)
Wed San Antonio at Cleveland (7:00 pm ESPN), LA Lakers at Houston (9:30 pm ESPN)
THU L.A. Clippers at Miami (8:00pm TNT), Chicago at Sacramento (10:30pm WGN/TNT)
FRI Cleveland at Washington (8:00pm ESPN), Chicago at Portland (13:00pm WGN/ESPN)
SAT Dallas at Houston (8:00pm NBATV)
SUN Charlotte at Miami (6:00pm NBATV)
* All Times Eastern (ET)
It’s still a bit early to put too much stock into early statistics with just a eight- to 10-game sample size so far. But one thing is certain so far – the Philadelphia 76ers are atrocious, and if your Fantasy players have the 76ers on the schedule, your guys will score well.
The Boston Celtics have the luxury of a four-game schedule in the upcoming week, and one of those games include those defensively-challenged Sixers, who are allowing 106.0 points per game (PPG), by the way. The Celtics will also get a crack at the Phoenix Suns, who check in with 105.0 PPG through 10 games. It will be a great week for guys like Fs Jeff Green, J.J. Sullinger and G Rajon Rondo, as well as perhaps C Kelly Olynyk.
As far as three-game schedules are concerned, the best of the lot might be the New York Knicks. F Carmelo Anthony should abuse the 76ers and Minnesota Timberwolves (110.0 PPG allowed), making it seem like New York played a four-game schedule this week.
The Toronto Raptors have a difficult setup this week, facing the lockdown defense of the Memphis Grizzlies, as well as the surprisingly effective Milwaukee Bucks. Each of those teams have allowed fewer than 94 points per game, so it will be a slow go for Raptors like C Jonas Valanciunas, F Amir Johnson and perhaps G Kyle Lowry. J.V. and Johnson are coin-flip starts, and if you have better options, use them. Lowry should remain active in all formats.
Minnesota Timberwolves SF Andrew Wiggins continues to be the gold standard as far as rookie scoring is concerned, posting 11.3 PPG in eight games. He is also hitting a respectable 47.3 percent from the field, and he has added 3.4 RPG and nearly a steal per game. The fact he is getting 27.4 minutes per game certainly helps.
Brooklyn Nets SG Bojan Bogdanovic is one of three first-year players averaging double-digit point totals (10.4 PPG) through eight games, and he is playing a rookie-leading 29.4 minutes per game. While the scoring is nice, he has hit 47.1 percent from the field, he has bagged 11 3-pointers through eight games, and he has 2.6 RPG and 1.3 APG while contributing nearly one swipe per outing. Not many people talked about Bogdanovic before the season, but he has the chance to be rookie of the year if things continue along these lines.
Denver Nuggets C Jusuf Nurkic is a player worth monitoring in deeper Fantasy leagues. Right now, he is playing just 9.6 minutes per game, but he is still averaging 4.0 RPG. It you extrapolate that over a full game, that would be 20.1 rebounds per 48 minutes (RP48). The next best rookie in that category is Brooklyn Nets PF Cory Jefferson (16.0 RP48), Orlando Magic PF Nikola Mirotic (11.9 RP48) and then Houston Rockets PF Tarik Black (11.6 RP48).
Another week, another injury for Chicago Bulls PG Derrick Rose. He missed Saturday’s game due to a mild strain of his hamstring. The good news is that the team did not feel an MRI was required. However, he missed another game Saturday on the heels of missing time last week due to sprains of both of his ankle. It is especially good that none of the injuries have involved his surgically repaired knee, but his propensity for injury is maddening for Fantasy owners, but you likely knew what you were getting, too.
There is good news for Fantasy owners who took a chance on Washington Wizards G Bradley Beal (wrist) on Draft Day. He is expected to practice Monday, and it is possible he makes his season debut as early as Friday. Monitor the situation in weekly formats. If he can get a game or two under his belt this week, and play without restrictions or setbacks, you know what to do for next week.
Los Angeles Lakers swingman Nick Young (thumb) is hopeful of returning Tuesday against Atlanta. Normally it’s not good practice to use a guy coming right off an injury, due to uncertain, potential minutes restrictions and the potential of a setback. But with the Lakers set for four games in the upcoming period, Young is worth a roll of the dice in deeper Fantasy formats.
If you need help in specific categories in Rotisserie Fantasy hoops play, you’ve come to the right place. Check out these guys, who should be available in your league, to help out in certain areas.
POINTS PER GAME
Gary Neal, PG, Charlotte (13.1 PPG past nine games)
A.J. Price, PG, Indiana (11.4 PPG past five games)
Garrett Temple, SG, Washington (10.1 PPG past eight games)
Carl Landry, PF, Sacramento (10.1 PPG past nine games)
Lou Williams SG, Toronto (10.0 PPG past nine games)
REBOUNDS PER GAME
J.J. Hickson, PF, Denver (9.0 RPG past three games)
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, SF, Philadelphia (6.0 RPG past eight games)
Andre Roberson, SG, Oklahoma City (6.0 RPG over past four games)
Reggie Evans, PF, Sacramento (5.8 RPG over past nine games)
Jason Thompson, PF, Sacramento (5.7 RPG over past nine games)
Ronnie Price, PG, L.A. Lakers (4.4 APG over past eight games)
Aaron Brooks, PG, Chicago (3.9 APG over past nine games)
J.J. Barea, PG, Dallas (3.6 APG over past eight games)
Steve Blake, PG, Portland (3.4 APG over past nine games)
Alexey Shved, PG, Philadelphia (3.4 APG over past seven games)
STEALS PER GAME
Corey Brewer, SF, Minnesota (1.9 SPG over past eight games)
Shane Larkin, PG, New York (1.5 SPG over past 10 games)
Garrett Temple, SG, Washington (1.5 SPG over past eight games)
Dennis Schroeder, PG, Atlanta (1.4 SPG over past seven games)
Pablo Prigioni, PG, New York (1.4 SPG over past eight games)
Ronnie Price, PG, L.A. Lakers (1.4 SPG over past eight games)
BLOCKED SHOTS PER GAME
Samuel Dalembert, C, New York (1.5 BPG over past 10 games)
James Johnson, PF, Toronto (1.4 BPG over past nine games)
Alex Len, C, Phoenix (1.1 BPG over past nine games)
DeWayne Dedmon, C, Orlando (1.0 BPG over past seven games)
3-POINTERS MADE PER GAME
Jason Terry, SG, Houston (20 3PT over past nine games)
Isaiah Canaan, PG, Houston (17 3PT over past nine games)
Garrett Temple, SG, Washington (15 3PT over past eight games)
Aaron Brooks, PG, Chicago (15 3PT over past nine games)
Patrick Patterson, PF, Toronto (13 3PT over past nine games)