Wait, wait, wait. Wasn’t the expanded schedule supposed to reduce injuries? Look, I know injuries happen each year, and while the list of big names on the shelf isn’t deep, most Fantasy owners have spent the first two months scrambling to find depth in the wake of yet another player sidelined by an injury.
Coping After the Fall of the Stifle Tower
The Rudy Gobert Comeback Tour is on hiatus after the Jazz center was diagnosed with a sprained PCL in his left knee and a bone bruise on his tibia, leaving him sidelined for at least a month. Replacing Gobert’s 11.6 points per game isn’t too hard a task. However, his 9.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots per night is a void darker than my dating options for New Year’s Eve.
My, this does sound like a great segue to our….
Waiver Saviors (Dedicated to You, Rudy)
Alex Len, C, Suns: Len needed just 28 minutes to score 12 points, pull down 19 rebounds and add six assists in Saturday’s win over the Timberwolves. Phoenix still rotates between Len, Tyson Chandler and Greg Monroe, but Len’s 19.29 PER and youth (24) will eventually gain him the starting lineup. He’s owned in just 57 percent of CBSSports.com leagues and is a good option even if his minutes are a nightly crapshoot.
Richaun Holmes, F/C, 76ers: His rebound rate (16.3) isn’t as impressive as Gobert’s 18.4, but Holmes gets minutes and is owned in just 19 percent of CBSSports.com leagues. He recorded his first double-double of the season last Tuesday, and would see his value skyrocket if Joel Embiid is sidelined.
Ekpe Udoh, C, Jazz: Why not go straight to Gobert’s replacement? Udoh scored just nine points in 33 minutes on Saturday, but added seven rebounds and six blocked shots. He’s buried deep on the waiver wires, but Udoh can be of use in deeper leagues, especially with Derrick Favors expected to miss several games with a concussion.
Streamers. Lots of Streamers
Nik Stauskas, G, Nets: Exploded for 22 points (five 3-pointers) in his Brooklyn debut on Friday. Run with him until Allen Crabbe returns to the roster.
Michael Beasley, F, Knicks: He can’t play against Carmelo Anthony every night, but Saturday’s 30-point performance was his third straight game in double figures. As long as Kristaps Porzingis is out, Beasley is a useful source of points.
Maxi Kleber, F, Mavericks: The 6’11” rookie from Germany is averaging over 30 minutes per game over his last five, and he opened some eyes with a 21-point outburst in Saturday’s loss to the Spurs that included a trio of treys and three blocks.
Jakob Poeltl, C, Raptors: Hovers around 20-22 minutes a night, but Poeltl has a solid 19.94 PER, averages a block per game and shoots 69 percent from the field. Sooner or later, Poeltl’s going to grab more time.
I’d Rather Have (Blank) Than (Blank)
I’d rather have Magic center Nikola Vucevic over any post not named Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Davis or DeMarcus Cousins. Vucevic has quietly put up double-doubles in each of his last five games and has recorded 16 DDs this season. With an ADP of 53.3, Vucevic’s 21.68 PER has made him one the best Fantasy values thus far.
I’d rather have Nets’ guard Spencer Dinwiddie over Lakers’ guard Lonzo Ball. You wouldn’t trust the fate of the world on either one’s shooting, but Dinwiddie’s 17.74 PER tops Ball’s 11.04 total due in part to Dinwiddie’s free throw shooting and ball security. Dinwiddie is also sixth in the league in assist percentage at 37.9 percent, ranking him ahead of the likes of Kyle Lowry, Steph Curry, Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard. For the record, Ball is 21st with a 29.4 percent mark.
Bet You Didn’t Know That…
Based on True Shooting Percentage, Cavaliers guard Kyle Korver is the second-best shooter in the league (67.9 percent), yet us owned in just 20 percent of CBSSports.com leagues.
Best Fantasy-Friendly Game of the Week
Raptors-76ers on Thursday features the fourth and sixth-highest scoring teams in the league. Don’t sleep on Philly’s Dario Saric, who is averaging 14.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists while playing the role of fourth option in the Sixers’ lineup.
Best of the One-on-One Matchups
Klay Thompson is the headliner, but Gary Harris is more than capable of trading shots with the Warriors’ sniper when the Nuggets visit on Saturday night. Harris leads Denver in scoring at 16.1 points per game, a total that would be higher if he averaged better than 13 shots per game. He’s a 38 percent shooter from beyond the arc, where nearly half of his attempts originate.
Best Fantasy Matchup to Exploit
The breakout season of Pacers guard Victor Oladipo has been helped by his 42 percent accuracy from 3-point range. Keep that in mind when Oladipo and Indiana visit Atlanta on Wednesday night, as the Hawks have allowed a league-high 350 treys.
TEAMS PLAYING FOUR GAMES THIS WEEK
Hawks, Celtics, Hornets, Bulls, Mavericks, Nuggets, Warriors, Clippers, Lakers, Heat, Thunder, 76ers, Suns, Trail Blazers, Spurs, Jazz
TEAMS PLAYING THREE GAMES THIS WEEK
Nets, Rockets, Pacers, Grizzlies, Bucks, Timberwolves, Pelicans, Knicks, Magic, Kings, Raptors, Wizards
TEAMS PLAYING TWO GAMES THIS WEEK
Winner: The Warriors and their league-leading offense get a home-and-home against a Lakers defense ranked 26th in points allowed per game along with a visit from the Nuggets and their 22nd-ranked scoring defense, all but negating a home date against a still-stubborn Grizzlies D.
Loser: As if a pair of games against the Warriors wasn’t enough, the Lakers also have to visit the Rockets plus welcome the Trail Blazers. LA gave up 118 points to Houston in their first meeting and allowed 113 to Portland in their previous matchup. Translation: stack opportunities abound.