Injuries are an unfortunate reality that has to be accounted for in Fantasy sports, especially in Fantasy basketball due to the NBA’s excessively long schedule. There has certainly been a plethora of casualties in the NBA this season, arguably more than previous seasons. Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin have all missed time on the season due to injury.
Blake Griffin is now the latest injured superstar who will miss considerable time. Griffin is expected to miss 4-5 weeks due to a gruesome staph infection in his elbow. Griffin has had a stellar season, but has seen decline in a handful of statistical areas in comparison from last year’s MVP-like season. The loss of Griffin not only hurts Fantasy owners but also Doc Rivers and the Clippers, as they gear toward the playoffs. For Fantasy purposes, Spencer Hawes needs to be picked up immediately in all formats. Go do it now! Hawes may not offer the same explosiveness or excitement as Griffin, but has the ability to provide a near double-double stat line with 3-pointers at a high clip. Hawes has had a disappointing season thus far and has not been the addition coach Rivers anticipated, but this 4-5 week stretch should provide Hawes the confidence needed even for when Griffin returns.
Somewhat newly-acquired Rajon Rondo is expected to miss the next three games for the Mavericks. In daily formats, J.J. Barea is a solid play in Rondo’s absence. Barea has posted double digit scoring since January 31 and at least five assists per game since February 2.
Fantasy stud Anthony Davis injured his shoulder this past Saturday and is day-to-day. If Davis is out, Ryan Anderson is a solid plug and play in daily formats. In other Pelicans-related news, Tyreke Evans continues to look extremely comfortable without Jrue Holiday in the lineup. Expectedly, Evans has seen a huge boost in his assist numbers. Continue to ride him until Holiday returns. At that time, Evans’ assist numbers will go down to reality.
In Lakers land, Jordan Hill is out for about another week and is expected to return next Tuesday. With Hill out, Ed Davis has had moments where he has looked like an absolute stud. He posted a 20 rebound night on February 4 and had an almost double-double on Sunday with 16 points and 9 rebounds. Outside of Sunday, Carlos Boozer has looked like a flat out stud reminiscent of his Utah Jazz days. It appears, especially after his time the past two games, that Byron Scott is more focused on playing Davis, Tarik Black or Robert Sacre. Davis is not worth an add in standard leagues at this juncture with Hill back in a week. However, Davis is a decent play in daily leagues.
In Houston, Dwight Howard may miss close to two months. Josh Smith has shown moments of looking like the vintage Josh Smith. However, my money is on the young Terrence Jones to capitalize on Howard’s missed time. Jones was one of my favorite players entering this season, especially after his strong play to end the season last year.
In Charlotte, Kemba Walker is still out with injury. Brian Roberts has not won over Fantasy owners despite having more than his fair share of an opportunity. Roberts should only be utilized in daily leagues and only by a matchup-to-matchup basis.
It has been reported that Ricky Rubio will sit out on back-to-back games. Mo Williams continues to be a solid play in standard and daily leagues. Even when Rubio is in lineups, Williams will still see 25 minutes plus and can offer scoring, 3-pointers, and assists. Kevin Martin appears settled since the return from his injury after posting a 30-point game on February 4. Martin and Rubio’s return to the lineup have not impeded Andrew Wiggins’ development.
Hassan Whiteside is expected to sit out on Monday. If so, Chris Anderson is the primary benefactor if Whiteside sits out. Accordingly, in the scenario where Whiteside would sit out, Anderson would be the primary benefactor especially in daily leagues. Dwyane Wade has been out and the backcourt replacements have failed to make up for Wade’s missed presence in the lineup. Luol Deng is the primary beneficiary from an offensive perspective with Wade expected out.
Despite his injured thumb, LaMarcus Aldridge has still looked magnificent. Additionally, Robin Lopez’s play since his return from injury has not diminished in any form making Chris Kaman’s fantasy value almost meaningless.
Enjoy All-Star weekend and its festivities.