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Fantasy Basketball Fast Break (Week of 11/20)

Does anyone else have Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” stuck in their head with all these injuries this season? We can’t even go one week without a top-50 player going down for significant time. This week, it was D’Angelo Russell, Mike Conley, and Rudy Gobert that joined the unfortunate club of injured stars. A club that already has already laid claim to Chris Paul, Kawhi Leonard, and Gordon Hayward, just to name a few. Whether they’re freak injuries or gradually worsening injuries, these are severely putting a damper on the value of a lot of top fantasy picks.

Injuries are Deflating the Value of Many Top Picks

Games Played by Team This Week



2 Games: DET, HOU, LAL.

Waiver Wire

Spencer Dinwiddie (PG – BKN)

Do yourself a favor and go add Dinwiddie right now if he’s available. I’ll wait. But if you need a little more convincing, I’ll provide some. In two games since D’Angelo Russell went down, Dinwiddie has averaged 18.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 9.5 assists, and 3.5 3-pointers. I know, it’s just two games. That’s an incredibly small sample size, but who else is going to step up on the Nets? The options are rather limited. Dinwiddie is going to be the primary beneficiary of the Russell absence and should put up top-100 value the rest of the way. I’ll say it again: Go add Dinwiddie.

Denzel Valentine (SG – CHI)

The Bulls moved Denzel Valentine into the starting lineup on Friday against Charlotte, and he certainly didn’t disappoint. Valentine scored 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting with five rebounds, six assists, and four 3-pointers. That strong showing should allow him some run in the starting unit for the time being.

The Bulls are offensively challenged this season, averaging a mere 94.8 PPG, good for only 31st in the NBA. They need a scoring punch in the worst way possible, and until LaVine returns near Christmas, Valentine looks good to be that guy. LaVine’s return will suppress his value some, but Valentine should be good for late-round value until then.

Wilson Chandler (SG/SF/PF – DEN)

With the Nuggets playing more small ball recently, Wilson Chandler has gotten more minutes and has made the most of those extra minutes. In his last three games, he’s averaged 14.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.0 3-pointers on 55.6% shooting. It’s amazing what some extra playing time can do to a player’s fantasy value, isn’t it?

Chandler has been this type of player for the majority of his career with the Knicks and Nuggets. When he’s scoring 13-16 points per game, he’s a valuable late-round fantasy asset. However, he’s also shown that he can disappear just as quickly as he got hot. Give him a look if you have some dead weight on your roster and ride out this hot streak until it ends.

Buy Low Target

Nicolas Batum (SG – CHA)

Last season, Nicolas Batum quietly put up top-60 fantasy value. He didn’t do it by putting up massive numbers, but rather by contributing solidly across the board. In just two games back from injury, he’s already showing that same type of statistical upside. The fact that he’s already playing 30 minutes per night so quickly shows that he’s 100% healthy and should have no minutes restriction going forward. If his injury created any sort of buy-low window, the time is now to pounce.

Send Them Packing

Serge Ibaka (PF/C – TOR)

If the season ended today, Serge Ibaka would average career lows in points (12.5) and rebounds (5.5). On top of that, his blocks per game have dropped seven straight seasons from 3.7 in 2011-12 to 1.1 this season. His only saving grace for his fantasy value is that he’s been making over 1.5 3-pointers per game for each of the last three seasons.

Still, this version of Ibaka isn’t as valuable of a fantasy asset as the old block shot machine from Oklahoma City. He’s still providing late-round value, so he needs to be rostered, but if someone is willing to give you solid value for him, I’d sell in a heartbeat.

Dirk Nowitzki (PF/C – DAL)

It’s been one heck of a career for the German sharpshooter, but he’s not worth rostering in fantasy anymore. Plain and simple. This is now the second season in a row that his scoring has dropped dramatically, from 18.3 to 14.2 to only 10.5 this season. Nowitzki hasn’t seen his scoring average this low since his rookie season LAST CENTURY in the 1998-99 season. On top of that, Dirk’s rebounds (5.4) and shooting percentage (43.1%) are at their lowest since his rookie season, and his 0.3 blocks are the lowest of his entire career.

He still shoots well from the line, but that’s about it these days. It’s always nice to own the big name in fantasy, but not when the big name is providing little to no value for your team. Nowitzki will turn 40 shortly after the season ends and plans to get plenty of rest throughout the season. Give him the boot in fantasy and enjoy what is likely the German’s last ride through the NBA.

Injury Report

Rudy Gobert (C – UTA)

A bone bruise in his knee will sideline Rudy Gobert for the next month or so and perhaps longer. This is another in a long line of top fantasy talent that have suffered a significant injury this season. This one certainly stung for fantasy owners, as the value Gobert provides in field goal percentage, rebounds, and blocks is priceless.

Lower body injuries have a way of hampering big men long-term (fake cough, Greg Oden), but hopefully, this is just simply a 4 to 6-week absence as Utah originally reported. In Gobert’s absence, Derrick Favors receives a considerable boost in fantasy value.

Mike Conley (PG – MEM)

For all the top-25 drafted players that have actually played this season, Mike Conley has quietly been one of the biggest busts. His points, rebounds, assists, steals, 3-pointers, and field goal percentage are all down from last season, and now he’s going to miss the next couple weeks with heel and Achilles injuries. A couple of weeks might be on the low end too. It might be worth peddling Conley now before his value continues to drop.

D’Angelo Russell (PG/SG – BKN)

Arthroscopic knee surgery is going to keep D’Angelo Russell out indefinitely. It’s such a shame too. He was the best player on a bad Brooklyn team and was developing into one of the rising young stars in the NBA. His 20.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 5.7 assists are a big hole to fill for fantasy owners, but like I mentioned above, Dinwiddie needs to be added in all leagues. Russell’s return is still cloudy, but Brooklyn has said they hope to have him back this season.

Kawhi Leonard (SF – SA)

Nope, still nothing much to see here. Well, Coach Popovich did say Leonard should be back “sooner rather than later,” but I’m not holding my breath anymore. Ka-WHY is this taking so long Pop?

I hope you can use this article to your advantage and get a leg up on your fellow league members. Got a question about a player not covered here? Then follow me on Twitter @EricCross04 and ask me there.

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