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Fantasy Basketball Fast Break (Week of 1/15)

This might have been the shortest injury report I’ve written for this article in months. That’s a good thing, though. It means I can spend time writing about more important things like waiver wire adds and why Isaiah Thomas just isn’t worth it this fantasy season. I’ll get more into that below.

This week is a great week for streaming players if you’re into that sort of thing. There’s no random game in London this week, and only two teams play two games. The rest of the league either has three or four games to play. We start this week’s Fast Break report by trying to figure out what is wrong with Cleveland’s pint-sized point guard.

Isaiah Thomas Still Struggling

He’s not injured anymore, but Isaiah Thomas has been struggling mightily since his return and has yet to play back to back days. His shot seems to be off right now. Maybe it’s the hip, maybe it’s rust. Who knows. Thomas has connected on only 5-of-26 shots (19.2%) overall and 1-of-11 (9.1%) in his last two games. On top of that, he’s been playing sloppy basketball and turning the ball over at a high clip. If you extrapolate out his numbers to 36 minutes per game, Thomas would be averaging 4.8 turnovers. Not good.

I get that it’s a Thomas-like small sample size, but something just doesn’t look right here. It’s not like Thomas is playing for a middle-of-the-pack team. Cleveland can coast to a top-2 seed in the East and surely wants Thomas at full strength for the playoffs. That means plenty of rest days and limited minutes. Thomas is a great scorer and fantasy asset when 100%, but that likely won’t be the case again to next season.

Games Played by Team This Week



2 Games: DAL, PHO.

Waiver Wire

Dragan Bender (PF – PHO)

It’s looking like Phoenix is finally ready to unleash the Dragan. What, don’t like that one? How about crouching tiger, hidden Dragan? Still no? Whatever. Like I was saying, Bender has been given big minutes over the last two games and hasn’t disappointed. In 35.5 minutes per game, Bender is averaging 17.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.5 blocks, and 4.5 three-pointers. That type of productions is impossible to maintain going forward, but Bender makes for a strong speculative add in 12-team leagues and deeper for his high-upside and rest-of-season potential.

Tim Hardaway Jr. (SG/SF – NYK)

I feel a little dirty recommending all of these Knicks players over the last few weeks. This particular Knick, however, has a much higher fantasy upside than the other Knick below or the two I recommended in past weeks. For the season, Tim Hardaway Jr. has been a top-75 player due to his averages of 17.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.4 three-pointers, and 1.2 steals. Side note, I almost wrote 1.2 steaks there instead of 1.2 steals. Hardaway would be my favorite NBA player if he averaged 1.2 steaks per game. I digress. This is more of a buy-low recommendation than a waiver wire target, but Hardaway needs to be owned in all leagues unless you hate guys that can score and shoot from deep.

Jarrett Jack (PG/SG – NYK)

Yup, here’s the other Knick. This 13-year veteran always seems to carve out some fantasy value at some point every season. That’s not going to change this season, either. In his last three games, Jarrett Jack is averaging 15.3 points and 8.7 assists on 60.6% shooting. It might just be three games, but Jack’s role and big minutes seem safe for the immediate future with Frank Ntilikana remaining on the bench for the foreseeable future. If you need a boost in assists or a point guard in general, Jack is your man.

Bogdan Bogdanovic (SG – SAC)

Doesn’t the name Bogdan Bogdanovic seems like the Serbian equivalent of John Johnson? Anyways. Over the last week, Bogdanovic has been providing top-50 fantasy value. Over that span, he’s averaged 17.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.7 three-pointers per game while shooting 58.1% from the field and 86.7% from the charity stripe. Will he continue shooting like this all season? Not likely. But with the Kings again out of the playoff picture, Bogdanovic should get plenty of run down the stretch. He’s worth scooping up in standard leagues for that rest-of-season potential.

Injury Report

Kawhi Leonard (SF – SAS)

Come on, Kawhi, stay off this injury report. I’m tired of having to put you here. A partial tear in his shoulder cause Leonard to miss three straight games before returning to the lineup last night. The Spurs keep calling this minor, but the word “tear” is always worrisome. For now, Leonard is going to try to play through the injury, but this appears far from over. It’s likely going to be a pain in the booty to own Leonard the rest of the season.

Stephen Curry (PG – GSW)

This ankle injury apparently isn’t in the rear-view mirror for Stephen Curry quite yet. After returning, and dominating, for five games, Curry sat for two games after experiencing soreness in the same ankle that caused him to miss almost a month of action. He was able to return last night and had another great game, but this likely isn’t the last game Curry misses this season because of this issue. With the Warriors coasting to another #1 seed, expect plenty of rest games for Curry down the stretch.

Kyle Lowry (PG – TOR)

After playing through a hand injury, Lowry was finally forced to the sidelines after a hard fall bruised his tailbone. It looked a heck of a lot worse at the time, so Lowry owners must be pretty relieved that it’s just a bad bruise. However, Lowry has already missed the last three games and is considered questionable for Monday’s tilt with Philadelphia. Delon Wright will continue to see n uptick in value while Lowry is out.

Myles Turner (PF/C – IND)

Today will mark Myles Turner’s third game out of the lineup with a sore right elbow. He was ruled out for this game yesterday, so that might not bode well for him suiting up tomorrow against the Jazz. However, this doesn’t sound too serious, so owners in weekly leagues should be able to deploy him as normal this week.

Dion Waiters (SG – MIA)

For those of you holding out hope for a Waiters return this season, you can stop now. On Friday, it was confirmed that Waiters will undergo ankle surgery sometime in the near future. He can be dropped in all leagues now, as this will likely end his season.

Thank-you for reading and 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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