It’s been a long fantasy basketball season, but we’re almost to the finish line. This season has been littered with countless injuries to star players and it’s certainly taken its toll on fantasy squads. While the waiver wire is always important, it’s been of even more importance this season. This week is no different either with several big names nursing nagging injuries.
Games Played by Team This Week
4 Games: HOU, LAC, NOR, OKC, POR, SAC, SAS, TOR.
3 Games: ATL, BKN, BOS, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, IND, LAL, MEM, MIA, MIL, MIN, NYK, ORL, PHI, PHO, UTA, WAS.
Caris LeVert (SG/SF – BKN)
Fantasy value on this Brooklyn team seems to differ week to week. Lately, the hot hand has been with swing man Caris LeVert. Over his last three games, LeVert has averaged 19.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.7 steals, and 2.3 three-pointers on 28 minutes per game. This stretch shouldn’t come as much of a surprise either. LeVert averaged 14.3 PPG in December and scored in double-digits in 13 of 15 games that month.
He might not be a starter but he’s still getting decent minutes off the bench and is the main scoring option on that Brooklyn bench. As long as he’s getting 25+ minutes a night, LeVert should be able to flirt with top-50 fantasy value the rest of the way.
Mario Hezonja (SF – ORL)
Getting playing time is half the battle. As of Wednesday night, Hezonja will be locked into 30+ minutes per game for the foreseeable future. Evan Fournier sprained his left MCL and Aaron Gordon suffered a concussion, which kept both men out Thursday and Saturday night. With those two men out, enter Hezonja into the starting lineup on Thursday. His final stat line wasn’t eye-popping with 11 points, five rebounds, one steal, and one triple, but what’s more important is the 33 minutes he played.
Hezonja had an impressive month of January, averaging 15.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.2 steals, and 1.7 three-pointers on 46.2% from the field and 85.3% from the free throw line. If he can continue to get 30+ minutes every game, Hezonja should have no issues maintaining top-100 value for the rest of the season. Just remember, his value will take a slight dip when Gordon is back and again if Fournier returns before the end of the season.
Nemanja Bjelica (SF/PF – MIN)
Remember what I said about playing time being half the battle? Case in point here with Bjelica. It’s been five games since Jimmy Butler was lost for the season and Bjelica was inserted into the starting lineup. In those five games, Bjelica has averaged 37.2 minutes per game while playing a minimum of 33 minutes each game. The numbers were pedestrian in his first four starts with averages of 10.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.3 three-pointers.
Then, oddly enough, Bjelica broke out for a career-high 30 points against Boston, the second-best scoring defense in the NBA. On top of that, he added 12 rebounds and six three-pointers. He obviously won’t be this good every night, but the fact that Tom Thibodeau loves to play his starters big minutes bode well for Bjelica’s rest of season value. If you need a big man that can score, rebound, and hit from downtown, make sure Bjelica isn’t still floating around on your league’s waiver wire.
Hassan Whiteside (C – MIA)
A sore left hip cause Whiteside to miss last night’s game versus Washington. Though, he wasn’t really needed anyway as the Heat won by 27. This doesn’t appear to be serious, but Miami currently sits in 7th in the Eastern Conference and has a comfortable 5.5 game cushion over 9th place Detroit. Don’t be surprised if they give Whiteside an extra day off or two over the next month to keep Whiteside fresh for the playoffs.
Steph Curry (PG – GSW)
After having his ankle rolled on by teammate Zaza Pachulia, Curry was able to play one more full game, in which he dropped 34 points in a full line. However, he was only able to play two minutes on Thursday and missed Friday’s game against the Trail Blazers. Additionally, Curry has already been ruled out this afternoon and might miss more games going forward. The Warriors have a top-two seed all but wrapped up and want Curry 100% healthy for the playoffs. This comes at the most inopportune time for Curry’s fantasy owners.
James Harden (PG/SG – HOU)
It’s looking unlikely that James Harden will suit up tonight against the Dallas Mavericks. Houston should be able to roll Dallas without Harden. With tonight being the first game of a back to back set, it’s a great time for them to rest Harden. This isn’t at all serious. But unfortunately, it’s incredibly poor timing for Harden’s fantasy owners that are fighting to get into their league’s playoffs.
Anthony Davis (PF/C – NOR)
What a shocker. Davis wasn’t able to play Friday night due to an ankle injury and the Pelicans 10-game winning streak went right out the window. His owners better cross their fingers, toes, arms, legs, eyes, and anything else they are physically able to cross that this isn’t a multi-game absence. Davis has been playing like a man possessed lately. Over the last nine games, Davis has averaged 35.6 points, 13.6 rebounds, 2.8 steals, and 3.0 blocks per game. You don’t need me to tell you how insanely good that stat line is. If Davis is out more games, this will be a huge blow to his fantasy owners. He’s currently a game-time decision for tonight, so hopefully, this will be the last game he misses if he’s not able to suit up.
Marc Gasol (C – MEM)
Just another rest game for Gasol. I went over his situation in last week’s report.
Devin Booker (SG – PHO)
This triceps injury didn’t seem serious until Booker mentioned that he was having trouble raising his arm. Yeah, that’s not good. The Suns are well out of playoff contention in the Western Conference so don’t expect them to rush Booker back. The possibility of a shutdown could come into play here.
Kawhi Leonard (SF – SAS)
The latest report in this strange saga is that Leonard could return as early as Thursday against New Orleans. The key word there is “could.” Yeah, I’ll believe it when I see it. Just make sure Kawhi isn’t still sitting on your waiver wire and stay tuned for more updates.
As mentioned above, Gordon (concussion) and Fourier (MCL sprain) are currently out of the lineup and without concrete return dates. Fournier might be lost for the season at this point and you just never know how a player will react to a concussion. There’s a chance Gordon returns within the next week or so. However, don’t fully rule out the Magic shutting their star forward down for the rest of the season.
Thank-you for reading and I hope you can use this article to your advantage. Got a question about a player not covered here? Follow me on Twitter @EricCross04 and ask me there.