The worst part of fantasy basketball is also the best opportunity to improve your fantasy team – one man’s injured star is another man’s waiver wire pickup. Welcome to the NBA 2023-24 fantasy week 3 injury report. Below you’ll find the recently injured fantasy-relevant players and the recommended reactions to said injuries.
Fantasy Basketball Injury List
Devin Booker, SG/SF – Phoenix Suns
Injury: Right calf strain
Projected Return Date: Mid-November
Things haven’t started great for Devin Booker, who’s missed six of the Suns’ first eight games with a calf strain. On a positive note – he was brilliant in the two that he played in with 30+ point near-triple-double performances. The hope is that Booker returns within a week or two, which, combined with Bradley Beal’s return, will end the fantasy relevance of the second-tier Suns players – Grayson Allen, Eric Gordon, and Josh Okogie. If Booker can be snagged away from an impatient owner – go for it. He projects to have a top-20 per-game value.
Recommendation: Stay patient. Booker is great.
Jamal Murray, PG/SG – Denver Nuggets
Injury: Right hamstring strain
Projected Return Date: December
Another setback for Jamal Murray, who, despite the playoff heroics, has never really put together a strong NBA regular season. It wasn’t looking great before this injury either – Murray ranks outside the top 100 in 9-cat per-game fantasy value based on the seven games he played. I don’t know about you, but Murray was drafted well inside the top 100 in all of my drafts. While he’s gone Reggie Jackson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will get extended playtime and touches but I wouldn’t go completely nutso with the waiver priority or FAAB bucks either. Both will likely stay outside the fantasy top 100 until Murray returns. Jokic, Porter, and Gordon will get a small boost too.
Recommendation: No great waiver wire pickups. Murray could be a buy-low target if you’re a believer. I’m not.
Anthony Davis, PF/C – Los Angeles Lakers
Injury: Left adductor/hip spasm
Projected Return Date: Day-to-day
This kind of stuff is part of the deal of owning Anthony Davis in fantasy. He’ll probably miss a couple of games, return, and keep getting tagged as questionable in the official injury report. Nothing to worry about. In the one game without Davis so far, Christian Wood got his big start and delivered a 0-point game, while Rui Hachimura went off for 24. But who’s to say the roles won’t be reversed in the next game? Either could be worth a pick-up if you’re in need. But neither will come anywhere close to replacing the best fantasy player so far.
Recommendation: The other Lakers big men could be useful while Davis is out – Wood and Hachimura.
Trey Murphy III, SF/PF – New Orleans Pelicans
Injury: Left knee partial meniscectomy
Projected Return Date: Late November
Murphy had a knee surgery in the off-season and, by all accounts, is recovering well. Barring a setback, expect a late November return. Last year, Murphy ranked 41st per game in 9-cat fantasy and a return to that would be fabulous. If he’s still available in your leagues, it’d be wise to pick him up. Murphy will likely eventually knock Herb Jones out of the starting line-up though I can’t see Jones taking a big dip in his fantasy value with most of it coming from steals and blocks.
Recommendation: Grab Murphy if you can.
CJ McCollum, PG/SG – New Orleans Pelicans
Injury: Right lung small pneumothorax
Projected Return Date: December?
McCollum was balling out before his lung decided to collapse on him. He ranks 26th per game in 9-cat so far. Unfortunately, an extended break is in order now. How extended is hard to say. A collapsed lung isn’t exactly a common NBA injury with a timeline. McCollum had the same injury two years ago when he missed 5 weeks of NBA action. Until his return, Jose Alvarado should take the point guard duties but he won’t because he’s still a couple of weeks away from his own injury return. The next man up is the rookie Jordan Hawkins. Hawkins scored 31 points in the first game without McCollum so he could be a reasonable source of points and threes.
Recommendation: Take a look at Jordan Hawkins.
Tyler Herro, PG/SG – Miami Heat
Injury: Right ankle sprain
Projected Return Date: Late-November/Early-December
Herro left Wednesday’s game against the Grizzlies with an ankle sprain. He’s been since been diagnosed with a grade 2 ankle sprain. Grade 2 means a partial tear in the ligament. A general timeline for these is 2-5 weeks. Before the injury, Herro was probably the Heat’s best player (in fantasy anyway) and playing the best ball of his career. The Heat will have a bunch of guys vying for the Herro minutes – Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson, and maybe even Haywood Highsmith, Josh Richardson, Caleb Martin, and Jaime Jaquez Jr. With the last bunch perhaps only a look for deeper leagues. Lowry is the best player in the group but Robinson is perhaps the best fit to replace Herro’s shooting.
Recommendation: Lowry, then Robinson, then the other guys.
Cam Thomas, SG/SF – Brooklyn Nets
Injury: Left ankle sprain
Projected Return Date: Late-November/Early-December
With a similar injury to Herro’s, Thomas can be expected to be out for the same 2-5 weeks. As Thomas is one of the leading scorers in the league (#10 with 26.9 points per game), this is a huge loss for the Nets and the fantasy teams rostering him. Unless you’re a big Lonnie Walker guy, there’s unlikely to be a solid replacement for Thomas. Cam Johnson is just returning from his injury so Thomas’ usage will likely be taken by Johnson and the rest of the starters.
Recommendation: Thomas is too good to drop. Just in case it needed to be said.
Anfernee Simons, PG/SG – Portland Trail Blazers
Malcolm Brogdon, PG/SG – Portland Trail Blazers
Robert Williams, PF/C – Portland Trail Blazers
Scoot Henderson, PG – Portland Trail Blazers
Projected Return Date: Different
Jeesh, is Portland cursed or what?
Recommendation: Go have some Matisse Thybulle, Shaedon Sharpe, and Skylar Mays.