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Fantasy Basketball Injury Round-Up Week 3

Another week, another batch of injuries in fantasy basketball. Consider yourself lucky if your team has been mostly healthy. Here’s a roundup of how long of an absence to expect with recommendations of what to do meanwhile and teammates to potentially pick up. For longer-term injuries for players like Khris Middleton, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Damian Lillard, see the Week 1 and Week 2 round-ups.

Fantasy Basketball Injury Round-Up

James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers

Projected Return Date: Mid-November to Early December

James Harden has suffered a right foot tendon strain and will be re-evaluated in two weeks. While the initial reports announced a month’s recovery, there is perhaps hope that Harden will only be out for a couple of weeks. Before the injury, Harden was putting up top-10 fantasy numbers nearly identical to his last season’s return. With Harden out, expect Tyrese Maxey and De’Anthony Melton to see an increase in load at the backcourt. Melton, in particular, can be found on many waiver wires and should be picked up for the duration of Harden’s injury.

Recommendation: Get De’Anthony Melton. Don’t get Matisse Thybulle.

Ben Simmons, Brooklyn Nets

Projected Return Date: Early-mid November

Simmons has missed the previous two games with knee soreness. Initially expected to miss just one, he will sit out at least four more now. Things weren’t so hot before this injury either – Simmons is significantly contributing in only one category (assists), which is a problem if your fantasy league has 8 or 9 of them. Overall, he ranks in the second half of the second hundred in fantasy basketball this season. With all the chaos in addition to the injuries in Brooklyn, there is an opportunity for second-tier players. Royce O’Neale had a solid two-game showing with Simmons, Joe Harris picked up two starts, and Yuta Watanabe and Edmond Sumner are worth a look in deeper leagues.

Recommendation: Pick up Royce O’Neale. See if Simmons has any trade value left.

Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat

Projected Return Date: November 7 at the earliest

You can expect Butler to miss 4-5 games 4-5 times each season with various injuries. The first one this season comes with hip tightness. On the court, his stats are nearly the same as they’ve been for the last few seasons. It is worth noting, however, that Butler is attempting (and making) more three-pointers than he has since he’s been in Miami. Whether that lasts and has a significant impact remains to be seen. Max Strus replaced Butler in the starting lineup but had a poor showing. Expect Strus, Tyler Herro, and Duncan Robinson to get a boost on their stat lines while Butler is out.

Recommendation: Herro, Strus, Robinson. In that order.

Gordon Hayward, Charlotte Hornets

Projected Return Date: Day-to-day

Hayward left the game against the Bulls with a sore shoulder at halftime. This one doesn’t look too serious but he is expected to miss at least one more game. With his injury history, it wouldn’t be too shocking if this dragged on either. Fingers crossed, of course. Jalen McDaniels replaced Hayward in the second half. McDaniels doesn’t quite have the scoring abilities of Hayward but with extended minutes, he is going to put up great defensive stats.

Recommendation: Look into Jalen McDaniels if you need steals and blocks.

Markelle Fultz, Orlando Magic

Projected Return Date: November-December

Fultz broke suffered a broken toe in the training camp in late September. Since then, there hasn’t been an official update on his return date. Whenever his return will be, it’s getting closer each day. The potential is still there as seen by the run of 18 games at the end of the last season. It’s not at all unreasonable for Fultz to cut significantly into Cole Anthony’s minutes and eventually take the starting point guard spot.

Recommendation: This is a bit speculative but if you have the space – look into Markelle Fultz. Also, trade away Cole Anthony.

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