December 23, 2019, 12:49 am
Congratulations 10-teamers, you’ve officially made through a full rotation of your league. I hope for your sake that Santa left you the gift of being in the top half of the standings now that you’ve been good boys and girls and we’re nine weeks into the season. If not, don’t worry. There’s a second rotation and a lot of basketball still to play to get back into it.
Regardless of how you’re feeling about your team this Sunday night into Monday morning, you’re going to want to try to stay ahead of the curve or make more adjustments. As the season progresses, you’re going to need to get more creative with the moves you make and we hope it isn’t because you are running out of IR spots. Whether you’re taking that celebratory morning sip of coffee or have had enough and ready to dive head first into the eggnog, here are some pointers no matter what type of fantasy mood you’re in.
Add(s) of the Night
Dennis Schroder, PG/SG, Oklahoma City Thunder – 33 minutes, 28 points, six assists, five rebounds, four 3-pointers, one steal, 8-of-17 FG, 8-of-9 FT
That sound you hear is our overlord Aaron Bruski laughing maniacally from some unknown bunker in the Sacramento area.
This is why the Hoob was so bullish on Schroder. Forget the Chris Paul trade rumors and potential Thunder rebuild. Dennis Schroder can fly and Billy Donovan can coach. Now the Thunder have uncovered a three-guard lineup that has been terrorizing the league to the tune of the 2nd best Net Rating among all 3-player lineups that have played at least 150 minutes together this season.
Schroder has been red hot and as much as the outstanding shooting streak will likely fade a bit, the minutes and usage will only continue. He is obviously a must own player but if for some reason owners are looking at his total season numbers and not his recent streak, then pounce immediately.
Chris Boucher, PF/C, Toronto Raptors – 24 minutes, 21 points, seven rebounds, four blocks, two steals, 6-of-12 FG, 9-12 FT
If anyone wondered if the Raptors would simply roll over after the injuries to Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol they got their bubbles burst pretty emphatically on Sunday. The Raptors staged a massive comeback victory against the Mavericks on Sunday and it was all led by their very thin bench.
Leading that group was Chris Boucher who was dominant on both ends of the court. 21 points and six stocks are the stuff of our fantasy dreams. Boucher had some similar moments when Serge Ibaka went down earlier this season so it stands to reason that he’ll pick up more minutes again with Gasol out. This line isn’t going to be the norm for Boucher but is certainly enough to warrant a speculative add knowing Gasol and Siakam will be out for some time.
We’re not saying that you have to drop any of these guys, only that you should at least consider it depending who’s on your waiver wire. Your mileage may vary based on league size and team build, but for the most part we’ll try to cut dead weight in the 12-team range.
Daniel Theis has been flirting with standard league value for most of the season but it’s getting harder to trust him with his minutes remaining low and Enes Kanter starting to find his offensive and rebounding groove from the bench. Theis is easily the superior defender of the two but being locked in a platoon means you need to lean toward the guy who has a track record of being fantasy friendly. That is very much not Daniel Theis despite his ability to block some shots. The problem is he just isn’t doing much else of note lately. Theis is an end-of-the-bench player or someone who can safely let go if a hot name becomes available in your leagues.
We’ll start with Kyrie Irving and the news that he has yet to resume practicing for the Nets. This comes two weeks after Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said that Irving would return to practice “in the next week or two” two weeks ago. This has dragged on for some time and the Nets are very tight-lipped about what injury news they share with the media. Expect another “week or two” without Kyrie.
Stanley Johnson missed Sunday’s game for the Raptors with a groin injury, which wouldn’t normally be news but with so many other Raptors hurt, Johnson could have found himself with some minutes he wouldn’t otherwise see.
Michael Carter-Williams has a sprained AC joint and will miss Monday’s game. We believe in being thorough here.
Gordon Hayward did not play on Sunday due to a sore foot but he was not ruled out for Monday. As always, keep your eyes on the news.
Justise Winslow remains out with a back injury but the Heat keep moving along without him.
Matisse Thybulle is dealing with a knee injury and is being reevaluated in two weeks. Tough break for you stocks streamers.
The Wizards are going to have to work on their recovery spells because Davis Bertans is now out with a quad injury. Bertans had been an absolute delight and the Wizards are now down to a whopping seven healthy players.
In positive news, Luka Doncic might be back on Thursday to take on the Spurs. This week-plus without him has been agony.
Jeremy Lamb sat out Sunday’s game against the Bucks and remains day-to-day with a groin injury.
Keep an eye on Devonte’ Graham since he left Sunday’s game with a quad contusion. He was able to play through it and it’s likely not a bother, but he’ll probably have an injury designation for his next game.
Deandre Ayton will be out on Monday so all his owners who were clamoring for his return after his suspension now have to deal with a lingering ankle injury. Ayton has been coal in a stocking.
His teammate Frank Kaminsky is probable with a knee injury, which is good for Kaminsky because he’s only valuable when Ayton isn’t on the court.
Ricky Rubio is still dealing with an illness so he remains questionable for Monday as well.
Kyle Kuzma is back from his ankle injury and should get a reasonable number of minutes moving forward, which makes sense considering the other news.
The other news being King James needing a day off from a thoracic muscle strain. That sounds pretty terrible and is a reminder that James has a lot of tread on the tires and these things are going to start happening no matter how much he wants to play in every game.
Oh, and Anthony Davis appeared to hurt his knee against the Nuggets. He was able to keep playing but he definitely didn’t look right.
Finally, LeBron’s banana boat buddy Carmelo Anthony is listed as questionable for Monday with a knee contusion. Contusions are in vogue around the league this year.
Start Spreading the News
We’ll conclude with some thoughts around New York, namely Kyrie Irving and his not being a part of it now and for possibly longer.
As a Nets fan, I can tell you that it’s both understandable and frustrating that there is a lack of injury news that comes out from the team. The Nets brass will tell you that it is a part of their culture. They will not say that a player will be back in a certain amount of time almost ever. The reason for that is they want the player to heal on their own time. If they pressure a player into a timetable, they believe that it could add to increased strain or possible setbacks. It’s something that the players respect and appreciate. They can rehab without the pressure of being back within a certain time, but instead when their bodies are completely healed.
As fans and fantasy players, we should want these Nets to be completely healthy. Especially a player of Irving’s caliber. Healthy players on fast teams mean lots of fantasy goodness. But that also means dealing with being in the dark about how much time players will miss due to injury. It only makes roster decisions that much harder on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis when there isn’t much information to go on and there’s a glimmer of hope that a player can return only for them to miss another week of action.
The only real advice here is when in doubt, sit an injured player. If you’re not getting any news on a player and no one is sure if they’re going to return, just sit them. Out of sight, out of mind. If they happen to come back, then you’ll just get them back into lineups at the next opportunity. Not the end of the world.
Trading is that much more difficult. How much time a player misses plays a role in trades and Irving owners have probably been in panic mode for weeks. It stinks to have to hold onto a player with no knowledge as to when they return, but that also needs to be played to your advantage. Don’t settle for less than what someone Kyrie is worth, because technically, they could be back at any time. That should be part of the sell if you believe that you need to move on.
Yes, we’d love for every team to be perfectly open, honest, and super detailed about injury information, but that simply isn’t going to happen. All we can say is try to use both the full information as well as the lack of information to your advantage.