January 6, 2020, 12:13 am
New year, same Dish. We’ve got news, adds, drops, and lots of basketball to cover as we start getting into the thick of trade season and crunch time for teams that are teetering in their standings.
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 whether you’re giving your team the Kevin Love treatment, here are some pointers no matter what type of fantasy mood you’re in.
Add(s) of the Night
Mikal Bridges, SF, Phoenix Suns – 31 minutes, 12 points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals, one block, one 3-pointer, 4-of-7 FG, 3-of-3 FT
We blew up one of our Bridges last week but we could be rebuilding another.
We had high hopes for the season for Mikal Bridges but it had been safe to drop him up until this point. All it took was a bit of a lineup shuffle for things to break Bridges’ way. With Deandre Ayton back, Monty Williams decided to start Aron Baynes alongside him. It’s an odd experiment but it’s only served to benefit Bridges who was far and away the most effective player off the Suns bench, leaving Dario Saric in the dust.
We’ve always liked this Bridges’ game because of the defense and it was certainly nice to catch a glimpse of what he’s capable of with efficiency and counting stats across the board. But the Suns are also firmly in the rumor mill and this bubble for Bridges could burst again at any moment. At worst, Bridges is still someone you can safely stream for steals.
Shabazz Napier, PG, Minnesota Timberwolves – 30 minutes, 21 points, seven assists, two rebounds, one steal, two 3-pointers, 8-of-10 FG, 3-of-3 FT.
The Wolves were able to bring back both Andrew Wiggins and Jeff Teague on Sunday night. Neither player had serious injuries and even with Napier’s hot streak in their absence, we all felt like it would be short lived. Only they both returned on the same night and Napier kept his foot on the gas pedal in 30 minutes of action.
Now all of a sudden, Napier should be on standard league radars. Wiggins isn’t going to be a threat to his minutes and Jarrett Culver’s rise has come at the expense of Josh Okogie. However, Jeff Teague could inch his way upwards but he is very much on the trading block and is one desperate general manager away from opening up the floodgates for Napier. And don’t think it hasn’t dawned on the team brass that the Wolves won four of their last six with Napier running the show with their not-so-Big Three on the mend.
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.
As we mentioned, Mikal Bridges’ solid play and the lineup shuffling shenanigans of Monty Williams have come largely at the expense of Dario Saric. I think we all knew the Suns would tinker with their lineup with the re-arrival of Ayton but not that Saric would find himself almost completely out of the rotation.
Still, Saric was only a fringe top-100 player even when he was getting a full complement of minutes. He could hit threes and rebound well enough to keep some relevance but the defense was always going to be non-existent. Worse for Saric is that Phoenix has been linked to Kevin Love for a while now and with the playoffs hardly out of reach, the Suns could decide to move on from Saric beyond just their rotation. You don’t have to wait to find out if that happens before cutting the cord on your own.
We begin with the Kevin Love saga in Cleveland because he was load managed on Sunday and while this isn’t due to a new injury, it’s a development that we need to keep in mind in case he is not traded prior to February 7th. Love has no love left for the Cavs but if no one wants to take on his contract then the expectation is Love could wind up missing a lot more games when it matters most to fantasy teams.
Lauri Markkanen sprained his ankle in Saturday’s game against the Celtics and is now doubtful for Monday’s game.
Paul George returned to action after dealing with a hamstring injury so he should be good to go moving forward.
And look, Pat Beverley is back as well from his wrist injury. It’s almost like Clippers are at full strength.
Kawhi Leonard. You know the drill. Almost.
Dennis Smith Jr. is still missing time due to a strained oblique. He is going to remain well behind Elfrid Payton and Frank Ntilikina in the Knicks’ pecking order even when he returns.
Justise Winslow was ruled out for Sunday’s game but was questionable leading up to the it and it seemingly getting closer to a return. It’s a step in the right direction but not a guarantee he’ll be back right away or at full strength.
Jimmy Butler picked up a back injury on Sunday and missed the tilt against the Blazers. It’s a little concerning that this came out of nowhere but hopefully Buckets won’t miss much beyond this one.
Malcolm Brogdon did not travel with the Pacers due to his back injury so the next chance he’ll have to play is back at home on Wednesday against the Heat.
Kemba Walker has been ruled out of Monday’s game and this illness he has must be pretty vicious for him to be ruled out ahead of the game and to miss his third straight.
Kemba’s teammate Romeo Langford may have caught the same bug and will be out Monday as well.
Caris LeVert will not play Monday as he gets an extra day off after returning from having surgery on his thumb.
C.J. McCollum missed Sunday’s game against the Heat with an illness and can someone from the damn league get these players some flu shots?
Tim Hardaway Jr. is listed as questionable for Monday’s game but sounds like he’s close to returning after missing the last three games with a hamstring injury.
Fellow Mav Kristaps Porzingis, on the other hand, will be out Monday as he continues to nurse a sore knee.
John Collins is questionable for Monday against the Nuggets but hopes to be back after dealing with a back contusion.
Jabari Parker is also questionable for the Hawks with a throat infection and would be taking a back seat to Collins regardless of health.
Tristan Thompson missed Sunday’s game with an illness, leaving the Cavs frontcourt almost entirely in the hands of John Henson.
What’s worse is that Kevin Porter Jr. left the game against the Wolves with a serious leg injury. We’ll hope for good news since Porter was turning into a promising stash for the second half of the season.
Markieff Morris and Blake Griffin remain out for the Pistons after missing Sunday’s game against the Lakers with their respective foot and knee issues.
The Wolves welcomed back Jeff Teague from a knee injury and Andrew Wiggins from an illness on Sunday night.
Karl-Anthony Towns remains out on the other hand and it’s been maddening to see him listed as questionable game after game only to miss more time.
Jrue Holiday’s elbow is banged up and he is questionable for Monday for the Pelicans.
Bradley Beal is still dealing with lower leg soreness and is questionable for Monday against the Celtics. The Wizards need bodies so we hope Beal won’t miss much longer.
Bogdan Bogdanovic has an ankle injury and is doubtful to take on the Warriors on Monday.
Nerlens Noel and his per-minute goods will miss Monday’s game against the Sixers with an ankle injury.
Lastly, both Draymond Green and D’Angelo Russell will be out on Monday as they deal with ankle and shoulder issues. The Warriors tankfest continues and if those two get so much as a mosquito bite for the remainder of the season there will be games off scheduled for both of them.
We’re getting to the point in the season where trades and trade rumors are going to start to run amok. Kevin Love was the big story over the weekend just after Andre Drummond was rumored to be linked with the Hawks. You could need an abacus to count all the names that have been floated in the trades and Twitterverse as heading to different addresses. But I’m not here to speculate. I’m here to tell you what to do in case the poop hits the fan and general managers start playing hot potato with multimillion-dollar contracts.
My suggestion to anyone, especially those playing in head-to-head leagues, is to be prepared to keep an open roster spot on your teams. You don’t have to drop anyone right now. But you should identify the last player on your roster and the one you would drop immediately if news were to break favorably or terribly for players on your teams.
Being flexible and agile is important to navigating this time of year. It’s hard to prepare for when trade news hits and #WojBombs and #ShamsSlams can come out of nowhere. You just need to be ready to react when the news hits.
There’s very little planning that can be done save for a speculative add. Sure we’ve been hanging onto Christian Wood for some time now but that doesn’t mean Drummond is definitely leaving or Blake Griffin won’t come back. Even if you feel certain that change should be coming for a team like the Pistons, it’s never a guarantee that it will happen and you’ll be left with a player that you spent weeks stashing only to have to drop them once the news doesn’t go your way.
All I can tell you, Hoop-Ballers, is to stay at the ready. We have a little over a month before the trade deadline and the mill is only going to churn harder until it’s all said and done.