November 11, 2019, 8:52 am
Three weeks in the bodies keep hitting the floor. Hopefully yours are happy, healthy and winning fantasy games for you. We sure do like having big, healthy and strong rosters to bully on weaker fantasy teams. Now, bullying is bad in real life and you shouldn’t do that, but giving your fantasy opponents wedgies, noogies, and loogies to your hearts content is perfectly acceptable. If your team is unhealthy and being pounded into dust on a weekly basis, just keep trying to fight back and find guys that are finding new minutes to help pick you up. Stay strong, stay focused, and don’t give into the league bullies or your misery will only continue.
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 you aren’t having to do anything too outlandish this early in November. Whether you’re taking that celebratory morning sip of coffee or wondering if God exists and why won’t he answer your fantasy basketball prayers, here’s some pointers no matter what type of fantasy mood you’re in.
Add(s) of the Night
Nerlens Noel, C, Oklahoma City Thunder – 30 minutes, 14 points, six assists, three rebounds, two blocks, 6-of-9 FG, 2-fo-2 FT
We have been saying it for some time now. If the Thunder give Noel more minutes then watch out.
There were the whispers of this happening during the preseason. That didn’t happen right away despite some ineffective play from Steven Adams. Now a nagging knee injury is keeping Adams off the court and that means it’s Noel’s time to shine. We know what he can do as a defender. The block rate is one of the best in the league and will keep his floor high even in limited minutes. But if he’s getting the added burn and contributing in other areas like assists and free throw percentage then it’s even more delicious gravy. We’re not sure how long Adams will be out, but we do know that Noel is a must-own when he’s free to command the middle for the Thunder.
Norman Powell, G/F, Toronto Raptors – 26 minutes, 14 points, five rebounds, two assists, two blocks, one 3-pointer, 5-of-9 FG, 3-of-3 FT
We’re not the biggest fans of Powell’s overall game, but opportunity is opportunity and when it comes for even the fringiest of players who have been thrust into more prominent roles, you have to pay attention.
Powell has had some flashes in the past as a scorer and the Raptors are going to need some of that with Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka out for the foreseeable future. Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam can’t do everything by themselves and Marc Gasol remains confoundingly ineffective on this team. But the Raptors keep rolling on and scored an upset win on the road against a red-hot Lakers team in large part because they got solid minutes from Powell. If Powell can do enough by way of counting stats and defense, he could wind up being a solid standard league pickup with the Raptors trying not to go extinct because of all their injury woes.
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.
Look, we want to hang onto Jarrett Allen. We know what he is capable of. This has been a proven top-100 player who can get it done without a ton of minutes. He’s young, he’s talented, and few people are as fearless when going to block shots as the Fro. The problem is that he can get beat up a ton by league big men and hasn’t developed the full repertoire of offensive moves to get the ball moving his way. DeAndre Jordan joined the Nets to put a limit to the beatings, but that has also kept Allen out of the flow of the game as well.
With Jordan back from an ankle injury, Allen is going to see his minutes decrease again and he was badly outplayed by Jordan on Sunday night against the Suns. Looking ahead next week, the Nets will match up against Rudy Gobert, Nikola Jokic, and Wendell Carter Jr. Those look like matchups that are more favorable for Jordan and more tough times ahead for Allen. With a ranking that’s fallen below the top-150, we wouldn’t blame you if you started to look for alternatives in shallow leagues.
After the crazy start that had the fantasy community drooling over his defensive abilities, Matisse Thybulle cooled off to the point of permafrost. However, Ben Simmons injured his shoulder so perhaps that would present an opportunity for Thybulle to soak up some extra minutes. A DNP-CD followed by a whopping three minutes on Sunday night wasn’t what we had in mind.
Thybulle is still a rookie after all and these are the bumps that most rookies in the league will have to navigate. Despite the incredible defensive abilities, it doesn’t look like he’s going to be rosterable in anything other than deep dynasty leagues.
We’ll start optimistically and happily say that Paul George is almost back people! He’s out for Monday, but it looks like Wednesday is the more likely day for his debut. Regardless, it’s good to have George back and we can’t wait to see what both he and Kawhi can do together in LA.
But sadly, this is an injury report and that means reminding everyone that Gordon Hayward is going to find out on Monday if he’s going to need surgery on his fractured right hand. He was one of the great stories early this fantasy season so surgery or not, owners should be prepared to be without him for several weeks.
However, even though God sometimes taketh away, he can be kind and giveth as well. To that end, Blake Griffin proudly declared that he is playing on Monday. We’d imagine he’d be a bit restricted his first week back and can’t imagine his game will become any more fantasy friendly, but for you Griffin owners waiting for this moment feel free to get him back into your lineups.
Griffin’s teammate, Derrick Rose, went through a full practice but does not have a status update for Monday’s game. Keep your eye on the news before committing to him.
Tim Frazier is the next Piston to get back to full health. The former Nittany Lion is not on the fantasy radar but his return could muddle things even further for anyone who’s been mining value from Detroit’s backcourt.
Terrence Ross was back on the court Sunday after dealing with knee pain. He was effective in limited minutes but we’re going to need to see more before fully trusting him again.
Steven Adams missed Sunday’s game with a knee contusion and this issue doesn’t seem to be going away for him. As we said, get all your shares of Nerlens Noel up and ready to go until Adams is 100%.
Mitchell Robinson will be out through Tuesday with a concussion and the only solace his owners can take from this is that it’s something other than David Fizdale that is causing his headaches.
Rajon Rondo was supposed to return to the Lakers on Sunday but was ruled out. Rondo can return to your benches and waiver wires.
Enes Kanter is being listed as questionable with his knee contusion and after missing seven straight and now without Gordon Hayward, the Celtics could desperately use his interior scoring.
DeAndre Jordan returned to the Nets lineup on Sunday and right back into the timeshare with Jarrett Allen.
Eric Paschall is listed as probable with a hip contusion, but it may not matter with Draymond Green nearing a return. Oh well, it was fun with Paschall while it lasted.
Lonzo Ball is listed as out for Monday. Between his current adductor strain and previous leg and ankle issues, Ball is having his promising start derailed by injuries. Sounds all too familiar.
Allen Crabbe returned to the Hawks on Sunday night and I just shrugged so hard I may need to ask Paul George for a referral.
You Get An Injury, And You Get An Injury, And You Get An Injury
I want to reiterate to everyone a list of the utter mountain of injuries and suspensions that have been handed out to key drafted fantasy players like it was Oprah giving out cars to shrieking audience members so far this season.
Steph Curry, Zion Williamson, Paul George, Blake Griffin, Kyle Lowry, John Collins, Deandre Ayton, Gordon Hayward, Serge Ibaka, Myles Turner, Marvin Bagley Jr., Draymond Green, Enes Kanter, Zach Collins, Kevon Looney, Nic Batum.
That’s a 16-team roster of players that have missed long term time because of injuries or suspension. That doesn’t even include players that have missed a game or two because of injury, load management, or suspension like Kawhi Leonard, Karl-Anthony Towns, Ben Simmons and plenty more.
The lesson is, everyone is dealing with injuries. Some are dealing with them more than others, but it’s probably very difficult to pinpoint any team that is the model of perfect fantasy basketball health. And guess what, it’s only November. That means there’s only going to be even more injury news to come. It also means, that some if not most of the players listed above are going to return as well. Again, be aggressive. Use the injuries news to your advantage. Find out the right handcuffs to your players or steal someone else’s.
Case and point, in a 10-team league I’m in I just had to grab Richaun Holmes when he heated up so I dropped Jabari Parker. Parker had some mostly empty stats so I didn’t think I would miss him. John Collins got himself suspended and like an RKO from out of nowhere, one of my rivals in need of a power forward grabbed him the minute the news hit Twitter. Of course with Collins out, Jabari Parker has been playing like he was a former #2 overall draft pick and finally at full health.
These are the kinds of opportunities that can make or break your teams as much as the injury news can. So when injury strikes, buck up, and plant your flag on someone who you think can step in and help your team bounce back. Treat your fantasy teams with the same “next man up” mentality that the real team do.