March 25, 2018, 1:03 am
Saturday afternoon we were given grim news regarding the status of Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving. Both players will be sidelined for 3-6 weeks. Curry is dealing with a grade 2 MCL sprain which means we don’t expect to see him back for the fantasy playoffs. Kyrie Irving had a knee procedure and is all but gone for the fantasy season as well. This year has been an absolute nightmare with injuries and if you’re heading into next week with a healthy roster of any kind then you’re already ahead of the game. With the final weeks ahead of us, we have teams that are either pushing hard for playoff seeding or resting their players in a not so obvious attempt to tank.
The Sixers have won six in a row and are only a game behind the Cavs for the third seed in the Eastern Conference. Tonight they were powered by a Ben Simmons triple-double and Joel Embiid’s health has been a blessing in an otherwise injury riddled NBA season. Karl-Anthony Towns had an uncharacteristically inefficient night, shooting 3-for-15 but should get it back on track soon. The Wolves need Jimmy Butler badly as Andrew Wiggins has struggled to consistently hit his shots.
Detroit handled the Bulls with ease in a game that actually featured Robin Lopez. None of the Bulls players can be trusted as their roles are too sporadic, but Cristiano Felicio and Bobby Portis are actually decent low-end plays for big man stats. Andre Drummond pulled down 20 more rebounds and has been on an absolute tear.
In Orlando, the Suns masterfully tanked to another loss and now hold the best odds to win the first pick. They’re letting Josh Jackson run wild which is a double edged sword. Jackson can fill up the box score across the board, but he can crush your field goal percentages with his awful shooting. Over his past five games he’s attempting 18.0 shots and shooting 44.4 percent from the field, but has three games at 40.0 percent or worse. Expect major fluctuations on his percentages.The Magic finally got Aaron Gordon back to producing and are without Jonathon Isaac and Evan Fournier for an unknown amount of time which means Mario Hezonja can deliver some lines in the near future.
In Charlotte, Kemba Walker is continuing to play big while Nicolas Batum is shelved. Now is the time to use Jeremy Lamb to close out the year and make that last push in your roto leagues or stream him in your head-to-head matchups for those triples and steals. Dallas is finally playing Nerlens Noel and he had himself a nice game with 10-12-2-4-1. Now that the Mavs are tanking it’s safe to pick up Noel if you’re in need of defensive stats.
Memphis is benching Marc Gasol on back-to-back sets and the rest of the options are not very appealing. As with most tanking teams, consistent value is hard to find, but JaMychal Green is killing it and should be owned. Over his past five games he’s averaging 11.4 points, 11.4 rebounds, 1.0 3s and 0.8 blocks on 52.2 percent shooting.
Anthony Davis continues to put up monster lines and on Saturday he went for 25-8-1-2-4 with a triple. Nikola Mirotic and Rajon Rondo are both out with minor injuries, but this opens the door for some explosive performances next week. James Harden easily dispatched the Pelicans on Saturday in a game without Chris Paul and he’s also another player that has consistently put up big value. With Paul hurt and the Warriors hobbled, it would make sense for the Rockets to take their time in bringing back their older point guard. Both Harden and Davis are in prime positions to win fantasy leagues for owners even with only three games slated next week.