Fantasy Forecast: Injuries Forcing Owners To Adjust
The first month of the NBA season is over, and fantasy owners are starting to look at trades to sure up their teams. First though, I would give your waiver wire a look to see what exactly is out there before giving up someone you drafted to get someone you passed on. With injuries starting to take their toll on players like Trevor Ariza (hamstring), Marc Gasol (MCL sprain), Steve Nash (back), and Larry Sanders (right thumb surgery), you have to take a serious look and see if guys like Martell Webster, Steve Blake, Jordan Hill, Corey Brewer, Terrence Jones, and James Anderson are better fits for your team since they are most likely free off the waiver wire.
There are three simple rules I always follow when it comes to trading, and they are:
1.) Most owners in re-draft leagues will only trade if they clearly win. Because of this, I only accept the initial trade offer if it is clearly in my favor. I can’t tell you how many times I was offered Jonas Valanciunas for Al Jefferson in one of my leagues before telling the other GM to stop drinking and sober up!
2.) Read, read, read. When someone offers me a trade, the first thing I do is evaluate the players involved to see how lopsided it is. If I think it looks good, the next thing I do is go read up on both players involved to make sure nothing was announced that I didn’t see yet. You see, when [Marc] Gasol went down with an MCL sprain, I am positive there were a flood of trade offers involving him in the hopes that some owner would accept before knowing his is out 6-8 weeks.
3.) Make sure you aren’t gaining ground in one area, and losing it in another. Sure, it is great to trade for a guy like Aaron Afflalo because he gives you points, 3’s, rebounds and assists, and helps out in the FG percentage as well. But, if you have to give up two or three players to get him, the chances are you are losing more stats overall than you are gaining. One player does not a fantasy team make!
Derrick Rose tore his MCL in his right knee, and decided to undergo surgery today (Monday) reportedly to reattach it. That type of surgery typically takes about four months to recover from, but one has to wonder about how the new injury will affect him mentally after he took last year off with a torn ACL in his left knee. Rose can be cut in most formats as you can’t trust him to push to get on the court after he was cleared last year and failed to play a single minute in a game.
Marc Gasol just sprained his MCL, but as I said earlier, he is expected to still miss roughly 6-8 weeks. Kosta Koufos will take over center duties for the Grizzlies in his absence and is a solid option for those needing a center or looking to replace Gasol in their line-up.
Nuggets center JaVale McGee is out indefinitely with a fractured tibia. McGee has always been one of those guys the talent to make fantasy owners pick him up, but the production to make them drop him right back to the waiver wire. When he does return, I wouldn’t add him unless he is assured of improving upon his 16 MPG average.
An MRI confirmed Warriors SF Andre Iguodala suffered a strained left hamstring and the team announced he will be out indefinitely. Since they didn’t release the severity of the strain, it is impossible to know exactly what “indefinitely” means. With the timetable being unknown, Iguodala owners have to just stash him and hope the team releases a timetable for his return soon.
Patrick Beverly – PG Rockets: While the Rockets only play three games this week, Beverly has scored in double-digits in four of his last six games, while adding eight steals and 24 rebounds and 15 3-pointers over that same span. The problem is he doesn’t dish out many assists (2.3 APG this season), so you will need to make sure you are set in that department. No matter, Beverly is a solid guy to grab and put in your G flex or utility spot off the waiver wire as he is owned in just 30 percent of Yahoo leagues and is dirt cheap still in DraftStreet daily leagues.
Corey Brewer – SG/SF Timberwolves: I know Brewer is the SF for the Wolves, but he qualifies at SG in every fantasy game I’ve seen. Over the last two weeks he has averaged 15.3 points and 2.3 steals a night, and has shot 47.7 percent from the field and 35.9 percent from 3-point land. As of Sunday night he was owned in just 48 percent of Yahoo leagues, but is ranked No. 52 overall when you look at total season stats. There is absolutely no reason why Brewer should be available in any league, and any format.
Martell Webster – SF Wizards: With Ariza nursing a hamstring injury and Webster ranked as Yahoo.com’s No. 9 ranked player over the last two weeks (total numbers, not averaged), owners have to give some serious consideration to cutting ties with Ariza in favor of Webster before he gets snatched up. Ariza has seen his ownership dip to 51 percent, while Webster is owned now in 43 percent of Yahoo leagues. Daily league players should have Webster in their line-up as his price tag is still reasonable, and he is averaging 13.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.1 steals over the last 14 days while shooting 43.0 from the field.
Terrence Jones – PF Rockets: I mentioned Jones earlier, and now I’d like to expand upon him a bit. Over the last two weeks, Jones has averaged 13.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, two blocks, and just over 32 minutes per-game for the Rockets. If you watch him play, you can see that PF is no longer a “need” for the Rockets and his numbers show that they too know this. If you need points, rebounds and blocks, give Jones a look as he is owned in just 46 percent of Yahoo leagues and is dirt cheap on DraftStreet.
Jordan Hill – PF/C Lakers: Yes, Hill is a PF, but center is such a thin position in fantasy basketball that a lot of the time a PF can be used as a center and that is just as good. Hill is someone that I told you to grab a couple of weeks ago because he is putting up huge numbers for the Lakers. Over the past two weeks Hill is averaging 15.3 points, 11 rebounds and 1.3 blocks a night, all while shooting 59.7 percent from the field. I don’t care if the guy is actually a PG, if Yahoo qualifies him at center and he can put up those numbers, I will snatch him off the waiver wire and throw him into my line-up without hesitation! Hill is now owned in 61 percent of Yahoo leagues, so you better go hurry and grab him before someone else does.
Greivis Vasquez – PG Kings: Vasquez is in serious danger of losing his starting spot to Isaiah Thomas after he went shot 1-for-3 from the field and finished with just two points, two assists, and one rebound in 15 minutes on Saturday. On the other hand, IT2 finished with 22 points, five assists, two rebounds and a steal in 33 minutes off the bench. If it were me, I’d cut Vasquez and see if Thomas or another PG like Blake or Jordan Crawford are available on the waiver wire.
Brandon Knight – SG Bucks: Knight was a bit of a sleeper pick by a lot of fantasy websites before the season started, and the problem is that nobody told Knight it was time to wake up once the season did kick off. So far this season he has managed an average of 3.8 points, 3.5 assists, 0.5 rebounds and 0.3 steals per-game, while shooting a putrid 23.5 percent from the field. If you are one of the fantasy owners who took a flier on Knight, it’s time to land that plane and grab someone off the waiver wire while you still can.
Paul Pierce – SF Nets: I warned people in the pre-season not to put too much faith in the Nets name-based team this fantasy season. Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Deron Williams have all been colossal busts thus far, and Brook Lopez has missed the past five games with an ankle injury. Since this is about Pierce, allow me to spit some “truth” since that is what he is known as. Over the last two weeks, Pierce has averaged a modest 11.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 0.6 steals per-game, and is shooting an awful 27.6 percent from the field in that span. Those in shallow or daily leagues like DraftStreet can probably just cut ties with Pierce for a better option on the waiver wire or at a cheaper price.
Ersan Ilyasova – PF Bucks:Ok look, the Bucks are a mess and nobody is impervious to that statement. The Bucks rank dead last in scoring per game, last in offensive efficiency, 26th in pace and 21st in turnovers, so it's not a stretch saying they have the worst offense in the NBA. With that said, Ilyasova is owned in 86 percent of Yahoo leagues, and is giving back late 17th round value this season. I don’t think it gets better before it gets worse for his fantasy owners.
Samuel Dalembert – C Mavericks: Dalembert had a good three-game stretch last week where he grabbed double-digit rebounds, causing fantasy owners to run to the waiver wire and grab him. Because of that, his Yahoo ownership is now at 52 percent. While he is a good source of blocks, his rebound totals can fluctuate from the low single digits to the low double-digits, and his points hover right around seven or eight per night. Dalembert is just not consistent enough for me to put too much faith in, and his value is going to take a hit once Brandon Wright comes back before the end of this month. It’s probably time to sell high on him if you can.
James Morris hails from Rio Rancho, NM and has been playing fantasy sports for just over 15 years. Not only does he write the Timberwolves fantasy basketball section, but he crosses over the sports boundary and writes the Miami Dolphins and Cincinnati Bengals fantasy football sections. Just send him an email and he will reply back the same day with your answer. Or, find him on Twitter (Fantasyguy23) and Facebook to get all your NFL news before it hits the national media. For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com.