The massive number of injuries in the NBA continues to make things tricky for fantasy managers. Let’s dig into some players who are still available in the majority of Yahoo leagues who could provide a boost moving forward.
Dereck Lively II, Dallas Mavericks (53% available)
It’s a bit surprising to see Lively available in this many leagues. He’s starting for the Mavericks and has averaged 24 minutes per game. As with many rookies, he hasn’t exactly provided consistent production. However, his overall averages of 9.1 points. 7.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocks are valuable. He is also shooting a robust 72.9% from the field.
Maybe the reason why Lively is still out there in so many leagues is that fantasy managers have already noticed that the Mavericks will play only two games in Week 5. Given his inconsistency, he shouldn’t be starting in most leagues. However, for those who can afford to stash him on their bench for the week, adding him now could pay off in the long run.
Duncan Robinson, Miami Heat (54% available)
Robinson had a difficult time finding his way onto the floor last season, logging just 17 minutes per game. The Heat entered this season with a lack of quality depth, which has resulted in Robinson playing 29 minutes per game. Tyler Herro (ankle) is currently out, which means that Robinson is not likely to see a decline in minutes anytime soon.
The thing fantasy managers know that they are getting with Robinson is 3-pointers. For his career, he has shot 39.8% from behind the arc. With his added playing time enabling him to average 2.9 3-pointers per game this season, Robinson should be an asset in that department with the Heat scheduled to play four games in Week 5.
Jordan Hawkins, New Orleans Pelicans (65% available)
The Pelicans have been one of the teams hit the hardest by injuries this season. Currently, they have been playing without CJ McCollum (chest), Trey Murphy III (knee), Larry Nance Jr. (ribs) and Jose Alvarado (ankle). McCollum is the most noticeable absence, and the team has yet to give a timetable for his return.
Over the five games that McCollum has missed, Hawkins has averaged 18.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 3.8 3-pointers. The key is that he averaged 34 minutes per game, compared to his season average of 29 minutes per game. His 37.7% shooting from the field is a drag and doesn’t make him as valuable in rotisserie leagues. However, those who are punting the category in head-to-head leagues, or those who are just desperate for scoring, should look no further than Hawkins to provide a lift.
Goga Bitadze, Orlando Magic (79% available)
The hand injury to Wendell Carter Jr. has enabled Bitadze to step into the starting five for the Magic. They also have Moritz Wagner on the bench, so Bitadze has not been playing typical starter minutes, despite the promotion. Still, he has logged 23 minutes per game since stepping into that role.
Bitadze has certainly maximized his minutes, averaging 10.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.5 blocks since Carter went down. He has been efficient, shooting 60.0% from the field and 80.0% from the free-throw line. Carter is not ready to make his return, and the Magic will play four games in Week 5, making Bitadze a prime target for those who need help at center.
Reggie Jackson, Denver Nuggets (82% available)
The defending champions are off to a good start with a 9-2 record. However, one negative for them is that Jamal Murray (hamstring) is out. If they are going to successfully defend their title, they need Murray to be healthy for the playoffs. It’s no surprise that they are taking a cautious approach with his injury, likely keeping him out for at least the rest of November.
Since Murray is out, Jackson is now the Nuggets’ starting point guard. Over four games since stepping into that role, he has averaged 14.8 points, 4.0 assists and 1.5 3-pointers. Nikola Jokic is the best passing big man in the league, so even in a starting role, Jackson likely won’t rack up a ton of assists. However, he should be able to do enough in points, 3-pointers and assists to be worth rostering in most leagues.
Caleb Martin, Miami Heat (88% available)
Martin was a huge reason why the Heat emerged as Eastern Conference champions last year. He particularly thrived in the series against the Celtics, providing 19.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.1 3-pointers per game. Unfortunately for the Heat, he cooled off against the Nuggets, averaging just 7.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game in the Finals.
Considering that the Heat entered this season with an underwhelming depth chart, Martin’s injury from the start has not been ideal. He finally made his return from a knee injury Thursday against the Nets, recording six points, two assists and two 3-pointers over 12 minutes. It may take him some time to round into form, but those who play in deep leagues might want to consider adding him now. Last season, he averaged 9.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.2 3-pointers over 29 minutes per game.