by Will Overton
Fantasy sports are a constant cycle with injuries. They will always be a big part of the game and they will always do the same thing. One man goes down and others step up in their place. One fantasy owner takes a hit and whoever has their replacement gets a bump.
With many drafts coming up still you still have time to adjust your draft strategy and know going in who is hurt and how to adjust your rankings and who to take a flier on in hopes of early season boosts. In this article I am going to take a look at a couple of the big injuries in the league and what they mean.
We discussed the Kevin Durant injury earlier this week, and that was the one that took the league by storm over the weekend. In the shadows of that injury though were a couple more injuries that happened to a pair of shooting guards, Bradley Beal and Jodie Meeks. Let’s take a look at those injuries and how they have created opportunity for a pair of potentially solid late round fliers.
Bradley Beal Breaks His Wrist
This one saddened me quite a bit, not just because I had recently traded for Beal in a keeper league, but because I really thought he was going to break out in a big way. Beal is likely going to miss the first month of the season recovering.
When he does return you have to expect a couple weeks of him getting back into the swing of things. This is a broken wrist on a guy who makes his living with his jumpshot. Once he gets his stroke back he’ll still be close to a top 50 guy for the remainder of the season, but with the injury you have to knock him down to the bottom part of the top 100 in the Kevin Martin kind of range.
The absence of Beal creates a golden opportunity for another shooter though, Glen Rice Jr. With Martell Webster out Rice was already going to get a nice look, but now he’s likely going to start. Rice was a Summer League MVP this offseason and seems primed to be a nice flier at the end of drafts. He’s been streaky so far this preseason with his jumper, but when he is on he has huge potential as a three point specialist.
Jodie Meeks To Miss 8 Weeks
A stress reaction in his lower back has the Pistons big offseason acquisition, Jodie Meeks, sidelined for the first couple months of the season. Meeks was supposed to be the guy to step in and fix the Pistons three point shooting woes that really bogged them down so much last season. He’ll likely step into a big role when he returns, but with him slated to miss two months you really can’t draft him in standard leagues unless you have an IR spot, and even then a more pressing injury could come along and bump him eventually.
In Meeks place will likely be sophomore Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. KCP is dealing with an injury of his own, a knee strain, but all signs point to him being fine and ready to do sooner rather than later. KCP struggled with his shot last season and never could get into a rhythm. He had a huge summer league though and through the first three preseason games of the season he was averaging 16.6 PPG and 2.3 3PG. With his size and wingspan KCP has a chance to be a solid rebounder and steals contributor to pair with his three point shooting given enough playing time. KCP is no sure thing, but he is definitely worth a lottery pick kind of grab at the end of your draft.
This also means a slight boost for Kyle Singler, Caron Butler and D.J. Augustin. I expect Singler and Butler to spend most of their time at small forward, but they will now likely see shooting guard minutes too. Meanwhile D.J. Augustin will be called upon for three point shooting and offense off the bench, not just at the point, but also at shooting guard now too. I would actually consider grabbing Augustin at the end of your draft too.
What are you doing with these injuries? Do you see value in Rice or Caldwell-Pope?