by Will Overton
Staying on top of the injury news around the league can be one of the ways to get a leg up on your competition in fantasy basketball. It’s a two-fold thing, you have to watch who is getting hurt and also who is coming back from injury. Both of these things will have an effect on the fantasy value of the specific players and the others on their team.
We’re going to look at a handful of guys who have recently gone on the shelf and also a few guys who are now on the mend as well and I’ll break down what it all means:
On The Shelf
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG – Detroit Pistons: The injury to the Pistons third year shooting guard came at a bad time after he put together a really strong month of January. Caldwell-Pope is now dealing with a groin strain that has him out until at least the 19th of this month. Fortunately for the Pistons and KCP owners, the all-star break falls during that time frame.
This injury has led to Caldwell-Pope being dropped in over 10% of leagues recently and if one of those leagues was yours I would suggest snatching him up. He’s only going to miss a couple more games at this point. In the meantime, Stanley Johnson has been filling in admirably for him and he makes a nice DFS play for the time or a short term add if you have an open spot.
Manu Ginobili, SG – San Antonio Spurs: Also suffering a groin injury is the Spurs aging shooting guard who apparently is worse off than KCP, with a prognosis of four to six weeks and a thought that it may be much worse. Ginobili missing this much time makes him droppable in most formats in my opinion. As far as who gains value here, Danny Green should see a bump in minutes, likely from 25 MPG to 30+ I would assume. Coming off the bench and seeing more minutes will be Jonathan Simmons. We don’t really know what to expect from Simmons so he’s just a watch and see except in the deepest of leagues.
T.J. Warren, SF – Phoenix Suns: Here’s another tough injury to see happen as T.J. Warren broke his foot and will miss the rest of the season. Warren was kind of coming into his own before the injury. Now with him out, P.J. Tucker and Markieff Morris have been logging big time minutes. Morris is owned in most leagues at this point, but Tucker is not. You won’t get as many points from Tucker as you do Morris, but you’ll pile up some boards and steals which is nice. It’s also worth noting that Morris could still get traded which would open the door for Mirza Teletovic and Jon Leuer.
On The Mend
Brandon Knight, PG – Phoenix Suns: After being shelved for almost three weeks, Brandon Knight should be making his return as soon as the all-star break is over. In his absence we have seen Archie Goodwin and Devin Booker take off and form an interestingly effective backcourt. Knight’s return should bump Goodwin back down to the bench, but he has earned the right to keep a big spot in the rotation. We also talked about Warren’s injury already, and the Suns could use a lot of three guard lineups now to keep Goodwin’s playing time up.
Tim Duncan, PF – San Antonio Spurs: I am sure we haven’t the last missed game of the season for Tim Duncan, but this knee injury is almost cleared up and he should be back any game now. Duncan will miss the occasional game here and there and have his minutes somewhat limited, but his return still nullifies the value of David West and Boris Diaw. You’ll still get the occasional DFS game from West or Diaw, but Duncan takes away almost all their value. As for Duncan himself, he’s still ownable in all leagues despite the dip in his numbers this season.
Tyreke Evans, SG/SF – New Orleans Pelicans: Another guy coming back after the all-star break is Tyreke Evans in New Orleans, assuming he doesn’t get traded. No one has really stepped up that strong in the absence of Evans for New Orleans aside from Jrue Holiday and Norris Cole. Both guys should still keep their minutes up as long as Eric Gordon remains out. The Pelicans are at their best when Evans is at small forward. What his return will effect is Holiday and Cole’s assists totals as Evans has a tendency to dominate the ball a lot when he’s on the court.