by Will Overton
The trade deadline last week produced some waiver wire value for fantasy basketball players, but the injuries that have taken place might have produced even more. Right around the all-star break two teams took huge hits in injury news. The Chicago Bulls lost Jimmy Butler for 2 – 3 weeks, while Chris Bosh may miss the rest of the season for the Miami Heat.
These two injuries are opening the door for other guys to step up an waiver wire value to be found. Let’s breakdown each injury and what the fantasy relevance of them are:
Jimmy Butler Dealing With A Knee Injury
At this point it’s possible that Jimmy Butler could be back in a couple weeks, but that’s no guarantee and the Bulls aren’t going to rush him back with a knee injury I assume. It was unclear initially who would be the big benefactor to this injury, but it seems that E’Twaun Moore has separated himself as the guy at this point.
Moore is averaging 32.6 minutes per game over his last 11 games. In those 11 games he is averaging 12.1 PPG, 3.3 RPG and 1.5 3PG. Those numbers don’t jump off the page, but he’s mixing in some assists and steals here and there and he’s coming off his best game of his career from an offensive standpoint when he scored 24 points.
Moore literally doesn’t have any value when Butler is healthy, but right now, for the next couple of weeks, he is worth a spot in most leagues if you have an open spot on your bench. Meanwhile this has opened the door for more minutes from Doug McDermott too who is having the best stretch of basketball he has had in his two NBA seasons. McDermott is averaging 13.4 PPG in February while hitting 1.9 threes per game as well. Those are literally the only two things McDermott can do for you, but he has more long term value than Moore because Butler’s return won’t have as much of an impact on him.
Chris Bosh Out Indefinitely
While we don’t know when Chris Bosh will be back, he could miss the rest of the season. Bosh is dealing with a blood clot in his leg, and while he is considered day to day, most assume it’s going to be a while. Bosh has only missed two games so far, but we’ve seen a few benefactors in Miami.
I think the guy you have to be adding at this point is Luol Deng. In both of these games we have seen the Heat try Deng out at the four and while he is very undersized, it really hasn’t been too bad so far. More importantly, he’s putting up numbers, including three straight double-double’s. Bosh’s absence not only gets Deng more minutes, it arguably makes him the second option on this offense and gives him a much bigger role in general. I don’t expect 20/10 the rest of the way, but it’s certainly possible that we see 15/7 with a steal and three per game. Deng had been bad enough that he’s available in a ton of leagues right now and you should snatch him up.
Another beneficiary is Justice Winslow. If Deng is going to be playing the four, Winslow is going to be in there on the wing. Winslow is not very polished on offense, but he’s had three straight double digit scoring efforts and he has been rebounding really well too. Winslow is still a better real player than a fantasy one, but he has value for most leagues now.
For deep leagues Josh McRoberts and Amar’e Stoudemire at least have to be on the radar now too. So far McRoberts seems to be getting more minutes, and he’s a guy who often winds up better in fantasy than real basketball, the opposite of Winslow. One of the things with McRoberts is that he’s a sneaky assists guy for a big and can step out and hit a three here and there too. Still, he’s just a deep leaguer.