Injury Watch: Patrick Beverley Out, Jeremy Lin In and More

by Will Overton

With this little amount of time left in the season fantasy owners need to be getting every edge they possibly can on their league mates. One of those edges can come in the way of watching the injury reports like a hawk.

Knowing what is happening in the trainer’s room helps you stay on top of who to keep out of your lineup and who might be worth picking up for your lineup. With just a couple more weeks left to go in the season we are going to start seeing more guys get shut down for the season which is going to open more doors for the guys behind them.

Here are some of the injury notes that stand out to me and the implications that come with them:

Nikola Pekovic – C, Minnesota Timberwolves: Pekovic made his return from an ankle injury on Friday after missing six games. Pekovic played two full games, and last night seven minutes into a game against the Clippers he left with pain in that same ankle. Pekovic didn’t return to action last night and it is unclear how long this could keep him out this time, but my guess is it’ll be at least a couple games. Read more

Crunch Time: Looking Ahead At The Upcoming Week

by Will Overton

We’re headed into the final weeks of the season now. That means championships are about to be won or lost in the next little while. There is no room for error when it comes to setting your lineup. You need to know who has the favorable matchups, who doesn’t and who you should and shouldn’t be playing.

Just like the rest of the year you don’t really want to overthink things and get too cute. Your stars are still your stars and you have to expect them to play like stars. You still have to give it some thought though and consider all angles.

Obviously if you play in a weekly league you have big decisions to make, but even in daily leagues you may. Two times this week the schedule is full with games meaning you will have to choose who to bench and who not to on those nights.

Here are some of the guys I like this week: Read more

3 Up, 3 Down: Trends In Ownership Percentages Examined

by Ray Lin

This late into the basketball season, it’s hard to find any game-changers off the waiver wire that will have enough time to make an impact.

Still, there are players to keep an eye on, whether it’s for immediate impact or momentum leading into the 2014-15 season. Here’s a 3-up, 3-down look at players who have changed ownership value (according to ESPN) the most over the past 15 days.

3 Up

Gorgui Dieng, MIN C (+41.1% ownership, past 15 days: 25.1 mpg, 9.0 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 0.9 spg, 0.9 bpg, .533 FG%)

As defending NCAA champion Louisville heads into the Sweet 16 this week, the Cardinals’ former center and reigning Big East Defensive Player of the Year continues to go on a tear in Minnesota. Dieng has been taking on major minutes with Ronny Turiaf and Nikola Pekovic both hurt, logging over 25 mpg in five straight contests. Read more

The Future Is Now: Four Potential Breakouts For Next Season And Beyond

by Will Overton

I absolutely love keeper and dynasty leagues in fantasy basketball. I love them so much I created a dynasty league that even incorporates a “minor league” system of sorts using college basketball players. Keeper leagues and dynasty leagues just take things to another level of fun in my opinion.

One of the things I love the most is that you are engaged in a keeper league all year no matter where you rest in the standings. Even though your team has failed you there is always next year and you get to get a leg up on the competition and start thinking about and planning for next year now, because what else do you have to lose.

With this in mind I have started thinking about next year as well, for multiple reasons, and I have identified a few guys who I think are worth stashing in those keeper and dynasty leagues that might still be unowned.

Steven Adams – C, Oklahoma City Thunder: The Thunder have been using Adams some more down the stretch because of Kendrick Perkins injury, but I think we’ll start to see a bit more of his true potential after a full offseason with the Thunder. Read more

Injury Report: Five Big Men Who Are Banged Up

by Will Overton

This time of the season injuries can be tricky to navigate for fantasy owners. This is a bad time to be dealing with injuries as it is, with playoffs starting up in head to head and the final pushes coming in roto leagues. It adds another wrinkle though as the NBA season comes to a close.

Teams in the playoffs wants to make sure their best players are healthy when it matters most. Teams not making the playoffs aren’t going to push their guys back for what are essentially meaningless games. Or even games they don’t really mind losing if you get what I mean.

So basically you don’t really know how long guys are going to be on the shelf, even  if they are minor injuries because everyone fears it turning into a big injury at just the wrong time. Here are some injuries to big men around the league and who is or might eventually benefit if they are out for long. Read more

Cleveland Rocked: How Kyrie Irving’s Injury Impacts The Fantasy Basketball World

by Ray Lin

The Cavaliers and Kyrie Irving fantasy owners both have a big time playoff problem.

The former rookie of the year is expected to miss at least two weeks and possibly the rest of the season with a strained tendon in his left biceps. He’s missing eight of Cleveland’s final 15 games in a critical push for the final playoff spot in the East. Owners in redraft leagues should probably still hold on because there’s a chance he could help in the final week of the season (if the Cavs were out of playoff contention, it’s likely they’d just shut him down to be safe).

Either way, it’s a rough situation for fantasy owners as well. The first player that owners should immediately check for on the waiver wire is Dion Waiters, who is actually unowned in 37% of Yahoo leagues. Since returning from his 7-game absence due to a knee injury, Waiters has averaged a solid 15.7 ppg and 1.7 3PM while shooting it from deep at a stellar 45.5% clip in his past six games. He’s been averaging a season-high 14.5 FGA this month, which will only go up in Irving’s absence. Read more

Waiver Worthy: Five Guys Whose Minutes Are On The Rise

by Will Overton

One of the biggest indicators to predict an increase in fantasy value is seeing an increase in playing time. It’s pretty simple really, more playing time leads to bigger numbers. It’s not always the case, but the majority of the time it’s true.

The tricky part is having the time, and taking the time to track whose minutes are moving and whose minutes might be moving soon. Getting a jump on these guys is key to making some savvy free agency moves that could catapult you up the standings. The trading season is over and all you have to rely on now for moves is the waiver wire.

More minutes is what can help to take an average or even below average player and give them fantasy value just based on the quantity of time they are on the floor. Here are five guys who have seen or will see an uptick in playing time: Read more

The Final Push: Category Chasers Down The Stretch

by Ray Lin

As fantasy owners head down the season stretch in rotisserie leagues, most can get a pretty clear picture of which counting stats they have a chance to catch the team in front. Here’s a look at some players owned in less than half of leagues (according to Yahoo) who could help out in specific categories.

Points – Alec Burks, UTA (33% owned / past month: 14 games, 29 mpg, 17.0 ppg)

Despite continuing to come off the bench behind Trey Burke and Gordon Hayward, Burks has been one of the most valuable sixth men in fantasy of late. That’s mostly thanks to the value he’s brought on the offensive end — he actually trails only Hayward on the Jazz in scoring this season.

The former 11th overall pick was touted as the strongest transition scorer out of his entire draft class and has improved his jumper considerably this year. His ability to create shots has allowed him to average at least 11 attempts a game, plenty enough to sustain fantasy scoring value. Unless Burke and Hayward go down with anything more serious than just nicks and bruises, Burks won’t see more than 30 minutes a night very often. He’ll still get enough to help you make up some ground in points. Read more

What Is Brandon Knight’s Long Term Value For Fantasy Owners?

by Will Overton

The Milwaukee Bucks are a very frustrating team for fantasy owners. There just isn’t much consistency on this team right now, including with the coaching whose minutes distribution is a giant guessing game. It’s not bad enough that they’re awful, they can’t even provide consistent fantasy value.

One of the very, very few exceptions to this rule has been Brandon Knight. The Bucks traded Brandon Jennings for Knight in the offseason. What they ended up getting was a strikingly similar point guard as they had with Jennings. Knight has been more efficient and a little less polished as a playmaker, but there are a lot of similarities with Brandon Jennings here.

Let’s look at the numbers he has put up so far this season:

32.3 Minutes Per Game
42.2% Field Goal Percentage
81.7% Free Throw Percentage
17.4 Points Per Game
5.0 Assists Per Game
3.3 Rebounds Per Game Read more

Waiver Worthy: Five Guys Who You Need To Own And Play

by Will Overton

It’s crunch time. The time for waiting on that one guy to turn the corner after two months of struggling, that’s done. We are officially getting to the point where it’s time to focus on putting the best possible roster in your lineup over the best potential lineup.

What does that mean? It means a guy who is hot might be more important than the guy who is struggling, but could be a better player. The hottest player might be a better play than the best player in certain circumstances.

This isn’t me saying bench your stars who are struggling. The stars of fantasy basketball are immune to this discussion. I’m talking about guys like Trey Burke and Andre Iguodala who just can’t seem to get it done right now. Maybe those guys should find a seat for a week or so while you use a hotter player readily available off the waiver wire.

Here are some of those waiver wire guys who are riding a hot streak right now: Read more