It’s been a rough few weeks for a lot of people. The biggest blow was the loss of Eric Bledsoe for the year. It always hurts to lose a player of that caliber, but injuries happen.
Week 11 Matchup Rankings
This weekly ranking is based on opponents’ points given up per possession based on pace.
What we learned last week
There is no consistent strategy around injuries
It’s been a rough few weeks for a lot of people. The biggest blow was the loss of Eric Bledsoe for the year. It always hurts to lose a player of that caliber, but injuries happen. The most important thing is what you do about it. Unless you are in a keeper league, there is probably nothing you can do but drop Bledsoe. Without a direct guard replacement, Knight will get full run at the point guard, improving his value slightly. This should mean a bump in minutes for TJ Warren and PJ Tucker. Money should be on the younger of the two, but the older Tucker has seen more minutes and production in that time.
Alec Burks, while not a starter, has been a big minute off the bench guy for Utah who has already been plagued by injuries in the frontcourt. Hood seems to be the benefactor of these minutes, but don’t be surprised to see Trey Burke trying to win back more playing time as well.
Jarret Jack should be a standard replacement by Larkin, but Sloan who played well in Indiana last year during the start of the season is looming as well.
Joakim Noah’s injury opened up playing time for that crowed frontcourt. Many Niko-philiacs assumed this would be the return of their bearded god. While he did get some run at the three, his shooting has gotten so bad that Taj Gibson started and played well. Then BOBBY PORTIS WAS FREE!!!!! Portis is now on the radar of all fantasy players. Deeper leagues should have Portis owned everywhere as he can produce well in bench minutes. Standard leagues might not be ready to take the Portis leap, but he is worth a watch, and another Bull’s injury away from getting bigger minutes.
Returning from injury is almost worse than trying to figure out what to do when someone is injured. When someone comes back, they could kick into the swing of things right away, or take months to play their way back into form, and you often have no choice but to deal with it. On the flip side, guys who got minutes and played well either get relegated back to the bench, or steal minutes from the returning player. Often never enough minutes to actually reproduce their value when they were replacing a hurt teammate. Marcus Smart’s on a minute’s limit, but his return cuts into Bradley’s excellent start to the year, and Isiah Thomas’s monster fantasy year. Jusuf Nukic return now cloudy’s up a big-man situation in Denver that was finally coming to an end with Nikola Jokic coming out on top. These complications are all things you need to stay aware of as you deal with injuries on your team, or look to exploit injuries off the waiver wire.
What to Watch This Week
Orlando vs Detroit
Will Orlando ever figure a rotation? At this point in the season should you even care? Well if your team is struggling you should still probably pay attention. Everyone should be hoping that Aaron Gordon and Oladipo finally get unleashed. Even their main fantasy players continue to struggle. Detroit, on the other hand, is learning what it is like to struggle. Drummond still continues to play well, but Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris have all fallen off over the last few weeks. Jennings is back, but it looks like his role will be limited for a while. Both of these teams could have buy low candidates, but other than Reggie Jackson, I’m not excited about dealing with unproven starters or Orlando’s rotation.
Milwaukee vs Chicago
Rematch of the Eastern Conference first round matchup will be entertaining to watch on its own, but the injury of Noah has opened up playing time for Gibson and Portis. Rose being out has Brooks playing big minutes, but only enough to take a flyer on. Milwaukee has actually got their rotation more settled since Kidd has disappeared. Middleton is playing out of his mind currently and even MCW’s and the Greek Freak are consistent playing time. There is still need to watch Parker, but hopefully block-master Henson and the frisky Greg Monroe get more minutes for their fantasy value.
Toronto vs Brooklyn
Jack is out for the season, Blopez is killing fools and taking names, Thad Young is doing Thad Young things, but how does this all change with Shane Larkin running the point? Will Larkin even run the point or will Sloan take control if Larkin is ineffective? In Toronto, we have the pending return of DeMarre Carroll and a resurgence from Scola and Ross. Plus what will BISMACK Biyombo’s role be with the return of Jonas? Bismack has that elite rebound/block combo that fantasy players can use, but without minutes he might drop out of value. Will Toronto still give Bismack run?
Utah vs Houston
Hood playing more with Alec Burks injury bumps his value, but it is yet to see how much. Will Trey Burke bump himself up into standard league value? Is Jeff Withey for real? Or does it even matter with Favors returning? When will Gobert be back? Houston seems to be finally figuring out their team, but really Dwight Howard is finally playing like old Howard. My take is that this is a blessing and curse. You’ll want to finally ride his production, but in reality, you should sell high on the often injured center. Will Clint Capela break out, or continue to do just enough to stay on the end of your bench?
Miami vs Phoenix
We are about at the stage where the wear and tear on Wade will start showing itself in his playing time and production. We are also at the stage of Dragic’s run where he needs to put up or shut up. Over the last two weeks Dragic has finally played starting worthy basketball, but there is nothing to suggest he keeps this up. Phoenix is a mess. Without Bledsoe we need to see what direction this team goes. Do they run with youth and build around a new core, try to tank by playing Marqueef more? Maybe they play him to make a trade? Maybe they trade everyone? All these will affect the value of this entire team, only Knight is safe.
Golden State vs Sacramento
Always watch Curry and the Warriors, at least once a week. When you can watch Boogie at the same time it is a treat, because who knows what Boogie will get into on that stage. Collison has been coming on and he is obviously a more robust point guard than the stat-filled pass first Rondo. Problem is you want a stat-filling point guard like Rondo to go get his steals and assists. Both have been able to provide value lately.
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