DANILO GETS THE PARTY STARTED, MAKES THE PARTY STOP
George Karl said that Danilo Gallinari (ankle) could be out “a month” after doctors determined that the ‘chip-fracture’ they found was from a prior injury, and the best we can tell is that he might have a high-ankle sprain. He’ll be in a boot for 3-5 days and start rehab, and if the term ‘rehab’ is being used strictly then we’re certainly looking at a multi-week absence. And if we’re watching his music video, I’m pretty sure the John Wall hand movement is all he has.
Looking forward, Arron Afflalo (toe, ankle, not serious) and Rudy Fernandez (back, probable for Wednesday) are now worth a look in 12-team formats. Afflalo has disappointed this season and his production is way off the fantasy radar, and it’s probably due to a mix of injuries, his late start due to the lockout and contract negotiations, and the presence of Andre Miller. Schematically, the Nuggets have enough new and improved firepower in Miller, Ty Lawson, Al Harrington, Fernandez, and Gallinari to allow Afflalo to focus on defense. Will Gallinari’s absence require a change in focus? At least a little bit, but the Nuggets won’t exactly be in a pinch to score so it’s possible he continues to focus on defense.
On the other hand, Fernandez’s role is to score and hit threes, with anything else being icing on the cake. He’s already providing borderline value in 12-team, 8- and 9-cat formats on the strength of 1.3 threes and 1.1 steals in his 24 minutes per game. Does it make more sense for the guy built to shoot and score to pick up where Gallo left off? At least a little bit. My take here is that Fernandez is the better add despite an unclear role and the likely chance that he comes off the bench. Afflalo could easily pick up enough value to be worth an add, too, but with both guys a relative question mark I want the guy with the higher ceiling – and that’s Fernandez if he’s given the green light.
Carmelo Anthony will be out 1-2 weeks with his groin injury, and the short-term pickup is going to be Bill Walker, while Steve Novak will be the other guy you want to keep an eye on. Toney Douglas has a small window to gain some momentum from the second unit, but it’s also starting to sound like his shoulder isn’t right. Combined with his poor play there are enough red flags for him to stay on the wire. The big winner is Amare Stoudemire, when he is done grieving over his brother’s tragic death. Jeremy Lin is a pure pick-and-roll player and he’ll get Amare rolling toward the hoop and that’ll bring stability and added productivity to his already improving game.
Elsewhere in the backcourt, Iman Shumpert and Landry Fields are must-own players in 12-team leagues as of today. Teams will scheme Lin out of the game more than they have been, and with some of Melo’s minutes landing in their bucket they’re favored to produce low-end results, at a minimum.
There’s no real news here other than the post-game comments of Mike D’Antoni on Monday about riding Jeremy Lin like he’s “friggin Secretariat,” though I feel it’s necessary to point out that I thought he was talking about that game and not necessarily going forward. Do I think he’ll ride Lin going forward? Yes, but it’s not like Lin is the untouchable starting point guard of the Knicks right now. He’s just the point guard with the best chance to be effective and help the Knicks win, which is good enough for owners to be looking to add or hold. Now that he’s opened everybody’s eyes, he has every chance to solidify his role and I believe he’ll do exactly that.
Monty Williams said that he believes Eric Gordon (knee) is 1-2 weeks away from “strenuous workouts,” and Thursday marks Day 14 of the 3-6 week timetable given to media on his last update. When I got that report and had to decide what to do with him in a daily league, I decided that he needed to stay on the three-week side of that timetable for me to hold on. Therefore, if he isn’t performing “strenuous workouts” on the one-week side of Williams’ prediction I’m out, which will be a huge net loss for my squad. I just can’t keep losing the productivity, and with each passing day that it’s being proven that his knee is all jacked up, the guarantee for future results gets diminished. It speaks to the way owners can get strung out by injured, early round guys in these formats, and there’s no real answer other than to cut-and-run early and live with the guy killing you later.
FOUR QUARTERS OF FURY
1ST QUARTER: Ben Gordon (shoulder) still hasn’t gone through any contact drills, and given prior reports about “multiple tears” I’m not counting on a return anytime soon… which is good news for Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey. Knight (broken nose) practiced on Tuesday and should play Wednesday, and has a decent chance to pay off owners that started him in a three-game week. Spencer Hawes (back) is getting an MRI, and I’m getting antsy to pick up Nikola Vucevic in 12-team leagues. He has been spotty himself the past few weeks, but unless his knee/quad issue is more serious than anybody is letting on I have to think he’ll be a clear beneficiary if Hawes is damaged goods. The downside is that the Sixers are playing to win and Vucevic won’t have a long leash, and the upside is his fantasy friendly game.
2ND QUARTER: George Hill (ankle) sounds like he’s coming back sooner than later, but he has a lot to prove before he substantially alters fantasy plans in Indy. MarShon Brooks (toe, Achilles) put up set shots and sounds like he’s a week or so away at least, but I’ve been adding him wherever I can. It’s a bit of a risk, but the upside is too much to ignore. Anthony Morrow (personal) is expected to be back for Wednesday’s game and should be in all lineups despite the chance he’s distracted by his grandmother’s death. Nene (heel) is a game-time decision on Wednesday and we’ll get a good idea of how hurt he is if he can’t go, since his presence is more needed with Danilo Gallinari (ankle) out. That said, the Nuggets will still play it safe. Samuel Dalembert was definitely benched on Monday, and it’s one of the better kept secrets that he has issues with effort and selfishness on the court. Am I dropping him? Fat chance.
3RD QUARTER: Derrick Rose (back) is going to try to play on Wednesday, but he’ll be playing the Hornets and that’s a good opportunity to rest. He looked to be in significant pain on Monday and back injuries are no joke. Rose owners may want to bite the bullet and handcuff C.J. Watson, while those hunting for spot-starters may want to make a speculative add, too. Luol Deng (non-shooting wrist) says he “feels great,” but I’m not taking much at face value out of Chicago these days (and Deng is a gamer). That doesn’t mean he isn’t feeling better, but that I’m letting on-court results do the talking. Marcus Camby (bronchitis) is probable and needs to be in lineups barring a negative report. Raymond Felton (foot) is a game-time decision and I was admittedly bummed after calling him a buy low player last week. If the injury isn’t serious, I’m still on that boat, though it’s a real concern that conditioning could be at the root of his foot’s issue. Jason Kidd (calf) did some light jogging and still sounds like he’s about a week or so away.
4TH QUARTER: Jarrett Jack (knee) practiced on Tuesday and will be a game-time decision on Wednesday, and the general sense is that Greivis Vasquez will get 25-plus minutes playing both guard slots once Jack returns. The only concern is that Monty Williams is a jerker, but it should still take a Jeremy Lin/Nikola Vucevic type for owners to pass on Vasquez at this point. He fits the picture in New Orleans. Jason Thompson (seven points, three boards, 25 minutes) and Isaiah Thomas (zero points) cooled off last night, and owners should set the sights lower for both. Thompson might have been playing over his head and injury risk Chuck Hayes is looming, while Thomas’ minutes are shaky and the bone-chip fracture in his left hand could be hindering him. Baron Davis (back) doesn’t expect to practice this week, and really, why should he? Linsanity bought him time to get things in order.