Friday started off with a pair of heartbreaking stories as it was announced that both Al Horford and Russell Westbrook will miss extended time due to their injuries. As the night progressed more injury news piled up as LeBron James looked gimpy and Bradley Beal went down with what looks like a serious injury. But it wasn’t all bad news. Larry Sanders returned and the aforementioned Stephen Curry did work for the blazing Warriors.
1. Curry notches a triple-double
Despite shooting just 5-17 from the field Curry posted a very nice triple-double on Friday night. The lightning-quick guard scored 14 points and set career-highs with 16 assists and 10 rebounds. He did turn the ball over seven times but on a night where the Warriors won by 29 points, Curry’s line is even more rewarding for fantasy owners. The Warriors have now won four straight and although Curry has been in a shooting funk as of late, his assist numbers have risen to compensate as he’s handing out 11 helpers per contest during the winning streak. He should be a top-5 fantasy player all year.
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2. LeBron carry’s heavy load, gets banged up
In a game without Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen, and Chris Andersen, LeBron James was forced to play over 43 minutes against a feisty Kings squad. Although he put up 33 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists, James finished the game with a strained groin and a tweaked left ankle in a losing effort. The Heat travel to Portland on Saturday to play the Blazers and with James gimpy, he could potentially sit out. However, as we’ve seen before, James is a warrior and will play if he can. He recently played a game against the Pacers after publicly stating that there was a good chance he’d miss it, so owners would be wise to wait as long as possible before making any roster decisions involving James.
3. Beal down and out?
While James dealt with a slew of nagging injuries on Friday, Washington’s Bradley Beal may have suffered a serious injury against Minnesota. The guard hurt his left leg and went down in a heap during the fourth quarter. He had to be carried off the court and although X-rays were negative, he left the arena on crutches and is scheduled for an MRI on Saturday. Both Martell Webster and Trevor Ariza would see more touches if Beal misses any significant time. Ariza should already be owned and Webster is worth a speculative add given how bad the injury looked. Stay tuned as more information about Beal becomes available.
4. Reggie will get run with Westbrook out
Russell Westbrook underwent surgery on his right knee Friday and will be out until the All-Star break. This news came rather suddenly for fantasy owners but the silver lining here is that Reggie Jackson, who was already gaining some steam, is now the starting point guard and will get a ton of run going forward. Jackson started on Friday against Charlotte and although he shot poorly (4-19), he played over 30 minutes and should be much better going forward. Jeremy Lamb, who scored 10 points in nearly 24 minutes on Friday, is also worth a look while Westbrook is out.
5. With Horford out, who will step up?
The Hawks didn’t play on Friday night but will take on Charlotte Saturday. With Al Horford likely out for the year with a torn pectoral, the question remains, who will gain fantasy value in his absence? It’s honestly a tough call and a bit of a crapshoot at this point. In the short term, other stars like Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague should get even more touches going forward. Looking at the waiver wire guys like Elton Brand, Gustavo Ayon, Mike Scott, and even Pero Antic are all likely available in your league. However, waiting to see who emerges on Saturday night is probably the best strategy at this point. It’s also quite possible that the Hawks will play a lot more small ball with Lou Williams and Shelvin Mack benefiting.