Kevin Durant was diagnosed with an incomplete rib cartilage fracture on Friday and he will miss at least the next two weeks of action. The Warriors are extremely banged up right now with Stephen Curry (ankle) out until at least March 20, Klay Thompson (thumb) set to spend the next few weeks on the sidelines and Patrick McCaw still working his way back from a fractured wrist. I’ll break down who benefits from these injuries below, but first and foremost, if you’re in a head-to-head playoffs format that ends at Week-24, and you’re in a re-draft league, you’re going to have to cut KD.
So what happens?
The Dubs went with a Quinn Cook-Nick Young-Andre Iguodala-Draymond Green-Zaza Pachulia starting five on Friday, and it was surprisingly Cook who lead the team in scoring, finishing with 25 points, four boards, three assists, three steals, five triples and just one turnover through 40 minutes of floor time. As good as he was, this line feels very fluky as he nailed 10 of his 13 shots, and did so against the bottom-feeding Kings, but none-the-less he’s put himself on the radar. He’s locked into big minutes as one of the last few guards standing in Golden State, and he has another extremely favorable matchup against the Suns on Saturday, so at the very least you should think about streaming him.
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Nick Young was already locked into big minutes with Thompson (thumb) done for the next few weeks, but now he’s due for more usage with KD hitting the sidelines. Per nbawowy.com, with Curry, Klay and KD off the floor, Young’s usage spikes to 27.5, and he was close to that on Friday night, rocking a 23.4 usage on his way to 16 points (5-of-15 FGs, 3-of-3 FTs), three triples two rebounds, one assist and two turnovers in 36 minutes. Swaggy P won’t help you much in the defensive categories, but his 3-point shooting and scoring should be enough to keep him owned in standard settings.
Andre Iguodala fared well in the start, tallying 11 points, four boards, two assists, one 3-pointer, one steal and one turnover across 31 minutes. Iggy’s numbers don’t always jump off the page, but he can chip in a little bit of everything without hurting you anywhere, so he’s worth a look in deep leagues.
Draymond Green flirted with a triple-double in the loss, scoring 14 points on 5-of-14 shooting to go with 10 rebounds, seven assists, three trey-bombs, four steals, two swats and four turnovers in 34 minutes. He’s basically the Dubs’ defacto point guard now, so he’ll have the rock in his hands way more than usual, and he’s also going to have more shots coming his way which could mess with his percentages. Green saw his usage rate spike to 26.7 (up from 17.1) and his assist percentage rise to 38.9 (up from 28.7) and that’s a trend that will assuredly continue with the rest of the main guys unavailable. As a side note, Green had the most Treymond Green sequence ever at the end of the game, draining a clutch and deep 3-point shot with 30 seconds left to tie up the game, but on the proceeding possession he jacked up a tightly contested triple with 13.2 seconds left in the game, plenty of time on the shot clock and the Dubs’ only down by one, which he bricked, and Golden State went on to lose the game.
As a quick wrap up to the KD news, I’d say Nick Young is the most attractive pickup, followed by Iguodala, and then Cook. Yes, Cook was fantastic on Friday night, but Young and Iguodala have a proven track record.
RHJ starts – Joel Embiid wins
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson thrived in his return to the starting five on Friday, posting a 21-point, 10-board, double-double to go with five dimes, two steals and two turnovers in 27 minutes. He’s the future in Brooklyn, so he should be able to hold off Dante Cunningham, and his value should trend up while he’s running with the starting unit.
Unfortunately, RHJ’s big night was ruined by Joel Embiid who popped off for 24 points, 19 rebounds, four assists, one triple one steal, two swats and just one turnover across 33 minutes. Yeah, he’s fairly good at basketball.
On The Radar
Corey Brewer swiped away a career-high tying six steals during Friday’s win over the Clippers, adding 22 points (7-of-12 FGs, 6-of-7 FTs), two triples, three assists, one rebound, one block and zero turnovers across 31 minutes. He’s been straight ballin’ since entering the starting five in OKC with averages of 14.8 points, 3.2 boards, 1.8 dimes, 1.6 triples, 2.6 steals and just 0.4 turnovers per game on 52.3% shooting from the field and 95.2% from the stripe. He’s locked into the starting lineup with no one around to challenge him for minutes, and he’s actually been siphoning away some touches from Carmelo Anthony, which makes sense with how awful Melo has been this year. Billy Donovan loves Brewer, and while this may be the high-water mark for him this season, he should continue to be a valuable source of triples and steals with very few turnovers. The only problem is that OKC has just three games next week, but still, after this performance, he's worth swooping up in most leagues.
Terry Rozier scored 17 points on 5-of-13 shooting (4-of-6 from the stripe) to go with three triples, seven boards, five dimes, one block and three turnovers through 34 minutes as a starter. Kyrie Irving (knee) might be back on Sunday, but Rozier is still going to be logging major minutes with Marcus Smart (thumb) and Jaylen Brown (concussion) on the shelf. He’s worth owning in most leagues.
Marcus Morris scored nine points on 4-of-15 shooting to go with 11 rebounds, one 3-pointer, two assists, one steal and one turnover in 33 minutes. Over the past few weeks, Morris has contributed averages of 15.8 points, 6.3 boards, 2.3 triples, 1.5 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.0 turnover per game on 43.2% shooting, and he should continue to see some increased opportunity while Brown is out. Give him a look if those numbers are appealing.
Greg Monroe had another nice game on Friday despite the return of Al Horford (illness), scoring 17 points to go with five rebounds, two assists, three steals, one block and three turnovers in 21 minutes off the bench. He’s been really inconsistent, but he’s seen more opportunity for minutes with Daniel Theis (knee) out, and more shots with Kyrie Irving (knee) out. I’m skeptical he’ll be able to keep it up once Irving returns, but he’s worth monitoring.
D.J. Augustin scored 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting (2-of-2 from the stripe) to go with three boards, four assists, two steals and one turnover in 30 minutes. He’s a fine low-end PG to own.
James Johnson came through with the defensive stats, chipping in three steals and one block to go with 12 points, seven boards and five dimes through 25 minutes as a starter. He’s been on a bit of a hot streak over the past four games, posting averages of 14.5 points, 6.3 boards, 5.3 dimes, 1.5 steals, 0.5 blocks and just 1.0 turnover per game on 62.2% shooting. The sky-high shooting isn’t sustainable, but he should continue to see some increased opportunity while Hassan Whiteside (hip) and Dwyane Wade (hamstring) are on the shelf.
Kelly Olynyk scored 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting to go with five boards, three treys, three steals, two swats and two turnovers in 24 minutes off the bench. He’s basically must-own while Whiteside is out.
Jonathan Isaac recorded six points, two rebounds, two steals, two blocks and one turnover through 25 minutes as a starter. He’s not doing much in the scoring department, but he’s averaged 1.6 steals and 1.0 block per game as a starter this season, which puts him on the radar as a defensive specialist in deep leagues.
J.J. Barea scored 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting to go with two 3-pointers, six assists, one rebound and two turnovers in 19 minutes off the bench. He could be someone to consider streaming on Saturday with a favorable matchup against the Nets.
Nerlens Noel saw 27 minutes of floor time for the first time since October on Friday, finishing with six points (2-of-4 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs), six boards, three assists, five steals, three swats and zero turnovers. His minutes are trending up, and as long as you can tolerate the non-scoring, he’s worth owning as a defensive specialist in deep leagues.
Jakob Poeltl is another defensive specialist to consider in deep leagues. He finished Friday’s game with two points, two boards, one assist, one steal, two blocks and one turnover in 18 minutes off the bench. If forced to choose between Poeltl and Noel, I’d go with Noel as he offers significantly more upside.
Skal Labissiere (hip) returned from a three-game absence and posted 15 points, five boards, three triples, three assists, one block and one turnover in 26 minutes off the bench. He’s been heating up over the past eight with averages of 12.5 points, 5.6 boards, 1.9 dimes, 0.8 triples, 1.4 swats and 1.5 turnovers per game on 48.7% shooting from the field and 90.9% from the stripe, so give him a look if you need a big man on the cheap.
Buddy Hield beat up on the Warriors’ B-squad, netting 22 points on 7-of-13 shooting (3-of-4 from the stripe) to go with seven rebounds, seven assists, five 3-pointers and four turnovers in 30 minutes off the bench. Hield has been very hit-or-miss this season, but he has some value as a low-end, 3-point specialist in deep leagues.
Myles Turner said that he has a low ankle sprain, and he’s hopeful to be able to play Saturday against the Wizards. While he was limited at Friday’s practice, he did say he was surprised by the general lack of pain, and there is some incentive for him to try and gut it out with Indiana narrowly clinging to the No. 3 seed out East. Owners can expect to get another update following Saturday morning’s shootaround, but if he does end up sitting that one out, Al Jefferson would make sense as a streamer after putting up 20 points, 12 boards, two assists, one steal and one block over 25 minutes on Thursday.
Domantas Sabonis (ankle) will not play on Saturday.
Paul George played through his pelvic strain on Friday and looked fine doing so, tallying 19 points, seven boards, seven dimes, two triples, three steals, one block and three turnovers in 38 minutes. He’s fine.
Steven Adams (hip) also looked great in his return from a one-game absence, posting 18 points, 14 rebounds, three steals, five swats, and four turnovers across 39 minutes. Yeah, he’s fine.
Aaron Gordon (concussion) did not play Friday, although he’s reportedly “symptom free” now and really tried to get out there, so perhaps he’ll be able to return to action on Tuesday vs. Toronto. His return to action would push Mario Hezonja back to the bench and Jonathon Simmons’ usage would take a hit.
Al Horford (illness) returned from a two-game absence on Friday, posting 15 points, nine boards, three assists, one steal, one 3-pointer and one turnover in 31 minutes. He’ll be fine moving forward and will see an uptick in usage if Kyrie Irving (knee) can’t play Sunday.
Kyrie Irving (knee) did not play Friday, but there’s a chance he’ll be able to return to the rotation on Sunday against the Pelicans.
Marcus Smart underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb on Friday, and he will miss the next 6-8 weeks of action. Terry Rozier will see a ton of minutes moving forward for the banged-up Celtics, and he’s easily a must-own player. Smart can be cut everywhere.
Jaylen Brown (concussion) will be re-assessed early next week. He’s no longer dealing with a headache, but with no clear return date, it’s tough to justify hanging onto him in leagues that don’t offer an IR-spot. Marcus Morris will be one of the primary beneficiaries while Brown is out.
Gary Harris (knee) is questionable to play Saturday against the Grizzlies. He took a scary fall on Thursday and is reportedly dealing with a “sprain/strain,” so it wouldn’t be shocking to see him sit. Will Barton will be the primary beneficiary if Harris needs to miss time.
Klay Thompson (thumb) told reporters that he believes he’ll be able to beat his two-week timetable, which is basically what all players say. He’ll be re-evaluated on March 22, but he’s tough to hang onto in leagues that don’t offer in IR-spot.
Omri Casspi sprained his right ankle on Friday and did not return, finishing with six points, one rebound and one assist in six minutes off the bench. He will not travel for Saturday's game against the Suns. Yeesh.
Lauri Markkanen (back) and Kris Dunn (toe) will not play Saturday vs. the Cavs, whereas Zach LaVine (knee) and Noah Vonleh (toe) are questionable. Bobby Portis and Denzel Valentine will be extremely busy if all those guys are out, and Cameron Payne will be someone to think about streaming. Saturday will mark Markkanen’s third straight game on the sidelines, and if he sits out Monday’s game against the Knicks as well, owners will be in a very tough spot. Chicago does have four games next week, but they’re also tanking and thus have zero incentive to rush either of these guys back. If they sit on Monday and you decide to hang on, I could only recommend giving them one more game before making the cut.
Devin Booker (hand) and Tyson Chandler (neck, shoulder) are questionable to play Saturday vs. the Warriors. Josh Jackson will be the primary beneficiary if Booker sits, and Len will benefit with Chandler out.
Kyle Korver (personal), Rodney Hood (forever injured) and Larry Nance (hamstring) will not play Saturday against the Bulls, so LeBron James will be a monster with Jordan Clarkson, J.R. Smith, Jeff Green and maybe even Ante Zizic picking up the slack.
Brandon Ingram (groin) is being listed as day-to-day and has been cleared to begin non-contact work. He’ll need to get through full contact, 5-on-5 work before he’s cleared to return to the court, so if that doesn’t happen by Sunday, I’d expect him to begin next week on the sidelines. The Lakers only have three games next week, so cutting Ingram will be an option should he miss Monday’s game.
Kyle Lowry was rested on Friday but he’ll be back out there for Sunday’s game against the Thunder. Delon Wright got the start in his place and finished with 15 points, five boards, six dimes, three triples, two steals, one block and one turnover in 39 minutes, but his minutes will dip back to the teens on Sunday.
OG Anunoby (ankle) returned from an eight-game absence, posting four points, two boards, one block and two turnovers through 19 minutes as a starter. Leave him on the wire.
Caris LeVert tweaked his right knee in the closing minutes of Friday’s game, and with the Nets scheduled for another game on Saturday against the Mavs, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him sit that one out. D’Angelo Russell would benefit most with LeVert unavailable.
Allen Crabbe (illness) did not play Friday and should be considered questionable for Saturday’s game against the Mavericks.
Josh Richardson (foot) struggled to get his shot to drop in his return from a one-game absence on Friday, going 1-of-8 from the field and 1-of-2 from the stripe on his way to four points, one 3-pointer, eight rebounds, four assists, four steals and three turnovers in 31 minutes. While the shooting wasn’t great, he was pretty solid everywhere else, and I’d expect a more efficient outing on Monday against the Nuggets.
Hassan Whiteside (hip) and Dwyane Wade (hamstring) did not play Friday and they should be considered questionable for Monday’s game. Wade isn’t worth hanging onto through the injury, and if Whiteside is out again on Monday, owners will need to seriously consider moving on. Kelly Olynyk, Bam Adebayo, James Johson and Justise Winslow will continue to pick up the slack in their absence.
Kawhi Leonard (quad) will not play Saturday against the Wolves. I wouldn’t be clinging to him in most leagues.
Jarrett Allen (sore left foot) was back in the starting lineup following a one-game absence, posting six points, seven boards, one assist, two swats and two turnovers across 23 minutes.
Andrew Harrison (wrist) is questionable to play Saturday vs. the Nuggets, as is Mario Chalmers (hamstring). Harrison is capable of providing some low-end value in deep leagues, but I’d give him a couple games to get fully up to speed before thinking about grabbing him.
Ryan Anderson (hip) expects to play 10-15 minutes on Saturday vs. New Orleans. I’d leave him on the wire in most scenarios.
David West (arm) returned from a five-game absence, recording five points, three rebounds, one assist, one block and one turnover in 16 minutes off the bench.
Alan Williams (knee) will miss at least the next two games for Phoenix. I don’t think he’ll be relevant in fantasy hoops this year, but he could mess with Alex Len’s minutes once he does get back out there.
Cody Zeller (knee) is doubtful to play Saturday against the Knicks.
Courtney Lee (personal) will not play Saturday against the Hornets.
Salah Mejri (hamstring) did not play Friday and he’s also out for Saturday’s game against the Nets.