Day 96: Where Injuries Can’t Keep the Bulls Down
Line of the Night: Now here is a guy we haven’t heard too much from in fantasy circles this season… Luol Deng was huge in Chicago’s 93-76 win over the Hawks, scoring 25 points and filling up the box score with 3 threes, 14 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, and 2 blocks (3.41 WARP) while playing 46 minutes for Tom “Ride Them Until They Collapse” Thibodeau (thanks to injuries from Kirk Hinrich, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer). In his last three games, Deng has averaged about 45 minutes a game, and while it might not be a great omen for his long term health, all those minutes are allowing him to put up some nice stat lines along the way.
Honorable Mentions: J.R. Smith had his best fantasy game of the season as the Knicks absolutely destroyed the Kings 120-81. Smith finished with 25 points, 7 threes, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals (2.69 WARP) and amazingly did that all in only 22 minutes on the court. Smith’s game helps prove that old adage, not the length that counts, it’s what you do with it… am I right fellas! The Knicks’ second best fantasy performance on the night actually came from Amare Stoudemire, who was 10-10 from the floor and scored 21 points (1.02 WARP). I wasn’t that high on Amare coming off his injury, but he has been ramping up his performance lately and is playing very well despite getting less than 25 minutes a game. Tyson Chandler played the most minutes out of any Knick starter and had 20 boards in 29 minutes (0.77 WARP). Someone had to rebound all those Kings’ missed shots and Chandler was up for the challenge.
Stephen Curry is increasingly a drug that I can’t quit. Coming off of two missed games to rest a tweaked ankle, Curry exploded 29 points, 6 threes, 8 assists and 2 steals (2.47 WARP) against the Suns. He’s arguably the best fantasy PG in the league (or least right behind Chris Paul) when he’s healthy, but long-term I’m not sure you can trust his ankles enough to build a fantasy team around. First round pick = no; third round pick and deal with the missed games = maybe.
Kyrie Irving dropped 35 points on Russell Westbrook and hit 3 threes (2.38 WARP) in a Cavs win overall the Thunder. Over the last month of the season, Irving has been the third best player in the league behind only Durant and LeBron. How do you like them apples.
As noted previously on this blog, the Charlotte Bobcats exist to make everyone look hot. But what happens if you’re already hot to begin with? Well, in James Harden’s case, you get the first triple-double of your career. Harden finished with 21 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists (2.17 WARP) in the game and is now up to #5 overall on our player rater for the season.
Also in the game, Chandler Parsons chipped in 24 points, 3 threes, 10 rebounds and 4 assists (1.86 WARP).
Bye-bye Glen Davis, hello Nikola Vucevic, who should go back to putting up huge lines night after night with Davis out of the lineup the rest of the year. Vucevic finished with 20 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks (2.14 WARP) for his second best fantasy game of the season so far.
But in the battle of young big men coming out of nowhere this season, Larry Sanders still has the edge. Against the Magic, he finished with 17 points, 13 rebounds and 6 blocks (2.11 WARP) in 35 minutes. Samuel Dalembert meanwhile played all of 6 minutes in the game, making their positional battle no battle at all.
Bad news for Tim Duncan owners: Duncan had to leave last night’s Spurs game after Martell Webster rolled up on the back of his legs. According to Spurs Nation, “the initial diagnosis was a sprained left knee and sprained right ankle, but the full extent of the injuries likely will not be known until the 36-year-old is re-examined at some point later this week.”
Waiver Wire Line of the Night: It’s a Bulls’ Exacta today. With Joakim Noah out with plantar fasciitis in his right foot and Carlos Boozer missing his third straight game with a right hamstring injury, Taj Gibson (16% owned) started at center for the Bulls, played 45 minutes, and finished with 19 points, on 9-14 from the field, 19 rebounds and 3 blocks (2.12 WARP). Noah currently has swelling in his foot and it is possible he just sits until the All-Star break, so Gibson should have some very good short-term value as long as he continues to start. Look to add him in all league types if you need some big man help for the upcoming week.
Pick Up Lines: Speaking of Bulls benefiting from injuries, Nate Robinson (34% owned) took over the starting PG spot from the injured Kirk Hinrich and did what he does best – go 8-16 from the floor and 4-6 from three to finish with 20 points. Robinson also added 8 assists and 3 steals (1.87 WARP) in the game. Hinrich is expected to miss about a week with his elbow injury, so Robinson is another guy who is worth a short-term add in all leagues.
Randy Foye (41% owned) has quietly been a solid fantasy producer as the Jazz starting SG this season, although a lot of his value comes from the 2.3 threes a game he’s averaged so far this year. Last night’s game against the Blazers was a best case scenario for Foye as he led the team in scoring with 23 points adding 6 threes and 2 steals (1.76 WARP). If you need the threes, Foye is worth a look.
Patrick Patterson (19% owned) is starting to heat up again. After bottoming out after coming back from injury in January, Patterson has now scored in double-digits in 5 of his last 6 games, capped off by a 24 point, 10-12 from the field (1.40 WARP) game against the Bobcats. The Bobcats to exists to make every opposing player look like an all-star, but Patterson has been playing well enough leading up to that game to be worth a look in deep leagues at least.
With Arron Afflalo still out with a strained calf, rookie Maurice Harkless (2% owned) got his fourth straight start and played 42 minutes against the Bucks, scoring 19 points, with 14 rebounds and 4 steals (1.37 WARP) for his best fantasy game of the season. Afflalo is day-to-day with the injury, and owners may have missed their window to squeeze some value out of Harkless in daily leagues, but keep your eye on him if you are in a streaming situation.
Marreese Speights (14% owned) landed in the perfect position in Cleveland, where his main competition is Tyler Zeller. That one of the few battles that Speights can win and so far he has, scoring 21 points on 10-15 from the field with 10 rebounds (1.26 WARP) in 33 minutes against the Thunder. Zeller, who is still the starter for the time being, played 24 minutes and finished with 7 points and 8 rebounds. Speights is pretty much a must add if he’s available in your league and you need a big.
In a deep league? Jeff Taylor (1% owned) collided with teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in last night’s game and ended up giving MKG a concussion. Thanks to his devious work, Taylor saw 29 minutes in the game, scoring 15 points on 6-8 from the field with a couple threes (1.24 WARP). With MKG likely to miss a least a couple games with the injury, Taylor should be in line for some additional run (as would Ramon Sessions and Ben Gordon) over the short term.
Biggest Loser: Bradley Beal is out with a sprained right wrist, so it’s Jordan Crawford’s time to step up, right? Not so much apparently, as Crawford scored only 6 points, with 1 rebound and 0 assists (-0.77 WARP) in 15 minutes against the Spurs. Even with Beal out of the lineup, Crawford looks like a bust now that John Wall is back.
New Orleans got torched by the Wolves 115-86, and at least part of the blame can be put on Ryan Anderson, who scored 8 points (on 2-8 from the field and 1-5 from three), with 2 rebounds and 1 assist (-0.61 WARP) in only 20 minutes off the bench. Greivis Vasquez wasn’t much better; he scored 7 points (on 3-11 from the field) and turned the ball over 5 times, although he did add 6 rebounds and 7 assists (-0.49 WARP) in the game.
Daily rankings and stats come from the FBC H2H Player Rater (beta version). They are based on the stat Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP) an estimate of the number of wins a player produces per week in H2H leagues over a replacement (waiver wire) player.
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