If there’s ever been a fantasy basketball season to ride the waiver-wire nonstop, it’s the 2020-21 season that is being played through a pandemic and started just two months after the previous one.
On Monday, we learned of a few more players who are banged up and will be on the shelf for a bit. And at this point, it seems like the NBA can’t go a single week, let alone a day, without someone getting hurt or having a COVID scare.
Warriors rookie center James Wiseman is one of those guys, unfortunately. He’s set to miss 7-10 days with a sprained left wrist. It’s a tough blow for the Dubs but thankfully, the injury wasn’t worse. Veteran Kevon Looney already took over as the starting center a couple of games ago, but he’s not the big you’ll want to pick up while Wiseman is out.
Joining him on the injured reserve list is Magic forward Aaron Gordon who has a very bad left ankle sprain and will miss the next 4-6 weeks. It’s a major setback for Orlando which is already without Markelle Fultz (ACL), just welcomed Evan Fournier back and will now be without its second-most productive player.
And poor P.J. Washington. Just when head coach James Borrego mentioned that he wanted to get Washington more minutes at the center spot, he suffers a right foot sprain and could be out for at least a couple of games. Yes, it’s Cody Zeller SZN.
Here’s my starting five for the week.
Thaddeus Young - The Bulls veteran forward has looked like the Young version of himself over the past week, making him a must-add player in all formats. On Monday night vs the Knicks, he had 13 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, a steal and a block in 31 minutes. But he’s been doing that. In Chicago’s last three games, he’s averaging 12.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 9.3 assists in 30 minutes as a reserve. Spectacular production for the 32-year-old journeyman whose been filling in nicely while Wendell Carter Jr. recovers from a quad injury. Young has been picked up 21% over the past seven days and rightfully so because he ranks inside the top-60 in 9-cat over that period. Daniel Gafford is starting but TY is who you want.
Terrence Ross - Rostered in just 58% of Yahoo leagues, Terrence Ross is in store for an increased role with Gordon sidelined for at least a month. He might start, that nod will probably go to Gary Clark, but Ross should see an uptick in minutes, usage and shots. This year, the 29-year-old shooting guard is posting 14.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.8 3-pointers a night. He’s scored 20+ points six times and though he’s been a bit shaky, he ranks 119th in 9-cat leagues including 80th over his last three games. He might really off or he could be really on, but if he’s available in your league and you’re looking for points, threes and steals, pick up Ross or get lost.
Cody Zeller - Yes, I’m suggesting you pick up Cody-freaking-Zeller in fantasy basketball because he’s been scorching over the past 10 days. Since Jan. 25, the Hornets center is averaging 11.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, three assists, 0.6 steals and 0.8 blocks over his last five games. That includes a poster on Giannis Antetokounmpo that should’ve been worth a few extra fantasy points if you ask me. Zeller is already playing around 29 minutes a game and after P.J. Washington went down on Monday night, he ended up playing a season-high 39 minutes and finished with 19 points, 12 boards, two assists, a steal and two blocks in the Hornets’ win. His minutes are bound to go up if PJW misses some time, meaning his fantasy lines could, too. Zeller is sitting on 63% of Yahoo waivers but was added 12% in the past week.
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Monte Morris - The Nuggets starting shooting guard Gary Harris is day-to-day with an adductor strain and pending an MRI, so he could miss a couple of games, or he could wind up missing a couple of weeks' worth of games. It all depends on what that MRI show. But prior to Monday’s game being postponed, Morris was announced as the starter in Harris’ place. The former Iowa State Cyclone has only started once this year, so far, but in that game, he dropped a season-high 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting with four assists, two steals and a block in 37 minutes. He’s also scored in double figures in 14 of Denver’s 20 games this year and tends to play well in a two-point guard lineup with Jamal Murray. If Harris can’t go, Morris is a good pick-up in deep leagues and is only rostered in 17% of Yahoo leagues.
Eric Paschall - He’s only rostered in 6% of leagues, but Eric Paschall has played some really good basketball this season for the Warriors as a small-ball five. And now that James Wiseman (wrist) is out for at least a week, Paschall will get some extra burn in the Dub’s upcoming slate. In 19 contests, he’s averaging 10.2 points, three rebounds, 1.4 assists on 49% field goals in 18 minutes. He’s scored in double-figures in 11 of the 19 games and had a streak of eight straight games with at least 10 points from Dec. 27 to Jan. 10. He’s not a guy to go rushing to the waivers for, but if you’re in a deep league and in need of help, take a chance on him. According to Anthony Slater of The Athletic, Steve Kerr said Paschall will be used more as a small-ball center, too, assuming he plays because he’s listed as ‘probable’ with bask spasms. It’s safe to assume he’ll be good to go.