This season has been weird. Two of the game’s most indestructible players are going to miss about a month of action at least by the time the calendar hits March. Kevin Durant has already missed 23 games and LeBron James is likely going to miss at least 10 games this season. Plus, there is going to be a lot of concern about LeBron in April.
On top of the concerns, the Cavs have one of the worst schedules for fantasy in the head-to-head playoffs. That means even if LeBron is the best player per game, he might only be a only half that player due to the rest. If we did rest-of-the season rankings today, I probably wouldn’t take LeBron in the first round, which sounds like a “hot take” or whatever. If you can deal him for someone like Paul Millsap or someone like that, do it.
Another really annoying injury is Kawhi Leonard. He is out “weeks” and is really burning his fantasy owners — I have a lot of Kawhi shares. On the bright side, the Spurs aren’t winning a lot of games, so they’re probably going to want to play their season to the end in hopes of locking down a top-four seed. That should mean Kawhi goes off. I’d consider Kawhi is a buy-low player, but I’d guess his owner is too smart to deal him.
OK, here’s a quick look at some other guys displacing some misleading value:
Nicolas Batum - The Blazers keep losing centers and it’s likely going to mean Batum will get some action as a stretch four. He had one of his better runs as a stretch four last season while LaMarcus Aldridge went down with 11.0 boards per game in March of last season.
Batum is really starting to get it going since returning from a wrist injury, averaging 15.0 points, 3.0 boards, 3.0 assists, 1.8 steals, 0.5 blocks and 2.5 triples on 55.0 percent from the field. He can fill it up everywhere and his numbers are down with very little changes to the personnel. He’s just missing shots, which suggests he’ll turn it around soon.
Al Horford - He’s one of the unheralded fantasy guys and is in the midst of one of his coldest runs of the year. In his last five, he’s averaged 15.8 points, 5.8 boards, 2.8 assists, 1.4 blocks, 0.6 steals and 2.0 turnovers on 44.4 percent from the field and 62.5 percent from the line. The poor shooting is the biggest surprise, which is even more surprising because he hasn’t really had many bad matchups in that span either.
Horford does have a couple bad matchups on the horizon, so there’s a chance his mini-slump goes on for a little while longer. It’s not a bad idea to offer up a deal right now and then maybe his owner will be frustrated after a bad game or two, then try again!
Gordon Hayward - He was a no-show against the Wolves on Saturday, which has been a favorable matchup for small forwards all season. Over his last five games, Hayward has made 40.3 percent from the field for averages of 18.0 points, 3.2 boards, 4.0 assists, 0.6 steals and 2.4 triples. The weirdest part of all is that he’s made 54.5 percent from beyond the arc. That is extremely fluky, so Hayward will likely turn it on soon. He is going to get more shots with Alec Burks out for the season.
Chris Bosh - He hasn’t exactly been the same player since returning from his calf injury. In his last three games, Bosh averaged just 17.7 points, 6.7 boards, 1.3 assists, 0.3 steals and 1.0 triples. What's strange about Bosh is that his usage rate is up in that span, but the blocks and treys have fallen off. Plus, he's not shooting the ball well at 44.2 percent.
His bread and butter in the new Miami offense has been catch-and-shoot attempts, but those attempts are actually down since his return. In other words, the poor shooting is a fluke and he should get hot soon. Plus, once Dwyane Wade needs to rest, Bosh could bust out.
Dwyane Wade - Speaking of Wade, he's a sell high because his owners are playing with house money. Wade had a heat wrap on his calf and knee on Saturday, so there is definitely a red flag ready to be raised here. He has been getting some insane usage lately, posting a 35.9 usage rate in 33.9 minutes per game over his last nine. That amount of play-making chances led to averages of 26.1 points, 3.8 boards, 5.6 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.8 blocks and 0.9 treys on 49.4 percent from the field.
Try to trade him before the wheels fall off.
Rajon Rondo – His massive 29-point, five-trey game from Friday is going to buoy his value for a while. His efficiency hasn’t really seen an increase with Dallas and it would be a lot worse if not for Friday and a matchup against the Lakers. He can’t make foul shots and his turnover rate is still way too high. His ceiling in standard is not going to be higher than No. 60.
Wesley Matthews - He's on fire. Only Kyle Korver is more efficient than Wes and he is such a perfect fit for the Blazers. While Wes is almost a lock to be a mid-round guy, he's exceeding his value right now. The loss of Joel Freeland shouldn't really affect him either because Freeland's offensive chances come on offensive boards and not by play design.
Selling high is a good idea, but don’t do it yet. This week he gets four great matchups for a shooting guard with the Lakers twice, the Heat and the Magic. After this week, you might be able to deal him for a top-40 guy.
Brandon Jennings - He's actually responded quite nicely from the Josh Smith transaction. In those four games, Jennings averaged 18.3 points, 3.3 boards, 5.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 3.0 triples on 51.8 percent from the field. Needless to say, that type of efficiency is not going to continue.
We have seen Jennings fall on his face far too often to think losing Smith completely fixed him. The Pistons are likely going to incorporate Jodie Meeks a bit more into their offense and there will likely be getting Spencer Dinwiddie involved at some point. The Pistons are basically already out of the playoff race and Jennings is not the future of their franchise.
Trey Burke - This one is all about trying to trade a guy coming off a couple nice games. As it turns out, Burke owns Minnesota in his career and he put up 28 points against them on Saturday. Burke did have a 26-point game on Tuesday with an awful 2-of-19 sandwiched between them on Friday.
While it’s nice to see he’ll be getting the ball more because Alec Burks is out, Burke is still going to be extremely streaky. He doesn’t get steals consistently and he doesn’t hand out many more dimes sans Burks either. If you can dump him for anything you can use, go for it. Of course, this changes if you’re punting FG%.