Fantasy Doctor, NBA / Dec 22, 2011 / 11:00 am

Fantasy Basketball: Suspensions & Injuries To Start The Season

Andrew Bynum

Andrew Bynum (photo. Jeff Forney)

The lockout is just a memory, the NBA is days away from its glorious Christmas Day return, and fantasy basketball preparations are in full swing. But you can’t escape the past. This isn’t a life lesson from the fingers of someone wholly unfit to give you non-fantasy basketball advice – it’s a reminder that suspensions handed down late in the 2010-11 NBA season are going to affect some players’ availabilities in the early going this season. On top of those suspensions are injuries and health conditions that will have implications from the outset of the 2011-12 NBA season. Below is a rundown of early suspensions and injuries, and the players who stand to benefit from those circumstances.

Andrew Bynum (suspended for the first five games of the season for his cheap shot on J.J. Barea): Josh McRoberts is the winner here. With Pau Gasol set to shift to center while Bynum serves his suspension, the starting PF job is going to come down to McRoberts and Troy Murphy. (Derrick Caracter would be in the mix, but he’s recovering from knee surgery and might not return until February.) McRoberts displayed his ability to fill up the stat sheet last season and should handily beat out the diminished Murphy for the lion’s share of minutes at PF until Bynum returns. McBob could be worth starting during this stretch, especially in deeper leagues. After the first five games, he’ll remain worth stashing.

Charlie Villanueva (suspended for the first five games of the season for a scuffle with Ryan Hollins): Jonas Jerebko could start in Villanueva’s place at PF and get an early opportunity to make an assertive comeback after missing all of last season with an Achilles tendon tear. The Swede is already an appealing sleeper heading into this season, so fantasy owners should pay close attention to how well he fares in the first five games of the season, and monitor how that affects his place in the Pistons’ rotation. Austin Daye and Tayshaun Prince should also see extra action during Villanueva’s absence.

Jarrett Jack (suspended for the first game of the season for a reckless-driving violation): It’s one game, and unless you’re in a 30-team league, it won’t be worth looking at his backups. Jack’s owners should be able to gut it out for one game.

Jeff Green (heart surgery, out for the season): The Celtics will probably sign a free agent to fill that spot behind Paul Pierce, but until they do, Marquis Daniels and Sasha Pavlovic could see extra run. With Pierce nursing a bone bruise in his heel and uncertain for the start of the season, Daniels could be worth an early gamble in deeper leagues.

Tyrus Thomas (ankle): Thomas could start the season in street clothes. If he does, D.J. White becomes temporarily interesting.

Ty Lawson (ankle): Lawson’s hot fantasy appeal has to be put on hold for now. The young point guard is day-to-day and if he’s forced to miss time, Andre Miller should give owners a nice plug-in PG to start the 2011-12 NBA season.

Stephen Curry (ankle): Much to the dismay of his fantasy owners, Curry rolled right ankle Tuesday night – the same ankle he rolled three times last season, and the same ankle that was surgically repaired in May. Keep an eye on his status, but it seems likely that he’ll miss the start of the season. If Curry misses time, rookie Klay Thompson will see an early bump in minutes. Feel free to round out your bench with Thompson if you have dead weight to spare.

Kobe Bryant (torn ligament in his right wrist): Kobe’s a righty, so this is bad news. That said, fantasy owners should fully expect him to play through the injury.

Darrell Arthur (torn Achilles, out for the season): There’s not much on the depth chart behind Zach Randolph at the PF spot for the Grizzlies, so Z-Bo could shoulder extra minutes in the early going. See if the Grizzlies can sign a big man on the market, possibly bringing back Leon Powe.

Mike Miller (hernia): He’ll probably miss the start of the season, and with Eddie House recovering from knee surgery, Shane Battier will get all the backup minutes he can handle for the Heat in the early part of the season. That doesn’t mean he’ll have great fantasy value, but he’ll be a low-end option, especially if you need threes and are in a roto league.

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  • William

    Hey Doc,

    With the new injury to Ty Lawson, should I sit him (5 games) and play Devin Harris (4 games) for week 1? I play 7cat H2H league.

    Thanks,
    Willy

  • The Mamba King

    Sup doc?

    What do i do with DJ Augustin? Should i drop him and snatch up teague or stephen jackson? And also Darren Collison or DJ Augustin? Thanks

  • http://dimemag.com/author/the-fantasy-doctor/ The Fantasy Doctor

    @William: It’s still uncertain whether Lawson will miss time, so definitely keep an eye on that up until you have to set your lineup. If he misses any more than a game, starting Harris seems prudent.

    @The Mamba King: I’d swap out Augustin for Teague. I’d prefer to have Augustin, by a hair.

  • DamselinDistress

    Hey Doc can you tell me what you think of my team *flutterseyes* i traded ty lawson for wes mattews

    1. (5) Derrick Rose PG
    2. (12) Stephen Curry PG
    3. (21) Al Horford PF,C
    4. (28) Kevin Martin SG
    5. (37) Joe Johnson SG,SF
    6. (44) Marc Gasol C
    7. (53) Andrew Bogut C
    8. (60) Ty Lawson PG
    9. (69) Kevin Garnett PF
    10. (76) Jarrett Jack PG,SG
    11. (85) Nick Young SG,SF
    12. (92) Jimmer Fredette PG,SG
    13. (101) Kris Humphries PF

  • http://www.livingcheapla.com hakasan

    @Doc,

    so glad to see you back in action!
    got a late draft tomorrow night where i’m the 13th pick out of 14 teams in a roto league, snake drafting…
    what would your strategy be for the first 4 rounds? i figured all the big names will be gone before my first pick, looking at some of the player raters, it seems like monta ellis or al jefferson would be the best available player to me… how would you construct a team?

    Thanks! and merry xmas!!

  • nick

    doc,

    who would you rather have tim duncan or derozan? i have a trade offer for my derozan but i’m concerned with all the back to back games that duncan will miss.

  • SoulChorea

    This season is a wash anyway…everyone should just play half-speed and avoid injury, ’cause the Championship is worthless this year. I’d hate to have a career-jeopardizing injury in a fake season

  • Z

    Hey Doc,

    so good to have the season back and fantasy basketball back in our lives. I have a quick question, w/ brook lopez out now w/ a broken foot, who becomes more valuable in the last round of a 14 man league draft, james johnson or shawne williams? thanks!

  • http://dimemag.com/author/the-fantasy-doctor/ The Fantasy Doctor

    @DamselinDistress: I sincerely hope you are an actual damsel, or else I’d feel really strange about your fluttering eyes. Solid draft, Damsel. I’m surprised you went for Fredette before Hump, but maybe this draft was before he officially re-signed. The Lawson-for-Matthews deal is fine by me, though I think Lawson has a higher ceiling.

    @hakasan: It’s great to be back. I’d see if I could get Jefferson, Horford or Ellis, in that order. Assuming you can get a Jefferson/Horford combo, I’d spend the next two rounds on guys that get you “smaller” stats — maybe Kyle Lowry, Jrue Holiday, Kevin Martin, Wesley Matthews, Raymond Felton, if available. Tough to say without knowing how the chips will exactly fall to you, but I hope this helps a bit.

    @nick: Tough call. They’re pretty close in overall value in my eyes. Assuming you don’t particularly need Duncan’s big-man stats, it sounds like you don’t like the deal, so feel free to reject it. You wouldn’t be missing out on much, and you’d be sticking with the dude with a much higher ceiling. Personal peace of mind and excitement are underrated fantasy trade factors if all else is near equal.

    @Z: Agreed — it’s good, indeed. I’d still give the edge to James Johnson.

  • Youngwood

    do i drop Brook lopez ?

  • http://dimemag.com/author/the-fantasy-doctor/ The Fantasy Doctor

    @Youngwood: Wait until we find out a more definitive timetable for his return. But have a target player in mind.

  • http://www.livingcheapla.com hakasan

    @Doc,

    I just realized that instead of turnovers, my league is now tracking “assist to turnover ratio”… what is that? and how do I draft accordingly?

    what do you think of the prospects for okur (now that lopez is out) and chuck hayes (seems like he should be able to pick up tons of non scoring stats in sacramento since everyone else on that team is a shooter)?