It has been an interesting week in fantasy basketball this week with a number of key players going down with injuries. Dirk Nowitzki has been battling a knee injury, while Caron Butler will be out for the remainder of the season with a ruptured patellar tendon. Kevin Garnett, Danilo Gallinari, and Chuck Hayes also all went down with injuries and will miss extended time.
However, with every injury, there is an opportunity for another player to step up and generally, that player is available on the fantasy waiver wire for you to add to your team.
Below are some players who will see extended minutes because of injury and should be considered to add to your team:
Shawn Marion, SF, Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks may be one of the deepest teams in the NBA, because when you have a starter go down you can insert four time All-Star Shawn Marion into the starting lineup. Caron Butler recently went down with a knee injury and has had surgery that will sideline him for the rest of the season. Now enters the Matrix, who was a top fantasy contributor during his time with the Phoenix Suns and enters a lineup that already includes Dirk, Jason Kidd, and Tyson Chandler.
In Marion’s first game back, he had a team high 22 points and 5 rebounds and should be a regular starter from here on out. You might not be able to expect this type of fantasy production, seeing as Dirk did not play in Dallas’ last game, but Marion could be a player who will contribute in a number of categories.
Last season as a starter for Dallas, he averaged 12 points, 6.4 rebounds, .9 blocks, and .8 steals a game. You can expect those numbers for the rest of the season at a minimum, but an improved point total somewhere between 15-20 points per game. Dallas doesn’t necessarily have an easy schedule over the next week, playing at home against Oklahoma City and Orlando, and then going on the road to play the Pacers, but this is a player to get and plan on using him for the whole season.
Glen Davis, F/C, Boston Celtics
Another player who went down with injury this week was the Celtic’s Kevin Garnett. It is said to be a muscle strain in his leg, but he is expected to be out for a couple of weeks and this now opens the door for Glen Davis to step into the starting lineup.
Davis has improved his game over the years and should be ready to take advantage of this opportunity to show the Celtics and the NBA what he can do. His last two games in the starting lineup had him averaging 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game. The assist average may be a little high, and it’s something you probably shouldn’t expect, but Davis will help your team in points, rebounds, and shooting percentage , as he is shooting a over 46 percent from the field. He also won’t hurt your team in free throw percentage, as he is shooting over 80 percent for the season.
This coming week Boston plays Toronto, Chicago, Houston, and Sacramento. Davis could have a big week, as every team other than the Kings is without their starting center. If Davis has the center eligibility in your fantasy basketball league, he is a must-add if you are looking for help at the center position.
Jordan Hill, F/C, Houston Rockets
This is an interesting situation, as Houston is on what is their third starting center, as they have gone from Yao Ming to Chuck Hayes, and now to Jordan Hill. Hill was a lottery pick for the New York Knicks last year and was traded to Houston in the Tracy McGrady trade. However, he just hasn’t been able to reach his potential yet, but has a great opportunity over the next few weeks to show what he is capable of doing as he will only have to compete for minutes with Brad Miller.
With the fact that there is very little competition for playing time, Hill may be worthy of a short term pick-up. He should be a guy who will help with points, rebounds, and potentially a couple of blocks. The one issue Jordan Hill may run into is foul trouble and this is a real possibility this week, as he has to take on the likes of Dwight Howard and Glen Davis.
DeMar Derozen, SG, Toronto Raptors
Another lottery pick from 2009 who looks like he might be ready to start making some noise is DeMar Derozen. Over the past two weeks, Derozen has averaged 21.6 points, 4 rebounds, and one steal per game. He is also shooting 52 percent from the field. The point total may drop a little bit with Andrea Bargnani back, but Derozen is the starting shooting guard for the Raptors and should continue to see the playing time. However, the Raptors are not very good and if teams start to focus on Bargnani, Derozen could continue to pile up the points and would be worthy of a pickup, depending on what your team needs.
Derozen is a guy who should continue to improve as the season goes on, but realistically can only help in the points and field goal percentage categories. The Raptors have three games over the next week, playing at Boston and home against Sacramento and Atlanta, which really doesn’t affect what you might expect from Derozen.
Tracy McGrady, G/F, Detroit Pistons
A player who is a little too familiar with injuries is starting to look like he may be healthy for the first time in a long time, and could become a decent fantasy option. Over the past two weeks, McGrady has averaged 12.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 5.1 assists in addition to shooting 52.9 percent from the field and 90 percent from the line, while playing 26.9 minutes per game.
McGrady has started the last four games for the Pistons and was even one rebound short of a triple double against the Utah Jazz (11 points, 9 rebounds, 11 assists). The Detroit Pistons are another team that just aren’t very good right now, and McGrady will have plenty of opportunities to rack up points and contribute in almost every category. He should be able to continue putting up similar numbers that he has over the past two weeks, except for the shooting percentage, which will most likely drop to the 45 percent range.
Coming up this week, the Pistons play at home against Philadelphia and Memphis, and on the road against the Bulls. This will be a good test for Tracy McGrady, as Philadelphia and Chicago are both fairly strong defensive teams. As long as McGrady is starting for the Pistons he should be a must add and play him as long as he is producing, but with his previous history don’t expect McGrady to finish out the season without an injury.