Fantasy Basketball 2021: Waiver-Wire Advice for Injured NBA Players After Dec. 8

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 9, 2021

Fantasy Basketball 2021: Waiver-Wire Advice for Injured NBA Players After Dec. 8

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    Steve Dipaola/Associated Press

    The recent injuries suffered by Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum wreaked havoc on the Portland Trailblazers lineup and some fantasy basketball rosters. 

    Lillard is dealing with an abdomen injury, and he could return to the floor as early as Sunday after he received a cortisone injection, per Yahoo's Chris Haynes. 

    McCollum will likely be out for longer than Lillard as he recovers from a collapsed lung. The Athletic and Stadium's Shams Charania broke that news on Tuesday. 

    Dennis Smith Jr. is one of the direct replacements at guard for Portland's star duo, and he is still widely available in fantasy basketball leagues. 

    If Smith is not on the waiver wire in your league, there are a few other guard options to turn to in an attempt to replace Lillard and McCollum's production.

Dennis Smith Jr., PG, Portland

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    Craig Mitchelldyer/Associated Press

    Dennis Smith Jr. received a drastic uptick in minutes over the last week as Portland dealt with its guard injuries. 

    Smith played a season-high 42 minutes on Wednesday night against the Golden State Warriors. He had 12 points, six rebounds and five assists in that defeat. 

    Smith put up average numbers in the three major stat categories since he was introduced into the starting lineup three games ago. 

    The 24-year-old point guard scored 21 points on Saturday versus the Boston Celtics and put up 13 points in a Monday loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. 

    Smith could still play a role inside the Portland offense if Lillard returns on Sunday because McCollum is likely out for a longer period of time. Anfernee Simons also missed Wednesday's game with an ankle injury.

    As long as Smith stays healthy, he should receive a decent amount of minutes in the coming weeks. He should be a decent No. 2 point guard on fantasy basketball rosters if that is the case. 

Monte Morris, PG/SG, Denver

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    Monte Morris is one of the non-Portland alternatives that can be used to replace Lillard and McCollum's scoring production on fantasy rosters. 

    The Denver Nuggets guard hit double figures in three of his first four December games. He opened the month with a season high 22 points against the Orlando Magic. 

    Morris' shot volume is the key statistic to consider when looking at him as a waiver-wire replacement for the Portland guards. 

    The Iowa State product attempted at least 10 shots in five of his last seven games. He went 11-of-24 from the field in his last two trips to the floor. 

    Morris also chipped in 16 assists in four games to kick off December. That is an extra boost for fantasy players picking him up because of his scoring. 

    Morris could be a candidate to remain on your fantasy roster once the Portland guards are back if he continues to shoot at such a high volume. 

Cody Martin, SG/SF, Charlotte

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    Matt Kelley/Associated Press

    Cody Martin is more of a short-term fix for your fantasy roster. 

    Martin earned more playing time in the last week due to a handful of his Charlotte Hornets teammates being in health and safety protocols. 

    With Terry Rozier and LaMelo Ball out, Martin stepped into the starting lineup and provided the Hornets with a nice scoring boost.

    Martin hit double figures in three games over the last week. He has 45 points, 17 rebounds and 11 assists in that span.

    Like Morris and Smith, Martin is shooting at a high volume. He attempted 32 field goals in one game with the Atlanta Hawks and back-to-back clashes with the Philadelphia 76ers. 

    Martin will go back to the bench once the Charlotte starters are cleared, but for now, he is worth the pickup because of the shot volume from a starting role.