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Fred VanVleet will play Friday vs. Wizards [UPDATE]

Raptors point guard will return just in time with Toronto hurting from multiple key injuries.

Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet dribbles around Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley during the first half at Scotiabank Arena. John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: #3: VanVleet is going to return to the lineup Friday night vs. the Wizards.

This is great news for a Raptors team that is struggling with injuries lately. Pascal Siakam, Norman Powell and Marc Gasol are all out indefinitely. So with FVV back, he’ll slide back into the starting lineup for Powell, who had been filling in nicely. This is big for tonight’s matchup and should sway things in Toronto’s favor if you’re betting on DK Sportsbook. The Raps are only 6.0 point favorites, which is looking like an easy spread to cover with FVV back.

I think he’s viable in season-long fantasy if he isn’t going to be restricted and is an OK GPP play against Washington on DraftKings.

UPDATE #2: VanVleet is being listed as questionable to play Friday vs. the Washington Wizards, per the 5:30 NBA Injury Report on Thursday. This is good news, as the Raptors are now down Norman Powell (shoulder) and Marc Gasol (hamstring). With both those guys out, if FVV can’t get back, Toronto’s rotation will be very thin in a good matchup vs. Washington. If FVV comes back and isn’t limited, he’s immediately a very appealing DFS and season-long play. If he remains out, fire up plenty of OG Anunoby, Patrick McCaw and Terence Davis.

UPDATE: VanVleet has officially been ruled out for Wednesday night’s game vs. the Pistons.

Nothing really to add here, this is the fifth straight game VanVleet will be out due to a knee injury. Norman Powell can be loaded up again.

Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet is unlikely to return to the lineup Wednesday vs. the Detroit Pistons, coach Nick Nurse confirmed to reporters Tuesday.

The encouraging thing is that FVV did practice today and it looks like he’s close to getting back for the Raptors. VanVleet has missed the past four games due to a knee injury, though Toronto is 3-1 without him in the lineup, so no need to rush things.

Fantasy Basketball Analysis: Toronto Raptors PG/SG Fred VanVleet

While FVV won’t come back yet, it does seem like he’s close to returning. In that case, we can consider possibly dropping Norman Powell in shallow fantasy basketball formats. In deeper leagues, Powell still has value coming off the bench — he plays big minutes anyway and is a key rotation player. Once VanVleet comes back, it’s a small hit to Kyle Lowry’s value, but Lowry should still be the primary ball-handler and will have less pressure to run the offense.