If you’re playing ESPN fantasy basketball leagues, you’ll notice a useful tool when considering who to add or drop. There’s a +/- that helps indicate which players are being heavily added or dropped at a certain time. This can help us make decisions on who to pick up and who to cut loose based on what other fantasy basketball owners are doing. Of course, we also need to be careful and not be persuaded by the public too much. Making your own lineup decisions is important. So here we’ll help debunk some of these fantasy basketball trends.
Jabari Parker, Atlanta Hawks (-16.8 percent)
You’ll notice a trend with these players, but most of them are being dropped because of injuries. Parker has missed the past three games due to a shoulder impingement. He had been scarcely used in three of four games prior to the injury, though we can assume it was because his shoulder wasn’t 100%. The Hawks also got John Collins back from suspension recently, which would have decreased Parker’s role in the offense anyway. But still, Atlanta has been operating without Trae Young (ankle) the past two games, though he appears ready to return.
With Collins back from suspension, Parker was headed for a decreased role anyway. But I still think he’ll potentially start and/or see time with the second unit a bit to get him looks on offense. If Parker returns from the injury OK, then I can see a scenario where he comes back and provides some fantasy basketball value — at least if you need scoring.
Luke Kennard, Detroit Pistons (-14.5 percent)
Kennard has been out with bilateral knee soreness, though he’s set to be re-evaluated next week on Tuesday. If all goes well, we could see Kennard back in the Pistons lineup soon. The former lottery pick out of Duke had been putting together a decent season, averaging 15.8 points and 4.1 assists in 32.9 minutes per game.
I don’t think you need to jump on Kennard now, but he’s worth monitoring. This is a guy who can really fill it up and shoot from outside — Kennard is hitting nearly 40% of his 3-point attempts this season. If we get good news next week, Kennard will be worth adding in most 12-team formats. I’d at least check him off on your watch list.
Davis Bertans, Washington Wizards (-14.2 percent)
On Dec. 28, Wizards coach Scott Brooks told reporters that Bertans was probably a week or so away from returning. We’re almost at that mark, so we should expect the big man back in the lineup soon. Prior to the injury, Bertans was having a great fantasy season for Washington. He’s among one of the top 3-point shooters in the NBA, averaging nearly 4.0 makes per game. Bertans was also playing huge minutes with the Wizards banged up, averaging 29.9 on the season.
Same with Kennard, I think Bertans is worth monitoring and has potentially more value as a stash pickup on the waiver wire. The Wizards offense is still pretty elite despite missing almost all of their rotation players to injury. This is more prominent in the frontcourt, so when Bertans returns and is 100%, we can expect him to play upwards of 35 minutes in most games. Again, monitor the situation, but once we know Bertans is close to returning, I say pounce on him.