Fantasy Basketball Mailbag: How will Luka Doncic's injury affect fantasy managers?

Injuries are causing issues for many fantasy teams, so there is a lot of confusion across the board for many fantasy managers.

Before Week 9 tips off, I took your questions from Twitter and Instagram to try and help you make the most of your squad. Let’s get to it.

Dallas Mavericks gun Luka Dončić suffered an ankle sprain. (Getty Images)

@bjorn_slippy Is ‘The Big Ragu’ a good pickup?

For those of you who are uninitiated, The Big Ragu is Donte DiVincenzo, the second-year guard from the Milwaukee Bucks. 

The recent news of Eric Bledsoe suffering an avulsion fracture in his fibula means that minutes have opened up in the Bucks rotation and DiVincenzo started at point guard for Bledsoe on Sunday. 

Now, DiVincenzo has already had a crack at starting this season, replacing Khris Middleton when he was out with a thigh bruise. In his 11 starts this season, DDV has averaged 24.55 fantasy points, but of course, only one of those was when he replaced Bledsoe at point guard. 

AMAZING: Ben Simmons double-double helps 76ers stay perfect at home

FANTASY BASKETBALL EDGE: Ricky Rubio's resurgence, Steven Adams, and Davis Bertans

In that start, he dropped 35 fantasy points in only 25 minutes. The caveat there is that it was against the Cavs, one of the easiest defences for opposing guards to go up against. 

That 24.55 average would place DiVincenzo around the top 130, but 35 points is a top 50 player. The Bucks have a lot of guard option, and George Hill is also going to get a boost, but I do like DiVincenzo as an add, because even at the low end of his starter production, he can be useful in a 12 team league.

@damienn.v Is OG Anunoby a hold in a 10 team league?

I received a lot of questions about the Raptors starting small forward for this mailbag. That’s because he is struggling to be the same player he was to begin the season. 

For the season, Anunoby, in his third season, is the 112th ranked player averaging 25.65 fantasy points.

This is almost double what he averaged last season. But, after a hot start, Anunoby has declined in his production and there are a few worrying signs. 

OG Anunoby #3 of the Toronto Raptors attempts a dunk after a stoppage in play during the first half of an NBA game against the Brooklyn Nets at Scotiabank Arena on December 14, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

The Raptors have been banged up being without Kyle Lowry for weeks with a thumb fracture and then almost as soon as Lowry returned, Fred VanVleet went out with a bone bruise in his knee. 

In between those two injuries, Anunoby saw his minutes reduced. In those two games with Lowry and FVV, OG played just 21 and 24 minutes, with Norman Powell using his strong play to institute a timeshare type scenario. 

Powell is continuing to play well, the Raptors decided Sunday to hand Patrick McCaw 30 minutes for some reason and VanVleet’s return is imminent. If Nurse’s rotation in those two games in early December is an indicator, and it may not be, then Anunoby is going to be on his way out of not only 10 team leagues, but also 12 team leagues. ‘

In a ten teamer, I would be fine moving on to stream his spot.

@michael_woodsy Thoughts on Luka Dončić’s injury?

What are my thoughts on his injury? It’s obviously never great to see a star go down and Dončić’s ankle sprain didn’t look great. 

Late Sunday, Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that Dončić had suffered a moderate ankle sprain and X-rays were negative. There are a few things to look at here. First of all, many will look at moderate ankle sprain and think Dončić dodged a big bullet, but I am not so sure. 

FANTASY MAILBAG: Joe Ingles, Nikola Jokic and managing injuries

FANTASY EDGE: What's the deal with Blake Griffin?

First of all, if he dodged a bullet, they would immediately come out and call it a mild ankle spray and label him day-to-day. They didn’t. Usually, ankle sprains are graded as Grade 1, 2, or 3. If we correlate 1, 2 and 3 to mild, moderate, and severe, than Dončić has a Grade 2 ankle sprain. 

A Grade 2 means a partial tear in the ligament and will keep Dončić out multiple weeks, probably three as a best-case is my guess. Of course, this is speculation and not confirmed, but trying to parse reporters and team language is what I try to do.

So, if we assume Dončić is missing time, then a lot changes in Dallas. 

Jalen Brunson started the second half for Luka on Sunday, so he becomes a nice add. 

But, it’s not just Dončić’s minutes. His usage was through the roof, so Kristaps Porziņģis is going to take more shots, but for waiver wire adds, we have to look at Tim Hardaway Jr as well. 

Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks gestures during a game between Dallas Mavericks and Detroit Pistons at Arena Ciudad de Mexico on December 12, 2019 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

So, Brunson and THJ are interesting 12 team adds. Delon Wright is also a name, but I believe his groin is still bothering him, given he played only eight minutes Sunday with Dončić out. 

He is a flier type if you miss the other two and then for deeper league, old faithful, JJ Barea, is someone who could find his way back into the rotation, and Seth Curry may see more shots. Hopefully, this is all pointless and Dončić is back after missing just one game, but if not, make your moves now.

@samthompsonUSA Is Richaun Holmes’ production with Marvin Bagley III back going to always be this low?

It’s a confusing one for sure. I don’t think anyone can argue that Holmes is not the better NBA player than Bagley at this point and is more important for winning games. 

But, Bagley has been back for two games, and the early returns on Holmes’ role are not encouraging. Holmes is still starting, but his minutes dropped from six straight games of at least 32 minutes to 25 and 27 in two straight games.

Bagley has played strictly as Holmes’ backup, at centre and the two haven’t shared the court yet, despite Bagley opening the season as the team’s power forward. It’s especially frustrating because I had killed the Kings for refusing to realise that Bagley is a centre and trying to shoehorn him into the power forward spot. And now, when they have a better centre, they decide to listen to me and only play Bags at the five?

At some point, Luke Walton has to try Holmes and Bagley together, but I am not convinced at all that Holmes is going to get 30 minutes a night as we move forward. The loss to the Knicks may be the spark Walton needs to realise that Holmes needs more minutes, but I am quite nervous.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and keep an eye out for the next mailbag tweet to gather your questions.