Fantasy Basketball Mailbag: Joe Ingles, Nikola Jokic and managing injuries

You should be starting to get an idea of your team(s) in fantasy basketball by now, so making moves becomes a little clearer. Before Week 8 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.

@lonestarhoops1 Is Joe Ingles trending towards 12 team territory? He has increased value until Mike Conley returns from his hamstring injury, but overall, Utah seems to be learning he is best as a lead ballhandler. They have every reason to have him lead the second unit instead of Emmanuel Mudiay.

Ingles has been a disappointment this season. I thought a drop off was coming, but he is only barely a top 180 player this season and that sort of decline was outside of my expectations.

That being said, he’s come to life in the last three games. Ingles averaged 27.9 fantasy points per game in that stretch, which puts him back into the top 100 and gives us hope.

After a slow start to the season, is the Utah Jazz's Joe Ingles finally starting to regain his form from the previous few seasons? (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

While Conley is sidelined, yes, Ingles is an add to stream, but I do agree that I think we see less Mudiay and more Joe when Conley is back and that gives him an increase in value, so he could remain as a top 100 player, even with a move back to the bench.

@nbafantasygoat1 Is Thomas Bryant a drop in a games cap format?

This brings up a larger point regarding league type, which I will get to in a moment. First off, Bryant is dealing with a foot stress reaction and he will be re-evaluated in three weeks from the time of the injury. That gives him about two weeks from today.

Re-evaluated does not mean return and I would be stunned if a big man like Bryant is back in that time. I would guess closer to six weeks, especially with the Wizards being bad.

So, is Bryant a drop? In daily changes leagues, if you are in the middle to bottom of the standings, yes. You can’t deal with zeroes for that long if you are already struggling. At the top of the standings, you can probably hold and see what happens over the next couple of weeks.

Now, for the question about a games cap format. Well, a games cap format means that you aren’t just streaming and playing everyone on your roster every day. You have a games cap, whether that is weekly or seasonal to manage. So, that makes stashing players who are injured a lot more favourable. So, without knowing the specific, a games cap translates into more stashability, so I doubt Bryant is a drop in that situation.

@_marcorojas When Caris LeVert comes back, drop Danuel House, Moe Wagner, or Dennis Schröder to clear up a spot?

I put this question in the mailbag not to answer Marco’s very league/team specific question, but to highlight a key point regarding injured players.

There is absolutely zero reason to be making plans now as to who to drop when an injured player returns. For a start, unless the player who is injured is a top 20-30 type of guy, which LeVert is not, then leaving that player in IL for their first game back is the wise move.

A lot of times, particularly with players recovering from lower-body injuries, their first game back is plagued with rustiness and low minutes. Keeping that player in IL for that one game enables you more flexibility with your roster roster overall, as it enables you to have a spot for streaming not only for that game, but for the next day as well.

Instead of the returning player sitting on your bench, they remain in IL, giving you an extra active roster slot.

Most importantly, between now and when LeVert returns, anything can happen. Wagner may get hurt. Schröder may get hurt. Any other player on your roster may get hurt.

If that happens, you just straight swap them into IL for the player who is coming back. Or, a hot free agent may appear, who you drop a player for, or a player in your lineup gets benched or traded into a worse spot, and then they become a drop.

So, while it is always a good idea to know who your worst player is, planning a drop for an IL return weeks in advance can often hamstring your thinking and end up being detrimental to your team, especially when the answer to the who do I drop question could change daily.

@13ajek Is Nikola Jokić going to turn around his slow start to the season?

I had at least ten questions asking about Nikola Jokić in this mailbag, so I’ll pick just this one, but they all had the same thrust.

Jokić has been below average to start the season. He has often started seasons slow, only to ramp it up in January onward to be a top 3-5 fantasy player.

Will this season be the same? It’s hard to know, but I have faith that the All-NBA first team centre is still good and not just a plodding doofus as he has appeared at times this season.

In fact, the notion that I received so many questions about Jokić, despite him putting up 56 and 43.20 fantasy points in his last two games illustrates that you can still buy him low. In the last two games, he has pushed his usage over 30 percent and that, along with his shooting, was what has been holding him back this season.

Is he back? Not yet, but the signs are there, so I have faith that he will improve from here on out and we will see more the usual Big Chungus that we have come to know and love.

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