Fantasy Mailbag: Managing Gordon Hayward after devastating injury

Josh Lloyd
·3-min read
Charlotte's Gordon Hayward is set to miss at least four weeks with an ankle injury - meaning he will likely return during fantasy playoffs. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Charlotte's Gordon Hayward is set to miss at least four weeks with an ankle injury - meaning he will likely return during fantasy playoffs. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

The trade deadline has passed, former All-Stars are joining title contenders for free, and the fantasy playoffs are in sight. So, you have questions, and I have what I guess you could call answers. Time for the fantasy basketball mailbag.

Who is your biggest waiver wire pickup this week? - @MadNick (Discord)

It’s hard to give a precise answer to this because there are so many variations in leagues and which players are available, but you really do have to put some focus on the Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors. 

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Both teams play five games, and Detroit has already started announcing Wayne Ellington and Mason Plumlee will rest, boosting the value of guys like Hamidou Diallo, Josh Jackson, Saddiq Bey, and Isaiah Stewart. 

We can also look to Toronto with an injured Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet; there is a chance Malachi Flynn starts some games, while Gary Trent Jr. gets a significant boost to his usage.

Is Gordon Hayward a drop? - @ant (Discord)

If you haven’t seen it, Gordon Hayward has a foot sprain and will be out at least four weeks. 

I don’t know about you, but a minimum of four weeks takes you right into the fantasy playoffs and unless you have an open IL slot, holding dead weight through an essential part of the season is challenging. 

The Hornets are currently in the playoff picture, but without Hayward and LaMelo Ball, there is a chance they could fall out of it, but I do expect Hayward to return for the last week or two of the regular season, but holding now is pretty hard. 

It does open up Miles Bridges to be a nice add in his place.

Should Keldon Johnson be dropped? - @darrenob10 (IG)

It depends on what type of league your team is in so I'll go ahead and assume you mean in a 12 team standard league. In that case, he is a drop. 

Johnson is averaging just under 22 fantasy points per game over the last two months of action, and I know this seems wild after he just put up 35 points in his previous game; his previous games totalled 15, 17, 13, 19, 16, 15, and 15. 

There is a lot more value in using Johnson’s roster spot to stream in players in high-value situations than just blindly holding onto a guy who was outstanding in December/January but has been waiver wire material since.

Interested in knowing how you feel about the rotation at centre in OKC. Who will maintain value? - @pricelessfame_ (IG)

It is a tricky question. The last two games have seen Tony Bradley play more than Moses Brown, and in only one of those contests, Brown had foul trouble. 

We also have Isaiah Roby in the mix, who is exclusively playing power forward with Darius Bazley out. I feel this situation will be fluid, but I don’t believe Brown will lose the starting job. 

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The problem is the Thunder will get blown out a lot, and that will lead to more Bradley minutes than Brown’s fantasy managers would be comfortable with. 

I would still prioritise Brown over Roby, who is also over Bradley, but it could be shaky at times.

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