Fantasy Mailbag: Kevin Love's return and Kelly Oubre's improvement

Josh Lloyd
·4-min read
Kevin Love is nearing a return from a lengthy injury absence, while Kelly Oubre Jr has turned around his dismal start to the NBA season. Pictures: Getty Images
Kevin Love is nearing a return from a lengthy injury absence, while Kelly Oubre Jr has turned around his dismal start to the NBA season. Pictures: Getty Images

Not only are we dealing with COVID game postponements, but now the weather is causing havoc in the US. 

So, I’m sure many people have questions about how to manage their fantasy basketball teams as the season plows forward, so I took those questions from Instagram and Discord and answered them right here, in this week’s edition of the fantasy basketball mailbag.

Is Kelly Oubre Jr. going to keep this up? - @Ethan5 (Discord)

I don’t have a crystal ball, and if I did, I wouldn’t use to work out how Kelly Oubre will play for fantasy basketball leagues. 

Interestingly though, we are fielding questions like this about Oubre when weeks ago it was more like ‘can I drop this bum from my team?’ But, to answer Ethan’s question, no. And there is a straightforward reason for it. 

He won’t continue to be a 43 three-point shooter, which he is over the last month. I would say, at best, he is a 37% three-point shooter long term, and even that would be a career-high. 

So, while Oubre probably won’t as bad as he was to begin the season when he shot 8% from deep, he also won’t be this good where he is averaging over 40 fantasy points in the last week.

There are players who will start sitting out more once the All-Star break ends. Should we trade players now for almost similar valued guys who have shown that they don’t sit out much? - @TheDarkLord (Discord)

The problem with this question and line of thinking is that it makes a lot of assumptions. 

Firstly, we are assuming that there will automatically be guys who just start sitting games when this is one of the most overblown things mentioned in fantasy every year. 

Players aren’t just going to stop playing games until you get to the last 1-2 weeks of the season in May when fantasy playoffs are over. 

Secondly, how on Earth does anyone know which players are just going to start sitting out games in this hypothetical scenario? 

This question is crucial because it allows me to address panic trading. Fantasy managers tend to get caught up in imagining weird and wonderful scenarios of shutdowns and fake injuries when, in reality, it isn’t the case. 

Often, when that thought is in your head, you make a trade that hurts your squad. 

So, I am never going to make a trade based on the fact that someone may sit games in March or April based on nothing at all.

Is Kevin Love back soon, and is he a good pickup? - @Saket.gaj (IG)

Well, it looked like Love would be returning, perhaps this week, but then the Cavs had to hold him out of practice due to soreness in his calf. 

They said it wasn’t a setback per se, but now they are cautiously optimistic he will return before the All-Star break. 

That’s another two weeks, so it does look like Love’s return will be delayed. 

I would imagine minutes will be monitored and back to backs sat when he returns, and then after that, Larry Nance Jr. will return. 

So, while Love has great name value and can still be a useful player, I’m not sure I would be running out to grab him in fantasy leagues, at the moment.

If John Collins moved on from Atlanta, would he become a top 15 fantasy player again? - @ori_berlinski (IG)

Firstly, Collins was ranked 21st in points leagues last season. 

He was higher for category leagues. It sure doesn’t appear like Collins is the player the Hawks want to be the number two to Trae Young, and a trade has been rumoured since back in the offseason. 

But expectations for Collins after a trade are murky. 

He could return to last season’s numbers, but that depends entirely on the team he heads to. 

If he goes to say Toronto to be a full time centre, his usage isn’t going to bump like it did last season. 

Even if he heads to Charlotte, there is still Terry Rozier, LaMelo Ball, and Gordon Hayward to take shots better than the supporting cast Collins and Young had last season. 

So, Collins’ path to last season’s numbers is pretty murky, and I wouldn’t be making fantasy moves with that as the expectation.

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