Yahoo Fantasy Mailbag: What to do about injuries and breakout stars

Josh Lloyd

More injuries hit our fantasy teams over the weekend, as well some breakouts falling back to Earth. Before Week 4 kicks off, I took your questions from Twitter and Instagram to try and parse through what we’ve seen. Let’s get to it.

@NguyenTDanh Do you personally expect Steph Curry back this season?

Curry, if you haven’t heard, suffered a broken hand and he is going to be re-evaluated in three months. That takes him to the beginning of February for re-evaluation.

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The All-Star break comes a week or so after that, so expecting Steph back before the All-Star game seems to be a low likelihood probability. A popular thought seems to be that the Warriors will tank and just not play Curry again this season.

To me, that seems fairly egregious that a broken hand would keep you out for over five months and I don’t know how the NBA could justify that sort of outcome.

A broken hand is set to sideline Golden State guard Steph Curry for months in the NBA.
Steph Curry's injury has dealt fantasy owners a devastating blow. Pic: Getty

It’s not like the Warriors were winning with Curry playing and they are going to rack up plenty of losses in the interim, so yes, I do expect Steph back in March.

It is plausible that he doesn’t return, but I think he will.

@LauriMarcannon Isaiah Thomas - is he gonna be great as a starter?

Through three games, Thomas, as a starter, is averaging a paltry 19.1 fantasy points per game. Off the bench, he averaged 29.6 fantasy points in three fewer minutes.

A player who gets you 30 point is absolutely a strong pickup, a guy averaging 19, not so much. The big reason why his numbers have come down as a starter is the usage.

As a reserve, Thomas was running the show, with a usage of 36 percent, but as a starter, his usage is 19.7 percent. That’s what happens when you have to share the court with Bradley Beal, the Wizards best player, and theup and coming Rui Hachimura instead of Admiral Schofield.

No-one should have any expectations that Thomas will be the guy who was an All-NBA player three years ago, and the starter role hasn’t worked yet, but he is a pickup, just to see if he can work alongside Beal.

@thomasichimura Should I sell Andre Drummond high before Blake Griffin starts to play?

Drummond is currently the number three ranked player for standard fantasy points leagues, averaging 55 fantasy points per game.

For reference, last season, when he played alongside Griffin for the bulk of the season, he averaged 46.49 points per game, which was the best number of his career.

So, to say he is having a breakout is fair. The big thing that stands out to me are his assists. Before Griffin arrived, Drummond averaged 3.0 assists per game.

Seen here Andre Drummond drives the ball to the basket for the Detroit Pistons.
Andre Drummond has benefited from the absence of Pistons teammate Blake Griffin. Pic: Getty

Last season, with Blake, he was at 1.4 per game. This season, he is at 3.6 assists again. So, for one, that will drop. I also expect his 36 minutes a night to fall off, as well as his career-high usage of 26.4 percent.

So, yes, you have a day to execute a sell high. Don’t expect a massive drop off, but if someone wants to give you a top four player, take the deal.

@gibgabe Whose rotations are worse? The Pelicans or Mavericks

Great question and amazingly it doesn’t include the Knicks. The Pelicans have used six starting lineups in nine games, while the Mavericks have trotted out seven in their nine games, including three that have inexplicably included Courtney Lee.

Given the Mavs are 6-3 and the Pelicans are 2-7, something Rick Carlisle is doing is right, while Alvin Gentry is struggling, Gentry is missing Zion Williamson, but he is trotting out rotations that include all 13 active players playing ten minutes a night.

That reduces the value of Pelicans for fantasy outside of the top couple of guys, so I’d say Gentry’s rotations are the worst so far.

Pictured here New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry barks instructions at his players.
Alvin Gentry's rotations are not ideal for fantasy owners of Pelicans stars. Pic: Getty

But, Carlisle needs to get Lee out of the rotation, as those lineups make no sense and he realises by the second half of those games that Lee shouldn’t play, replacing him after half time.

@Shakespeare604 Who are some players you see getting more minutes and taking a leap close to the end of the season?

This is a common question, but it can also cause issues. If you grab a guy too early to stash, you can be left with virtual zeros on your roster that may jeopardise your chances of actually making the fantasy players and utilising these end of season breakouts.

In saying that, a couple of names stick out to me. Darius Bazley and Hamidou Diallo - Diallo is already overtaking Terrance Ferguson and showing an ability to get defensive numbers. Bazley is in prime position to get a minutes bump if Danilo Gallinari is traded and he looks far more NBA-ready at this stage than I thought he would.

Bruno Fernando - Alex Len isn’t working out in Atlanta and there have already been a few games where Fernando has played more minutes than Len. He is a good free-throw shooter, who rebounds and blocks shots and those guys can be interesting fantasy options. It could actually happen a little earlier than expected.

Cody Martin - Martin is worming his way into Hornets’ fans hearts already with a ton of winning on-court plays. Now, we have to remember that Nicolas Batum is out, but I can see Martin’s minutes pushing up as the season goes on, jumping ahead of Batum, and possibly Malik Monk and Dwayne Bacon as well. He is like a Patrick Beverley type, but he is someone to keep an eye on with how well he is playing.

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