Sometimes in order to make those deep playoff runs, you need to take risks on players, buying a player low and hoping for him to turn things around when things matter most. But injured players are an even more difficult low. Picking up or trading for an injured player is one of the more nerve-wracking risks you’ll encounter, but it can also deliver the highest reward.
There are currently 8 players yet to play a game this year that would usually be ranked in or close to the top 50 when healthy. The timetables are relatively clear for a few of them, but that “indefinite” word has floated around 4 of the 8 and now Andrew Bogut has joined the list.
When looking to take action on a player who is injured for a significant amount of time – either if you own an injured player or are considering picking one up or trading for one – you have to do 3 things:
1. Profile your team: Is your team a legitimate title contender as is?
If so, then a risk isn’t something worth taking. If not, biting the bullet may be your best shot.
2. Top to Bottom: Are there any spots on your roster that could use an improvement?
Do you have that one player at the bottom of your bench that only gives you the occasional support? Would that bench spot get more use out of an injured player who could return at the end of the season – when things matter most – to bolster your roster?
3. Address the risk/reward: Is the reward of attaining or holding on to an injured player the difference between your team competing for a title or not?
Along the lines of #1, you have to really address what type of team you have. Consider if the injured player were healthy: would your team then be a title contender? If not, then you need to reconsider the transaction by moving some players around to best suit your team.
Players like Kyrie Irving or Anthony Davis should be treated as healthy players as their return dates are slated for the next month or so, but here are 9 players (the 8 that haven’t played yet along with Bogut) that require a bit more strategizing:
Possibly out the entire season, Rose is really only worth a roster spot if you have a deep roster and can afford all of the missed games.
With a similar situation to Rose, things don’t look great for a Bynum return anytime soon, so only hold on to him only if you can really afford the missed games.
With the chance of Nowitzki returning before the end of the calendar year, he could be a great guy to trade for if his team’s owner is looking for someone healthy. Nowitzki was great last year and should have the ability to really help your team’s scoring and percentages when he returns.
This one’s really interesting to me, and could really play into a lot of team’s playoff runs. Currently owned in 61% of yahoo leagues, Granger has seen his fantasy value diminish over the last couple seasons, but Small Forwards are the weakest position in Fantasy Basketball and to have a Small Forward that hits a pair of threes and scores about 17 a night can be quite valuable down the stretch. Since his injury is rather severe, you can probably get Granger at a pretty low price this year and he’ll almost definitely be able to help during your playoff stretch.
The Hornets have given no help at all to fantasy owners ever since acquiring Gordon. There have been no timetables and nothing but waiting in anticipation really. There’s probably a better chance that Gordon sees action this year than Rose or Bynum, but I’d treat the injury in a similar fashion, only going for him if you have a roster spot you can really spare.
If you’re in a deeper league, Stoudemire could have some use, but don’t be expecting the Amare of old this year. Word in the New York circle is that Stoudemire will likely be coming off the bench when he returns. After disappointing fantasy owners last year, I wouldn’t put too many eggs in the Stoudemire basket, but if you have a roster spot to spare and want a guy that will get you around 12 and 7, you may have a use for him.
This one’s a really tough one to gauge because the Wizards are just so bad that it makes no sense for them to even flirt with the idea of putting Wall on the court until he’s proven to be 100%. He’s also the type of player that has a varied effect on a fantasy team, meaning that he can really help and really hurt a team at the same time. If he fits into the mold of your team, he may be worth a roster spot, but don’t be too surprised if it’s still a few months until his return.
Bogut is optimistic he’ll play before the end of the season, but it’s hard to put too much weight in a player’s word, especially one as injury prone as Bogut. A great source of blocks and rebounds, Bogut can be a valuable fantasy option, but holding onto him for over three months may not be worth it, especially if there is some good talent on the free agent block.
Well look at that. Some good injury news for a change! After initially slating a return in early 2013, it appears Rubio will be ready for action within a couple of weeks. If you’re considering a trade with him, he should be treated as a healthy player as a mid-December return is looking almost guaranteed, so if you need some assists and steals, Ricky’s your man.