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With the fantasy playoffs underway in many leagues and others soon to begin the postseason, some fantasy managers could face tough decisions. A lot of players are injured right now, so it might be necessary to send someone off to add a hot wire waiver option. Let’s take a look at five players who could consider moving at this important time of the season.
This might seem crazy, because James is having another special season. He was a top fantasy option, averaging 29.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 2.1 3-pointers per game while shooting 50.1 percent from the field. The Lakers are fighting to enter the play-in tournament, and they improved their chances by introducing several additions at the trade deadline.
The reason to give up on James — unless you have a place in IL to stash him — is that he’s likely to be out for a long time with a foot injury. He didn’t play Tuesday against the Cavaliers, and after that the news is bleak. At least, he’ll be out for at least a few weeks. Even for those in a rotisserie league that comes down to the final day of the regular season, James may not appear in enough games until the end to make a meaningful contribution. There is also concern that if the Lakers fall out of playoff contention, they may not bring James back at all.
Simmons was barely involved in the offense, averaging just 6.9 points per game. While he shot 56.6 percent from the field, he shot only 43.9 percent from field goals. Still, his averages of 6.3 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.3 steals made him worth keeping in some formats, especially scoring leagues.
The problem with Simmons is that he moved to the second unit after the Nets shook up their roster at the trade deadline. In the last four games, he averaged just 4.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists in that role. He averaged 17 minutes per game during that stretch, then sat out the next three games with a knee injury. Even if his health improves, he probably won’t play enough to be worth keeping. The Nets certainly have plenty of wing depth, including some young players they will want to continue to develop next season.
Lowry took a significant step back this season. He is shooting just 39.6 percent from the field, which would be the first time since the 2009-10 season that he has shot worse than 40 percent. His assists also dropped significantly to 5.3 per game. He has collected at least 7.3 assists per game in each of the last four seasons.
Lowry has not only seen a dip in production, but has also been limited to 44 games due to injuries. A knee injury has forced him to miss each of the Heat’s last nine games, and he was already ruled out Wednesday against 76ers. When he eventually returns, he could be on a minutes limit for at least a few games. The Heat are looking to make a deep run in the playoffs, so expect them to take a cautious approach with the return of their veteran player. Add the potential for more missed time and minute limitations to his already unconvincing production and now it’s time to move on from Lowry.
The hawks did not move John Collins at the trade deadline. Instead, they acquired Bey from Clips. They have a lot of depth up front, which makes things a little tricky. Also, they have a new head coach in Quin Snyderwhich could change their rotations.
Even with the potential changes, it’s hard to imagine Bey starting over Collins or De’Andre Hunter. In the last three games when he came off the bench, Bey averaged just 6.7 points and 5.0 rebounds. The injury keeps him out of a prominent role, and he can rack up 3-pointers when given extended playing time. However, waiting for an injury to one of your teammates that may never happen is not advisable in this part of the season.
Jalen DurenDetroit Pistons (44 percent on the roster)
After starting the season with a limited role off the bench, Duren was given a chance in the starting lineup. He made an immediate impact, averaging 11.0 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.0 block in his first 25 games in the role. During that span, he also shot 69.3 percent from the field and 70.3 percent from the field. Everything was getting ready for him to finish the season monstrously.
As good as things look for Duren, his situation is no longer nearly rosy. The Pistons bought James Wiseman from the Warriors, adding another promising young center to the mix. Also, Marvin Bagley III returned from a long absence due to a hand injury. Duren missed the last two games with an ankle injury and averaged just 2.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in the two games he played with Wiseman. Even when Duren is healthy again, the presence of Wiseman no longer makes him as attractive in fantasy.