Fantasy Basketball: How to approach the Anthony Davis injury, why you should add Anthony Edwards and more

There’s been plenty of big news around The Association lately, and there’s a good chance it will affect the standings in your fantasy league. Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and D’Angelo Russell will all be sidelined for an extended period of time.

Those absences create opportunities for other players — ones that could be on your waiver wire. If they aren’t on the wire, it never hurts to float a trade to another manager in your league.

Davis out through the All-Star Break

Anthony Davis was already dealing with Achilles tendinosis, but now he’s picked up a calf strain. He’s otherwise been relatively healthy, missing five games up to this point. With such an impactful player out of the lineup, who stands to benefit in fantasy?

Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell stepped up Tuesday against the Timberwolves. Schroder posted 24 points, four steals, three assists and one rebound. Harrell recorded 17 points, six rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block. Kyle Kuzma got the start, but he wasn’t utilized more than usual, posting seven points, four rebounds, one assist and one block with just a 14.1 percent usage rate.

Marc Gasol has also seen a meaningful bump in production with Davis sidelined, and he could be worth an add in some deeper fantasy formats. In the six games that Davis has missed, Gasol is averaging 9.5 more fantasy points, up to 23.7 from 14.2. 

Griffin and Drummond won’t play until traded or bought out

Former teammates in Detroit, Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond now find themselves in similar situations, with their respective teams looking to unload them.

Griffin’s play has been woeful. The five-time All-NBA selection is averaging just 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 31.3 minutes. He’s shooting 36.5 percent from the field, and he has yet to dunk this season. The Pistons are in a deep rebuild, and it seems like both sides just want to move on.

Drummond has been his usual self. The 27-year-old, two-time All-Star is averaging 17.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks in 28.9 minutes. Cleveland recently traded for 22-year-old Jarrett Allen, whose timeline fits better with the Cavs’ other young pieces like Collin Sexton (22) and Darius Garland (21).

So what should we expect from both players when they’re moved, and who will step up in their place?

Trading Griffin will be nearly impossible due to the excessive amount of money the Pistons owe him over the next two seasons. Assuming he gets bought out, he’ll likely end up on a contender. If that’s the case, he might have trouble finding 30 minutes consistently, and he could end up occupying a sixth-man role. Better teammates could mean Griffin can focus on facilitation while also finding easier shots, leading to a better assist rate and field-goal percentage. Still, a reduced workload would mean Griffin would have difficulty reclaiming any sort of meaningful fantasy value.

With Griffin out of the lineup, both Svi Mykhailiuk and Saddiq Bey see 10-minute bumps in workload. Both are potential adds in deeper leagues. Josh Jackson has played well lately and could see increased usage as well. He’s scored double-digit points in eight straight games. Mason Plumlee could get a few more rebounds, and Jerami Grant may handle the ball more, but both players are likely already rostered in your league.

Unlike Griffin, Drummond could end up in a situation where he’s still a great source of fantasy production. There are a handful of competitive teams that could use additional center help and would be able to give Drummond 25-plus minutes. Brooklyn, Boston and Charlotte come to mind, but there are certainly others. Even if Drummond sees 25 minutes per game, he could easily still produce plenty of 15-and-15 games.

And once Drummond is sent away, Jarrett Allen will be in line to hold down a legitimate starting center job. Fantasy managers have been clamoring for Allen to play more since his rookie year, and it seems like we’ll finally be getting our wish. He’s started 154 of his past 178 appearances, but that’s resulted in just 26.3 minutes per game. For his career, when seeing minutes in the 30s, Allen averages 14.1 points (64.5 FG%), 10.9 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 2.0 assists.

Russell out at least a month

In the wake of the news that D’Angelo Russell will be out for at least a month due to knee surgery, rookie Anthony Edwards had the best performance of his career Tuesday against the Lakers. In 34 minutes, he posted 28 points (10-20 FG, 5-10 3Pt, 3-4 FT), seven rebounds, five assists, two blocks and one steal. He’s stepped up his play significantly over the last 10 games overall, averaging 17.9 points on 15.5 shots, 5.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists (just 1.1 turnovers) and 1.6 combined steals-plus-blocks in 32.1 minutes. If Edwards is somehow still available on your waiver wire, go pick him up.

Ricky Rubio and Jordan McLaughlin will naturally see more time on the court as well. Rubio has the best chance of improving his fantasy value, and it might be worth buying low. He’s struggled this season, but if he can consistently get close to 30 minutes per game, he’ll be one of the best sources of assists and steals in the NBA (9.1 APG, 1.8 STL per 36 minutes). McLaughlin is a deep-league add but is also a good source of assists and steals. In 18.3 minutes per game, he’s averaging 5.6 points, 4.5 assists, 2.1 rebounds and 0.9 steals.

Spurs have next four games postponed

Four players on San Antonio have tested positive for COVID-19. That’s resulted in the league postponing the Spurs’ games for this week. It has not yet been announced which players tested positive, and it’s up to the players and the team whether or not to disclose that information. Make sure to keep an eye out to see if that information becomes available. If someone on your fantasy team tests positive for COVID-19, they’ll likely be out 10-plus days, if not closer to two-plus weeks. As much as the NBA has done to increase testing and discourage players from being anywhere besides their homes, hotels, practice facility and stadium, this is still a factor that will likely play into the season all year.

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