There are 11 games of NBA action tonight, with a lot of high-profile players nursing various ailments. The Denver Nuggets’ Ty Lawson and the Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah are two fantasy basketball studs who are questionable to play in their respective games on Wednesday night.
» It was revealed on Tuesday that Lawson was dealing with a rotator cuff strain in his left shoulder, and he has now been listed as a game-time decision for the Nuggets game vs. the Bobcats on Wednesday. Lawson has been on fire lately, accruing 11 double-doubles in the month of January. His 18.8 points and 10.8 assists have him ranked 16th on Basketball Monster.com over the last month. There’s no way you can add a player off waivers who can replicate those numbers, but a couple in-house options could soften the blow. If Lawson were to sit, Randy Foye (56 percent available on ESPN.com) and Nate Robinson (77 percent available) are fine options. Foye is averaging 13.5 points and 3.0 three-pointers over his last five games, and scored in double figures in 14-straight. Robinson has scored 13.3 points, while dishing out four assists per contest over his last three, but always has the potential to explode in the scoring column. In much deeper leagues, Evan Fournier is worth a look. Fournier’s playing time has dwindled of late, averaging just 14 minutes over his last three games, but he’s proven he can produce when given a chance, scoring 14.9 points per 36 minutes this season. Fournier is available in 100 percent of ESPN.com fantasy basketball leagues.
» Without Noah, the Bulls couldn’t handle the T’Wolves down low on Monday. Kevin Love dropped 31 points and Ronny Turiaf (yes, that Ronny Turiaf) scored a season-high 14 points. Evidently Noah’s flu-like symptoms have no subsided because he has deemed himself “50-50” for tonight’s game vs. the Spurs. With two days off to recover there’s a good chance he plays tonight, but with a “game-time decision” designation, it’s best for owners to have a fallback. Any time a Bulls big man is hurt/sick, I’ll suggest Taj Gibson as the gold standard of pickups. Gibson is still available in 46 percent of ESPN.com leagues and really should be owned in close to all of them, regardless of any injuries to the Bulls frontcourt. The fifth-year man out of USC is averaging 15.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks over his last five games, including a double-double in Monday’s affair with Minnesota. Pick Gibson up now, whether you’re a Noah owner or not.
Other Injury Notes:
Dwyane Wade is a game-time decision for the Heat tonight. Normally this would be headline news, but fantasy owners have come to realize this is common place. A big matchup vs. the Thunder looms, but as always, Wade, and the Heat, will play it safe with his knees if they need to. If Wade can’t suit up, expect Mario Chalmers (54 percent available), Norris Cole (98 percent available) and Michael Beasley (98 percent available) – to a lesser extent – to get more scoring opportunities. In anything outside of roto leagues, Wade is easily one of the most frustrating players to own this season. … O.J. Mayo (flu) will sit again for the Bucks tonight. His fantasy value is tumbled over the last six games, as he is scoring just 4.2 points and playing under 20 minutes per contest over that span. He is hardly worth owning in any leagues. Khris Middleton has been the beneficiary of Mayo’s struggles/absence, averaging 12 points over his last four games. Middleton (96 percent available) is 22 years old and more suited for Milwaukee’s “tank-mode”, so he’s worth adding in 12-team leagues or deeper. … Spurs SG Manu Ginobili (hamstring) has been ruled out of tonight’s game vs. the Bulls, and according to SB Nation, he will undergo an MRI later on today. The Spurs are decimated by injuries, but new that just creates opportunities for players to come out of the woodwork. Boris Diaw is a fantastic pickup, as our very own Josh Lloyd pointed out earlier today. Diaw (94 percent available) is averaging 18.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.5 three-pointers over his last four games. Marco Belinelli is also worth adding with the Spurs extremely depleted on the wing. Belinelli is scoring 13.7 points per game in January and is available in 93 percent of ESPN.com fantasy basketball leagues.