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Injury Impact

Starting five: Post-All-Star waiver pick-ups

by Sandeep Chandok
Updated On: March 9, 2021, 9:47 am ET

All-Star weekend is officially behind us and the second half of the NBA season is set to tip-off on Wednesday as teams look to make a push for the postseason.

Guys like Christian Wood (ankle), Devonte’ Graham (knee), Kevin Love (calf) and a handful of other players should be returning from injury soon while some miss a few more games. This leaves the door open for some quick-hit streaming options.

Though at this point in the fantasy season, waiver wires are running ultra-thin in standard and deep leagues, especially for those who have multiple IL spots available. See if there are any notable injured free agents up for grabs in your league and considering stashing them if you have an open spot and are in a position to so.

But if not, there are some players who could hold your squad down in the meantime.

Here’s my starting five for the week.

Injury Insurance

Theo Maledon - Veteran point guard George Hill (thumb) could miss a few more games for the Thunder after a March 1 report by Joe Mussato of The Oklahoman indicated that Hill would be for 1-2 weeks. We’ll see what his status is when the next injury report comes out, but if he remains sidelined, Maledon will have more opportunity to produce. The 34th overall pick in the 2020 draft has started each of the last 16 games he’s played in which is over half of OKC’s 31 games this season. The Frenchman scored in double-figures in half of those starts including a career-high 24-point outing with six 3-pointers on Jan. 29. A month after that, he dished out a career-high 12 assists to go along with 13 points in a win over the Hawks. Maledon is only rostered in 11% of Yahoo leagues but is averaging 22 fantasy points a night over the last two weeks. Yes, his playing time banks on the return of Hill, but head coach Mark Daigneault is a big fan of his first-year point and that could bode well for the second half of the season.

Gary Trent Jr. - Over the last two months, GTJ ranks 150th in 9-cat with averages of 15.7 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.8 steals and 3.1 triples in 29 games. Most of that has come since C.J. McCollum went down with a foot injury on Jan. 16, and though he’s going to be reevaluated this week, he’s still going to miss at least a few more games, if not a handful. That means Trent Jr. will have another week or so as a starter alongside Damian Lillard before returning to a reserve role and seeing a decrease in volume across the board. But over the past five weeks, the third-year combo guard scored at least 20 points in six contests and only failed to reach 10 points twice. In February, he shot 40% from beyond the arc with 3.7 makes on 9.3 attempts per game. He’s a good short-term pick-up as a source for points, threes and a few extras in standard and deep formats and is up for grabs in 41% of Yahoo leagues.

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Dwayne Bacon - Aaron Gordon remains sidelined with a left ankle sprain and James Ennis II missed a few games before the break with a sore left calf. The latter could return this week but Gordon could get moved before the March 25 trade deadline, and it’s not completely irrational to say he’s already played his last game with the Magic. That being said, Bacon is a decent waiver-wire streaming option in deep formats. He’s available in nearly all of Yahoo leagues which surprising considering how he performed in February. The 25-year-old guard started nine of 16 games that month and scored 10+ in 10 games including a six-game stretch with 16, 11, 20, 11, 19 and 15 points. Certainly, that’s a pretty solid month of basketball for Bacon, but he doesn’t do much aside from score as he only posted 2.8 boards a game less than one each of assists, steals and blocks. Though he did shoot 39% from deep with 1.5 makes, so, there’s some good and some bad.

Markieff Morris - Lakers’ superstar Anthony Davis (calf) is going to be out for at least another couple of weeks as the team is in no rush to bring him back. Kyle Kuzma has faired well in his absence, tallying a pair of 20-point outings since AD went down. But if he’s not available in your league and you’re running out of options, Markieff Morris is only 5% rostered and was hoopin’ before the All-Star break. He scored 11+ in four of his last five games with a total of 32 rebounds and seven 3-pointers. It was his first time scoring in double-figures in back-to-back games all season and while his fantasy outlook heavily relies on points and boards, he’s a not bad short-term option until Davis is back.

Dwight Howard - The Sixers play a back-to-back slate on Thursday and Friday if they treat this duo of games like they have all season, there’s a high possibility of Joel Embiid sitting out Friday. Howard would be the biggest winner of the Philly big men and though he hasn’t started since Jan. 25, he did have some big games off the bench over the last month. He recorded two double-doubles, four games with at least 10 rebounds and four games with at least 10 points but only blocked 12 shots, which is uncharacteristic of the defensively-sound center. Monitor Embiid’s status later this week before snagging the 16-year veteran off of waivers.

Sandeep Chandok

When they say ball is life, it's me, I'm they. Been hoopin' since I was a kid, and the love for the game turned into a career. I'll still lock you up though! RIP Kobe. You can follow Sandeep on Twitter @sandeepchandok.