When Jonas Valanciunas fractured the fourth metacarpal in his left (non-shooting) hand a little over a week ago, it was not only a big blow to the Toronto Raptors, but also to his owners in season-long fantasy basketball.
Valanciunas was a mid-round pick this year, with an average draft position (ADP) of 62 on Yahoo. When the big man gets the minutes, he has early-round upside, bringing solid value in scoring, rebounding, blocks, both percentages, and low turnovers. That's a lot of value to lose for six weeks.
That kind of ceiling makes him hard to drop outright, so hopefully you have an injured reserve spot if you own him, or you can absorb benching him until January.
While JV owners are left shuffling their roster to absorb the blow, everyone else has been looking for the fantasy beneficiary to come out of this unfortunate injury news. We're here to take a look at how things have been shaking out and to suggest which guys to prioritize on the waiver wire.
Scola has started all 17 games for the Toronto Raptors this season at the power forward position. His fantasy game is solid and fairly consistent, albeit unspectacular. He'll give you a decent bump in point and rebounds, while keeping your percentages high and turnovers low. The added three-point shot is a bonus, but most of his value comes from scoring and grabbing boards.
The JV injury has resulted in roughly five more minutes per game for Scola, more usage, and more points, but not much else. Even so, he's ranked 121st in nine-category leagues on the season and should be a decent late-round value for the rest of the year, even after Valanciunas returns.
Biyombo has started the last three games for the Raptors in place of Valanciunas and has seen a major spike in minutes as a result. There isn't much to his fantasy game outside of rebounds and blocks, but he gets those in bunches when given the minutes.
In the three games since JV's injury, Biyombo has racked up 14, 12, and 16 rebounds, and he swatted four shots in Saturday's game against Washington. Owners in need of rebounds or blocks would be wise to pick him up for as long as JV is on the shelf -- just don't expect much in the other categories and prepare to move on once Valanciunas returns.
The opportunity was there for this to be Patterson's breakout year, but it unequivocally hasn't been. 2Pat has struggled mightily with his shot and has failed to earn a starting job or significant minutes in the wake of Amir Johnson's departure, leaving Luis Scola basically uncontested for the gig.
Valanciunas' injury seemed like it would open up even more opportunity for Patterson, but his minutes and numbers have stayed relatively the same. There are more rebounds to go around without JV, and Patterson has grabbed a portion of them, but there hasn't been much else in his stat line to get excited about. For now, Patterson can be safely left unowned in standard formats (12 teams, 13 players per team) until proven otherwise.
|Player||Y! %||ESPN %||Rank pre-inj (9-cat)||Rank post-inj (9-cat)||Rank pre-inj (8-cat)||Rank post-inj (8-cat)|
As seen in the table above, all three of Scola, Biyombo, and Patterson are still widely available in both Yahoo and ESPN leagues. If all three are available in yours and you're considering grabbing one, Scola is posting the best value in both eight-category and nine-category formats on the season and in the four games since JV's injury (including the one in which it happened). He's got a good chance to hold late-round value for the rest of the season, as long as he keeps a grip on the starting four spot.
If Scola is gone or if you need rebounds and blocks and you need them now, Biyombo is a great short-term add. Don't drop anyone with good rest-of-season value for him and temper your expectations when it comes to how little he'll give you elsewhere, but he should continue to contribute until JV returns.
As for Patterson, well...fantasy players, like Raptors fans, will just have to keep waiting on him to make an impact.
All stats and ranks courtesy of BasketballMonster.com.
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