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Fantasy Basketball Fast Break (Week of 1/29): Down Goes Cousins

Boogie Cousins Done for Season

Well, this one hurts. Both physically for DeMarcus Cousins and for tens of thousands of fantasy owners around the world. Cousins was putting up a top-10 fantasy season with averages of 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.6 blocks, and 2.2 3-pointers. Yeah, this one certainly hurts. The cause for Cousins’ season-ending is a torn Achilles suffered Friday night.

And the season of injuries continues. Outside of maybe Kawhi Leonard, this injury to Cousins hurts the most. Actually, let’s face it. This is a straight up kick to the happy place. But nonetheless, we need to move on. Not only was Cousins a top-10 fantasy asset with those ridiculous stats I mentioned above, he was also averaging the 10th most minutes played per game in the NBA at 36:13. All of those minutes need to go somewhere. No one on the Pelicans, sans Anthony Davis, can make up for what Cousins brought to the court each and every night. However, there will be one big beneficiary that I’ll go over below.

Games Played by Team This Week



2 Games: CHI, LAC.

Waiver Wire

Darius Miller (SG/SF – NOR)

Here’s that beneficiary I mentioned earlier. When a player of Cousins’ caliber goes down, there’s going to be plenty of opportunities for other players to step up. With all due respect to Miller, he’s not on the same planet as Cousins. However, he’s going to get a big bump in minutes and likely in offensive responsibilities as well.

The one area where Miller excels the most is his 3-point shooting. Over his last five games, Miller has made 3.2 3-pointers per game to go along with averages of 13.4 points and 4.6 rebounds. Miller’s minutes were already trending up and should remain in the thirties for the rest of the season. With his increased offensive role, Miller makes for a very strong pickup in all leagues.

Dejounte Murray (PG – SAS)

This probably should’ve happened a while ago, but better late than never, I guess. What am I talking about, you ask? The Spurs finally sent longtime starting point guard, Tony Parker, to the bench and inserted Dejounte Murry into the starting lineup. In the four games since joining the starting unit, Murray has averaged  12.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 2.8 steals on 44.2% shooting. Granted, seven steals in one game inflated that steals number, but Murray should continue to provide solidly there, especially with the added playing time. Until he shows signs of slowing down, Murray needs to be owned in all leagues and could flirt with top-75 value the rest of the way.

Bobby Portis (PF/C – CHI)

Welcome back to the waiver wire section, Mr. Portis. We’re glad you’re back. The Bulls aren’t going anywhere this season besides back to the lottery, so expect them to deal away a veteran or two before the trade deadline. The most likely candidates to be dealt are forward Nikola Mirotic and center Robin Lopez, which will give more playing time to Portis.

Over the last two games, Portis has shown what he is capable of if given consistent playing time. In 23.5 minutes per game, Portis is averaging 19.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 1.5 3-pointers. Will he be this good all the time with additional minutes? Probably not. But he’s talented enough to get close to those numbers. With the trade deadline less than two weeks away, now is the time to add Portis.

Injury Report

DeMarcus Cousins (C – NOP)

You already read about him above. And yes, it still sucks.

Jimmy Butler (SG – MIN)

After a four-game absence, Butler returned to the lineup last night and didn’t skip a beat. This knee injury doesn’t appear to have any long-term concerns, so deploy Butler per usual this week. If for some reason you still have Nemanja Bjelica on your roster, send him packing.

John Wall (PG – WAS)

C’mon, not again. Wall missed last night’s game with recurring soreness in his left knee and this could end up being more than a one-game absence for the all-star point guard. This is the same knee that caused him to receive a platelet-rich plasma injection in November and subsequently miss nine games, so there’s cause for concern here. We should know more after Wall gets a second opinion on his knee on Monday.

Paul Millsap (PF/C – DEN)

It sounds like the return of Paul Millsap should happen within the next couple weeks or so. He’s made solid progress over the last week and is doing a lot of on-court work while trying to get that injured wrist ready for game action. Expect him back around the all-star break.

Mike Conley Jr. (PG – MEM)

Any chance fantasy owners had of getting Conley back into their lineups is now gone. The veteran point guard will undergo surgery on his bothersome left heal and will miss the remainder of the 2017-18 season. Mario Chalmers and Andrew Harrison will continue to handle the point guard duties for Memphis, but neither is an attractive option outside of 14+ team leagues.

Willie Cauley-Stein (C – SAC)

Just when he was getting on a serious offensive roll, Cauley-Stein will miss at least the next two games an MRI revealed a deep bone bruise in his right knee. Over his last seven games, Cauley-Stein averaged 16.0 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 1.3 blocks, so hopefully this doesn’t turn into a long-term absence.

Malcolm Brogdon (PG/SG – MIL)

The reigning rookie of the year has now missed two of the last three games with right calf soreness and sounds like he could miss even more time moving forward. The Bucks play four games this week, so make sure to keep a close eye on Brogden’s status before starting him in weekly leagues.

Marcus Smart (PG/SG – BOS)

Smart’s emotions got the best of himself earlier this week. He “swiped at” a picture frame and cut his hand bad enough to miss the next two weeks. C’mon, let’s call a spade a spade. “Swiped at” is the PG13 way of saying he punched the picture frame. Regardless, Smart will miss the next couple weeks and can be cut if you need the roster spot. And yes, pun intended.

Thank-you for reading and I hope you can use this article to your advantage and get a leg up on your fellow league members. Got a question about a player not covered here? Then follow me on Twitter @EricCross04 and ask me there.

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