Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, we pose a question to a panel of ESPN fantasy basketball experts to gauge their thoughts on a hot topic.
Today's contributors are ESPN Fantasy's André Snellings, Jim McCormick and Kyle Soppe.
Reggie Jackson finally returned from his ankle injury on Tuesday, scoring seven points in 15 minutes. He is available in nearly 70 percent of ESPN leagues. What are your expectations for him down the stretch?
Kyle Soppe: I don't want to break the heart of our esteemed editor, Detroit Pistons fan Tom Carpenter, but the Pistons aren't going to make the playoffs this season (at least some fans from that area still have the University of Michigan to root for in the NCAA tourney!) -- and I am skeptical that they will extend Jackson much more than what we saw last night after he missed nearly three months with the aforementioned ankle injury.
The Pistons still have a pair of back-to-backs on their schedule, so you're likely looking at a few missed games down the stretch. And if that isn't enough to scare you -- are we positive that Jackson is a fantasy asset worth rostering in the first place? Prior to the ankle injury, Jackson was shooting 41.1 percent from the field and 25.5 percent from 3-point range while averaging fewer than two dimes per turnover in December, making me think that investing in Jackson simply doesn't pass basic risk analysis.
That said, if you play in a daily transactions league and have a roster spot to burn, there is value in stashing him. I'm just not picking him up and counting on him being a true difference-maker.
Jim McCormick: Blake Griffin is second only to Russell Westbrook with 93.9 touches per game since joining Detroit in January. Griffin also leads the Pistons by a wide margin with 65.4 passes and 10.7 potential assists per game. Jackson averaged 53.3 passes and 11.1 potential assists with Detroit through December, and in the two weeks leading up to his injury, he was already ceding minutes and touches to Ish Smith. Jackson must compete for usage and assists with both Griffin and Smith over the next three weeks.
Even if touches weren't a concern, Jackson doesn't shoot the ball well for his position and has one of the weakest steal rates among starting point guards. I don't mean to come off so negative about his fantasy prospects, but past possibly streaming him for a few nights, I don't think Jackson will be very helpful for managers in the heat of the playoffs.
André Snellings: Jackson returned directly to the starting lineup, even though he played only 15 minutes. I think that's significant, because it shows that the Pistons want to clearly indicate that he is "the man" for the position among those currently on the team.
Thus, I expect that he'll be on a minutes restriction in the near-term, as he works himself back into shape, but get as many minutes as his body can handle.
I think that he probably gets 20-25 minutes for the next couple of weeks, perhaps averages low double-digit scoring with around five assists per game, more than one 3-pointer, and likely sports a rusty shot that keeps his field goal percentage low.
Once he's up to around 25 MPG, he would be playable in most 12-team formats, but he isn't someone who you have to rush out and get.