Wade, Paul injuries have repercussions
Wade sprained his right ankle in Friday's loss to the Denver Nuggets, and it's unclear when he will return. X-rays were negative, and he's not in a walking boot, but it would be surprising if he didn't miss more time. If he does, look for Mario Chalmers (14.0 points, 2.3 3-pointers, 1.5 steals in January) and Norris Cole to pick up some of the slack, and Mike Miller, who hopes to return Tuesday from a hernia that has sidelined him all season, will step into an opportune role to contribute, so monitor his production in deep leagues. Chris Paul strained his hamstring in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game, and is considered day-to-day. An MRI showed no structural damage, although hamstrings can be problematic, so don't be surprised if he misses some time, or at least sees a hit in production. Mo Williams, who lost weight in the offseason and has played well in limited minutes, should see more run if Paul is to miss time, as should Randy Foye and Chauncey Billups. Neither injury should have a major long-term impact, although both players have some history with injuries (Paul missed 37 games in 2009-2010 and Wade missed 62 games from 2006-2008), and it's safe to expect less-than-average outputs from both Wade and Paul this week.
• Brandon Knight (2.7 3-pointers per game in his past six contests) matched his season high of 40 minutes played Sunday, and has remained in the starting lineup for the Pistons despite the return of Rodney Stuckey. This marks the seventh consecutive game the rookie has notched at least 35 minutes played. His value lies primarily in points and 3s, although he makes secondary contributions in assists and steals. He has played his way on to the fantasy radar and is worth starting as long as he continues to see big minutes. • Marcin Gortat posted his fourth consecutive double-double Sunday, dropping 24 points with 15 boards. He started slowly this season, failing to grab double-digit rebounds in his first five contests, but he has done so in five of the past seven games, and is living up to his high preseason expectations. He has shot at least 53.8 percent from the floor in seven straight games, is averaging 18.0 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in that span, and isn't showing many lingering effects of a preseason thumb injury. • David Lee dropped 24 points on 10-for-12 shooting Sunday, his fourth consecutive game with 20 or more points. He's having a bounce-back season, averaging 18.6 points and 11.0 rebounds with 1.0 steals and shooting 50.3 percent from the field. The major hole in his fantasy game is the lack of blocks, as he's averaging just 0.3 per game this season and has averaged just 0.4 per game for his career. But he has reemerged as one of the best point/rebound contributors in the game, and can be counted on for a double-double most nights once again after a disappointing campaign last season.
Be sure to set your lineups early Monday, as there's a slew of early games on the agenda. Carmelo Anthony will officially be a game-time decision against the Magic on Monday, though he's expected to play, and I'd get him back in your fantasy lineup. Andray Blatche's shoulder injury is more serious than initially thought, and will require extensive rehab. No timetable has been set for his return, and this clears the way for more consistent playing time for the hustling Trevor Booker (7.0 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 1.2 steals in his past six games). Blatche will undoubtedly miss Monday's game against the Rockets, and although he's not droppable in most leagues at this point, you should definitely look elsewhere in the short term. Kemba Walker was the beneficiary of a lineup switch Saturday, getting the starting nod as the ice-cold Boris Diaw came off the bench. Walker dropped 23 points with four rebounds, five assists and two steals, and if he stays in the starting lineup, he's a viable fantasy option this week and potentially for the rest of the season. Derrick Favors injured his ankle Sunday, and his status is uncertain. If he misses any time, Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap should both see an uptick in production, and Enes Kanter should get more of an opportunity to show what he can do in extended minutes.