We’ve got five games in the NBA on Tuesday as we approach the Christmas Day main slate. There’s only one game postponed on Tuesday, the Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards being unable to play due to a breakout of COVID-19 for the Nets. There are a few big names on the injury report for the five-gamer. Let’s take a look at the injury report and how to approach things for fantasy basketball.
NBA injury report, December 21st
Tyler Herro (quad), Will Play
Update — Herro will play tonight vs. the Pacers.
Update — Herro has been upgraded to probable, so it appears he’s going to play tonight. If that’s the case, Vincent and Robinson get a downgrade. Even if Vincent is still starting, Herro will play most of the minutes at SG and in crunch time you’d think. Vincent is also priced up more. Robinson’s minutes should be fine, though he doesn’t provide much outside of scoring.
Herro is questionable to play in tonight’s game vs. the Pacers. He’s missed the past three games due to a quad injury. If Herro is able to return, we should see Gabe Vincent ($5,800) see a decreased role despite being the likely starter in the back court. Herro usually comes off the bench and should continue to do so. Duncan Robinson ($4,800) also gets a downgrade if Herro can return.
Update — Killian Hayes was added to the injury report as questionable due to an illness. He has now been ruled out with that illness.
Derrick Rose (ankle), OUT
Update - Rose has been ruled out for Tuesday’s game. Kemba Walker will once again start in place of Rose.
Rose may not play in tonight’s game vs. the Pistons due to an ankle injury. He was held out of Saturday’s loss to the Celtics. Rose is priced up in this matchup and is worth fading even if he’s in the lineup. At $7,200, that’s just too high to trust Rose given how unproductive he’s been lately and inconsistent overall on the season.
Other injuries: Frank Jackson (leg), Questionable
Update — Lillard and Nurkic are both in the starting lineup tonight vs. the Pels. With Little out, Powell is a bit pricey but still not a bad option if you want to pivot. Simons feels like the better play. With Nurkic fine, we can get off of Nance and RoCo as much.
Damian Lillard (hamstring), Will Start
Lillard is questionable to play in tonight’s game vs. the Pels due to a hamstring injury. He scored 32 points in 37 minutes in the Blazers previous game, a close win over the Grizzlies. At $9,800 and dealing with the injury, it’s tough to view Lillard as more than an OK GPP play. The injury will scare lineups away and this matchup is excellent.
If Dame is out, Norman Powell ($6,400) becomes a bit chalky. Dennis Smith Jr. ($6,000) and Nassir Little ($4,200) are both options in the backcourt. DSJ at $6K seems a bit insane. He hasn’t played in the past four games, though had a pretty strong stretch of games at the beginning of December.
Nassir Little (illness), OUT; Jusuf Nurkic (rib), Will Start
Update - Little has been ruled out with a non-COVID illness.
On top of Dame, the Blazers could be missing both Little and Nurk. Little being out would mean both Powell and Anfernee Simons ($4,500) become viable plays. If Little and Dame are sidelined, both Powell and Simons are viable options in all formats.
If Nurkic is out, Larry Nance Jr. ($4,600) and Robert Covington ($4,300) will be interesting value plays. There’s a boatload of value overall with everyone in COVID protocols. Nance feels like the trendy GPP play. We know what kind of ceiling he has; Nance is a capable scorer and rebounder. RoCo has plenty of upside with the amount of steals he can grab, plus outside shots he can knock down. Covington has been a great source of value the past two weeks.
Tim Hardaway Jr. (protocols), OUT
The Mavericks have placed THJ in COVID protocols and it looks like he won’t be able to play against the T-Wolves tonight. So forget the idea of him being a viable play. Instead, Brunson is going to be chalky AF in tournaments. DFS gets a boost and now we have to look at Trey Burke ($3,900) and Sterling Brown ($3,100) as value plays. Also, and I shit you not, the Mavs are signing Charlie Brown to a 10-day contract. We may get to see Charlie Brown play on Christmas Day. Truly a festive holiday. So blessed.
Kristaps Porzingis (toe), OUT
Update — So Porzingis has been ruled out tonight vs. Minny. Powell and Brown are the plays, plus Brown and Burke with THJ out. Could be a big night for Karl-Anthony Towns and Brunson. This game has stack appeal.
Porzingis is questionable to play in tonight’s game vs. the T-Wolves. The Mavericks are already going to be without PG Luka Doncic again. If Porzingis sits, Jalen Brunson ($7,400), Tim Hardaway Jr. ($6,100) and Dorian Finney-Smith ($5,000) are all good tournament options on DraftKings. Dwight Powell ($3,200) and Moses Brown ($3,000) becomes strong value plays given the increase in front court minutes. Powell could end up being chalky.
LeBron James (abdominal), AVAILABLE
Update - As expected, James is set to play in Tuesday’s contest.
James is being listed as probable to play in tonight’s game vs. the Suns. There’s no real expectation that James will miss this game and this has been a practice of the Lakers on their injury reports all season. LeBron ($11,100) will be an interesting tournament play with all the value floating around. His price is a bit nutty, but with Anthony Davis sidelined, James has to pick up more scoring slack. The Lakers also have very little depth in terms of scoring. LeBron has a high ceiling in the 60-70 point range and may go a bit overlooked.
Talen Horton-Tucker, Dwight Howard (protocols), Will Play
THT and Howard have cleared protocols and will return to the lineup tonight vs. the Suns. THT’s presence makes LeBron a less appealing play, though helps the Lakers overall offense. Howard could see run with AD sidelined and the Lakers only true center/big being DeAndre Jordan ($3,800).