Fantasy Impact: Eric Bledsoe
On Saturday night, the fantasy basketball community took a significant hit when Eric Bledsoe went down with a left knee injury. It has since been reported that Bledsoe will undergo meniscus surgery on that knee and a timetable for his return remains uncertain. Bledsoe missed time in 2011 with the same injury to his right knee and missed two months. That same timeline would put his return around or after the All-Star break.
Bledsoe has been everything you thought he would be heading into the NBA season, averaging 20.9 PTS, 4.1 REB, 6.3 AST, 1.6 3PM and 35.0 MIN per game. According to our Player Rater, Bledsoe ranks No. 9 among all qualifying NBA players.
Production like this is hard to find on the waiver wire, and if you’re a Bledsoe owner, you need a plan. Most plans should center on keeping Bledsoe and here are a couple names that might be on your waiver wire to help fill the void.
Ish Smith (PHI – PG)
At the current moment, Smith is owned in only 37% of Yahoo leagues, but that number should drastically change with the recent trade to the Philadelphia 76ers. As we all know, the 76ers are not a good team, but with the recent hiring of Jerry Colangelo and assistant coach Mike D’Antoni, Smith may have found a home (again) in Philadelphia. Smith has never been given an opportunity to showcase his skills, moving around to nine different teams in five seasons, but if Smith’s first game with the 76ers is any indication, he could be a huge fantasy pickup.
Yes the sample size is small (one game), but Smith’s per 36-minute stats have him going 16.3 PTS, 5.8 AST and 1.2 3PM. The 76ers play at a great pace, averaging almost 100 possessions per game, and if Mike D’Antoni has any input, that number could rise. If you haven’t grabbed Smith yet, stop reading and get to your waiver wire NOW.
Evan Fournier (ORL – SG)
Fournier is currently owned in 63% of Yahoo leagues, which is too low for his recent production. Over the last seven days, Fournier is starting to look more like himself averaging 15.5 PTS, 3.8 REB, 4.0 AST, 2.0 3PM and 34.3 MIN. Over the next two weeks the Orlando Magic play New Orleans, Brooklyn (twice) and Washington (twice).
These are all plus matchups for the Magic as each opposing team ranks in the bottom third of defensive efficiency. Fournier is not a flashy name and is a streaky player, but right now coach Scott Skiles trusts him, making Fournier is a nice stopgap with good matchups on the way.