The fantasy basketball playoffs started this week for most fantasy managers, but what about those who have Kevin Durant and/or Ja Morant on their roster?
Is it worth holding out hope that they return in time for a boost in the weeks ahead? Or is it time to move on and stream their open roster spots?
Here are André Snellings, Eric Karabell, Jim McCormick and Steve Alexander to explain what they’d do.
Suns general manager James Jones seemed a bit more optimistic in a recent chat with reporters about Durant’s potential return for maybe six or so games this season. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for fantasy managers given how vague the timeline proves and how many leagues don’t play the final week of the season.
I’d be open to giving Durant another week for any more positive reports, but it’s also potentially prudent to just pivot to Jabari Smith Jr. or Jalen Williams out of need for immediate production.
When it comes to Morant, I’m willing to move on. It appears unlikely that he’s back very soon given the current circumstances and the apparent longer-term solution being sought by the team and Morant. Get Tyus Jones or even Talen Horton-Tucker to make up for Morant’s absence.
I would prefer to hold onto both players in a bench spot or, even better, on the injured list. If I were in a league with no injured list, with particularly shallow benches where I had to have production, I would consider dropping Durant first. He was set to be re-evaluated in three weeks, as of last Thursday, which means best case scenario is he’d be cleared to play in the Thursday of the Finals of the fantasy hoops playoffs. And, realistically, it isn’t particularly likely that Durant would be immediately cleared and return to action the same day, even if the news were good. So, of the two, I’d say Durant is least likely to contribute again this season.
For Morant… it’s just too much unknown. There’s a chance he doesn’t play again this season, but we just don’t know, so until I know for sure I’m unlikely to cut him unless I’m in dire straits.
I’m dropping Durant, as he won’t be re-evaluated until some time around March 30. Even if he’s cleared right away he’ll have just five or six opportunities to play to finish out the regular season, which isn’t enough.
As for Ja, he’s entered a counseling program and he could return at any time depending on how his evaluation goes. Even if he misses the rest of this week, the Grizzlies play four games in each of the final three weeks, giving me enough to hope to try to hang on.
It certainly seems unlikely that the Suns and Grizzlies push Durant and Morant back into their respective lineups for regular season games anytime soon, if at all. Yes, it is time to move on in fantasy redraft formats and make better use of bench spots, streaming weekly lineups to take advantage of players with the most games. The Suns and Grizzles boast veteran playoff teams and they realize neither Durant nor Morant need much time to return to playing shape.