Fantasy Basketball Forecast: Injuries to Joel Embiid, Zach LaVine, and Who To Target

Fantasy Basketball Forecast: Injuries to Joel Embiid, Zach LaVine, and Who To Target article feature image

Week 16, and we're getting dangerously close to the fantasy playoffs, which, for some of you, are now only three weeks away.

Not only that but this Thursday is one of the most exciting days of the year, the NBA Trade Deadline, so we're going to add a little something with a deadline edition of risers and fallers later this week. For now, it'll be a standard procedure.

Your boy is 13-2 and 11-4 fantasy basketball in his two money leagues this season, so hopefully, you've been reading along this season and have gained even five percent of help — a lot more is to come as the post-season looms.

Here's the Week 16 forecast.

Fantasy Team of the Week: Sacramento Kings

The Kangz are one of 10 teams with four games this week and are the only one of those 10 with zero back-to-backs this week.

The schedule looks like this:

Here are their games this week:

  • Monday: At Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Wednesday: Vs. Detroit Pistons
  • Friday: Vs. Denver Nuggets
  • Sunday: At Oklahoma City Thunder

The Kings are offense first, second and third, which helps. The trade deadline is expected to be busy around the league, and maybe Sacramento gets in on the fun, but for the most part, you know what to expect in terms of who may be staying or going, and anyone potentially going isn't an unsittable guy on your roster anyway.

I also like not having a game Thursday so their lineup going into Friday should have some clarity, and they're one of two games Sunday afternoon, a sneaky good one to have over opponents who may forget to care for their lineups on the day of the Super Bowl.

Expect this team to have fantasy points and some worthy streamers this week.

Unsittables: Domantas Sabonis, De'Aaron Fox, Keegan Murray

Starters if They Survive Thursday: Malik Monk, Kevin Huerter

Streamable: Harrison Barnes, Trey Lyles

Fantasy Anti-Team of the Week: Portland Trail Blazers

Four teams play just two games this week, and this one takes the cake… whatever that stupid cliché means.

If you have a Portland Trail Blazer this week, be pissed off, your schedule sucks.

Here are their games this week:

  • Thursday: Vs. Detroit Pistons
  • Saturday: Vs. New Orleans Pelicans

Yup, you're not gonna see these fools until after the trade deadline, and who knows who'll still be on their roster? Maybe everyone, maybe some, maybe half, but unless you have Scoot Henderson and maybe a couple of others, you might not know for certain.

Sure, two home games in three nights will be nice after Thursday, but God, three nights off? On a night where 10 teams have four game weeks? We'll see how much you like Malcolm Brogdon after Thursday afternoon.

(That's directed at myself, who recently added Brogdon on waivers as a stream and now cannot drop him because he's playing too damn well.)

Starters, Even if Begrundingly: Anfernee Simons, DeAndre Ayton, Malcolm Brogdon, Jerami Grant

Streamable: Scoot Henderson


C Joel Embiid

Philadelphia 76ers

Embiid is out for the foreseeable future, and potentially the season, due to a torn meniscus.

Team Pivots: Paul Reed, Mo Bamba (Reed more so)

Waiver Wire Pivots: Al Horford, Naz Reid, Precious Achiuwa, Dereck Lively (may get dropped in some leagues due to injury but buy low) 

SG Zach LaVine

Chicago Bulls

LaVine is out for the season due to a foot injury, the Bulls confirmed.

Team Pivots: Ayo Dosunmu, Alex Caruso

Waiver Wire Pivots: Bilal Coulibaly, Gary Trent Jr., Amen Thompson


PF/C Paul Reed

Philadelphia 76ers

Until the Sixers upgrade this spot, and as long as Embiid is out, Paul Reed is the most fantasy-relevant center they'll have. Reed sucked against the Nets over the weekend, but that whole team did. He's still averaging about 11 points and seven boards per game in his 12 starts this season while also adding north of two assists and two stocks per contest. If you need center help, at least temporarily, Reed is a nice add right now.

PF/C Precious Achuiwa

New York Knicks

With Julius Randle out for at least a few weeks due to a dislocated shoulder, and if you can't snag Isaiah Hartenstein at this point, this is your guy. Achiuwa has started four straight games for the Knicks, posting 12.3 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.5 stocks per contest. I don't really trust him long-term, but you don't have to, if he's starting, he's worth the add, unless the Knicks get substantive help Thursday in their frontcourt that could potentially impact his minutes.


PF/C Zach Collins

San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs have three road games this week: a back-to-back in Miami and Orlando on Wednesday-Thursday, and then they're in Brooklyn on Saturday.

Collins has been out of fantasy favor, averaging 7.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists in his last six games at 19 minutes per. Collins is now firmly out of the Spur's starting lineup and is very droppable at this point.

SF Jaime Jaquez

Miami Heat

Someone drank this dude's special sauce.

Since returning from injury, Jaquez — who had already been struggling (fantasy-wise) since Tyler Herro's return — has played five games and has yet to score double figures. I still see him as a buy-low candidate, but if you're on the playoff bubble, it's probably time to look elsewhere since you can't afford to wait, you need wins, and while I think he bounces back, his ceiling is lower with a mostly healthy Heat team — assuming they don't have a shake up between now and Thursday afternoon.

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Nick Sterling
Apr 17, 2024 UTC