Following skepticism about his availability for the Detroit Pistons' 2019 NBA regular-season opener, Blake Griffin and his fantasy basketball owners received some tough news Tuesday evening.
After battling knee soreness and a hamstring injury, Griffin is now expected to be held off the court until the first week of November.
Griffin had undergone arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in the offseason, so the soreness condition recently reported isn't a great sign for the oft-injured former No. 1 overall pick. While Griffin will be reevaluated for a return to the court in two weeks, there is a chance he could be out longer.
The injury is tough news for fantasy basketball owners in general, as the power forward position has already lost rookie Zion Williamson for a period of 6-to-8 weeks. For those scrambling to find a replacement, here are three options on the waiver wire, all of which are owned in less than 50 percent of Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball leagues.
3. Christian Wood, PF/C, Detroit Pistons
One of the most logical replacements for Griffin (especially in deeper leagues) is the player who stands to benefit the most from his injury. Christian Wood had to fight his way just to make the Pistons' roster this season, but he is now in talks to possibly start in place of Griffin, especially if Markieff Morris can't suit up due to a back injury. Wood, who went undrafted in 2015, has bounced around the league for the past four seasons, but really took off last year in eight games for the New Orleans Pelicans (16.9 points per game, 7.9 rebounds per game, 1.3 blocks per game). Owned in just 4 percent Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball leagues, Wood is available almost everywhere for those seeking a high-upside flier to replace Griffin.
2. PJ Washington, SF/PF, Charlotte Hornets
For those pining for another upside play who is not a household name, Charlotte Hornets' rookie PJ Washington certainly fits the bill. Following an impressive preseason, the 12th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft has earned himself a rotation role on the talent-deprived Hornets. While he is not a lock for more than roughly 20 minutes per game (MPG) out of the gate, there have also been rumors that Washington could start sooner than later. He makes for more of a long-term pickup than a temporary stopgap for Griffin, but he has the potential to be a multi-category contributor if the minutes are there for him this season. Washington is available in 75 percent of Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball leagues.
1. Dario Saric, PF/C, Phoenix Suns
Playfully referred to by his nickname, "The Homie," Dario Šarić is ready for a fresh start this season with the Phoenix Suns. After some impressive years with the Philadelphia 76ers, he saw his minutes dip following an early-season trade to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Now, he is the projected starting power forward for the rebuilding Phoenix Suns, and he will be playing in a more up-tempo offense ideal for fantasy production. Šarić is a decent bet for double-digits PPG and RPG, while also chipping in some 3-pointers. At 47 percent owned in Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball leagues, he makes a lot of sense as the top waiver wire replacement for Griffin for those seeking a locked-in starter who can produce steady numbers on a game-to-game basis.
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