Excuse me while a breathe a massive sigh of relief.
Okay, that’s better.
Kyrie Irving, my favorite player in the league, saw an injury scare against the Pacers, where he exited the game with a knee injury. He heard a “pop” as he went down, and afterwards, said he was in a decent amount of pain. An MRI was scheduled on Wednesday, and Kyrie was diagnosed with a knee contusion, listed as day-to-day. While I was thrilled to hear that the injury wasn’t serious, it was bittersweet, as the All-Star point guard was ruled out of Thursday night’s game against the Magic.
This move will certainly impact many fantasy lineups throughout the night.
Obviously, Irving’s backup, Jarrett Jack is the most blatant fill-in option here. Jack is a guy that is more than capable of putting up reliable fantasy numbers in an increased role, averaging 10 points, 3.8 assists, 2.8 rebounds and one triple per game. Many daily fantasy players will slip Jack, who is relatively cheap, into their lineups tonight.
However, my biggest beneficiary is shooting guard Dion Waiters. A very talented scorer, Waiters is averaging a respectable 14.8 points and 1.1 triples per game on the year. He’s very streaky, which is why his fantasy appeal hasn’t been terrific all season long, but when he’s hot, he can score 20-plus on any given night. That night could be tonight, as the matchup is favorable. Orlando is surrendering the fourth-most fantasy points per game to shooting guards (38.50). Orlando is also coughing up a healthy 23.9 points per game from beyond the arc this year, which is good for the 11th-most in the league. With Kyrie in the lineup, Waiters was already taking a strong 13.1 shots per game, and that number could reach 20 this evening. There’s significant volume and upside here with Waiters that I wouldn’t be opposed to checking out.
Hurry back soon, Kyrie.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.