HomeSportsCandidates for Fantasy Basketball Drop: With Russell Westbrook on the shelf, get...

Candidates for Fantasy Basketball Drop: With Russell Westbrook on the shelf, get ready to say goodbye

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We’ve hit the stretch run in fantasy basketball. Some leagues have already started the playoffs, while others are on the cusp of the postseason. Injuries have piled up across the league, so some fantasy managers may just be trying to fill healthy lineups. Getting players off the waiver wire may require some tough drop discussions. Here are five players whose time has come to move on in most leagues.

The Grizzlies’ season was derailed early by a series of injuries. Smart (finger), one of their most important offseason additions, is limited to just 20 games. He played well when he was on the floor, averaging 14.5 points, 2.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.1 steals and 2.1 three-pointers per game. He even shot 43.0% from the field, which was on pace to be the highest mark of his career.

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Coming out of the All-Star break, the Grizzlies said Smart would be reevaluated in three weeks. The end of the season is quickly approaching and with nothing left to play for, the Grizzlies can simply hold on to Smart for the rest of their schedule. Even if he does play, he would likely be limited for at least the first few games back. There isn’t enough benefit from holding it at some point, so it’s time to drop it.

Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Clippers (56% selected)

Westbrook has seen his fantasy value take a big hit this season as he moves into a role with the Clippers. He has played just 23 minutes per game, which is by far the lowest figure of his career. Because his playing time has been so drastically reduced, he has averaged a modest 11.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game.

Since serving as a backup for the Clippers, Westbrook has been a fantasy-relevant option in 12-team leagues. Now he has suffered a hand injury that required him to undergo surgery earlier this week. It was reported that the hope is that he will be able to return for the playoffs, but that doesn’t bode well for fantasy managers. Don’t hesitate to drop it.

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It was another losing season for Simmons, who played only fifteen games. He was sidelined from early November to late January with a back injury, and the Nets handled him cautiously when he returned. Over the last nine games he played in, he played just 19 minutes per game.

Simmons has missed the last four games with a new issue, leaving his status in doubt going forward. Even if he is able to play again, the Nets will likely keep him on a minutes restriction for the rest of the season. Availability is critical at this point, so Simmons simply isn’t playing enough to be worth selecting.

Dinwiddie was traded from the Nets to the Raptors, but never played with his new team. After being cleared off waivers, he quickly joined the Lakers. He was a fantasy-relevant option while with the Nets, averaging 12.6 points, 6.0 assists and 1.9 3-pointers per game.

Since joining the Lakers, Dinwiddie has been an afterthought off their bench. He averages just 24 minutes per game and has a usage rate of 12.1%. That has given him averages of 5.1 points, 3.6 assists and 0.9 three-pointers over nine games. As long as D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves are healthy, Dinwiddie won’t have a big enough role to warrant a roster spot in most leagues.

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Hayward is another veteran who switched teams at the trade deadline. He was moved from a Hornets team playing for a high draft pick to a Thunder team that has a shot at the top seed in the Western Conference. Hayward has again dealt with a lot of injury problems this season, which has contributed to him playing in just 32 games.

It seemed a little strange that the Thunder made a trade for Hayward instead of trying to add some size behind Chet Holmgren. The rest of their roster is excellent, which has contributed to Hayward being stuck with a limited role off the bench. Since joining the team, he has averaged 2.4 points and 3.3 rebounds while playing less than 20 minutes in all seven games. There’s no incentive to push him to play more minutes, and in hopes of keeping him healthy for the playoffs, Hayward is likely locked into a limited role moving forward.

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