Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, we pose a question to a rotating panel of ESPN fantasy basketball experts to gauge their thoughts on a hot topic. Today's contributors are ESPN Fantasy's John Cregan, Joe Kaiser and Kyle Soppe.
Kyle Lowry is expected to miss the next 4-6 weeks due to surgery on his right wrist. There are six weeks left in the fantasy season. Obviously, there is no replacing Lowry, who ranks 14th on the Player Rater (averages), via waivers, but would you drop him, and is there a free agent available in most leagues you might pick up to help fill the void?
John Cregan: Let's start with the best-case scenario: If you're in a head-to-head league, there's an outside chance you get Lowry back for your championship round. But if you feel like your fake team is bulletproof enough that Lowry's loss doesn't hurt your chances of advancing that far, you're either A) delusional or B) in a super-shallow league. Like, four-team league shallow.
I had Lowry, and I bit the bullet and dropped him. Cory Joseph is the obvious add here. His production is reminiscent of the 2011 (pre-All-Star) version of Lowry. He even rebounds like Lowry. If you're looking for upside regardless of position, Terrence Ross (just jumped to 20.2 percent ESPN ownership) is an intriguing add. A deep PG add (rostered in only 3.2 percent of leagues): Spencer Dinwiddie. He's in a low-expectations situation that tends to manufacture late-season bumps in value.
Kyle Soppe: As an unapologetic Raptors fan and supporter of "Kyles" everywhere, it pains me to say yes, you can cut ties with Lowry. Toronto is going to be a playoff team that is confident in their ability to compete with every non-Cleveland team in the East, so I fully expect them to wait on Lowry in an effort to have him at full health by the middle of April.
As for point guards you should target, there are a bunch out there to be had. TJ McConnell is available in 61.9 percent of leagues (those league owners need to wake up!). The Sixers are hurting (quite literally) for offensive options, and with McConnell averaging 29.5 minutes this month, he is a viable asset in all formats. If you're in a deeper (or more active) league, a pair of Bucs make a lot of sense. Malcolm Brogdon is a free agent in 72.5 percent of leagues despite scoring at least 15 points in the last four games in which he has played at least 23 minutes, plus he posts stable steal numbers. Matthew Dellavedova (94.4 percent available) is capable of providing some help in the assists/steals departments.
If Lowry's scoring was the most valuable aspect of his skill set for your team, I encourage you to give Dinwiddie (96.8 percent available) a spin, as he has 40 points, 18 assists, and 14 rebounds over the last three games. The Nets lack options, so Dinwiddie should remain involved in this offense, and with zero turnovers over his last four games (108 minutes), he might be the closest thing to a stable perimeter option out there.
Joe Kaiser: I don't think there is any question, here -- you need to drop Lowry, as painful as it may be. He is expected to be out for the rest of the regular season, so the only leagues in which you should even consider holding on to him are those with some sort of keeper element. In my leagues, we keep two players, for example, so dropping Lowry would mean punting on him not just for this year but in following seasons as well (unless I redraft him).
Replacing him won't be easy, and making up for his scoring and assists, in particular, will probably have to be a team effort more than anything. Nobody on the waiver wire will come close to matching what Lowry offers, but there are players out there who don't have nearly the reputation of Lowry but might be worth trading for, if your league deadline has yet to pass. One who comes to mind is Derrick Rose. The Knicks' point guard is hardly untouchable on the trade market these days, and the right owner might be willing to unload Rose and his 17.6 PPG, 4.4 APG and 46.1 FG% for less than you expect.
Here's the bottom line: Losing Lowry means you have to be as creative and proactive as possible with your roster to have a chance at winning your league.