NBA: Who Should We Play On The Cavaliers Without Irving?

Tonight we have a small slate of NBA games, but a lot of value to be found on a Cleveland Cavaliers team with a ton of injuries, most notably Kyrie Irving, who is out for two weeks with a bicep strain. Here I will evaluate some targets for tonight’s game against the Miami Heat.

Injury Information:

  • Irving is out as previously stated.
  • Luol Deng, Matthew Dellavedova, are questionable.
  • C.J. Miles is expected to return from a 12 game absence. However, given his ankle injury and time missed its very likely he will be limited.
  • Dion Waiters was announced the starter at SG with Jack moving to PG.

    One thing to note from these matchups is how little the Cavaliers scored. In none of these games did they break 90 points, and that does not bode well for fantasy production.

    Targets For Tonight

    Jarret Jack

    Jack is practically the only PG on the team, although Dellavedova started at PG for Cleveland this year when both Jack and Irving were out against Indiana. But in the two matchups where Irving sat the entire game Jack averaged 40 minutes. He did well in one of those games against Orlando, but didn’t do as well in the other two games against Brooklyn and Indiana, albeit much tougher matchups. Miami is a similarly tough matchup, but at least Jack is playing at home where Cleveland stat keepers hand out assists very liberally. Very hard to pass up someone at around 4k on most sites who is going to get 40 minutes. But it’s also hard to expect a spectacular game from Jack. Great start in cash games but may be worth a fade in GPPs.

    Dion Waiters

    I actually like Waiters a lot more than Jack tonight. In two previous matchups this season, Waiters had one solid and one 30+ fantasy point game against Miami. In the 4 games without Irving this season, Waiters averaged 17.5 shot attempts (that’s right, AVERAGED). Waiters is going to have the ball in his hand a lot, and if he gets hot he could definitely go off for a 40+ fantasy point game. I don’t think Jack has that upside.

    Spencer Hawes

    I think people are going to like Hawes a lot tonight, and there is some good reason for it. Hawes will have to shoulder more offensive load without Irving, and Miami is a good matchup for big men. Alone, those factors are enough to make him a good start. But there are some small factors not in his favor. First off, there is competition at Center spot minutes, with former starter Varejao and backup Tyler Zeller. There is some risk that Hawes is supplanted by either at some point during the game, although it isn’t very likely, and Varejao is apparently limited. The Heat are also expected to start Greg Oden, who has had foul trouble recently and hasn’t played much time. But Oden is a better defender than Bosh at Center, and that should hurt Hawes production. Nonetheless, Hawes seems like a quality play.

    Luol Deng

    Deng is questionable tonight, but if he doesn’t play, you probably should not consider Alonzo Gee, as he has never really produced a lot of fantasy stats even when he has gotten minutes. If Deng does play, he definitely becomes a solid start, despite the poor matchup against Lebron. Deng is used to carrying the offensive load for bad offensive teams, and produced well in the the previous game without Irving, scoring 23 points, grabbing 6 rebounds, adding 1 assist, and one steal in only 30 minutes. Deng should be a very good play if he does suit up tonight.

    Tristan Thompson

    Thompson is mostly a put back/garbage basket sort of player, so there really isn’t much benefit for him in Irving being out. He also hit a low last night, playing less than 20 minutes. I think he is not worth a lot of consideration.

    Good luck with your lineups tonight!

    View all posts by Daniel Steinberg
Daniel Steinberg

About the Author

Daniel Steinberg Daniel Steinberg is a former bond trader at a multi-billion dollar proprietary trading firm in Chicago. He uses his knowledge of statistics and his creativity from his career as a poker professional to create the most advanced Daily Fantasy statistical analysis that you will find anywhere. Follow him on twitter @DanielSingerS

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