Fantasy Basketball Injury Analysis: John Wall

4 min read

There is a lot for fantasy GMs to unpack when a player is injured. We need to not only understand the severity of the injury, how long they might be out, but also restrictions in their play once they return. For dynasty GMs, we need to understand how this injury may affect them long term.

We are lucky to have, Dr. Rajpal Brar on board and providing injury analysis with his medical expertise. This video is concerning Washington Wizards Point Guard John Wall and his torn Achilles. Take a look.

Initial Notes

Learning more about the original issue of the Haglund’s Deformity, surgery, and then a nearly full tear from a non-basketball injury. This is a very serious injury for any athlete. The 3 recent players that Dr. Brar mentioned, Wes Matthews, Rudy Gay, and DeMarcus Cousins all had long roads to recovery. The jury is still out on Boogie’s eventual return as he is on a stacked team that has no need to rush him, but so far, he’s looked pretty solid. Matthews and Gay took about 8 months to return to the court. They have both played well, but have not been the same players they once were. The Wizards are giving Wall roughly a 12-month recovery outlook, which is close to what Boogie experienced. This would have him possibly returning sometime before the All-Star break in 2020, similar to when Kevin Love returned this season.

Moving Forward

This is decidedly awful news to any GMs that roster Wall. If you haven’t already done so, he’s an immediate drop in redraft leagues. In dynasty leagues, hopefully, you have an IR spot to hold him. Based on this injury, as well as the likelihood that the Wizards will not be competing for the playoffs this time next season, I am very down on Wall’s prospects for next season. So if you’re holding him, that’s most likely a full one and a half seasons of low to no production from one of your best players. The reality is, it can often take another full 12 months after returning for a player to be back to normal after an Achilles tear. So that could push Wall returning to form all the way to February 2021 when he’ll be nearly 31 and a half years old.

When you examine what makes Wall a special fantasy player, a majority of his value comes from assists and steals. He has elite court vision and passing ability, neither of which should be affected by this injury. The steals are more of a concern. As a player that tends to rely on his athleticism and quickness for defense, he is at a major risk of reduced production in steals. Looking closely at Gay and Matthews, who are both more than 12 months past their return from injury, they have experienced a decline in steals. Pre-injury Gay (2017) averaged 1.5 steals, and now averages 0.9 this season. Pre-injury Matthews (2015) averaged 1.3 steals, and this season is averaging 0.8. That may not look like much on paper, but its a 40% and 38.5% decrease respectively. For someone like Wall, whose fantasy value is so strongly inflated by this category, its a serious concern.

Long Term Outlook

Wall’s dynasty value takes a massive hit. He was on a roll from 2014-17, maintaining top 30 fantasy value, higher if you punted turnovers. His elite assists and steals were major strengths and could help you win those categories most weeks. He also increased his scoring, going from 17.5 to 23.1 in that span.

Over the last 2 injury-plagued seasons his production and efficiency dropped, moving him out towards 5th or 6th round value. He was obviously dealing with a variety of ailments, but his play was concerning. The injury, recovery, Wall’s age, playing style, and fantasy strengths have me backing way off of him in fantasy. Not to be overly pessimistic, but I would guess that he never returns to top 25 play. I also wouldn’t be shocked if he never finished another season inside the top 50. This is difficult for me to accept as a Wizards fan, but I think Wall is in a very difficult spot and all of this will have just been a waste of his immense potential.

If you can trade him in your dynasty for a solid top 60 player that fits your needs, I would most likely pull the trigger. On the other hand, if you have a stacked team and an open IR spot, it wouldn’t be the worst gamble to buy super low, stash him for the next year, and see what happens. Overall, my outlook on his value is grim, but hopefully, he defies the odds stacked up against him.