Oftentimes in fantasy basketball, injuries to key contributors open the door for backups and younger players to see increased playing time. We had a prime example this week when Orlando Magic point guard Markelle Fultz suffered a torn ACL, effectively ending his season. As a result, the Cole Anthony fantasy stock market is set to surge upward. The rookie figures to take the reigns as Orlando’s starting point guard going forward.
Markelle Fultz Injury Ends Season
The NBA road has certainly been far from smooth for former number one overall draft pick Markelle Fultz. After dealing with shooting yips that ultimately led to the Philadelphia 76ers giving up on him despite the hefty draft capital they had invested, Fultz was able to regain his touch in Orlando. Many fantasy basketball analysts believed he was poised for a breakout season in 2020-21.
A season that began with high hopes came to an abrupt halt for Fultz on Wednesday night. The 22-year-old suffered a torn ACL early in Orlando’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. With Fultz now out of commission until next season, the Magic are down a key piece going forward. Through seven games, Fultz was averaging a career-high 14.3 points to go along with 6.1 assists and 3.6 rebounds. He was playing 30.1 minutes per contest. Orlando will turn to rookie Cole Anthony as they look to replace his production going forward.
Cole Anthony Fantasy Outlook
The 15th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, Cole Anthony is set to see a major bump in minutes following Fultz’s injury. North Carolina Tar Heels faithful can attest to the talent the rookie possesses. In his lone collegiate season, he averaged 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.3 steals. While the unfortunate Fultz injury is thrusting him into the spotlight sooner than expected, a rise in Anthony’s fantasy value is more than justified.
As Week 3 of the NBA season comes to a close, Anthony is yet to truly amaze from a statistical standpoint. With that said, a healthy 10 extra minutes of playing time going forward can certainly change that. To date, Anthony has two double-digit scoring games to his pro resume. His per-game averages include 8.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 3.4 assists.
Improved Shooting Vital to Cole Anthony Fantasy Production
Cole Anthony fantasy managers will be looking for the rookie to improve upon his poor shooting to begin the year. A field goal percentage of 30.3% and 3-point shooting mark of 19.0% must get better if Anthony is to capitalize on his increased playing time.
Anthony’s ownership in ESPN leagues is just 23.6%. Fantasy basketball managers who owned Fultz still have ample opportunity to add Anthony as an in-house replacement.