October 25, 2017, 2:17 pm
Week one has come and gone, and with it came the unavoidable overreactions.
Players you drafted in the third round are barely worth starting and players sitting on your waiver wire are putting up top-60 value.
So what do you do?
You wouldn’t drop a third round pick if they hit a slump midseason, so why drop them now? However, there are a few surprising players that have a chance of sustaining their value, or are at least worthy of a roster spot.
So, with week one in the books lets take a look at what performances are worth believing in, and which ones should be left alone.
As a reminder, here are last week’s “Stock Up” guys with a little update on how their stock has changed, with “Stock Up” meaning they’re still on the rise, “Neutral” meaning their stock hasn’t changed and “Stock Down” meaning they’re on the decline:
Last Weeks Risers
Aaron Gordon, PF, Orlando Magic: Stock Up
Josh Richardson, G/F, Miami Heat: Stock Up
Justin Holiday, SG, Chicago Bulls: Neutral
Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, SF’s, Boston Celtics: Stock Up
Kyle Kuzma, PF, Los Angeles Lakers: Neutral
Lauri Markkanen, PF, Chicago Bulls: Stock Up
Norman Powell, SG/SF, Toronto Raptors: Stock Down
Alex Len, C, Phoenix Suns: Neutral (His stock should be up, but the Suns refuse to realize how bad Tyson Chandler is.)
The Phoenix Suns
Everyone knew the Phoenix Suns were bad, but no one knew they were “fire your coach after three games” bad. With coach Earl Watson gone and Eric Bledsoe no longer willing to sit in the hair salon, the Suns are trending up. Marquese Chriss is probably the biggest beneficiary of all of the turmoil, as seen in his performance on Monday night. Chriss went off for 19 points, six rebounds, one assist, three blocks and two 3-pointers on 8-of-13 shooting in 29 minutes. He’s a monster when he’s on the court and if he was somehow dropped after a bad first three games, scoop him up.
Mike James and Tyler Ulis are also worth a speculative add in leagues. However, with Bledsoe being traded soon there’s a good chance the Suns get a point guard back in the trade which might relegate both of them back to bench roles. For the time being though, the Suns seem to like 27-year old journeyman James and he’s putting up top-120 value for now so it cant hurt to add him.
The player who should be gaining for this but isn’t, is Alex Len. For some reason the Suns still believe Tyson Chandler is a viable starting center at 35 years old and they simply refuse to start Len and play him big minutes. He’s clearly the best center on their roster but it seems like it will take either an entirely new coach or an injury to Chandler in order for them to realize his potential. If you have someone on your roster you’re not too thrilled with, stashing Len isn’t a bad idea.
Ben Simmons, F, Philadephia 76ers
Two years ago Ben Simmons was drafted as the number one overall pick to the Philadelphia 76ers and he was drawing comparisons to LeBron James.
Then, he broke his foot, causing him to miss the entirety of his rookie season. People started to wonder if he could return and be that same kid that was “the next LeBron.”
Well, that question has been answered and it’s looking good so far.
Simmons doesn’t seem like he’s missed a beat, posting a monstrous 21-12-10 triple-double in only his fourth NBA game. His pick-and-roll chemistry with Joel Embiid is outstanding and without a clear point guard to handle the ball, Simmons has the ball in his hands every possession. The hype surrounding him was real, as it should’ve been, but he legitimately has early-round upside on a 76ers team that severely needs him to produce in order to win games.
Simmons seems to just be getting better and better each game, and if you didn’t draft him you’re probably not going to be able to pry him off his owner with a lowball offer. He’s averaging 17.0 points, 10.8 rebounds and 7.0 assists on .491 percent shooting in 34.8 minutes. He provides in every category except 3-pointers and is a legitimate triple-double threat every time he steps on the court. According to FantasyPros, he had an ADP of 44.7, and as it stands he’ll definitely live up to that and he has a good chance of outperforming it as well.
Dejounte Murray, PG, San Antonio Spurs
Murray flashed potential last year in the small amount of minutes he played but it seemed like no one would ever overtake Tony Parker. However, Father Time remains undefeated and Parker suffered a ruptured quad tendon in last year’s playoffs, vaulting Murray into the starting spot this year.
Parker is still recovering from his injury and is eyeing a return in December. When he returns he’ll obviously be inserted back into the rotation but Murray should have the starting spot locked up, and even if Parker gets the starting job back Murray is likely to play a good amount of minutes off the bench.
Perhaps the best part about Murray’s stat lines is the amount of minutes he’s putting them up in. He’s averaging 13.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.3 steals on .567 percent shooting in only 26.7 minutes.
No, your eyes didn’t deceive you. Murray is averaging 9.7 rebounds as a point guard.
He’s 6’5, but there are plenty of big guards in the league none of them are racking up boards like Murray, having already posted two double digit rebound games. He’s providing you with elite rebounding at the point guard position, and is putting up top-55 value right now in 9-cat leagues ahead of guards taken in the early and middle rounds such as Dennis Schroder, DeMar DeRozan, Mike Conley and Kemba Walker.
He’s been an absolute steal so far, having an ADP of 203.0 according to FantasyPros and was going un-drafted in most regularly-sized leagues. He’s somehow still available in 40 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 47 percent of ESPN leagues so if he’s still on your wire, change that now. If his owner is worried about Tony Parker returning, I’d fuel the fire and make them even more worried before floating out a lowball offer to see if they’ll bite.
DeMarre Carroll, SF, Brooklyn Nets: One of the biggest surprises of the season so far has been DeMarre Carroll’s return to relevance. After having a great season on Atlanta’s 60-win team in 2015 and posting career highs in points, FG percentage and 3-point percentage, Carroll fell off in his two seasons in Toronto. However, this year under coach Kenny Atkinson he’s been great. Its only been four games but he’s beating those same career highs he posted on the Hawks, averaging 14.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.0 rebounds on .500 percent from the field and .429 percent from behind the arc in only 27.7 minutes. The Nets are lacking talent and he’s their second leading scorer behind D’Angelo Russell right now. He’ll provide rebounds, steals, points, and 3-pointers while having a ton of opportunity. He’s definitely worth an add if he’s sitting on your wire.
Darren Collison, PG, Indiana Pacers: Collison is putting up top-25 value per game in 9-cat leagues, ahead of early round guards such as James Harden, Damian Lillard, John Wall and Kyrie Irving. Now of course that won’t persist and Collison will cool off but for someone that was going undrafted in some leagues, it’s an amazing start. He’s averaging 15.0 points and 7.7 assists on .567 percent from the field and while that percentage isn’t sustainable, it’s certainly possible he puts up a career year. He’s clearly out playing Cory Joseph for the starting point guard position and he’ll have opportunity on a fast paced Pacers team that averages 105.3 possessions per game according to TeamRankings, which is good enough for ninth in the NBA. I’d throw out a sell-high offer to the owners of a couple of guards I mentioned earlier, but I wouldn’t be angry if I ended up keeping Collison on my roster the whole year.
John Collins, PF, Atlanta Hawks: The rookie out of Wake Forest has been great for the Hawks so far, averaging 11.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.0 block on .528 percent shooting in just 19.3 minutes. His per-minute numbers have been amazing and he should be playing his way into more minutes, especially with Ersan Ilyasova injured and Mike Muscala just not being that good. He’s playing under 20 minutes and almost averaging a double-double. He should be owned in all leagues right now.
De’Aaron Fox, PG, Sacramento Kings: Fox is definitely outplaying George Hill for the starting PG position. Thought the rookie won’t flip the depth chart yet, he’s playing 27.3 minutes per game while Hill is playing 28.0. Fox has been better in every important statistical category, averaging 15.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.0 steal on .456 percent shooting from the field and a surprising .400 percent from beyond the arc. Fox has impressed early in his career, and might even be the Kings’ best player. He’ll take control of the starting point guard spot by the end of the year.
Here is last week’s crew of “Stock Down” guys with an update on how their stock has changed in the past week with “Stock Down” meaning they’re still falling, “Neutral” meaning their stock hasn’t changed and “Stock Up” meaning that they’re on the rise:
Last Week’s Fallers:
Julius Randle, PF, Los Angeles Lakers: Neutral
Markelle Fultz, PG, Philadelphia 76ers: Stock Down
T.J. Warren, SF, Phoenix Suns: Neutral
Terrence Ross, SF, Orlando Magic: Stock Down
Dwayne Wade, SG, Cleveland Cavaliers: Neutral (Yes, he was moved to the bench but that may be just what he needs to get going.)
Willy Hernangomez, C, New York Knicks: Stock Down
Tim Hardaway Jr., SG/SF, New York Knicks
Hardaway Jr. has been one of the biggest busts of the season so far, if not the biggest. The hype around him was real and his preseason only added fuel to that fire. So far he’s been averaging 11.0 points, 0.5 assists and 1.5 assists on a putrid .269 percent from the field and .294 percent from beyond the arc in 31.5 minutes.
It’s hard to gauge what’s been wrong with THJ as he’s definitely getting the opportunity, attempting 13.0 shots per game, which is a career-high. He proved in the preseason that he can shoot the lights out, shooting above .500 percent and the Knicks are in need of a scorer so he’ll continue to keep jacking up shots. Hardaway Jr. had an ADP of 81.7 and there is no chance that he loses his starting spot as the Knicks paid him an surprisingly large 4-year, $71 million contract this offseason.
Hardaway is outside the top-350 in 9-cat leagues right now and there’s no chance he stays there. There is far too much potential and opportunity for Hardaway Jr. to continue to slump and his owners are definitely panicking. If you own him, you’re not going to get a trade off where you get someone for equal value so he’s a hold. If he was dropped in your league, pick him up swiftly and if he wasn’t, throw out a couple of buy-low offers and see if you can get him before he explodes, because it’s coming.
Avery Bradley, SG, Detroit Pistons
When Bradley was traded to the Pistons this offseason, his fantasy stock immediately went on the rise. He was great on the Celtics, improving every year but he was being held back by their abundance of talent. So, it only made sense that Bradley would take on a much larger scoring role when he moved to Detroit.
What wasn’t taken into account though, was the resurgence of Reggie Jackson.
Jackson has been on fire to start the season, averaging 16.5 points, 6.8 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals on .400 percent shooting from the field in 29.0 minutes. Jackson has been attempting 15.0 shots per game, and Detroit is only having 100.2 possessions per game according to TeamRankings, which is 20th in the league right now.
With Jackson trying to have a bounce back season, it’s taking away shots and opportunity from Bradley. He’s failed to reach the 20-point mark in all four games this season and is only attempting 12.0 shots per game, which a lower than the last four seasons he spent in Boston. Bradley is averaging 13.3 points, 2.3 assists and 2.5 rebounds on .458 percent from the field in 29.0 minutes while also averaging a career-high 2.5 turnovers.
Bradley has never been a big rebounds (aside from last season) or assists provider, but he knocks down threes and gets you steals, points and great percentages. He had an ADP of 78.7 according to FantasyPros, which is ahead of guys like Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier and Gary Harris. He’s currently outside of the top-180 in per game value and that’s definitely going to come up.
Bradley will be fine and if any of his owners are panicking and wondering why they spent a fifth or sixth round pick on him, shoot over an offer and see if you can pry them away from him, just adjust your expectations. He likely won’t be putting up top-50 value, but he’s a virtual lock for top-100 value that carries top-75 upside.
Gorgui Dieng, PF, Minnesota Timberwolves
We knew Dieng wasn’t starting so he wouldn’t post the same production as last year, but we didn’t know it would be this bad.
Through three games, Dieng is outside the top-300 in 9-cat leagues and is averaging a measly 4.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists and zero blocks on .308 percent shooting from the field in just 13.7 minutes. He’s setting a career-low in all those categories and its outrageous for Dieng to be averaging zero blocks.
New head coach Tom Thibodeau is a big fan of Taj Gibson due to their history from the Bulls days. That means that Dieng has been relegated to a bench role, but he’s not the backup to Taj Gibson. He’s been playing most of his minutes at center, which means he’s Karl-Anthony Towns’ backup, possibly the worst person to back up in the league due to the fact that he hasn’t missed a single game throughout his first three seasons.
As long as Thibodeau continues to play Dieng as a backup to both KAT and not Gibson, it’s hard to see Dieng carving out more minutes for himself.
Thibodeau does like to play his players big minutes and that might not be something the 32-year old Gibson can handle, but unless he can outplay Nemanja Bjelica for minutes at the power forward, the rest of season outlook on Dieng is grim at best.
Now its only been three games, so I wouldn’t recommend dropping Dieng just yet, unless there’s someone amazing on your waiver wire. Wait at least another week before jumping ship and add him in leagues where he’s been dropped. Dieng has never been this bad, and my bet is on the Timberwolves finding a way to get him more involved.
Kyle Lowry, PG, Toronto Raptors: Lowry hasn’t been great this season, averaging only 12.3 points, 5.7 assists and 3.7 rebounds on .433 percent shooting from the field and .333 percent shooting from deep in 31.3 minutes. On top of that, He’s only attempting 10.0 shots per game, which is his lowest since the 2012-2013 season. Lowry was likely drafted in the late second or early third round of your draft and his owners are probably panicking. If you own him, hold him. He’ll be much better than this, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to handcuff him with Delon Wright in case Lowry goes down. If you don’t own him, float out an offer to his owner before Lowry has one of those games that reminds you just why he’s a three time All-Star.
Jamal Murray and Gary Harris, PG/SG, Denver Nuggets: The Blue Arrow and Gary Harris were some of the fantasy darlings of the offseason due to their performances during the second half of last year, the preseason and the thought that the Nuggets should be one of the most high-powered offenses in the league. Well, three games in and neither is looking too good. Murray is averaging 6.0 points, 2.2 assists and 3.0 rebounds on .259 percent shooting from the field and .143 percent shooting from beyond the arc in only 23.0 minutes. His backcourt buddy Harris is averaging 11.0 points, 3.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds on .542 percent shooting from the field and .500 percent shooting from deep in 33.0 minutes. Now of course that’s not particularly bad for Harris if you drafted him in the seventh or eighth round expecting seventh or eighth round production, but most people drafted him expecting him to exceed that and have a true breakout season, which I still think will happen. As for Murray, I’m not as optimistic. He’ll definitely be better than he is now, but I’m starting to think that breakout we’re all waiting for won’t come for another year or two. Send out a buy low offer for Harris, but be wary of Murray until we see some better production.
Brandon Ingram, SF, Los Angeles Lakers: Ingram was deemed “untouchable” by the Lakers last season- Magic Johnson in particular. He was so untouchable that they even refused to involve him in a trade for All-Star DeMarcus Cousins. Both the Lakers and the fantasy world were expecting a breakout season from Ingram, and that very well still could happen. However, as of right now he just doesn’t seem to have it all together. He still looks very frail, his shot is still inconsistent and he still has a problem finishing with contact at the rim. He flashed that breakout potential though when he dropped 25 points on the Phoenix Suns, but they’re the Phoenix Suns. Against the Clippers and Pelicans, Ingram was held to 12 and seven points and barely put up any other stats. The talent is there, but Ingram hasn’t quite managed to string it all together yet. Maybe once him and teammate Lonzo Ball develop more chemistry ,easier shots will come but right now it’s looking like Ingram will be finishing outside the top-120.
May 26, 2019, 4:01 pmBrook Lopez - C - Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks have multiple decisions to make when free agency starts but re-signing Brook Lopez is a priority, according to Malika Andrews.
The Bucks will likely lock up Khris Middleton first and then will have to decide on Malcolm Brogdon. He is a restricted free agent, but keeping him may vault Milwaukee into the luxury tax. After those two, Lopez is a priority over the other pending free agents such as Nikola Mirotic and George Hill. The Bucks won't have Bird Rights on Brook Lopez meaning they'd only have the mid-level exception to offer him, and if they go into the luxury tax, the mid-level exception drops from about $9 million to about $5 million. He'd almost certainly be taking a discount to stay in Milwaukee, but it's still possible he remains a Buck.
Source: Malika Andrews on ESPN
May 26, 2019, 3:53 pmNick Nurse - Team - Toronto Raptors
According to Peter Yannopoulos, Nick Nurse will be the coach of Team Canada this summer at the World Championships in China.
Nurse will be succeeding Hornets assistant coach Jay Triano, and will be in a similar position that Gregg Popovich has with Team USA. Nurse has had a meteoric rise since being the innovator of the Raptors new offense in 2017-18 as an assistant, to being promoted to head coach, to making the NBA Finals and now being named Team Canada's head coach.
Source: Peter Yannopoulos on Twitter
May 26, 2019, 11:48 amOG Anunoby - F - Toronto Raptors
The Raptors are expressing optimism that OG Anunoby will be able to see the floor for their NBA Finals matchup with the Golden State Warriors.
Anunoby's size and defensive versatility could make for a very valuable weapon against the Warriors' small-ball lineups. That being said, he has been out for nearly a month and a half, and the Raptors' eight man rotation has hit its stride in the crux of this playoff run. It remains to be seen if he will make it back, but in the event that he can, there is no guarantee that he will be able to crack meaningful minutes in Toronto's tight rotation.
Source: Ryan Wolstat on Twitter
May 26, 2019, 11:19 amMichael Porter Jr. - F - Denver Nuggets
As a symptom from his back surgeries, Michael Porter Jr. developed drop foot, and will wear to a leg brace to help stabilize it when he makes his professional debut in Summer League according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post.
Drop foot makes it hard for one to lift the front part of their foot and is a common symptom of back related ailments, of which Porter Jr. has had two surgeries to address over the last year and a half. Porter Jr. remains an unknown commodity with a laundry list of health concerns as an NBA player. There has been some recent success with young guys being able to bounce back in big ways after suffering year-long injuries, but Porter Jr. will remain a mystery until we see him on the court for his inaugural season.
Source: The Denver Post
May 26, 2019, 11:04 amJonas Valanciunas - C - Memphis Grizzlies
Jonas Valanciunas said that he wants to see who the Memphis Grizzlies hire as their next head coach before deciding on his $17.6 million player option.
Valanciunas saw his role increase in Memphis after being traded from Toronto, and actually played to compete with the Grizz trying to win enough games to convert their, at the time, low-end lottery pick to Boston. Valanciunas made it clear that he doesn't want to return to Memphis if their plans are to pivot to a rebuild and not compete again next year, saying, "I want to know, how we gonna look in 82 games. I don't want to be a tourist. I want to win.". The Hoop Ball favorite will be hard pressed to find a situation that will give him as much run, and fantasy value, as Memphis did, making this a decision fantasy owners everywhere should monitor.
Source: Dontas Urbonas on Twitter
May 26, 2019, 10:06 amKawhi Leonard - F - Toronto Raptors
Kawhi Leonard held Giannis Antetekounmpo to just .353 shooting from the floor with an offensive rating of 89.4 when guarding him in the Eastern Conference Finals.
This is needed to emphasize just how dominant of a defensive player Leonard really is. For reference, Giannis shot .578 from the floor with an offensive rating of 121 through the regular season. A total swing of nearly 23 percent and 32 less points per 100 possessions is preposterous for any player, especially an MVP caliber offensive juggernaut in Antetokounmpo. Keep these numbers in mind as the debate over Leonard being the league's best player continues to heat up.
Source: Micha Adams on Twitter
May 26, 2019, 1:17 amKawhi Leonard - F - Toronto Raptors
Kawhi Leonard posted a monster line in Saturday's 100-94 Game 6 win, scoring 27 points with 17 rebounds, seven assist, two steals, two blocks and six turnovers.
Leonard put the Raptors on his back and carried them into their first NBA Finals appearance. After losing the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals the Raptors stormed back to take the next four to seal the series. Kawhi has been simply marvelous for this team and found a way to crank it up another notch, averaging almost 30 points per game this series. He was all over the court this game and dominated the Bucks from inside the paint. A 4th quarter dunk over Giannis Antetokounmpo punctuated this dominance and sent the hometown crowd in a frenzy. The Raptors will try to keep their hot streak going as they face the Warriors in the NBA Finals.
May 26, 2019, 1:14 amGiannis Antetokounmpo - F - Milwaukee Bucks
While Giannis Antetokounmpo will be eligible for a five-year supermax contract worth over $247 million, ESPN's Malika Andrews is reporting that the 2020 playoff run could swing whether or not Antetokounmpo stays with the Bucks long-term.
The Bucks have three of their starters and two key bench pieces heading into free agency this summer, so they might have to make some bold choices to keep the necessary parts around while also improving the team on a budget. It's possible that this is the Antetokounmpo camp's way of encouraging Milwaukee to empty the wallet and keep the current group together, but it goes against what Giannis has said publicly about the team and city from day one. The Bucks were eliminated mere hours ago but we're already having this conversation. The NBA news cycle is perpetual.
May 26, 2019, 12:59 amKyle Lowry - G - Toronto Raptors
Kyle Lowry posted a solid line in Saturday's Game 6 win scoring 17 points while adding five rebounds, eight assists, three 3-pointers, one steal and only one turnover.
After a pedestrian series against the 76ers, Lowry stepped it up against the Bucks, averaging almost 20 points per game in the Eastern Conference Finals. He did a great job making smart plays for the Raptors and they will need him to continue to operate at this high level as they head off into the NBA Finals next week.
May 26, 2019, 12:48 amMarc Gasol - C - Toronto Raptors
Marc Gasol scored six points, all from behind the arc, in Saturday's Game 6 win, adding three rebounds, two assists and a block/steal in 26 minutes.
Gasol continues to do what the Raptors ask of him though the years of grinding in the paint for Memphis are long gone. He has adjusted his game play and now acts as a facilitator for the rest of the team. Gasol continues to split time in the post with Serge Ibaka (25 minutes, nine points) and will see his minutes fluctuate based on the Raptor's offensive scheme heading into the NBA Finals.