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.