January 4, 2020, 12:48 am
What’s up HoopBallers! Happy New Year to you all and I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas. Welcome to 2020, a new decade complete with a new edition of Stock Watch.
John Collins, PF/C, Atlanta Hawks: Collins has been on a rampage ever since he returned from his 25-game suspension last month but he’s managed to yet again take it up a notch over the last week. He’s averaging 20.0 points, 11.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.0 blocks on 50.7 percent shooting in 31.5 minutes. In that time span he’s the 9th-ranked player in fantasy and the Hawks’ best fantasy asset by a long shot as Trae Young is just inside the top-45 over his past three games.
One of the biggest changes in Collins’ game this season comes in the form of blocked shots, as he never averaged more than 1.1 in his previous two seasons and has skyrocketed to 2.0 this year. There’s something about Collins’ game that just screams “fantasy stud” and he’s showing exactly why right now. He and Young are the only two Hawks taking more than 11.8 shots per game and Collins is also knocking down 1.3 triples over his last four, meaning that he’s literally giving owners some production in every single category. He’s keeping his turnovers down to just 2.0 while having a 25.9 usage rate and seems to just be hitting his stride. If you held him or traded for him during his suspension, you’ve hit the jackpot.
Derrick Favors, PF/C, New Orleans Pelicans: Does anyone remember when Derrick Favors was a big sleeper this offseason because of his new role on a new team and then immediately came out of the gates playing horribly? Well, it wasn’t that long ago so it should be fresh in your minds. However, Favors has recently turned things around and deserves some recognition for doing so.
Over the past two weeks he’s the 60th-ranked player in 9-cat leagues with averages of 10.4 points, 13.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.2 steals on 53.3 percent shooting in 29.9 minutes. The awaited return of Zion Williamson will allow you to possibly buy-low on a guy who could finish the year just outside the top-50. Williamson will be brought along very, very slowly and don’t forget that Favors was going to have a role even before he he got banged up. The anticipation of Williamson’s return will allow owners to steal away a good asset so try and hop on that now.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG/SG, Oklahoma City Thunder: SGA has so much potential and the upside that he flashes on a nightly basis, it’s incredible. In his last seven games, he’s the sixth-ranked player in all of fantasy and it’s looking like he’s starting to put everything together. During that time, he’s putting up 26.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.6 triples on 53.4 percent shooting in a team-high 36.3 minutes. He’s got a 27.2 usage rate in that time span, which is second to only Dennis Schroder and he’s averaging the most points per touch on the team (.400).
SGA has been wildly efficient and although he’s taking the most shots on the team at 19.0, he’s only averaging 1.1 turnovers. That’s because he doesn’t have the ball in his hands as much as you’d think. During the past seven games, he’s third on the Thunder in touches with 67.1 while both Chris Paul and Dennis Schroder sit above 76.1 each. He’s reaping all of the benefits of being the lead ball-handler without actually having to do it, meaning that Paul and Schroder soak up all of the turnovers. They’ve won 14 of their last 19 including the last four straight and SGA isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
Aaron Gordon, SF/PF, Orlando Magic: Aaron Gordon has never quite been able to live up to all the hype that he’s created for himself and this year is no different. Over his past four games he’s the 169th-ranked player in 9-cat leagues with averages of 12.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.8 blocks and 0.8 triples on 33.9 percent shooting in 29.2 minutes. He was supposed to become a better 3-point shooter this offseason and build on the 34.9 percent that he shot last season but instead he’s shooting his lowest percentage from beyond the arc since 2016 at 29.2. He’s taking the third most shots on the team behind Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier and unfortunately he’s a guy who needs a ton of volume to really get going.
Couple all of that with that fact that he’s now dealing with an Achilles injury and this season is beginning to look like a recipe for disaster for Gordon. The only thing working in his favor right now is Jonathan Isaac’s 8-10 week timetable for recovery which should open things up more. However, I think that it may just be time for a change of scenery which we might get this season. Gordon and the Magic have been together since 2014 and have failed to make real noise in the playoffs ever since so both sides might be looking for a way out. This trade deadline is the perfect opportunity to make that happen and it seems more likely than ever before.
OG Anunoby, SF/PF, Toronto Raptors: Anunoby started off the year extremely well, putting up top-25 value for the first couple of weeks. However, he’s sunken to a very bad place and over the past two weeks is just the 199th-ranked player with averages of 10.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.4 blocks on 44.6 percent shooting from the field in 29.8 minutes. His numbers aren’t that bad so you might ask why he isn’t putting up better fantasy value. Well, he just doesn’t have the ball in his hands enough with a usage rate of 17.2, which is the seventh highest on the team over the last eight games.
When it comes to touches, he has only 40.9 per game which is the fourth highest on the team. You’d think that having the fourth highest of something would mean that it’s pretty high, but nope, not in this case. Sure Anunoby only has three guys who touch the ball more than him, but two of them have double the number of touches that he receives. With Kyle Lowry sitting at 86.5 and Fred VanVleet sitting at 82.1, both of those guys touch the ball almost twice as many times as Anunoby does and they’re both inside the top-85 because of it. He’s still worth owning because the upside is most certainly still there but it’s been a bumpy road so far and it might have to get worse before it can get better.