• What’s up HoopBallers!

    If you read last week’s edition, you know the story of my team’s tragic decline. You know how I went from winning eight straight, to just barely trying to hang onto a playoff spot.

    Well, I have good news for you.

    I told you I’d keep you updated on my team’s season, so here goes nothing.

    When I was writing Stock Watch last week I was in the middle of being blown out by my opponent, which is why I said that “I’m well on my way to a third straight loss”. I even went as far as asking for prayers to be sent out to the fantasy basketball gods because I really didn’t want to deal with another loss.

    Well, clearly the fantasy gods heard our prayers because after not having one lead throughout the entire week, I somehow came back on Sunday and won the week. It was insane. At one point during the week I was literally getting blown out and I was considering just taking the L and moving onto next week, but my pride wouldn’t let me.

    My victory was due in part to our prayers, and in part to the fact that he had a really, really bad lineup on Sunday while I had three of my star players all suiting up. It was amazing, and it made me extremely happy that I didn’t blow up my team.

    Bad fantasy owners jump ship on a player, or their team, at the first sign of trouble. That tactic works sometimes, when the player you’ve lost faith in actually is just a bust. However, more times than not the owners that panic and offer up some of their best players just because they’ve lost for a couple of weeks usually don’t come out on top.

    Never panic trade, never over exaggerate. That’s how you’ll end up heartbroken at the end of the season when the player you traded is helping someone else win a fantasy title, thinking “man, that could’ve been me.”

    Now, this has been an absolutely insane week in the NBA and it’s only Wednesday. We’ve had the Blake Griffin trade, the Nikola Mirotic botched trade, both John Wall and Kevin Love going down for 6-to-8 weeks on the same day and a slew of other injuries.

    However, that’s what we all love about the NBA.

    Every fan of basketball knows that the two most exciting times in the NBA are the days leading up to the trade deadline and the directly following the free agency period. It’s almost if we’re all glued to our phones, refreshing Twitter and waiting to see what the latest “Woj Bomb” will be.

    Well it’s a good thing that the trade deadline is still about a week away, because that means we still have just about a week more of this madness, and who doesn’t love a little bit of that?

    Without further ado, I present to you Week 15’s Stock Watch.

    Here are the “Stock Up” guys from last week with a little update on how their stocks have 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:

    Dejounte Murray, PG, San Antonio Spurs: Neutral

    D’Angelo Russell, PG/SG, Brooklyn Nets: Stock Down

    Hassan Whiteside, C, Miami Heat: Stock Up

    Jabari Parker, SF/PF, Milwaukee Bucks: Neutral

    Kelly Oubre, SF, Washington Wizards: Neutral

    Stock Up

    Reggie Bullock, SG/SF, Detroit Pistons

    If you aren’t either a Pistons fan or die hard fantasy basketball fan, you probably have no idea who Reggie Bullock even is.

    Well, let me introduce you to him. These are his stats over the past week: 17.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 0.7 steals and 4.0 3-pointers on 52.8 percent shooting in 31.3 minutes. Those stats make him good enough to be ranked as the 45th player over the past week and his 4.0 3-pointers per game currently come in at the fourth most over, you guessed it, the past week.

    While Bullock has only been producing great numbers for the past three games, theres no reason to believe that he won’t be able to keep it up. He’s averaging 31.3 minutes over those three games, which is third on the team behind only Andre Drummond (35.7) and Ish Smith (31.9).

    Over that three-game span he’s also shooting the third highest field goal percentage on the team (.528) while attempting the fourth most shots (12.0). Stanley Johnson is one of the players taking more shots than Bullock, along with Drummond and Ish Smith, but Johnson is also shooting an atrocious 37.3 percent over that same three-game span and is the 181st ranked player. If everything works out how it should, Bullock should overtake Johnson in shot attempts in no time.

    Yes, he has yet to play with Blake Griffin, who will add a whole new dynamic to the team. However, Griffin is a much better facilitator than he is given credit for. When he’s on the floor he usually makes it easier for the rest of his teammates, finding them for open looks and serving as a 6’10” floor general.

    I’m not at all saying that Bullock will stay a top-50 player throughout the rest of the season, but he looks good right now and that’s what it’s all about. No one can truly predict what is going to happen throughout the rest of the season so we must go on what we see happening in front of us at the moment, and at this moment it looks like Reggie Bullock will be a much better fantasy asset with Avery Bradley out of the way.

    He’s only owned in 21 percent of leagues so there’s a pretty decent chance he’s out there on your waiver wire. Make a speculative add of him and see how well he produces over the next couple weeks. If he’s a dud then drop him and move on, but if he turns out to be a top-100 player throughout the rest of the season then you’ll be happy you grabbed him.

    Tomas Satoransky, PG/SG, Washinton Wizards

    With John Wall set to miss the next 6-8 weeks, Tomas Satoransky and Tim Frazier will be running the point for Washington.

    Choosing one over the other is difficult as they both don’t have huge upside, which was shown to us over the nine game period Wall missed between November and December. Over that nine game stretch, Satoransky ranked as the 136th player in 23.1 minutes per game while Frazier ranked as the 193rd player in 20.9 minutes per game.

    Satoransky was averaging 8.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 0.3 steals and 0.8 3-pointers while attempting 5.7 shots per game on .529 percent shooting during Wall’s absence. Meanwhile, Frazier was averaging 5.4 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.6 3-pointers while attempting 4.4 shots per game on .500 percent shooting.

    According to NBAWowy!, Satoransky has played a total of 1119 possessions with John Wall off the court compared to Tim Frazier’s 1041. Now let’s take a closer look at the stats of both Frazier and Satoransky with Wall off the court:

    Tomas Satoransky: 180 points, 135 FGA’s, 51.9 percent from the field, 14.3 Usage Rate, 100 assists and 23 turnovers in 276 plays.

    Tim Frazier: 129 points, 117 FGA’s, 43.6 percent from the field, 14.1 Usage Rate, 122 assists and 38 turnovers in 285 plays.

    The only thing that Frazier trumps Satoransky in is assists and it’s only by 22 while also totaling 15 more turnovers than him. Now like I said earlier, neither one has huge upside, but if you need some help at the point guard position, Satoransky will give you better value than Frazier. He’s the better player and it seems as though the Wizards just trust him more, as shown by them giving him the start on Tuesday.

    Dwight Howard, PF/C, Charlotte Hornets

    Howard is beginning to look like the Superman of old and has been putting up monster games for almost the entire month of January.

    Over the past two weeks he’s the ninth ranked player in fantasy and is putting up averages of 18.3 points, 14.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.0 steals and 3.7 blocks on 55.4 percent shooting from the field and 69.2 shooting from the free throw line in 34.8 minutes. He’s really been Charlotte’s best player, although he’s attempting the second most shots on the team at 11.9 behind Kemba Walker’s 20.0.

    The 14.9 rebounds are good enough to be the second most in the entire NBA over the past two weeks behind only Andre Drummond (17.3) while the 3.7 blocks are the most in the NBA over the same span.

    The only problem with Dwight has continued to be his free throw percentage, but you knew what you were getting yourself into when you drafted him. Actually, the 55.0 percent from the free throw line he’s shooting is his best percentage since the 2010-11 season when he shot 59.6 percent from the charity stripe.

    Over the past two weeks Howard has also slightly toned down his turnovers, averaging 2.1 compared to the 3.0 he currently averaged over the entire season. Bottom line, D12 has been a complete monster and it seems like he registers a double-double every single game. In fact, he’s currently on an eight-game streak of getting 15 or more rebounds, which is the longest streak of his career.

    He’s yet to miss a single game the entire season and the Hornets, currently sitting at 11th in the East at 20-29, could either be looking to trade him at the deadline since his value is so high, or rest him more in the second half of the season since he’s playing so well. I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to hold on to Howard simply because of his dominant play at 32 years old, but I’d suggest trying to sell-high and seeing what you can get for him on the market.

    Honorable Mentions

    Ed Davis, PF/C, Portland Trail Blazers: Davis has been amazing lately and he’s been posting top-50 value over the past two weeks. Over those two weeks Davis is averaging 10.5 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.3 blocks on 70.6 percent shooting in 22.2 minutes per game. He’s even managed to outplay Jusuf Nurkic a couple of times and over the past two weeks his minutes have definitely gone down, and it’s hard to think that Davis isn’t the reason. Nurkic is averaging 24.7 minutes over the past two weeks compared to Davis’ 22.2 and the gap might just continue to grow smaller. He’s shooting an amazing percentage, getting you double digit boards and has the ability to average 10-plus points per game. There’s no reason he should be on your wire right now.

    Darren Collison, PG/SG, Indiana Pacers: Over the past two weeks Collison is the 18th ranked player in fantasy, which is good enough to be ahead of teammates Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner. He’s averaging 14.3 points, 2.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.8 3-pointers on 47.1 percent shooting in 31.1 minutes. The 2.5 steals per game are the second most among all players over the past two weeks and it’s primarily what is boosting his value. Collison is a very serviceable point guard that doesn’t commit many turnovers at all, averaging just 1.3 per game. This is a good sell-high moment, but most people don’t value him very high so it’ll be hard to get anything done. If you own him just hold on and enjoy the ride.

    Here are the “Stock Down” guys from last week 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:

    Aaron Gordon, SF/PF, Orlando Magic: Neutral

    Jayson Tatum, SF/PF, Boston Celtics: Neutral

    Zach Randolph, PF/C, Sacramento Kings: Stock Up (Yes his stock is up but don’t be fooled by his sudden good performances, sell-high now)

    Stock Down

    DeMar DeRozan, SG/SF, Toronto Raptors

    DeRozan has been pretty bad lately, ranking as the 156th ranked player over the past two weeks and it basically all boils down to one thing: Shooting woes.

    Over the entire season he’s the 37th ranked player and he’s shooting 46.8 percent from the field. However, over this two week slump he’s been in he’s only shooting 39.2 percent, which is the fourth worst on the entire team and leading to a decrease in his scoring.

    While his shooting slump is the primary reason for his decreased value, the increased number of turnovers doesn’t help much either. On the season he’s averaging 2.3 turnovers per game compared to the 2.9 he’s averaging over the past two weeks. While the 0.6 increase in turnovers isn’t much, combine that with the sudden drop in efficiency and it’s clear to see why DeRozan has fallen so far down the rankings.

    If you were to punt field goal percentage and turnovers, he’d be the 62nd ranked player. Although it’s not quite where he used to be, it’s far better than 156th. Other than the turnovers and field goal percentage, DeRozan has pretty much been the same player – take a look for yourself:

    DeRozan’s season averages: 34.5 MPG, 24.4 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 5.2 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 1.1 3PG, 46.8 percent from the field and 18.3 shots per game.

    DeRozan’s averages over the past two weeks: 34.0 MPG, 19.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 6.1 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 0.7 3PG, 39.2 percent from the field and 17.1 shots per game.

    DeRozan will be fine once he breaks out of this slump, so if you own him hold tight. If you don’t own him, float out a couple buy-low offers to some possibly frustrated owners.

    Jaylen Brown, SG/SF, Boston Celtics

    Draymond Green’s recommendation for John Wall’s replacement in the All Star game hasn’t been playing like much of an All-Star as of late.

    Brown is the 188th ranked player over the past two weeks with averages of 12.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.2 blocks and 1.3 3-pointers on 41.5 percnt shooting in 32.2 minutes per game. Now of course much of Brown’s value to the Celtics can’t be seen on a stat sheet as he’s one of their best defenders, currently boasting a 99.3 defensive rating and a 0.057 defensive win share rating which is the second best in the NBA.

    Brown’s potential is there but as of late he just hasn’t been very valuable to fantasy owners. Aside from the good field goal percentage, he doesn’t do anything particularly great. The scoring is decent, the rebounding is serviceable and he doesn’t average enough assists to really help your team.

    Brown will occasionally have breakout games where he scores 20-plus points, but they don’t happen consistently enough for him to be a top-75 player. He’s definitely worth owning but don’t let Green’s recent comments boost your expectations too high.

    Honorable Mentions

    Darius Miller, SG/SF, New Orleans Pelicans: When DeMarcus Cousins went down Miller was thought to be one of the biggest beneficiaries and so far that doesn’t look to be true at all. In the two games since Boogie has been injured Miller is the 219th ranked player with averages of 6.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.5 blocks and 1.5 3-pointers on 33.3 percent shooting in 28.0 minutes. He’s also only attempting 6.0 shots per game over those two games which is behind Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, E’Twaun Moore, Ian Clark and Rajon Rondo. He’ll have more opportunity with Cousins out, but so will every Pelican. Miller can be left on the wire in most leagues until he proves that he can produce good numbers without Boogie.

    Montrezl Harrell, PF/C, Los Angeles Clippers: Harrell was looking like one of the greatest stashes of this fantasy season as it looked almost certain that DeAndre Jordan was getting traded. Now, with Blake Griffin gone and DeAndre healthy it looks as though the Clippers might just hang on to Jordan. The return of Danilo Gallinari and the addition of Tobias Harris, it’s looking less and less likely that Harrell will take over the starting job in LA this season. He’s still worth holding onto because he can put up decent value in limited minutes, but temper your expectations.

Fantasy News

  • Lauri Markkanen
    PF, Chicago Bulls

    Lauri Markkanen is currently shooting 27% from three and 39% from the field.

    What's more, the shots Lauri's missing are his bread and butter: wide open, spot-up opportunities from distance. His most frequent shot types from long range have been stationary threes, on which he's shooting 28%, but the real indicator that positive regression is coming is that he's shooting only 26.5% from three when wide open (nearest defender 6+ feet away). Markkanen, of course, was 38% and 43% on spot-up and wide open threes last year, respectively. There is a major ball movement concern in Chicago as they continue to play their PGs out of position and task Zach "TO Machine" LaVine with primary ballhandling duties, but this screams buy low opportunity. Test the waters to see how frustrated other managers may be with Markkanen. A stretch like the one he had last February could vault him into the top 50 in no time.

    Source: NBC Sports Chicago

  • Luke Kennard
    SG, Detroit Pistons

    Coach Dwane Casey has entrusted Luke Kennard with playmaking duties following the injuries to Derrick Rose (hamstring) and Tim Frazier (hamstring), and it has resulted in a career-high 4.2 assists per game for the third-year SG.

    Kennard’s breakout season is in full swing, as the main obstacle for him had always been Dwane Casey’s reluctance to play him big minutes. Expect Kennard’s stats to stabilize once Blake Griffin’s minutes cap is lifted, but Kennard has cemented himself as a go-to offensive option in the first unit, particularly in the pick-and-roll which amounts to more than 30% of his play types to date. As long as Casey doesn’t inexplicably insert usage monster Derrick Rose into the starting lineup to mess with Kennard’s rhythm, the third-year SG should be able to return top 80 value for the rest of the season. Also, the source article reveals that this lefty shooter is actually right-handed. Go figure.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Kevin Love
    PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

    The Heat-Cavs game in Cleveland on Thursday will start at 6pm EST, an hour earlier than usual.

    The Browns are playing the Steelers in the neighboring stadium, so it appears that the Cavs are just taking careful measures so that each Cleveland franchise loses in an orderly fashion. Start your Heat and Cavs players as you normally would, but just remember the unusually early tipoff tonight, particularly for DFS.

    Source: Ira Winderman on Twitter

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    LeBron James put together a double-double in Wednesday's 120-94 win against the Warriors, ending with 23 points, six rebounds, 12 assists, a steal and a block.

    James is now averaging 11.1 assists per game and is still getting his when it comes to scoring. He is just inside the top-25 right now and will keep filling the stat sheet all season.

  • Kyle Kuzma
    PF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Kyle Kuzma started and finished Wednesday night's contest with 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting, five rebounds, two assists, and three 3-pointers.

    Kuzma has put together a nice streak of games. He adds scoring and 3-pointers, but can't find a way to help teams in other categories. Kuzma will likely end up having late-round value at this pace.

  • JaVale McGee
    C, Los Angeles Lakers

    JaVale McGee put up a double-double on Wednesday, finishing with 18 points, 17 boards, two assists, three steals and three blocks.

    McGee was the better center in this contest and played 28 minutes to Dwight Howard's (15 points, eight rebounds, three assists, one block) 20 minutes. McGee put up one of his best performances of the season, but it's hard to get too excited by one night of work. Howard seems to be the center to own for the Lakers.

  • D'Angelo Russell
    PG, Golden State Warriors

    D'Angelo Russell ended the night with 21 points, two rebounds, eight assists, a steal and a block.

    Russell is clearly the go-to option on this Golden State team. He is a top-40 guy right now and has the potential to keep that up for the rest of the year.

  • Draymond Green
    PF, Golden State Warriors

    Draymond Green didn't contribute much on Wednesday, ending with 10 points, only one rebound, five assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers.

    Green contributed in each category, barely. It was nice to see him knock down a couple shots from beyond the arc, but these are hardly the numbers owners were expecting when taking Green in the early rounds. He is currently returning top-125 value and could be a great buy-low opportunity, but it's hard to trust much on the Warriors right now.

  • Willie Cauley-Stein
    C, Golden State Warriors

    Willie Cauley-Stein scored 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting and added five rebounds, three assists and two blocks on Wednesday.

    Cauley-Stein had the best game of the Golden State big men (Marquese Chriss ended scoreless with six boards, two assists and two blocks) and is having a top-100 year so far. He might be doing it quietly, but it's hard to fault you if want to pick up Cauley-Stein now.

  • Eric Paschall
    PF, Golden State Warriors

    Eric Paschall came off the bench on Wednesday and dropped 15 points with three rebounds.

    Paschall still logged 32 minutes but didn't stuff the stat sheet like we have seen in the past. He put a nice move on LeBron, but he is starting to regress despite taking 15 shots in this one. If you picked him up, he is worth holding onto for a bit longer.