• Sheesh, this was a rough week for fantasy basketball with so many fantasy relevant players going down with injuries.

    We lost Hassan Whiteside, Nikola Jokic, Tim Hardaway Jr., Dewayne Dedmon, John Collins, Blake Griffin, Anthony Davis, Stephen Curry and Devin Booker just to name a few. That’s the gamble we take as fantasy owners, you could have a stacked team on paper and in just one night you could lose two or three of your top players.

    It’s a cruel and unforgiving game, but we love it, so maybe there’s actually something wrong with us. Either way, that’s one of the great parts about fantasy basketball, not the injuries of course, but all of the things that can be done to combat them. Make a couple trades, scour the waiver wire a little and all of a sudden you’ve put a band-aid over all of the cuts injuries have caused your fantasy team.

    Plus, who doesn’t like bragging to their leagmuemates about how they’re still dominating the league even with their second and third round pick injured? Exactly, we’ve all done it before.

    Enough with the small talk though, sit back, relax and enjoy this week’s edition of Stock Watch.

    Oh, and while you’re at it sign up for the Hoop Ball Premium Membership, you know you want to. We’ve got a great deal going with Draft Kings that you won’t want to miss out on, check out the details here.

    Ok, now we’re ready.

    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:

    Donovan Mitchell, PG/SG, Utah Jazz: Stock Up

    Tobias Harris, SF/PF, Detroit Pistons: Neutral

    JaMychal Green, PF/C, Memphis Grizzlies: Neutral

    Derrick Favors, PF/C, Utah Jazz: Stock Down

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG/SF, Los Angeles Lakers: Neutral

    Tyus Jones, PG, Minnesotta Timberwolves: Stock Down

    Stock Up

    Devin Booker, SG, Phoenix Suns

    D-Book went down in Tuesday’s game and the Suns are reporting that it’s a strained left adductor muscle in his groin. It’s just an initial diagnosis and more tests will be done when they return to Phoenix but that’s the same injury Anthony Davis is said to have and he’s currently day-to-day.

    Hopefully he doesn’t miss much time because he’s been on a rampage lately. Over the past two weeks he’s a top-20 player, and he’s upped that to top-12 over the past week. The Suns are a mess and the only thing certain in Phoenix seems to be Devin Booker. They go as far as Booker takes them and when he’s off of the court Phoenix is nearly unwatchable.

    He currently has a usage rate of 29.1, which is top-20 in the league and higher than players such as Kevin Durant, Paul George and C.J. McCollum. Booker continues to get better and better every year, in his third year he’s averaging career highs in points (24.3), rebounds (4.5) and assists (4.1). The complaint with Booker used to be that he didn’t get you much more other than points while also hurting you in turnovers, but he’s corrected that this season. He’s still averaging 3.2 turnovers but now he’s at least serviceable in the boards and assists categories.

    Not only has he boosted his counting stats, but his percentages have improved as well. He’s shooting .453 percent from the field and .383 percent from behind the arc while knocking down 2.5 threes a game, all three of which are career highs.

    He’s on a Suns team where he has the neon green light to do whatever he pleases, plays big minutes, helps you out in almost every category and has the ability to get hot and go off for forty plus points any game of the season. What’s not to like?

    Kevin Love, PF/C, Cleveland Cavaliers

    Love has been going off as of late and is having his best season since he became a Cavalier four years ago. He’s currently the 20th ranked player on the season and he’s just been getting better and better as the season continues to progress.

    K-Love is averaging 19.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 0.7 steals in 29.3 minutes. Oddly enough, the 29.3 minutes he is playing is the lowest since the 2009-2010 season as he’s played at least 31.4 minutes since then. To go along with the nice numbers Love is putting up, he’s also shooting the best percentages of his Cleveland career.

    He’s shooting .472 percent from the field, which is a career high, and .383 percent from beyond the arc while also hitting 1.9 3-pointers per game. He’s been great over the entire season, but even better over the past five games, averaging 24 points, 10.4 boards and 3.2 threes on .522 shooting. He’s the second fiddle to LeBron James, which is actually a good thing due to the sheer attention he draws. As long as LeBron is healthy, Love will continue to be overlooked by opposing teams and he’ll continue to make them pay.

    The Cavs have been rolling, currently on a 12-game win streak and Kevin Love has been a huge part in that. His value might take a hit once Isaiah Thomas returns from injury, which is currently set for mid-December and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to try and sell-high on Love right now. However, I completely understand if you believe in him and want to keep rolling him out in your lineup, as he’s given you no reason to believe otherwise.

    Alec Burks, PG/SG, Utah Jazz

    Burks is widely regarded as the biggest waiver wire pickup of the last couple of weeks and is by far one of the biggest beneficiaries of Rodney Hood‘s absence.

    He’s a top-15 player over the past two weeks and should sustain some value even when Hood returns in a couple of games as he’s currently day-to-day and dealing with left ankle soreness. Burks is averaging 18.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.7 steals over the past two weeks and perhaps the most impressive part is the amount of minutes he’s playing.

    Burks is only playing 25.5 minutes per game and he’s been scorching hot, shooting .543 percent from the field and knocking down 1.9 threes per game. Not only is he lighting it up from deep, but he’s also getting to the line, attempting 5.0 free throws per game over the last week and hitting them at a .900 percent clip.

    His value relies a lot on his ability to score the basketball, and with Rudy Gobert and Rodney Hood returning, those opportunities will become more limited. However, Burks will likely command the ball more now that he’s come on.

    There’s no shot that he stays within the top-20, or even top-75, but a top-120 finish may be in his cards. He’ll likely be worth owning even once the Jazz get healthy but that’s yet to be seen and his owners should definitely be trying to sell-high now before the chance to is gone.

    Honorable Mentions

    Dwyane Wade, PG/SG, Cleveland Cavaliers: Wade has managed to turn back the clock over the past two weeks, as he’s averaging 17 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks in 25.5 minutes per game. He’s found his groove coming off of the bench and has stated that he wants to stay in the reserve unit even when Isaiah Thomas returns. The Cavs haven’t lost in 12 games and everything is going their way right now so it’ll be interesting to see how things turn out when they rack up a couple of losses. He’s the 69th ranked player over the last two weeks and he’s definitely worth owning and starting in leagues as long as he’s rolling like this. However, rest could be in the cards for Wade and I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to deal that headache off to someone else.

    Brandon Ingram, SG/SF, Los Angeles Lakers: It seems as though Ingram has finally come on and is beginning to look like the player the Lakers spent the number two overall pick on two years ago. Over the past week he’s the 63rd ranked player and is averaging 23.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.7 steals and 0.7 blocks on .490 percent shooting from the field in a ridiculous 36.3 minutes. He’s almost unstoppable when he’s driving to the basket as he uses his length to his advantage even though he’s not the strongest player. He probably won’t average 23 points this season but he’s worth believing in as the Lakers are struggling right now and really relying on him to shoulder the load. Coach Luke Walton‘s rotations have been questionable lately but one thing is for certain, he loves getting Brandon Ingram out there big minutes. Anyone playing that many minutes on a team oozing with opportunity such as the Lakers should be owned and started in all leagues, at least until he cools down.

    Rajon Rondo, PG, New Orleans Pelicans: Rondo has been getting eased into playing 30 minutes per game and it seems like he’s finally there now. He’s putting up top-55 value over the past week and has really come on after posting a couple of duds when he first came back. He’s averaging 9.5 points, 9.8 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals in 27.9 minutes over the last four games. He’s even shooting .533 percent from the field and while that’s not likely to stick, he’ll definitely be encouraged to shoot less as he’s surrounded by Jrue Holiday, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. Rondo will hover around 30 minutes per game as long as he stays healthy and will provide you with elite value in the assists category.

    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:

    Evan Fournier, SG/SF, Orlando Magic: Stock Up

    Avery Bradley, SG, Detroit Pistons: Stock Down

    Zach Randolph, PF/C, Sacramento Kings: Stock Up

    Jonas Valanciunas, C, Toronto Raptors: Neutral

    Stock Down

    C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Portland Trailblazers

    Whats been going on with C.J. McCollum? He can’t seem to find his shot.

    Over the past week he’s been shooting .362 percent from the field and he hasn’t scored more than 17 points in his last four games. Since he’s shooting so poorly, his scoring has taken a significant hit and therefore so has his value. Over the past week he’s outside of the top-200 and while that’s surely not going to stick, it’s alarming for a player who’s been so good over the past two years.

    He’s the 41st ranked player on the entire season and he’s averaging 20.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.0 steals on .444 percent from the field in 36.4 minutes. He’s also knocking down 2.6 threes per game and is serving as the second option to a Damian Lillard who seems as though he’s on a mission this season.

    He’s shooting the worst he has since he broke out two years ago and unless he’s gotten worse over that time, it’s almost surely going to change. He’s in a slump right now, but is still averaging a career high in rebounds and his lowest turnover numbers since he’s become fantasy relevant. Not only that, but he’s shooting a career high .455 percent from behind the arc and he should start to come back around soon.

    This is a prime buy-low window and I recommend that you float out some offers now while the Blazers have a light week of games, McCollum owners might be worrying about his slump as well as his two-game week so this is the perfect time. Acquire him before he breaks out of this slump and explodes for a thirty point game, because we all know it’s coming.

    Carmelo Anthony, SF/PF, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Hoodie Melo was the talk of the offseason this year and he started off the season pretty well, but as of late he’s fallen off.

    With Russell Westbrook being a ball magnet and Paul George playing some of the best basketball of his career there just isn’t enough shots to go around in order for Melo to put up the type of value that would really make his owners happy.

    He’s got a usage rate of 25.3, which is good enough for third on the team, yup you guessed it, behind Russell Westbrook and Paul George. He’s averaging the least amount of points he’s ever had in his 17 year career at 18.5 and he doesn’t provide much outside of offensive stats, averaging just 6.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists.

    Melo is attempting a career-low 16.1 shots per game while shooting a career-low .415 percent from the field. He’s struggling with his efficiency this season as has clearly had the hardest time adjusting to playing with other superstars.

    He’s outside of the top-120 in the past week and he doesn’t seem to be getting any better as he hasn’t scored more than 16 points since November 24th against Dallas where even then he only scored 20 points.

    Melo is worth owning simply for his upside, he’s Carmelo Anthony after all. He’s proven throughout his career that when he’s hot, there’s not a player in the league that can guard him and maybe that Melo is still in there somewhere. If you own him you’ve just got to hope that he turns it around as the season goes along because there’s probably no one willing to acquire him from you and there’s no way he’s droppable.

    Jaylen Brown, SG/SF, Boston Celtics

    After starting off the season on a tear, Jaylen Brown has slowed down significantly over the past month.

    He’s been dealing with the passing of his best friend so it’s to be expected and my bet is on him turning it around as the season goes on. Right now he’s probably trying to cope with the death of a loved one and play professional basketball at the same time and that’s got to be extremely hard.

    Over the past two week Brown is outside the top-200 and he’s averaging 9.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steal on .391 percent from the field in 25.6 minutes per game. His field goal percentage, points and rebounds are way down from his season averages and they’ll likely get back around there soon.

    On the season he’s averaging 14.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.2 steals on .459 percent from the field and not only are his counting stats down, but so are his minutes. On the season he’s averaging 31.4 minutes, which is much higher than the 25.6 he’s been getting over the past week. Its possible that coach Brad Stevens is giving him less run because he knows he’s still dealing with his personal issues, so too much shouldn’t be looked into that.

    He’s just the 155th ranked player over the season so it’s understandable if you want to drop him and move on, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless there was a smoking hot free agent on your wire with long term value, because Jaylen could start to get it going again soon.

    Honorable Mentions

    Ricky Rubio, PG, Utah Jazz: Rubio has been bad this season after drawing a lot of offseason hype and starting out pretty well. He’s currently the 122nd ranked player over the entire season and it gets even worse over the past two weeks, dropping down to 204. He managed to score zero points on 0-of-7 shooting in his last game and that’s been the problem lately, as he’s shooting just .321 percent over the past week and hasn’t been able to get his shot to fall. Not only has the shot been a problem, but he also hasn’t been dishing out assists like his owners hoped he would. He’s averaging a career-low 5.0 assists per game, his lowest assists average before that was 7.3 in the 2012-2013 season. He’s been off of his game and he’ll definitely be better as we continue to advance in the season so his buy-low window is wide open.

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