Fantasy stock up
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
Green’s scoring is down to 4.8 points per game, and he’s shooting just 18.9% from three, but he’s been a top-20 fantasy player over the last week (three games) nevertheless. The Warriors have lost all of their centers to injuries, and the team has gone to extreme small-ball with Green starting at the five as a result (Golden State scored 147 points during a recent win over the Mavs without having anyone taller than 6-foot-7 available). Green has handed out a whopping 15 assists in two straight games, including one of the crazier stat lines you’ll ever see, when he became the first player in more than 30 years to record 15+ assists, 5+ rebounds and 5+ steals without making a field goal. Green’s shooting is unlikely to improve a ton, but he claims he’s still a couple of weeks away from being in full shape, and his vision remains elite. Stephen Curry shoots better when Green is in the lineup, and Golden State is running the second-fastest Pace in the NBA this season. After a sluggish start (and despite very little scoring), Green’s fantasy value is on the rise.
Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors
The Raptors have disappointed so far this season, but it’s no fault of VanVleet, who’s been the No. 3 fantasy player over the last two weeks (seven games). FVV is coming off a couple of poor shooting games but recently scored a franchise-record 54 points, which was the most by an undrafted free agent in NBA history. VanVleet ranks top-five in the league in steals per game (1.8) and is top-10 among guards in blocks per game (0.7), so he should be treated as a borderline first-round fantasy player moving forward.
Patrick Williams, Chicago Bulls
The rookie has averaged 16.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.0 steal and 0.7 blocks while shooting 55.6% from the floor over the last three games and is set to see a boost in Usage Rate with Lauri Markkanen out the next 2-4 weeks with a shoulder sprain, joining Wendell Carter Jr. and Otto Porter on Chicago’s sidelines. The Bulls run the league’s third-highest Pace, and Williams is only going to get better with more experience. Williams is rostered in just 32% of Yahoo leagues, but that number figures to skyrocket soon. Teammate Thaddeus Young is also a fantasy riser, given Chicago’s injury situation and his newfound passing ability (6.5 assists per game over the last six contests, a span in which he’s been a top-35 fantasy player).
Josh Jackson, Detroit Pistons
Jackson has averaged 20.3 points with 3.3 threes, 1.0 steal and 1.0 block over the last three games while seeing 30+ minutes. The former No. 4 pick has mostly come off the bench this year but surprisingly ranks top-50 in the league in Usage Rate, and that’s about to go up even further after Derrick Rose was traded to the Knicks. Delon Wright also gets a fantasy boost with the trade, but it’s Jackson who’s available in 70% of Yahoo leagues. He’s a better option in points formats, but Jackson is also third among guards with 1.0 blocks per game this season, and his minutes are about to increase.
Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers
Williams was dropped in many leagues while in the middle of a poor season at age 34, but he’s looked much better recently and is worth adding now. Paul George remains out with bone edema in his foot, an injury that doesn’t have a timeline for his return, and Williams will be leaned on far more heavily in the meantime.
Fantasy stock down
Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets
MPJ continues to struggle, even after moving into the starting lineup recently with Jamal Murray missing a game. Porter Jr. will almost certainly be better moving forward, but he’s a problem on defense right now, and his minutes should remain up and down. Fantasy stardom may be in his future, but Porter Jr. has failed to live up to lofty expectations, as many expected a bigger third-year breakout.
Immanuel Quickley and Alec Burks, New York Knicks
Quickley and Burks both take fantasy hits with Derrick Rose’s arrival in a trade with the Pistons, with the rookie point guard likely now droppable in most formats. Burks could still be helpful in deeper leagues with his threes, but newcomer Rose figures to play a prominent role in New York’s backcourt after reuniting once again with coach Tom Thibodeau (on an offense with the NBA’s slowest Pace).