Fantasy Basketball Risers/Fallers: 11/16/15 – 11/22/15
In this weekly column, I will be focusing on the best/worst performances over the past week. I will focus on out of the ordinary trends, or players that have strayed greatly from their average draft position. Great performances by top players or bad performances by bench warmers will generally be ignored.
- Kristaps Porzingis (PF – New York Knicks) – The rookie has captured the imagination of Knicks’ faithful and has even had his named chanted throughout Madison Square Garden in the last week. Porzingis is making a name for himself as a great fantasy player by consistently playing quality minutes, making three-pointers, grabbing double-digit rebounds and blocking shots. Over the last week, Porzingis has improved to 20 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks per game. While his blocks might be a little high, there is no reason why this increase in production isn’t directly related to more playing, more confidence, and a better feel for the NBA game. I don’t see this as a sell-high opportunity. Hold or pick up Porzingis in all leagues.
- Mike Conley (PG – Memphis Grizzlies) – Conley got off to a solid start for the season, but over the last week has taken it up a level. This is probably a result of the rest of the Grizzlies starting to play better and the level of competition decreasing toward the league average. Conley has never been a 20-point scorer, but it is good to see his steals back up to an elite level. His steals have been on a steady decline over the last two seasons which has been directly related to his declining fantasy value. If he can keep these steals up, he will work his way back into high-level point guard status.
- Ryan Anderson (PF/C – New Orleans Pelicans) – Two seasons ago, Anderson ranked 19th on averages for nine-category leagues. The problem was he played 22 games at 36 minutes per game and got injured. Last year, his minutes suffered and so did his fantasy value. Over the last week, Anderson was able to see 37 minutes per game and averaged 28 points, almost four three-pointers, seven rebounds and almost a steal a game. This value was directly related to Anthony Davis and the rest of the team being out due to injury, but it goes to show that Anderson still has the ability to light it up. Anderson was about to score 30 points and grab seven rebounds on the night of Davis’ return. If the Pelicans are going to start giving Anderson starter’s minutes, we should see a large jump in Anderson’s value.
- Marc Gasol (C – Memphis Grizzlies) – Gasol and the Grizzlies got off to a slow start this season, but Marc has been able to steadily improve over the first few weeks. Owners who panicked on Gasol will live to regret it, especially when they should have waited on any top-tier player who is playing with an injury. When healthy, Gasol is consistently a top 25 fantasy player. Over the last two weeks, he is averaging 19 points, seven rebounds, and over five assists. Gasol’s great percentages and assists for a center make him an incredible nine-category fantasy player. His return to form is not surprising.
- Zach LaVine (PG – Minnesota Timberwolves) – LaVine greatly benefited from Ricky Rubio’s absence, but his extended playing time looks to have earned him extra run in Minnesota’s rotation. Without starting and running the offense, he won’t be able to reach the fantasy potential that we have seen him capable of. But he can still provide standard fantasy value if he is able to play solid minutes off the bench.
- Serge Ibaka (PF/C – Oklahoma City Thunder) – Ibaka has not been shooting well to start the season, but with the absence of Kevin Durant, Ibaka has suffered even further. The Russell Westbrook-centric offense hurts Ibaka’s touches, and the lack of Durant allows defenses to focus on guarding Ibaka with better players. His percentages, points and rebounds are down on the season, but he is at least still providing quality blocks. He should bounce back eventually.
- Nerlens Noel (PF/C – Philadelphia 76ers) – Noel has been fighting knee tendinitis throughout the start of the season and it has really hurt his production. His value mainly comes from his ability to produce high-level steals and blocks, but those numbers are down on the season. If he continues to under-produce in these categories, he starts to become a fringe standard league player.
- Marcus Thornton (SG – Houston Rockets) – With the return of Terrence Jones, Thornton has returned to a bench role for the Rockets. His minutes have dropped so low that his value as a standard league player has disappeared. Feel free to cut ties with Thornton.