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Fantasy Basketball Dynasty Risers - Week 5

Welcome back fantasy basketballers! We’re four weeks into the season now. Hopefully, your teams are sticking in the race. Or if you’re using this year to plummet in the standings for a top pick next year, then hopefully they aren’t!

In this weekly column, I will be highlighting four players whose dynasty stock has risen over the past week. It will include both young players breaking out and veterans who are fighting off father time and keeping their fantasy relevance alive.

While dynasty formats are the primary focus of this piece, the rise of each of the four players covered each week should also be noted by fantasy gamers in season-long leagues. So whether or not your league rolls over from year to year, this piece should still have plenty to offer on a weekly basis.

Upgrade To VIP: Win more with our NBA and DFS Premium Pass, get expert tools and advice from proven winners! Will Priester (@ChiefJustice06) from RotoGrinders joins the RotoBaller team in 2023-24 with his exclusive DFS picks, Prop picks and more. Gain VIP access to our Lineup Optimizer, Research Station, DFS Cheat Sheets and VIP Chat Rooms. Go Premium, Win More!

 

Talen Horton-Tucker (SG/SF, LAL)

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel gave third-year wing Talen Horton-Tucker quite the vote of confidence this past weekend. THT missed the start of the year while recovering from offseason surgery to repair torn ligaments in his thumb. In his first game back, he was included in the starting five and he went on to log 27 minutes. The game after that, on Monday, he remained in the starting lineup and logged a team-high 37 minutes.

While the ample playing time gives plenty of reason to be excited about THT, what the 20-year-old did with the opportunity is what should really have fantasy managers excited.

Over the two-game stretch, Horton-Tucker averaged 22.5 points, 2.5 three-pointers and 5.0 rebounds per game while shooting 48.5% from the field and knocking down all eight of his free throw attempts. In Monday’s game against the Chicago Bulls, he dropped a career-high 28 points while scoring the rock in a variety of ways.

THT is a versatile scorer who can make himself useful both on the ball and off the ball as well as both on the perimeter and in the paint.

The biggest question surrounding him for now might be his fit amongst the current Lakers roster. The team has all kinds of offensive firepower through their big three of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook (James is currently sidelined – which opened up the increased minutes for THT – but it sounds as if he could be back soon). THT’s main competition for playing time will be Carmelo Anthony, Malik Monk and Wayne Ellington. All four players are very offensive-minded, but THT might be the most versatile offensively at this point, giving him a potential edge at least over Monk and Ellington. We may see his minutes go down a good amount once LBJ returns, but Vogel made it clear this past weekend that the former Iowa State Cyclone will be a key component of the rotation going forward.

 

Chimezie Metu (PF, SAC)

Sacramento Kings big man Chimezie Metu has made two consecutive starts for the team and he certainly hasn’t disappointed. He’s shown a great deal of range on both ends of the court and could be another strong game or two away from being a must-add in all fantasy formats.

Metu’s first start came this past Friday against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He logged 24 minutes in the game and scored 14 points while knocking down three three-pointers and adding five rebounds and a block.

He followed the game up with a stat-stuffing performance against the Detroit Pistons on Monday. In the game, he shot 6-for-11 from the field while racking up 16 points, 10 rebounds, two three-pointers, two steals and one block.

The 24-year-old was a second round pick of the San Antonio Spurs in 2018, but he saw very little playing time in his two years with the franchise before joining the Kings last year. He has a great deal of potential as a rim-runner with his phenomenal leaping ability and his knack for finishing strong at the rim, as seen on this rim-rocker from last year:

However, one thing that’s been new so far this year has been his three-point shot. He knocked down a total of 13 three-pointers over 36 games last season. This year, he’s already hit nine three-pointers over just five games. If Metu can continue to see solid minutes, he’s most certainly going to help fantasy managers in field goal percentage, rebounds and blocks. If he can add consistent three-point shooting to his arsenal, he has the potential to be a top-50 type of player in the mold of a P.J. Washington.

 

Dejounte Murray (G, SA)

Ever since entering the NBA out of the University of Washington in 2016, San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray has been a bit of a fantasy enigma. Once he began earning regular playing time, during his second season, it became clear that he was a superb rebounder for a guard and that he could also dish out a decent amount of assists while also racking up sturdy steals totals.

The big questions for him over the years have been in regards to his scoring, both in terms of his ability to put up solid point totals and whether or not he could be efficient while doing so.

Well, so far through the 2021-22 season, we’ve seen the best scoring output of Murray’s career. Through 14 games on the year, he’s averaging a career-high 18.9 points per game. His scoring average has increased lately as he’s notched 20-point outings in three of his last four games, including a season-high 26 points in two of those three games.

Murray’s scoring increase hasn’t come with a decrease in any of his previous stellar attributes. He notched his first triple-double of the year against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, compiling 22 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds while hitting two three-pointers and also adding three steals and a block. He followed the game up with a near-triple double in which he posted a 26-12-9 line and added another three steals.

The 25-year-old is currently delivering elite fantasy production. It could be a legitimate breakthrough for a guy who was already a strong fantasy asset to begin with. In addition to his career-high scoring pace, he’s also averaging career-best per-game marks in assists (8.1), rebounds (8.1), steals (2.1) and three-pointers (1.3). He could be playing his way into top-20 territory come fantasy drafts next year.

 

Devin Vassell (SG, SA)

We’re sticking in San Antonio for our final member of this week’s list. Second-year Spurs shooting guard Devin Vassell has made some major strides on the court over the past few weeks. He’s been seeing an increase in playing time and it’s come along with drastically improved efficiency on the offensive end.

Over 14 games on the year, Vassell is shooting 46% from the field, which is up from just 40.6% last year. He’s also increased his three-point percentage from 34.7% last year to 40.3% this year while doubling his three-point attempts per game from 2.4 last year to 4.8 this year. He had a three-game stretch this past week where he went 12-for-20 from three-point range, clearly showing that he won’t be shy to hoist the ball from outside this year.

Vassell is supremely talented on the defensive end of the floor. He stands 6’7” and has a 6’10” wingspan. He’s quick and long, giving him the ability to match up adequately against the majority of the players he’ll come across. That defensive prowess has resulted in him averaging 1.1 steals and 0.7 blocks per game so far this year. We could definitely see both of those numbers – especially the steals – go up as he continues to gain confidence on the defensive end.

Vassell is emerging as one of the potential core players on a Spurs team that’s still mostly lacking for an identity. His defensive value is clear from both an NBA perspective and a fantasy perspective. Just how good he’ll become depends on how consistently he can help the team out on the offensive end.

 



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