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Fantasy Basketball Dynasty Risers - Week 8

It’s a Bull-ish week in this edition of dynasty risers. And no, we’re not talking about GameStop stock here.

Instead we’re focused on the Bulls of the NBA world, the Chicago Bulls.

A rookie Bull and an oft-injured Bull looking to rejuvenate his career headline this week’s column.

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Patrick Williams (SF, CHI)

The fourth overall pick from this year’s draft, Bulls small forward Patrick Williams has had an extremely inconsistent rookie year thus far. He’s struggled to find his shot and he’s barely shown up on the stat sheet on a number of occasions.

Lately, however, he seems to have turned a bit of a corner.

Over his past four games, Williams is averaging 14.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while shooting 51.2% from the floor and 91.7% from the line. He posted his first career double-double this past Saturday against the Orlando Magic.

Williams is a versatile wing who fits extremely well into the modern NBA. His diversified skill set is what allowed his draft stock to rise so significantly in the weeks leading up to the 2020 NBA Draft.

The 6’8” Williams is extremely fluid with the ball in his hands. He’s great off the dribble. He’s also got great touch on his jump shot, especially within about 10 feet. Many of those offensive attributes were on full display when he dropped a season-high 20 points against the Magic on Friday, a day before his double-double:

Williams also has a lot of potential on the defensive end. His athleticism and hustle should allow him to become a solid producer of blocks and steals. He already has a four steal game under his belt and he had a three-steal, two-block game against the Dallas Mavericks about a month ago.

Williams’ upside is immense. He has the potential to be someone who contributes for fantasy managers across the board while providing solid percentages. At just 19 years old, he’s still a bit raw and might need a few years before he becomes a fantasy gem. Be patient, but a star could be in the making.

 

Denzel Valentine (SF, CHI)

Here’s another forward who has begun to find some consistency lately with the Bulls. Denzel Valentine’s career has been filled with injuries and inconsistency since he was drafted 14th overall by the team in 2016. He missed the entirety of the 2018-19 season and has only reached 60 games played in a season once.

Valentine has seen extended minutes lately with Otto Porter (back) and Lauri Markkanen (shoulder) out.

Over his past four games, Valentine has averaged 14.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 3.0 threes per game. He’s averaged 26 minutes per contest over that stretch.

Shooting is the biggest question for Valentine. Over his career, he’s shot just 40.2% from the field and 36.8% from three.

In his best statistical NBA season, 2017-18, he averaged 10.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.9 threes per game.

This recent stretch has shown flashes of the Valentine from that year, but with more aggressive shooting. He attempted a season-high 10 three-pointers this past Saturday against the Orlando Magic and hit four of them.

Valentine is 27 years old and these next few weeks could be his final shot to prove he’s worthy of a rotational spot in the league. His upside isn’t immense, but if he can put things together, he could be a solid source of threes, steals and assists over the next few years.

 

Justin Holiday (SG, IND)

Indiana Pacers shooting guard Justin Holiday has made some fantastic strides with his outside shooting since joining the team. Holiday signed with the Pacers prior to last season and has shot over 40% from beyond the arc during his tenure with the team, including 42.3% on 5.4 attempts per game this year. His career three-point percentage is just 36.4%.

Holiday’s improved shooting has earned him around 30 minutes per game this year and he’s especially come on strong lately.

Last Friday, against the New Orleans Pelicans, he tied a career-high with seven three-pointers made.

Over his past four games, Holiday is averaging 14 points, five rebounds, 1.8 steals and 3.5 three pointers per game. He’s shooting 50% from the field and has just one turnover across that stretch.

Holiday is 31 years old. He’s a longtime veteran who has a lot of value in the modern NBA where consistent three-point making comes at a premium. Look for him to continue to be a significant source of threes with minimal turnovers over the next two to three years.

 

Jakob Poeltl (C, SAN)

Playing time has been elusive for center Jakob Poeltl since first joining the San Antonio Spurs in 2018. Over his two-plus years with the team, he’s certainly shown flashes of being a solid double-double guy with blocks to boot, but he’s often followed up double-doubles with games where he’s barely seen the court.

Hopefully, this recent strong stretch from Poeltl could be a sign of things to come.

Poeltl saw at least 29 minutes in each of his three games from February 3rd through February 8th. Over that stretch, he averaged 11.7 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks per game while shooting 64% from the field.

The highlight over that stretch came on Monday against the Golden State Warriors when Poeltl shot 7-for-9 from the field and scored 14 points to go along with 11 boards and four blocks.

Over his career, Poeltl has shot 63.4% from the field. His career per-36 minutes averages are 11.8 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game.

Poeltl is an old school big man who makes his living around the rim. He isn’t able to do much from beyond about 10 feet from the rim and has attempted just two threes over his five-year NBA career.

He’s still just 25 years old and he has two more years under contract with the Spurs after this year. He needs either more of a commitment from Gregg Popovich or a change of scenery in order to unlock his true fantasy potential. If he can get there, he’ll be an extremely reliable source of rebounds and blocks while regularly boosting a fantasy team’s field goal percentage.

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