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Fantasy Basketball Risers and Fallers: Week 3


Welcome to the fantasy basketball risers and fallers column, a weekly look at a few players whose stock is rising and a few who've been struggling with some analysis of why that's been the case. As always, this doesn't mean you need to drop these players who are struggling, but this could be a useful piece for making some trade decisions or for making some tough lineup choices.

This week, we really got a glimpse at the post-dynasty Warriors and how far they could fall. We saw Luka maybe take a leap. We saw Damian Lillard put up 60 in a loss and the Lakers continue to be good despite surround LeBron and Anthony Davis with a roster that shouldn't be playing this well.

If you have other questions, follow me on Twitter, where I'm always willing to respond to your tweeted questions: @juscarts

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Fantasy Basketball Risers

D'Angelo Russell - G - Golden State Warriors

So, D'Angelo Russell was on this list last week, but he got hurt almost immediately and missed some time. He returned to the floor on Friday night against Minnesota and put up...

*checks notes*

*says "ok Google is this correct"*

52 points, nine rebounds, five assists, three steals, and two blocks.

Look, the Warriors are bad. Stephen Curry might end up missing the rest of the year. Klay Thompson ain't playing this year. Draymond Green might show back up at some point. But basically, if D'Angelo Russell is on the floor then he's the Golden State Warriors. There's no one else on this team who you can trust to reliably score or trust with the ball in his hands or, like, start in a fantasy league. Russell's going to continue putting up huge numbers because he's the only offensive option for the Dubs.

Luka Doncic - F - Dallas Mavericks

I live in the Dallas area but am not a Mavericks fan, so you think I'd be tired of Luka Doncic by now. But nah, I'm still good with the Luka hype.

I'm especially good with it this week, as Doncic has just been an utter machine. In three games this week, Doncic is averaging 31.3 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 10.7 assists. He's looking like the do-it-all point forward that so many thought he'd be.

I'm not quite ready to make a "Doncic will average a triple double" proclamation, but he might be the best non-Russell Westbrook bet to do it if you had to pick someone from the league to do it.

Doncic's 6.3 turnovers per game this week are obviously a downside, but you can get past that when everything else he's doing is so strong.

Marcus Morris - F - New York Knicks

I still don't get the Knicks from a roster construction standpoint. Marcus Morris has been starting at the three, for instance. Doesn't that seem a little absurd? Shouldn't a modern NBA team play him at the four?

Well, probably, but Morris is still making the most of his opportunities, regardless of the spot on the floor he's being asked to occupy. Over the last three games, Morris is averaging 25 points and 6.3 rebounds ad is shooting 52.4 percent from three on seven attempts per game.

Morris is playing some of the best basketball of his career. It's happening on a Knicks team that isn't going anywhere with a roster that often makes no sense, but as long as he remains the most consistent player on this roster (and, well, *motions to the roster*) then he'll be a solid fantasy option.

Montrezl Harrell - F/C - Los Angeles Clippers

Yes, Harrell's monster game -- 34 points and 13 rebounds -- came in his only start of the year and his usual bench role won't offer him the chances to put up huge numbers like that every game.

But he's still got 15 or more points in four straight games. He's had just one bad rebounding game. He's an incredibly efficient scorer inside. Harrell's proving to be a consistently strong big man.

Jonathan Isaac - F - Orlando Magic

In his third NBA season, Isaac finally looks to be getting some things together. He's averaging 11.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.6 steals on the year, plus a league-leading 3.0 blocks per contest. He's shooting 94.1 percent from the free throw line and has improved his long range scoring. Isaac's a good player and he's showing what he's capable of this year, which is a mixture of solid offense and disruptive defense. With his minutes trending up and his numbers looking this good despite going 3-for-11 from three over the past three games, it's time to admit that Isaac is a good piece for the Magic.

 

Fantasy Basketball Fallers

Nicolo Melli - F - New Orleans Pelicans

I'll admit that I got on the Melli bandwagon very fast and that bandwagon has now dissipated into thin air.

Melli got a start against the Nuggets. He had seven points and four rebounds. He got another against the Thunder. He had four points and two rebounds. He didn't even play against the Nets. He got another start on Friday against the Raptors and had two points and zero rebounds.

None of that sounds good. Melli went from an intriguing add to being virtually unplayable very, very fast.

Landry Shamet - G - Los Angeles Clippers

Shamet is basically just a guy who you occasionally play in fantasy because you need three-pointers. I had hopes that he might become more than that, but with the emergence of Point Kawhi, Shamet is purely an off-ball, spot-up guard. Per Synergy, Shamet's most common playtype is the spot up, but he's scoring in just the 10th percentile per possession on those plays. He's shooting under 40 percent from the floor and is currently at just 35.8 percent from three, so the thing he's supposed to be good at isn't even working for him at this point.

Factor in that Shamet has averages of 1.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game and you can see that he's literally only "good" at one category at this point, which is three-pointers made. And he's trending even more down lately, with a total of zero assists in the month of November.

Jaren Jackson Jr. - F/C - Memphis Grizzlies

I thought JJJ was taking some big strides forward this year. And while he did look fine on Friday night, scoring 14 points and adding five rebounds, his three game stretch before that was rough. While dealing with a knee issue that caused him to miss the Grizzlies game against Houston, Jackson had a span where he averaged 4.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game on 25 percent shooting.

I think he'll right the ship. He's so young and talented. But Memphis is also becoming such a JA Morant team. Jackson is at his best when he's the roll man in pick-and-rolls -- I mean, look at these numbers:

The problem? Only 11.5 percent of the time is Jackson finishing possessions in that role, as Morant's been finishing a lot of plays as the ball-handler in pick-and-rolls, while Jonas Valanciunas is getting used more on those playtypes than Jackson is. He's getting asked to do too much spot up work this year. Until Memphis commits to playing Jackson at the five and using him in ways that best show what he's capable of doing, I don't see him performing at the level that many of us expected to see.

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