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Fantasy Basketball Risers and Fallers: Week 2


We're already basically done with the second week of the NBA season. Times fles! The Suns are maybe good. The Warriors are going to get the number-one pick and mess that up by drafting James Wiseman, probably. Nothing makes sense!

Except, that is, in the basketball analysis world, because we're starting to build up slightly better sample sizes by which to draw some conclusions from. Not great sample sizes, but better enough that I feel more confident with some of my conclusions this week.

Welcome back 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. 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

With Stephen Curry out a few months with a broken hands, the Warriors are now D'Angelo Russell's team on the offensive end. This likely means that we see the team shift some of their schemes around to better fit what Russell excels at, which is drives to the mid-range off pick-and-rolls.

Russell's seen an uptick in usage. Against the Spurs, for instance, he took 24 shots and had 10 free throw attempts. The free throws are a new thing:

This seems to signal a more aggressive version of D'Angelo Russell. With Curry out, the Warriors are likely looking to be a lottery team. After Russell and Draymond Green, there's just no one on the team who looks like a player on a playoff team. But that's good for D'Lo from a fantasy perspective, as he's about to be asked to do so much. Efficiency might be a concern, but if you can withstand the hit he gives you in field goal percentage, he'll be worth it.

Domantas Sabonis - F/C - Indiana Pacers

With Myles Turner week-to-week with an ankle injury, expect to see even more Domantas Sabonis in the short term. Over the last three games, Sabonis is averaging 22.7 points and 13 rebounds per contest while shooting 54.9 percent from the field. He's taking 17 shots per game over the span; to put that into perspective, last season played some very, very good basketball and averaged 9.5 attempts per game. Follow the usage. There should be no questions about benching Sabonis in fantasy until Turner gets back, but this also is a huge sell high window for the fourth-year big. At some point, he'll see his playing time fall back down some, but for now his value is at an all-time high.

Brandon Ingram - F - New Orleans Pelicans

I got a good amount of hate on Twitter for suggesting that Brandon Ingram's underwhelming career might have been more a product of the Lakers than it is of Ingram's talent. That that hate came exclusively from Lakers fans is telling; it shows that they weren't huge fans of letting Ingram go.

In two games this week, Ingram is averaging 26 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. In Thursday's win over the Nuggets, Ingram led the Pelicans in minutes and was second in points, even while finishing third to Jrue Holiday and Jahlil Okafor in shot attempts. Ingram's thriving in his current role, though the future return of Zion Williamson could hurt his value, as Ingram would go from being the second option to the third option on offense for the Pelicans. Still, take advantage of his current strong play.

Davis Bertans - F - Washington Wizards

While Bertans was aided by one of the highest-scoring non-overtime games that's ever happened, it's still worth noting that he has back-to-back games with at least 20 points. Credit his three-point shooting, which has been beyond impressive this year. He's shooting 55.2 percent on 7.3 attempts per game and while that percentage will certainly come down, fantasy owners who are looking for a source of long-range shooting should definitely have interest in Bertans.

Cody Zeller - C - Charlotte Hornets

The list of the leading rebounders per game in Week 2? Well, there's Andre Drummond first, and then Kevin Love, and then Anthony Davis, and then...Cody Zeller?

Yep. Zeller is averaging 14 rebounds per game over his past three contests. After grabbing a career-high 6.8 per game last year, his season average is up to 13.5 this year.

Other career highs for Zeller? 15 points per game. 2.5 three point attempts per game. 12 shot attempts per game. The Hornets are 2-3 on the year, but those wins are over two other bad teams, the Bulls and Kings. This roster just doesn't really have one key guy to shoulder the load, which is why Zeller's seen his usage skyrocket this season. He should remain a strong fantasy play going forward.

 

Fantasy Basketball Fallers

Dewayne Dedmon - C - Sacramento Kings

Rough start for Dedmon. He played just four minutes against the Hornets despite being healthy, and then returned to the rotation against Utah just to put up an inefficient 10 points that included a 1-for-6 mark from three. He grabbed seven rebounds and blocked a pair of shots, but it's clear that things just aren't working for Dedmon in Sacramento. I recommended dropping him in another piece on this site. Friday's game didn't really change my mind about that.

J.J. Redick - G - New Orleans Pelicans

Redick was 1-for-10 from the floor against the Warriors. That resulted in him moving to the bench against Denver, a game in which Redick made all of his shots.

All of his, uhh...two shots.

Redick's trending down after that move to the bench because he's just not going to be getting the minutes and shot attempts to drive his value forward. Redick's entire fantasy thing is predicated off his ability to hit those catch-and-shoot and off-screen threes, and if he's not doing that then I don't know what he's supposed to be doing.

Cam Reddish - G - Atlanta Hawks

Reddish was a top-10 pick this year, but was predicted to be a top-five pick before a tough year at Duke drove his value down. But the Hawks had a young team and room to get younger, so they took Reddish and he's started all five games for them. A Trae Young injury even made Reddish their de-facto point guard for a game.

The results have been...well...look, if you're rostering Reddish, you already know. If you're not, don't even think about buying low on him.

In five games, Reddish is averaging 5.2 points 4.6 rebounds, and 2.2 assists on 20.9 percent shooting. He's shooting 5.6 percent from three on 3.6 attempts per games. Yes, this means that Reddish is 1-for-18 from deep this season, a mark that's just so, so bad.

Often, owning a player who takes a good number of shots per game is fine just because the volume leads to counting stats, but that's not the case with Reddish.

(On the bright side, he's averaging 1.6 steals per game, if you're in a steals-only league!)

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