NBA Stock Watch: DeMarcus Cousins continues to impress

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STOCK UP

DeMarcus Cousins: Everyone expected him to take another leap toward stardom this year, but to the extent at which he’s done so early on has to have fantasy owners excited. He scored 30 points and grabbed 11 boards in 22:29 minutes during a blowout last week, which is about as impressive as it gets. Boogie has attempted 9.7 free throws per game, making 77.9 percent of them, which are both career highs. The 24-year-old’s upside is through the roof if he simply stops fouling so much, as he’s committed five or more in five of seven games. Cousins has somehow been a top-15 fantasy player despite averaging just 30:29 mpg.

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Trevor Ariza: He’s actually been in a shooting slump recently, going just 5-of-26 from the field over the past two games. Despite that, Ariza has still been the No. 17 fantasy player this season, as he’s averaged 14.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.9 apg, 1.9 spg and 3.1 3pt. Him shooting 47.8 percent from downtown (he was at a whopping 60.0 percent before the past two contests) is unsustainable, but it sure helps playing for Houston, which leads the NBA with 32.9 three-point attempts per game (over five more than any other team in the league). Ariza’s PER (17.12) is a career high, as he’s filled in the Chandler Parsons role for the Rockets better than anyone could have hoped for.

Roy Hibbert: He’s averaged 14.7 ppg, and 3.4 bpg (second only to Anthony Davis) despite leaving with an injury (that proved minor) after just 11 minutes in one game. The big man is also 17-of-17 from the line over his past four contests and rarely commits turnovers. Hibbert’s True Shooting Percentage (56.8) is easily a career high, and it’s clear he’s going to be a much bigger part of Indiana’s offense with Paul George out for the year and Lance Stephenson no longer in town.

Draymond Green: He’s carried his big postseason over to this year, when he’s averaged 14.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.2 spg, 1.3 bpg and 1.8 3pt while shooting 47.6 percent from the floor. Green has benefitted from some Warriors injuries, but coach Steve Kerr has already said he’s sticking with this lineup if the team keeps winning (meaning David Lee would come off the bench when he eventually returns), and this is no fluke. Green has been the No. 6 fantasy player over the past week despite committing 13 turnovers over three games. It helps Golden State continues to lead the league in PACE.

Evan Fournier: Many questioned Orlando when they dealt Arron Afflalo for Fournier (and a second round pick and some cap relief), but so far so good, as he’s averaged 16.0 ppg and 1.9 3pt while shooting 50.6 percent from the field. His value will take a hit once Victor Oladipo returns to action, but Fournier is well worth an add in all deeper fantasy leagues right now.

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STOCK DOWN

Derrick Rose: It’s hard not to root for Rose, as the NBA is better off when he’s healthy. He scored a season-high 24 points Monday, so hopefully his latest setback (two sprained ankles) is behind him, but he entered that game as not even a top-75 fantasy player this season while on the court (one spot behind the immortal Ed Davis). Rose is still just 26 years old, but it’s becoming increasingly tough to rely on him as a top fantasy asset.

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Eric Gordon: He’s always been productive when on the court yet a huge injury risk, but this season, Gordon has been nearly worthless even while healthy. The Pelicans logjam at the wings (Tyreke Evans is now starting unlike the first half of last year, while Ryan Anderson remains a force off the bench) has been a major hindrance to Gordon’s fantasy production. His ppg has dropped for a fourth straight season, bottoming out at a career-low 7.8. Gordon’s 29.3 FG percentage is sure to improve, but his Usage Rate (15.2) is by far the lowest of his career (his next lowest was 19.2 during his rookie campaign. It was 27.1, 27.8 and 22.2 over the past three years, respectively). His 2.89 PER ranks as the 14th lowest among all players in basketball.

Dion Waiters: He got 15.9 ppg as a sophomore last year but has taken a major step back in year three, as he’s averaged just 9.4 points on 35.4 percent shooting before sitting out Monday’s game with a back injury. Waiters will likely shoot better moving forward, but his role has been greatly diminished in Cleveland with the additions of LeBron James and Kevin Love, as he’s now shifted to act as the team’s sixth-man even while healthy.

Goran Dragic: He’s scored 22 and 19 points over his past two games, so hopefully that’s a sign of what’s to come. But Dragic didn’t hit a three-pointer this season over the first five games, a span in which he also totaled just two steals. It’s clear the Suns’ backcourt is going to be a headache for fantasy owners when all are healthy, as newcomer Isaiah Thomas has averaged nearly as many FG attempts (11.7) as Dragic (12.1) despite coming off the bench (Eric Bledsoe has averaged 10.6). Phoenix ranks sixth in PACE, but Dragic’s Usage Rate (19.4) is way down compared to last season (24.1).

Carmelo Anthony: Of course, there’s no reason to panic here, as it’s been just a couple of weeks, but Anthony currently ranks as the No. 163 fantasy player. He’s averaged 20.3 ppg on 39.1 percent shooting over eight games while trying to learn New York’s new triangle offense (although it's often been abandoned). Anthony’s Usage Rate remains high (fifth-highest in the NBA), so he’s more of a buy-low candidate than someone to be truly worried about (the Knicks rank dead last in PACE this season, but they were second to last in 2013/14). Still, Anthony is entering the third week of the year as a first round pick who’s provided less fantasy value than Wayne Ellington.

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