Fantasy Basketball Stock Watch: Believe in Devonte' Graham's raucous start


Devonte’ Graham, Charlotte Hornets

A terrific start to the season — seemingly out of nowhere — has somehow only gotten better, as Graham dropped 40 points Wednesday and has been a top-15 fantasy player over the last two weeks (despite a pedestrian 43.0 FG%). He ranks top-10 in the NBA in APG, 3PG, and touches per game (in the latter, he’s sandwiched between Trae Young and Giannis Antetokounmpo), as the second-rounder has emerged as Charlotte’s best player, becoming the third-fastest ever to hit 100 threes in a season (behind only James Harden and Stephen Curry). That type of production from downtown isn’t sustainable, but Graham’s steals production has greatly picked up of late, so he’s capable of helping more on the defensive end moving forward. From undrafted in fantasy leagues to All-Star candidate, Graham is the real deal and not someone to be trying to sell high.

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Who saw Graham coming? (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Who saw Graham coming? (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Ricky Rubio, Phoenix Suns

He’s averaged 12.5 assists over the last four games and is up to a career-high mark (9.2) on the season. After a couple of down years in Utah (where point guards continue to struggle in Quinn Snyder’s system), Rubio’s fantasy value is back to his Minnesota days, and he’s helping lead Phoenix to an offense that’s surprisingly close to top-five in efficiency, sandwiched between the Lakers and Celtics (and will be getting Deandre Ayton back soon). Rubio still can’t shoot, and it appears that aspect is never going to be there, but his new team has him back to being a huge help in the dimes department.

Davis Bertans, Washington Wizards

He’s been a fantasy monster since coming to Washington this year and even better since Thomas Bryant went down with a foot injury, as Bertans has been the No. 7 fantasy player over the last two weeks when he’s averaged a whopping 5.3 threes while shooting 50.5% from the field. He’ll cool down (he’s shooting 46.5% from deep this season, with only Harden averaging more makes per game), but he’s in a terrific situation to produce all year while on a Washington team that ranks third in Pace, last in Defensive Efficiency and is especially void of scoring with Bryant sidelined. Bertans has been one of the season’s biggest surprises, ranking top-15 in WAR while also helping fantasy managers with third-round value at a flier price.

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Kevin Porter Jr., Cleveland Cavaliers

He needs to be added in deeper leagues after getting more run recently, including Wednesday when he scored a career-high 24 points despite Kevin Love returning to his normal workload. The rookie has recorded back-to-back three-steal games and is already one of the most intriguing players on the Cavs’ roster, so whether Love is traded or not, the team should unveil him more moving forward. It may require patience, but Porter Jr. has nice potential and could soon find himself starting in Cleveland.

Matisse Thybulle, Philadelphia 76ers

Josh Richardson is back in action, but Thybulle can be plenty valuable in fantasy if he settles back into a sixth-man role, as he can be extremely productive in 25-26 minutes. The rookie’s shooting will likely be streaky, but he’s averaging 3.1 steals and 1.5 blocks per 36-minutes this season, and RAPTOR has him graded as the single best defensive player in the NBA this year. He’s been a top-40 fantasy player over the last two weeks despite averaging fewer than 10.0 PPG, so think of him as Jonathan Isaac-lite and scoop him up in the 80% of Yahoo leagues in which Thybulle is still available.

Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies

After getting off to a disappointing start to his sophomore year, JJJ has averaged 22.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.8 blocks over the last five games, adding 2.4 threes. He’s seen a big jump in Usage Rate lately and had arguably his best game of the season during Ja Morant’s return to action this week. After getting 0.9 BPG over the first dozen games this season, Jackson Jr. has swatted 2.0 shots in seven games since, so while it’s taken longer than expected, he’s finally living up to the preseason hype.


Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers

He’s still helping you with blocks, but Turner’s numbers are down pretty much across the board this season, as he’s taken a backseat to Domantas Sabonis, who’s recorded 10 straight double-doubles and checks in fourth in the NBA in rebounding (13.5 RPG) this year. Turner’s Usage Rate is way down, and he’s barely been a top-100 fantasy player after flirting with top-25 last season. In fact, Turner hasn’t been a top-140 asset over the last two weeks, when he’s shot just 33.3% from the floor (he’s shooting way more from outside this year), and eventually, Victor Oladipo is going to rejoin the Pacers as well. It looks like a trade is going to be needed to help save Turner from being one of this season’s bigger fantasy busts, as many had high expectations for the 23 year old.

Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers

He bounced back with a nice game Wednesday but had scored fewer than 10 points in five of his previous six games. While illness was partially to blame, Love’s become a fantasy disaster in Cleveland. His playing time and load management is one problem, but Love also sports his lowest Usage Rate since his first season in Cleveland despite a thin Cavs roster, so fantasy managers are left hoping another team is willing to trade for his big contract.

Jabari Parker, Atlanta Hawks

He’s been helpful to those who added him, but Parker is about to lose most of his fantasy value once John Collins returns from his suspension, which is approaching (December 23). The 6-19 Hawks are searching for answers, and playing Parker and his 117.3 Def Rating less could be part of the solution.   

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