Fantasy Basketball Stock Watch: Brooklyn well-represented in Kyrie's absence

STOCK UP

Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets

He continues to impress in Kyrie Irving’s absence, as Dinwiddie has been the No. 17 fantasy player this season over 10 games when starting. Irving had been off to a strong fantasy start, but his shoulder injury is apparently much worse than expected, and it’s become increasingly tough to trust the point guard to stay on the court. Meanwhile, Dinwiddie is less of an ISO guy and appears to be a better fit in Kenny Atkinson’s PG-friendly system, where he actually sports a top-15 Usage Rate this season. Dinwiddie has been an absolute fantasy steal and shouldn’t be considered a sell-high with Irving now out indefinitely.

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Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn Nets

Let’s stay in Brooklyn, where Allen’s value is also on the rise. The big man got off to a slow start but has been a top-35 fantasy player over the last two weeks and continues to badly outplay DeAndre Jordan. Allen has seen a nice improvement in rebound rate, and the 21 year old should also see a bump in (his modest) Usage Rate with Irving sidelined. Allen still isn’t getting quite the minutes he deserves but hopefully that changes moving forward, and the friendship contract the Nets handed out to Jordan during the offseason looks increasingly comical.

Mortiz Wagner, Washington Wizards

Wagner is dealing with a minor ankle injury right now, but he’s looking at a big opportunity with Thomas Bryant out at least the next three weeks with a stress reaction in his foot. That type of injury to a big could prove to sideline him much longer, and Wagner was already making a huge leap in Year Two, when he’s quietly been a top-25 fantasy asset on a per 36-minute basis. Washington owns the fun combo of having the NBA’s No. 1 Pace to go along with the league’s worst Defensive Efficiency, resulting in a bunch of high-scoring matchups. Rui Hachimura, Davis Bertans and Isaiah Thomas all get a boost with the unfortunate Bryant injury as well, while Wagner is a must-add and is still available in more than 70% of Yahoo leagues.

Damian Jones, Atlanta Hawks

He’s averaged 18.0 points and 8.0 rebounds while shooting 14-of-16 from the field over the last two games, putting him firmly on the fantasy radar. There’s a wide-open spot at center in Atlanta (Bruno Fernando was even sent to the G League this week), and it wasn’t that long ago when Jones was thought of as an intriguing prospect. This small sample might turn into nothing, but if you’re in need of a big man, Jones’ potential is well worth grabbing in the near 95% of fantasy leagues in which he’s still available.

De’Anthony Melton, Memphis Grizzlies

Ja Morant continues to deal with back spasms and has been labeled as week-to-week, and you can be sure Memphis will be treating its prized rookie prospect carefully moving forward. The Grizzlies have ditched the grit-and-grind for a faster tempo this year, and Tyus Jones has failed during his last two starts replacing Morant. In fact, Melton started the second half during Wednesday’s game, when he finished with a team-best +/- (+15) in nearly 30 minutes off the bench. Melton has been a top-60 player over his last three games and should continue to see increased opportunity as long as Morant is sidelined, yet he’s rostered in fewer than 10% of Yahoo leagues.

Rajon Rondo, Los Angeles Lakers

Rondo has benefitted from Avery Bradley sidelined, and his upside is capped with LeBron James handling so many Lakers possessions, but the veteran point guard is coming off two strong games and needs to be added in deeper fantasy formats. Rondo nearly posted a triple-double during Wednesday’s win, and even in limited minutes (21:28 mpg), he’s averaged a career-high 1.4 threes this season (and a career-best FT%). He looks plenty serviceable to fantasy managers right now, especially with so many point guard injuries throughout the league.

Rajon Rondo is another beneficiary of the Lakers' strong season thus far. (Photo by Brandon Dill/Getty Images)
Rajon Rondo is another beneficiary of the Lakers' strong season thus far. (Photo by Brandon Dill/Getty Images)

STOCK DOWN

Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

Jokic has averaged 9.0 points over his last four games and barely checks in among the top-50 fantasy players this season, which qualifies him as one of the year’s biggest disappointments considering his ADP (sixth). He’s looked slower than usual while posting career-lows in True Shooting% (51.6), PER (18.84) and Rebound Rate. Jokic will improve moving forward, but it’s also clear he’s not returning first-round value this season, as a deep Denver roster simply isn’t requiring as much from him right now. Still, since he’s coming off one of his roughest two-game stretches in recent memory (7-for-23 FG), there likely won’t be a better time to at least attempt a buy-low trade offer.

Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans

It’s been more than six weeks since undergoing knee surgery yet Williamson hasn’t begun on-court work, and it’s clear coach Alvin Gentry and company have an extra cautious plan in place for him whenever he eventually does return. Zion seemingly didn’t miss a shot during the preseason, and he’s no doubt going to be one of the funnest players to have on fantasy teams, but it’s become sadly clear that the truly unleashed version won’t be released until next season. The rookie has really been a killer to fantasy teams without IL spots this year.  

Other STOCK DOWN moments in the NBA:

Refs botching calls. First, there was James Harden not getting credit for a dunk that resulted in Houston considering protesting its double-OT loss, and then this non-call on LeBron James, who may have possibly traveled.

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