Fantasy Basketball Stock Watch: DeRozan returning to form

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RISERS

James Harden

He’s been on a historic and unprecedented stretch, breaking the NBA record Monday night by scoring 30 points for the 17th straight game, and he did it by halftime. Harden is averaging 40.3 points over his last 19 games. Already leading the league in Usage Rate by a mile with Chris Paul and Eric Gordon out, Harden’s role will now increase even further with Clint Capela sidelined the next 4-6 weeks. He’s been the No. 2 fantasy player this season. Given how he’s helped turn Houston’s season around, there’s a strong argument Harden has been the league’s MVP yet again this year.

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Kevin Huerter

The “other Hawks’ rookie” is seeing a ton of run lately, averaging more than 38 minutes of playing time over the last eight games. He’s been a top-70 fantasy player over the last week. Taurean Prince recently returned to action, but there’s no reason for the last-place Hawks not to give Huerter a big opportunity the rest of the year. His lack of defensive stats makes him a better points or DFS option, but Huerter’s clearly been given the green light to shoot. He’s still available in nearly 70 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Maxi Kleber

With Dennis Smith Jr. and J.J. Barea both sidelined, Kleber has suddenly seen 30+ mpg over the last three contests, and he’s produced top-50 fantasy value with the extra run. Smith Jr. is strongly rumored to be on the trading block, while Barea’s injury (torn Achilles) will keep him out for the rest of the season, so Kleber’s new role may not just be short term. Kleber has been a top-70 fantasy player on a per 36-minute basis, and he’s about to see a lot more playing time. He’s still available in more than 90 percent of leagues.

Richaun Holmes

He’s not flashy, but Holmes has been extremely efficient during his first year in Phoenix (67.8 FG%, 0.8 tpg), averaging 0.7 steals and 1.1 blocks in just 16:02 mpg. He’s quietly been the No. 26 ranked fantasy player in 9-cat formats over the last two weeks despite seeing fewer than 20 minutes per game. He’s also been a top-three fantasy player over the last month on a per 36-minute basis. Holmes firmly remains in a bench role in Phoenix, but he’s a useful player who’s still available in more than 65 percent of leagues.

P.J. Tucker

He’s quietly been a top-65 fantasy asset over the last two weeks and is looking at an increase in Usage Rate with shaky replacements at center in Houston and Capela out the next 4-6 weeks. Tucker can play a few different positions, and Harden has to take a possession off every now and then. Tucker is owned in 40 percent of leagues, but that number should rise with Capela sidelined.

FALLERS

DeMar DeRozan

After a torrid start to his San Antonio career, he’s been in a shooting slump. He’s hit just 39.3 percent from the floor over the last eight games — a two-week span in which DeRozan hasn’t been a top-200 fantasy player. His shot is sure to bounce back, and he’s averaging career-highs in boards and assists with his new team, but DeRozan is also attempting far fewer threes with the Spurs. It’s safe to expect him to settle in with a similar fantasy value like he had in the Toronto days, and not the super-elite version that showed up for the first month of this season.

After a super-productive stretch to start the season, things are mellowing out for the Spurs star. (Photos by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
After a super-productive stretch to start the season, things are mellowing out for the Spurs star. (Photos by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)

Victor Oladipo

He’s taken a step back after a career season last year, as injuries and a recent shooting slump have put him outside the top-125 fantasy players over the last two weeks. After averaging 23.1 ppg last season, Oladipo has scored 20 points in just two of the last 10 games, a time in which he was supposed to be improving the further removed he was from his knee injury. He’ll probably bounce back soon, and it’s encouraging to note his Usage Rate is only down a small tick from last year, but Oladipo’s been a draft day disappointment so far.

Kelly Oubre Jr.

He’s actually averaged 20.5 points over the last four games — certainly helping in DFS — but Oubre Jr. has barely been a top-150 fantasy asset over the last week despite the scoring outburst thanks to extreme struggles from the line, highlighted by him getting heckled there during Tuesday night’s game. Moreover, Devin Booker returned to action Tuesday, so Oubre Jr.’s recent scoring spree should soon come to an end.

Follow Dalton Del Don on Twitter.

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