Fantasy Basketball Stock Watch: Westbrook hurting and helping at the same time

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RISERS

Klay Thompson

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He continued his hot stretch Tuesday, when he scored 30 points through three quarters. He finished with 43 points on seven threes (with just four dribbles!). After shooting 33 percent from three-point distance over the season’s first 36 games, Thompson is hitting treys at a 51 percent clip over his last five. Mired in a season-long shooting slump, Thompson is finally busting out, as he’s been the No. 7 ranked fantasy player over the last two weeks.

Any decrease in Usage Rate for Thompson (which is actually nearly a career high) after DeMarcus Cousins’ impending debut in Golden State should be more than offset by further improved efficiency with his jumper, as regression was inevitable. Any buy-low opportunity with Thompson has passed.

Jusuf Nurkic

The big man is coming off a historic 5X5 game last week and is averaging career-highs in points, rebounds and True Shooting percentage. His fantasy value continues to improve each year he’s been in the league. Nurkic has been a top-20 fantasy player over the past two weeks and is one of only five players in the league to average at least 10 boards, 1.0 steal and 1.0 block, and he’s doing it in easily the least amount of playing time. Despite sharing the court with a couple of Usage Rate hogs in Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum in Portland, Nurkic’s fantasy value continues to be on the rise.

DeMarre Carroll

He’s feeling much better after struggling through an ankle injury early in the season, averaging 18.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.0 3pt while shooting nearly 56 percent from the field over his last five games. Carroll missed Monday’s outing with a minor knee injury but is expected back in action soon and should continue to see good run on a Nets team dealing with injuries and a lack of talent at the forward position. Carroll is still available in more than 60 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Raul Neto

With Ricky Rubio (hamstring) and Dante Exum (ankle) sidelined for at least the next week (and possibly longer), Neto is suddenly looking at a big increase in minutes in Utah. He’s averaged 15.3 points with 6.4 assists on a per 36-minute basis this season and is available in more than 80 percent of leagues.

Josh Hart

He’s seeing more playing time with Los Angeles dealing with injuries, averaging 35+ mpg over the last two weeks — a seven-game span in which Hart has been a top-40 fantasy player despite an ugly 38.1 FG% mark. One of the better rebounding guards in the league, Hart has held top-50 value all year and has been one of the bigger draft day values so far.

FALLERS

Russell Westbrook

Of course, this is format-dependent, as Westbrook has three triple doubles over his last five games, giving him twice as many as any other player in the league this season; he’s still a fantasy monster in points leagues and DFS.

Russell Westbrook has been a triple-double machine — but his value in category leagues is taking a big hit. (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook has been a triple-double machine — but his value in category leagues is taking a big hit. (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)

But Westbrook’s already shaky outside shooting has become a full-blown disaster, as he’s shooting an ugly 38.2 percent from the floor and 62.7 percent from the line over the last month. And that’s been with his usual extreme volume to go along with the second worst turnover rate in the NBA. Westbrook is no longer a top-20 fantasy player in 9-cat leagues.

Justin Holiday

He was quietly a top-50 fantasy player when traded from Chicago, but his value has completely disappeared in Memphis with the Grizzlies, who apparently have little plans to use him (16:28 mpg). Holiday can be dropped in fantasy leagues as a result.

Kevin Love

He recently suggested he won’t be returning to the court anytime soon, likely not until after the All-Star break (that’s mid-February). Counting this season, Love has missed 81 games over the last three years, and he has little reason to return before he’s fully healed with the Cavaliers tanking and with few willing trade partners, given his contract (and inability to defend the pick-and-roll).

Love is tough to hold in leagues without IL spots and goes down as a big bust for those hoping he’d have a huge season as the new centerpiece in Cleveland.

Follow Dalton Del Don on Twitter.

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