Fantasy Basketball Stock Watch: Departures and arrivals shake up field


Bobby Portis

He’s been killing it after the trade to Washington, where he’s averaged 21.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.3 triples over three games with the Wizards. In fact, his 10 attempts from three Monday night were a career-high, so it doesn’t matter if he’s not starting with his new club, who’s without John Wall and now also Otto Porter.

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Portis, who just became the first player ever to score 30 points in back-to-back games on different teams, should be motivated down the stretch, what with being a free agent at season’s end. He’s produced third round fantasy value in his early stint with the Wizards, so owners have to be loving the deadline move.

Lauri Markkanen

Portis’ former teammate is going nuts in his absence, especially on the boards, as Markkanen has averaged 14.0 rebounds over four games this past week, when he’s been a top-20 fantasy player.

Markkanen has cooled a bit recently after a hot stretch shooting, but he’s seen a big increase in Usage Rate over the last two weeks (27.3), something that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. He’s thriving with the new-look Bulls and is primed for a huge finish this year.

Markkanen has been simply feasting ever since the Bulls frontcourt cleared up. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Markkanen has been simply feasting ever since the Bulls frontcourt cleared up. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Kenrich Williams

Undrafted out of TCU, the rookie has emerged seemingly out of nowhere and has been a top-80 fantasy player over the last two weeks despite Tuesday’s poor outing. Williams has been given a big opportunity by moving into New Orleans’ starting lineup recently, and that shouldn’t change with Nikola Mirotic traded and Anthony Davis a near-certain shutdown candidate at some point. “Kenny Hustle” is available in more than 60 percent of Yahoo leagues.

JaVale McGee

Foul trouble limited him during Tuesday’s clunker, but McGee had averaged 19.0 points and 10.5 rebounds over his previous two games (all three starts), as the departure of Ivica Zubac (traded to the Clippers) has been big news for his fantasy value. McGee has averaged 2.2 blocks during games in which he’s started this season, and he’s a big help in FG%, so he’ll be plenty helpful down the stretch.

Wesley Matthews

Matthews could very well be available in your league after his ugly first game with Indiana, and he’s shooting just 20.7 percent from the field over his last three games. He chose to sign with the Pacers because they will give him an opportunity to start. He knows coach Nate McMillan’s system and should be added (Matthews is owned in just 33 percent of leagues) if you’re in need of threes now that he’s locked into his new starting role. Tyreke Evans should move back to Indiana’s bench as a result.

Isaiah Thomas

He’s finally set to make his return to the court Wednesday, and while patience will be required since it’s been nearly a year since Thomas last played, his ownership (41%) is going to start rising fast. Monte Morris has been on a nice run, but with Jamaal Murray, Garry Harris and now Thomas all returning, it looks ready to come to an end.


Marc Gasol

It was always going to take some time for the big man to get acclimated to his new role with the trade to Toronto, but unfortunately it appears that it might be one that entails him coming off the bench. Gasol had an efficient game Monday night, but he’s seen just 20:28 mpg with the Raptors, pushing him outside the top-100 fantasy players.

It’s obviously been a small sample, and Gasol can be useful off the bench, but his value takes a hit if he continues to come off it. Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka are simply playing too well to change up Toronto’s starting frontcourt right now.

Shabazz Napier

He had a nice stretch of seven straight games in double figures scoring, but Napier’s playing time has taken a big hit with the early return of Caris LeVert (impressive given how ugly his foot injury looked at the time). Napier can be dropped in most leagues and will have to wait on another injury to strike Brooklyn’s backcourt for a chance to start again.

Ivan Rabb

After averaging 14.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.0 blocks over three games without Marc Gasol, coach J.B. Bickerstaff said Rabb would remain in the starting five, but foul trouble and Jonas Valanciunas’ debut in Memphis led to a two-point performance (in 11 minutes) Tuesday. Valanciunas’ big game off the bench (23 points, 10 rebounds) during his first game action in exactly two months suggests Rabb’s status as starter may not last much longer.

Valanciunas, meanwhile, is going to be eased back into action and sit during some back-to-backs, but he could be a monster over the rest of the season in his new environment (he ranks as the No. 21 fantasy player on a per 36-minute basis this year).

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