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Week 6 Basketball Risers and Fallers: Nikola Jokic fantasy's top player

Dalton Del Don
·5 min read
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Fantasy Stock Up

Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

Jokic showed up in terrific shape in the bubble, and it’s translated to 2020-21, when he’s been the top fantasy player to open the year. Jokic is actually averaging a career-low in blocks (something likely to regress), but you’ll have to forgive the center who’s dishing the second-most assists per game (9.6) in the league while doing things like this. Jokic currently looks like a near flawless player who’s making a run at the MVP award, and he’s more likely to remain the top fantasy player throughout the year than he is to fall far from it.

Clint Capela, Atlanta Hawks

Capela missed Atlanta’s last game with a sore hand, but the injury isn’t expected to keep him out long, and few players in the league are currently hotter, as he’s averaged 22.0 points, 18.8 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 5.5 blocks over the last four games. Despite coming off an injury and having to acclimate with a new team, Capela is off to the best start of his career. An easy schedule has helped, but he’s been a top-10 fantasy player over the last two weeks and should provide third-round type fantasy value at minimum moving forward.

Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic

Anthony was an attractive fantasy add after Markelle Fultz went down for the season, but he’s been dropped by many teams since thanks to some really poor shooting. But the rookie has looked much better of late, averaging 12.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.0 block and 2.0 threes while shooting 51.9% from the floor over the last three games. Anthony’s jumper is a work in progress, but with him locked in as Orlando’s starting point guard and impressing of late, he’s worth adding in the 65% of Yahoo leagues in which he remains available.

DeMarcus Cousins, Houston Rockets

Cousins clearly benefitted from Christian Wood’s absence during his big games over the weekend, but the massive numbers (16.5 ppg, 16.0 rpg, 6.0 apg) suggest he’s fully healthy with bigger things to come. With James Harden out of Houston and John Wall continuing to battle knee soreness, Cousins could remain plenty fantasy valuable even after Wood returns to the court. Boogie was a top-35 fantasy player the last time he played in 2018-19 despite seeing just 25.7 mpg on a loaded Golden State team, so he doesn’t need a ton of minutes to be fantasy productive. The usage could open up for him in Houston moving forward, so Cousins’ fantasy value is moving up.

Houston Rockets center DeMarcus Cousins passes during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Houston Rockets center DeMarcus Cousins could see a spike in fantasy value in the aftermath of the James Harden trade. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers

Few fantasy players have provided a bigger profit than Turner so far, as the mid-rounder has been worth a first-round pick. Despite some moving parts around him in Indiana, Turner has mostly been the same player this season for fantasy purposes on the offensive side, but on defense he’s moved to another level, securing 1.6 spg while leading the NBA with 4.2 bpg. Remarkably, Rudy Gobert is second in the league in blocks, and he’s getting a full 1.5 fewer per game. Turner is also attempting more threes under new coach Nate Bjorkgren as expected, and there’s little reason to expect a big production drop off on a depleted Pacers team without much firepower.

Fantasy Stock Down

LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs

Aldridge is playing a bit better lately, but he’s struggled this season while returning from rotator cuff surgery. The 35-year-old is settling for outside jumpers while averaging a career-low 4.7 rebounds per game. After ranking as a top-30 fantasy player in 9-cat leagues each of the past three seasons in San Antonio, Aldridge hasn’t been top-130 so far. Fantasy managers have to hope the sluggish start is due more to the recovery from surgery than age catching up to him, but Aldridge has been a major disappointment either way.

Marvin Bagley, Sacramento Kings

The good news is his sore left wrist is reportedly feeling better, but Bagley simply hasn’t shown the growth many hoped for in his third year. The minutes are nice, but he’s shooting just 56.9% from the line while barely ranking as a top-250 fantasy player and being outplayed on a nightly basis by Richaun Holmes. He’s still just 21 years old, but Luka Doncic (whom the Kings passed on for Bagley) produced four more triple-doubles last season than Bagley had games played. If that’s not demoralizing enough, the Kings power forward has the NBA’s worst defensive rating this season among players who’ve seen 25+ mpg. That’s not ideal.

Blake Griffin, Detroit Pistons

Griffin has barely been a top-150 fantasy player this season, as his game has drastically changed. In fact, the once high-flying Griffin somehow has recorded just one block all year while yet to dunk the basketball (he once jumped over a car to win a dunk contest), helping to explain his ugly 38.3 FG%. Moreover, Griffin remains one of the league’s bigger injury risks (albeit maybe less of one with this style), and coach Dwayne Casey recently said PF Sekou Doumbouya is looking at more playing time. Even a healthy Griffin has become droppable in some fantasy formats.

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