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With the second week of fantasy basketball upon us, we seem to have picked up right where we left off. Kevin Durant leads the league in scoring, Dwight Howard leads the league in rebounds, Chris Paul leads the league in steals, Roy Hibbert leads the league in blocks, and everything is right where it should be. There haven’t been too many major developments but we are seeing some young players and few veterans getting an increasing amount of opportunities as coaches continue to get a sense of where everyone is. At the same time, there have been plenty of rookies that have struggled mightily and were clearly poor fantasy draft choices despite their high upside. Let’s take a look at who’s trending up and who’s trending way down in this week’s stock market.
John Henson: I’m a huge fan of Henson’s abilities and with Larry Sanders in off-court trouble and Ersan Ilyasova banged up, he’s getting the opportunity to play a ton of minutes. He played 39 minutes on Wednesday against the Cavs and put up 14 points, nine rebounds, three blocks, and three assists while shooting 78 percent from the floor. Henson has now scored 13-14 points in three straight games, is shooting 68 percent from the floor, and has great shot blocking and rebounding ability. If he continues to see more minutes, he’ll be a must-own in every league.
Brandon Bass: Bass is playing more and seeing more shot attempts than we saw last season which has certainly made him more fantasy-relevant. Bass put up 20 points on Wednesday against the Jazz and has scored 17+ points in three of his first five games. Although he’s not usually a great shot blocker, he is averaging 1.4 blocks per game and is rebounding at his usual 5.4 percent rate. He’s not a high upside pickup but he’s playing about 32 minutes per game which is giving him a lot more opportunities to put up numbers.
Metta World Peace: With the Knicks struggling for offense and now also needing defensive help with Tyson Chandler out, MWP figures to have a big role for the Knicks. He has been shooting lights out over the last two games, putting up a combined 35 points, 10 rebounds, four steals, and four three-pointers. He played more than 32 minutes on Tuesday with Chandler out and averaged 13.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.5 steals when given the chance to play 30+ minutes last season.
Andrew Nicholson: Nicholson didn’t get to play a lot of minutes in his rookie campaign last season but did average a strong 16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, and one block per 36 minutes. This season, he’s getting more and more minutes and making the most of his opportunities. He’s averaging 13.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, and shooting a decent 46 percent from the floor. He’s gotten at least 24 minutes in three straight games and should see an expanded role moving forward. He’s not a must-buy now but it looks like he’s trending the right way.
Markieff Morris: Morris is hot and isn’t likely to continue his offensive onslaught (40 points over his last two games off the bench) but it does appear that he will get more minutes than Channing Frye. His 17 rebounds, three steals, and five assists over the last two games don’t hurt either but it’s hard to see a guy who averaged 7.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, and shot 40 percent from the floor over his first two years suddenly becoming a fantasy force. He has value while he’s hot but not for long.
Vitor Faverani: After a couple of promising games to start the season (25 points, 21 rebounds, nine blocks over his first two), Faverani has been lost in the rotation and played a mere six minutes on Wednesday against the Jazz. Over three games since his hot start, he’s averaging just 4.3 points and 3.6 rebounds.
Channing Frye: We didn’t know what kind of Channing Frye we’d see after a year off from basketball and it hasn’t been pretty – made worse by Markieff Morris’ surge. Frye has now played 22 or fewer minutes in four of his five games and has scored seven or fewer points in four of five as well. He only has 19 rebounds on the season and hasn’t contributed much in any other category. He’s definitely trending down.
Cody Zeller: Rookies in the NBA should rarely be started and Zeller’s novelty has quickly worn off. The fourth-overall pick in this year’s draft is averaging just 16 minutes, 5.6 points, and 3.6 rebounds per game while shooting 48 percent. His role figures to remain limited so there’s not much point in owning him.
Anthony Bennett: If Zeller’s novelty has worn off, try first-overall pick Anthony Bennett who finally made his first shot of the season on Wednesday and is now shooting 1-for-20. With just 16 rebounds on the season, the only stat he’s helped with is steals (six) so there is absolutely no point in keeping him around, especially while he averages a mere 12 minutes per game.
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