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It’s coming to an end.
We are entering the championship week for most fantasy football owners and, all of a sudden, I can no longer feel my legs. As many of you may know, I’ve been doing a stock report column here at XN Sports during the course of the NFL season. So, Adam, where has it been, you punk? Well, the trade deadline has passed in all leagues weeks ago, so it’s kind of difficult to buy and sell guys when you can no longer trade. However, I miss the column. And lately, I’ve been getting a lot more fantasy basketball questions on Twitter or during my weekly chats.
You see where this is going, don’t you?
With more of my attention gravitating towards fantasy hoops, I figured it would make too much sense to expand my stock report column to the hardwood, too. So let’s find out who’s rising and falling in fantasy land.
Stay with me here, football diehards.
Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic- I was high on Oladipo coming into the season, but an injury sidelined him to start the year. However, he’s starting to round into form lately, averaging 16.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.4 assists and a steal per game over his last five outings. The Magic have been wanting to run the floor a lot more often this year, which suits Oladipo’s style of play very well. He’s playing just under 35 minutes per game over his last five contests, and with the awesome play of Tobias Harris, Oladipo has himself a solid source of assists. And then, of course, you have to love the defensive numbers he gives you, averaging 1.3 steals per game on the season. I see Oladipo as a future All-Star in this league, and this could be the start of him breaking out in this league. This is a guy who contributes in almost all fantasy categories, is sporting a solid usage rate just south of 25, and I love what I’ve been seeing from the sophomore guard.
DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers- With both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin alongside him, it’s easy to forget about Jordan. But the talented center has been very, very good this season, especially as of late. On Monday night, he recorded his 10th double-double of the season, scoring 16 points, adding 15 rebounds. It was the eighth time over his last 10 games in which Jordan has accumulated at least 13 rebounds. We all know that Jordan is a good, ferocious rebounder, but a big part of his fantasy success has been his efficiency on the glass. On the season, he leads all of basketball in percentage of rebounds per chance (72.5%), while he ranks 6th in the NBA in rebound chances per game (17.4). Because of his presence on the glass, Jordan is now the number 17 overall player on ESPN’s Player Rate to this point. And because the Clippers play at a high pace, Jordan should continue to see plenty of rebounding chances. Teams will take a healthy amount of shots against Los Angeles for the rest of the campaign. Not to mention he is averaging 2.5 blocks per game on the year, one of only six players to reject at least two shots per contest. Teams are attempting over seven shots per game at the rim against Jordan this year, too.
Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors- Okay, I was wrong. I was never a fan of Thompson for fantasy purposes. Usually, I don’t like depending on shooters who don’t contribute in other categories, and if their shot isn’t falling, they don’t provide a ton of fantasy production. However, Thompson has been stellar for the best team in basketball, averaging 21.7 points, 3.3 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2.9 three-pointers per game in 2014. He’s been a consistent source of points, scoring at least 20 points in eight straight games, and 15 times over the course of the season. The added contributions on the glass and in the assist department has been huge for his fantasy value, as he’s now the number nine overall player in fantasy basketball. He’ll continue to see plenty of usage and shooting opportunities, as the Warriors rank second in all of basketball in pace (100.5). He’s already averaging 17 shot attempts per game to this point.
Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns- Don’t get me wrong. Bledsoe is a fantastic player, and a very good fantasy option. He is producing across the stat sheet, averaging 15.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists, one triple and 1.4 steals per game on the year. However, Isaiah Thomas has been banged up, as well as Goran Dragic as of late. In fact, most of that production has actually come with IT2 sidelined, who was logging about 25 minutes per game prior to getting hurt. And Bledsoe can be a bit reckless, averaging four turnovers per game over his last five outings. I’m not saying to panic over Bledsoe at all. However, with the trio of guards becoming whole once again, it wouldn’t be a horrible idea to dangle Bledsoe’s name out there in trade talks, in attempts to sell him high.
Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks- It’s been a disastrous season for the Knicks, who own the worst record in the NBA outside of Philadelphia. They have a pretty bad roster, but it hasn’t helped that their star player hasn’t been himself. Sure, you may look at his 23.4 points per game and think Melo is alright, but his rebounds and steals are significantly lower this season. There is also speculation about his knee being worse than the Knicks are letting on, and if he doesn’t rest a few times each week, there have even been some rumors surrounding the possibility of him being shut down in a lost season for New York. It’s a messy situation, and the next time he goes off, I’d seriously look to sell him to someone who still believes, or is a Knick fan, or something. He’s only touching the basketball 69.7 times per game to this point, which is also down from last season. And the typically efficient pull-up jump-shooter is shooting just 37.2 percent on such shots this year. Owners who invested a top-10 pick on the superstar are regretting it to this point, for sure.
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