As the first month of the NBA season comes to a close, we are entering mid-season grind time in fantasy basketball. Plenty of roster shuffling and injuries have impacted the fantasy landscape in numerous ways, a few of which we highlighted in last week’s column. While off-court moves certainly impact the fantasy basketball stock market, a player’s on-court performance is still at the core of their outlook going forward. Here are a handful of risers and fallers as we reach the end of Week 5.
Week 5 Fantasy Basketball Stock Market Watch | Rising Stock
Kelly Oubre Jr., SF/PF, Golden State Warriors
It was a rough start to the season and to Kelly Oubre Jr.’s career as a Warrior after coming over from the Phoenix Suns in the offseason. Oubre has always been a player that fantasy basketball managers have had to be wary of having the occasional pitfall game. Oubre’s overall stock market outlook is on the rise though after a strong past couple of weeks.
Wednesday’s 16-point effort against the San Antonio Spurs was Oubre’s fifth straight game scoring in double figures. He has also been increasingly active on the glass of late and posted back-to-back multi-steal games as well. Oubre lags in assists and for those playing in category leagues, his shooting percentages are heinous. With that said, the 24-year-old is certainly looking more comfortable playing alongside Stephen Curry and the rest of Steve Kerr’s Bay Area cast. In terms of fantasy performances, it can’t get any worse for Oubre going forward than what we saw to begin the season.
Richaun Holmes, C/PF, Sacramento Kings
Richaun Holmes has been making good on his increased playing time of late, filling fantasy basketball stat sheets to the brim. Four straight double-digit scoring outputs will boost anyone’s stock. Holmes has also been grabbing rebounds at a high rate, securing seven or more in four of the Kings’ last five games.
As Week 5 nears its close, Holmes’ season averages include 13.6 points (68.1% shooting), 7.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.4 blocks. Sacramento may have major defensive issues, but Holmes is supplying defensive fantasy stats. While Holmes continues to make a nightly impact, fellow center Hassan Whiteside continues to prove that he just isn’t that good. With 35 minutes or more played in four of the last five games, his value is trending upward.
Jordan Clarkson, SG, Utah Jazz
For a player averaging just over 25 minutes per game, Jordan Clarkson sure gets plenty of shots up. The good news for both the Jazz and Clarkson fantasy basketball owners is that he has been on a scoring tear of late. Clarkson is averaging 17.7 points on 48.5% shooting on the season (41.8% from 3-point range). Furthermore, one would have to go all the way back to January 5th to find the last time Clarkson had fewer than three made 3-pointers in a game. He’s taking shots and the shots, for the most part, have been falling. While his averages of 4.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists are quite pedestrian, Clarkson’s shooting impact cannot go unnoticed. His stock will continue to rise so long as the ball keeps finding the net.
Week 5 Fantasy Basketball Stock Market Watch | Falling Stock
Devin Booker, SG/PG, Phoenix Suns
While Devin Booker is still a player with the scoring prowess to be a primary fantasy basketball contributor, his stock market value is starting to decline in category-specific leagues. The addition of Chris Paul to the Suns backcourt has really put on display the lack of versatility in Booker’s game. With Week 5 coming to an end, Booker’s 22.2 points per game are great. What’s not as appealing for fantasy purposes are averages of just 4.1 assists and 3.4 rebounds. The veteran Paul is outpacing Booker in both categories despite averaging nearly nine fewer points per outing.
By no means is this argument a slight on Booker’s scoring and overall playmaking abilities. But in fantasy basketball, where every statistical category matters, Booker’s value isn’t quite what he was drafted to be. Expect to see him slip down rankings in the coming weeks unless there’s a change to the trends we’ve seen over the first month of play.
Donte DiVincenzo, SG/PG, Milwaukee Bucks
The stat lines have been far from encouraging for Donte DiVincenzo fantasy basketball owners of late. His season average of 10.1 points per game is higher than his output in eight of the last ten games. Furthermore, DiVincenzo lacks eye-popping contributions in other statistical areas as well. His 25.4 minutes per game are pretty bland when it comes to fantasy basketball production. The Bucks simply don’t require that DiVincenzo be overly involved in the offense for them to have success. DiVincenzo is a player who is likely to come in far below his preseason fantasy ADP when it’s all said and done.
Obi Toppin, PF, New York Knicks
Knicks rookie first round pick Obi Toppin has seen his fantasy basketball ownership dwindle to 28% in ESPN leagues. One could easily argue that it shouldn’t even be that high. Toppin lacks any sort of consistent playing time, the most vital number of all when it comes to being a reliable fantasy contributor. His 12.0 minutes per game average simply won’t cut it. Nor will season splits of 5.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 0.8 assists. Last season’s Atlantic 10 basketball player of the year has NBA-level talent, but he just isn’t used enough to be fantasy relevant in this, his rookie season.
Should Toppin be out there more? Probably. But so long as Tom Thibodeau is patrolling the sidelines at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks are bound to have their fair share of questionable playing time decisions. While we’re on that thought, point guard Immanuel Quickley is but a few more minutes each game away from exploding.