My, how the NBA landscape is shifting these days! Blockbuster trades, major injuries, virus protocol and more have drastically altered the state of the association and the fantasy basketball stock market as we knew them. It’s impossible to address every player in this article, but here are some of the most notable risers and fallers as Week 4 comes to a close.
Week 4 Fantasy Basketball Stock Market Watch | Rising Stock
CJ McCollum, SG, Portland Trail Blazers
No player has been hotter over the first four weeks of the 2020-21 NBA season than CJ McCollum. The star shooting guard is averaging a ridiculous 27.6 points per game on 47.0% shooting (43.4% from 3-point range). But that’s not all! McCollum is also contributing in other categories, supplying 5.3 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.4 steals in 35.1 minutes per contest. We’ve known for some time that he and Damian Lillard are the top dogs in Portland. The only plot twist here is that McCollum has been the team’s go-to scorer to begin this season.
While his shooting percentages may regress a bit as the season continues, the current situation in Portland seems to suggest that McCollum’s fantasy basketball stock may climb even higher still. The Trail Blazers suffered a devastating loss this week when center Jusuf Nurkic sustained a broken wrist. While this directly impacts the fantasy value of Enes Kanter, it also puts more onus on McCollum and Lillard to carry the load offensively.
Tyrese Maxey, SG/PG, Philadelphia 76ers
The 76ers are getting most of their big guns back from virus protocol, which means the playing time for guys like Tyrese Maxey is set to decline. With that said, the rookie first-round pick has more than proven his worth on the fantasy basketball landscape. I would expect him to see between 25 and 30 minutes per game going forward. Maxey proved he is capable of producing in that time allotment in Philadelphia’s most recent game against the Miami Heat, scoring 15 points. For those in category leagues, Maxey’s assists and rebounds are likely to decline with the 76ers getting healthy again. Nonetheless, his scoring abilities and the flashes of brilliance he displayed with the team shorthanded suggest plenty of upside going forward.
Jerami Grant, SF/PF, Detroit Pistons
The Denver Nuggets remain a threat in the Western Conference but losing Jerami Grant this offseason cannot be understated. The 26-year-old signed a three-year deal with Detroit and has quickly asserted himself as one of the team’s highest usage players. He is seeing 36.7 minutes per game and making good on his playing time. Grant’s season averages as Week 4 comes to a close include 24.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.2 blocks. Fantasy basketball managers looking for further proof of his staying power should reference his shot attempts, which have been at or above 15 in each of the Pistons’ last nine games.
One of the great things about fantasy sports is that even the worst teams yield value. Grant’s production in Detroit is the perfect example. Blake Griffin was featured in this column last week as an aging star with declining value. The Pistons are far from contender status this season, but Grant has far more fantasy basketball upside on this bad roster than he did as part of the Nuggets’ rotation.
Week 4 Fantasy Basketball Stock Market Watch | Falling Stock
Kyrie Irving, PG, Brooklyn Nets
Following Wednesday’s blockbuster trade in which the Nets acquired James Harden, Kyrie Irving is set to be just the third option offensively going forward. Many fantasy basketball analysts aren’t sure how the chemistry and offense will flow with both Harden and Irving being ball-dominant guards. Irving would likely still have a solid floor in assists, but his 27.1 points per game average will undoubtedly take a hit.
Of course, we will only find out just how the new Brooklyn “big three” looks on the court together when Irving rejoins the team. Oddly enough, that “when” seems to be morphing into more of an “if” by the day. First, it was videos of Irving violating the NBA’s mask protocols at a family birthday party. Then, news surfaced that Irving was apparently on a political Zoom call Tuesday night at the same time his Nets teammates were preparing to play a game! The 28-year-old has not played since January 5th. Pretty much the only certainty at this point is that Irving’s fantasy basketball stock is plummeting.
Jarrett Allen, C, Cleveland Cavaliers
Another important fantasy basketball domino from the James Harden trade concerns Jarrett Allen. The former Texas A&M Aggie has put up impressive numbers through the season’s first few weeks, averaging a double-double with 11.2 points and 10.4 points. Unfortunately, Allen went from playing over 30 minutes in four of his last five games as a Net to now being part of a crowded Cavaliers frontcourt.
Andre Drummond is still the primary center in Cleveland for now. This could very easily change given that he is in the final year of his contract. The Cavs could very well look to trade him before the deadline, clearing the way for Allen to emerge as the team’s center of the future. With that said, the Cavaliers are also set to get Kevin Love back from injury soon. Add in Larry Nance Jr. and JaVale McGee and there are far more bodies up front that Allen must contend with in Cleveland than he did in Brooklyn. It’s impossible to not downgrade his fantasy basketball stock for the time being given the expected decline in volume.
John Collins, PF/C, Atlanta Hawks
John Collins has been one of the biggest fantasy basketball disappointments relative to his ADP early on in the season. Widely expected to be the primary big man on a Hawks team that has the pieces to contend for a playoff spot, Collins’ numbers haven’t been what many had hoped for. Sure his 16.7 points and 7.7 boards are fine averages, but they aren’t game-changing. Furthermore, the Hawks will get Danilo Gallinari back from injury eventually as well. This could eat into Collins’ playing time and further hamper the value of the 23-year-old in the long run. With various reports surfacing in the past week that Collins is unhappy with Atlanta’s offense, it’s fair to wonder whether his fantasy outlook gets worse before they get better.