We’re now one week into the 2017-18 NBA season, which means it’s time for our first weekly rest-of-season fantasy basketball value update.
Each Wednesday, we’ll present an updated look at our Top 200, which will focus on players’ value in nine-category, head-to-head leagues from this point forward. Those who are sidelined for extended periods—here’s looking at you, Chris Paul, Nikola Mirotic and JaMychal Green—will tumble down the rankings until they return, whereas rotation changes could result in some players soaring.
Below the rankings, you can read about some of the notable risers and fallers from the first week of the season.
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Read more about some notable risers and fallers:
LaMarcus Aldridge, PF/C, San Antonio Spurs: Geez, that heart-to-heart with San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich must have been something else! After opening the season with 25 points on 9-of-21 shooting, 10 rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a triple against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, LaMarcus Aldridge poured in 28 points on 12-of-24 shooting, 10 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal against the Chicago Bulls on Saturday and added 20 points on 7-of-16 shooting, eight boards, three assists, a block and a steal against the Toronto Raptors on Monday. It bears watching whether LMA can sustain this hot start whenever Kawhi Leonard returns, but with Leonard’s timetable still uncertain, LMA has moved into the top 50 for the time being.
Eric Bledsoe, PG, Phoenix Suns: If you spent an early-round pick on Eric Bledsoe, it’s already time to panic. On Sunday, he tweeted, “I don’t wanna be here,” just hours before news broke that the Phoenix Suns had fired head coach Earl Watson. The following day, ESPN.com’s Chris Haynes reported Bledsoe met with the Suns before shootaround and “was sent home.” He proceeded to miss Monday’s game against the Sacramento Kings, as general manager Ryan McDonough told reporters that Bledsoe “won’t be with us going forward.” A trade would be best for all parties at this point—and according to ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Suns are already “engaged in trade talks with several teams”—but until that comes to fruition, Bledsoe’s top-50 upside is rapidly disappearing.
Jamal Murray, PG, Denver Nuggets: Jamal Murray was a trendy late-round sleeper among the fantasy community this year, but his first few outings haven’t justified the hype. Despite beating out Emmanuel Mudiay for the Denver Nuggets’ starting point guard gig, Murray put up only eight points on 2-of-6 shooting, two assists, two rebounds and two triples in Denver’s season-opening loss against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, and he followed up with two points on 1-of-9 shooting, two assists, two rebounds and a steal against the Sacramento Kings on Saturday. He’s still a hold, particularly in deeper leagues, but those with weekly lineup locks should consider keeping him on the bench until he starts receiving more consistent minutes.
Darren Collison, PG, Indiana Pacers: It hasn’t taken Darren Collison to adjust to his new digs in Indiana. He opened the season with a 21-point, 11-assist effort in a 140-131 victory over the Brooklyn Nets, and he averaged 15.0 points, 9.8 dimes, 3.8 rebounds, 1.3 triples and 1.3 steals through his first three games, good for top-25 value on a per-game basis in nine-category leagues. Having staved off Cory Joseph to seize control of the Pacers’ starting point guard gig, Collison is looking more and more like a steal for those who grabbed him with a late-round pick. He’s now firmly in the top 100 for rest-of-season value.
Markelle Fultz, PG, Philadelphia 76ers: Markelle Fultz apparently “cannot raise up his arms to shoot the basketball,” his agent, Raymond Brothers, told Wojnarowski on Tuesday. That helps explain why his free-throw stroke now looks like Shaquille O’Neal’s and his refusal to fire away from deep. Those who spent a top-100 pick on Fultz can’t be thrilled with the early returns—he had a higher average draft position than Dennis Smith Jr., Avery Bradley, Aaron Gordon and Robert Covington, among others—but you’d be selling at an all-time low if you attempt to trade him now. Lower short-term expectations, weather the storm and pray his shoulder heals quickly enough for him to regain the form that made him the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NBA draft.
John Collins, PF/C, Atlanta Hawks: John Collins is quickly emerging as one of the bigger steals from this year’s draft class. After a 14-point, five-rebound debut against the Dallas Mavericks, he’s posted double-doubles in each of his past two outings despite averaging just 19.0 minutes per game on the year. Veterans Ersan Ilyasova and Dewayne Dedmon earned starting gigs at the beginning of the year, but it’s only a matter of time before the rookie usurps one of them. He’s a high-upside, must-add player in leagues of all sizes, as it wouldn’t surprise if he wound up posting top-100 value by the end of the year.
Willy Hernangomez, C, New York Knicks: All offseason, the New York Knicks talked up Willy Hernangomez as a fixture of their long-term future alongside Kristaps Porzingis, Frank Ntilikina and Tim Hardaway Jr. But in the Knicks’ season opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, he played just four minutes of garbage time, and he didn’t see the floor at all during a 111-107 loss to the Detroit Pistons on Saturday. Head coach Jeff Hornacek blamed Hernangomez’s defense for his lack of playing time, per Fred Kerber of the New York Post—you know, because Enes Kanter is such a defensive stalwart—but until the Knicks shift into a full-on tank, Kanter figures to keep short-circuiting Hernangomez’s breakout campaign. He’s a hold in deeper leagues, but those in 10-team leagues should be able to find higher-upside options on the waiver wire.
Gorgui Dieng, PF/C, Minnesota Timberwolves: Gorgui Dieng’s ADP of 80.3 never made sense. The Minnesota Timberwolves handed Taj Gibson a two-year, $28 million contract in free agency, reuniting him with head coach Tom Thibodeau. Since Karl-Anthony Towns was a lock to continue playing 35-plus minutes a night, that left Gibson and Dieng in direct competition for the majority of time at the 4. Gibson has taken a commanding lead early on, as Dieng is averaging just 4.5 points on 41.2 percent shooting and 4.0 rebounds in 13.5 minutes per game. He’s no longer a must-hold if a hot free-agent pickup such as Caris LeVert, Josh Richardson or Taurean Prince is floating around on your waiver wire.
All ownership percentages via ESPN.com. All average draft position info via FantasyPros. All rankings via Basketball Monster are based on nine-category leagues and are current heading into Wednesday, Oct. 25.