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Fantasy Basketball Stock Report 10/27

The NBA is back and already looks better than ever! Well, maybe not better than ever, but it’s really nice to see actual basketball instead of the aggravating foul-fest we had to witness last year. While this might be a bad thing for some players who had a knack for drawing these absurd fouls with regularity (more about James Harden later), it has undoubtedly improved the overall quality of the game. But in addition to the league and the referees who have really stepped up their game thus far, there have been plenty of players who have surpassed expectations in the early going. So let’s take a look at a handful of these players whose stock is on the rise after this first week of basketball, along with some players who might be trending in the wrong direction.

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Week 2 Fantasy Basketball Stock Report

Stock on the Rise

Miles Bridges, SF/PF – Charlotte Hornets

I’m sure most people expected Miles Bridges to take another step forward in his fourth NBA season. He’s 23 years old and has a solid starting role on a young, exciting team that likes to push the pace. But I’ll be honest, I did not see this coming. Bridges has looked like the best player on the floor at all times, putting up the type of numbers you’d expect to see from a LeBron or Giannis. Through four games, the former lottery pick is averaging 25.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.3 steals, and 2.5 threes per game, while shooting a blistering 52.9% from the floor and 94.1% from the line. He’s establishing a strong floor with seven or more rebounds in every game, at least one three and steal per contest, and a 50% shooting mark or better in all four games. He’s already topped 30 points twice and had a 25 and 10 double-double, all within this first week of the season. While it’s unlikely he maintains this exact pace, it is clear that Bridges’ stock is on the rise, and he is in for a monster season.

Ricky Rubio, PG – Cleveland Cavaliers

After moving to Cleveland where he appeared to be nothing more than a veteran guard off the bench to help mentor the young duo of Collin Sexton and Darius GarlandRicky Rubio has looked arguably better than ever before, and he has been a huge part of the Cavs offense thus far. Rubio 14.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 9.0 assists, 1.3 steals, and 2.3 threes per game on a career-best 42.6% from the floor and 39.1% from downtown. The veteran point guard has topped eight assists with at least one steal in every contest, and his 22.7% usage rate is second on the team only to Sexton. And while some of this was aided by Garland’s two-game absence, Rubio is still getting the assists, steals, and usage with Garland in the lineup. Having received 25+ minutes in all four games, it looks like Rubio will be a much bigger part of this offense than was anticipated coming into the season. The 31-year-old’s stock is looking much better than it was a week ago.

Ja Morant, PG – Memphis Grizzlies

Although it’s only been three games, I am already putting Ja Morant squarely in the MVP race for this season. After an electrifying performance in the postseason, Morant has picked up right where he left off, taking yet another step forward as he looks to cement himself as one of the elite point guards in the NBA. The 22-year-old is averaging 35.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 1.3 steals, and 2.7 threes per game on an absurd 58.0% from the floor. His shot from beyond the arc looks better than ever, and his ability to put the ball on the floor and attack the rim has never been in question. With a 33.6% usage rate that is currently second in the entire NBA behind only Giannis, Morant will have endless opportunities to stuff the stat sheet while looking to lead the Grizzlies back to the postseason. His stock is on the rise, and I expect an all-star season from the budding superstar.

Stock on the Decline

James Harden, PG/SG – Brooklyn Nets

Yikes. We knew the crackdown on ridiculous fouls would affect James Harden, but the extent to which it’s impacting him is a bit alarming. After attempting 7.3 free throw attempts per game last season, that number has dropped drastically down to just three attempts per contest through this first week of the season. This has resulted in him scoring just 17.3 points per game, the first time his scoring has dipped below 20 points per game since the 2011-12 season when he was still on the Thunder. On top of his lowest scoring output since his third year in the league, Harden is also shooting a miserable 36.4% from the floor on 16.5 shots per game, while turning the ball over 4.8 times per contest. While it seems inevitable that someone as good as Harden will eventually turn things around at some point, his stock is certainly on the decline, with the 32-year-old clearly bothered by these new rules. This type of performance is far from the top-5 overall level at which he was drafted in most fantasy leagues this year.

Chris Boucher, PF/C – Toronto Raptors

Entering the season, it was thought that Chris Boucher would see enough minutes with Pascal Siakam out that he would become an even bigger monster for fantasy purposes. After putting up really strong per-minute numbers last season, the only thing missing was more minutes! But quite the opposite has happened through four games this year. Boucher underperformed from the start, and Nick Nurse all but completely took him out of the rotation because why wouldn’t he. Nurse has been a detriment to Boucher’s potential for quite some time now, but this is a new low. The big man has only seen the court for 50 total minutes through four games, and just 13 combined minutes between the last two contests. And while he certainly wasn’t playing well, shooting just 27.6% from the floor and not helping the team on either end of the floor, we’re still only four games into the season! He’s far too talented to simply banish him to the bench, but Nurse felt that this move, along with absolutely ripping him apart afterward, were the proper things to do. Boucher has all the potential in the world if he finds himself in the right situation, but his stock is at rock bottom right now and there’s no sign of things improving as long as he’s playing for Nick Nurse.

Did you enjoy Kyle’s Fantasy Basketball Stock Report? More Fantasy Basketball Goodness: Waiver Wire | Weekly Schedule Preview | Fantasy Basketball Stock Report | NBA DFS Picks

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