After a second week of NBA action, league results continue to surprise. The Trailblazers and Jazz continue to win, while expected contenders in the Nets and Lakers continue to struggle mightily, with the Nets going as far as to already part ways with head coach Steve Nash. And amidst all the early-season chaos, there have been several other surprising players who have seen their stock move quite a bit in recent days, so let’s take a look at a handful of these potential fantasy hoops game-changers.
Fantasy Basketball Stock Report
Stock on the Rise
Dennis Smith Jr., PG, Charlotte Hornets
Filling in for the injured LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier, Dennis Smith Jr. has gotten off to a blistering start to the season as Charlotte’s starting point guard. He has reached double figures in six of seven games and has topped eight assists in three of his last four while averaging an impressive 2.4 steals per contest on the year. Playing 37 minutes in each of the past two games, Smith should continue to stuff the stat sheet for as long as Ball and Rozier remain out, and he may have even earned himself a decent enough role once the team is back at full strength. His stock has never been higher, and now might not be a terrible time to sell high if you can find someone who believes in the young journeyman.
Chris Boucher, PF/C, Toronto Raptors
After missing the first three games of the season, Chris Boucher has played very good basketball since returning to the floor. The big man has shown great energy on the floor, pairing his ability with exceptional hustle, and his minutes have slowly worked their way into the low 20s. As someone who can provide a rare combination of threes and blocks while contributing well across the board, Boucher needs to continue to impress his coach enough to warrant more minutes so that he can become the fantasy monster of our dreams. Both his minutes and stock are trending in the right direction, and it will be exciting to see his production if this trajectory continues.
Trey Murphy III, SF/PF, New Orleans Pelicans
After coming out of nowhere to post an enormous stat line of 16 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 threes on opening night, Trey Murphy III has only gotten better as the young season has progressed. He has now averaged 36.5 minutes over the team’s last four contests, knocking down multiple triples in every game this year to average 3.2 per game along with more than a steal a game. He’s catapulted himself into a potentially elite specialist at this point, and the playing time seems to be close to a lock at this point, although his minutes should drop a bit once Brandon Ingram returns. Regardless, his stock is soaring right now and he needs to be rostered everywhere.
Stock on the Decline
Tari Eason, SF/PF, Houston Rockets
After a couple of very encouraging games to start the season for the talented rookie, Tari Eason has cooled off considerably over the past week of action. The hope was that the rebuilding Rockets would give him more minutes after the hot start, but Eason has seen 15 or fewer minutes in each of his past three contests now, failing to do anything of value aside from a steal per game. He’s definitely someone to monitor as the season progresses, as the talent is undeniable and the opportunity should be there at some point, but his stock has come crashing down in the short term, and it’s looking like he won’t provide much fantasy value any time in the near future.
Kawhi Leonard, SG/SF, Los Angeles Clippers
And so it begins. Hopeful that Kawhi Leonard would actually have a healthy, productive regular season, we are already being reminded that this dream simply is not possible anymore. He has played just 42 minutes total this season while missing five games and soon to be more as he deals with “right knee injury management.” If you were fooled entering draft season and wasted an early pick on him, just know you were not alone. That said, his stock is way down and this season is going to be a headache for as long as he is on your roster.