Every Friday, we’ll take an in-depth look at which NBA players’ fantasy stocks are rising and falling heading into the final few days of that respective week. Here are three notable risers and three fallers from Week 17.
Jusuf Nurkic, C, Portland Trail Blazers
Jusuf Nurkic made an appearance in Monday’s waiver-wire watch, but after seeing his Portland debut Wednesday against the Utah Jazz, he deserved a nod here as well. After effectively falling out of the rotation in Denver, Nurkic went off for 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting, seven rebounds, three steals, one block and one assist in 21 minutes during the Trail Blazers’ 23-point loss to Utah. Considering Nurkic now has a full week to become more acclimated with Portland’s schemes, he has sky-high potential coming out of the All-Star break, making him a must-add if he’s still somehow on your league’s waiver wire.
James Johnson, SF, Miami Heat
After a five-game cold stretch toward the end of January, James Johnson has caught fire once more, averaging 16.5 points on 55.3 percent shooting, 5.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.8 blocks, 1.1 steals and 0.9 triples in just 29.3 minutes across his last 10 outings. On a per-game basis, Johnson is putting up third-round value over that span, which begs the question of why he’s still available in nearly 50 percent of ESPN.com leagues. With Justise Winslow out for the year and the Miami Heat surging toward playoff contention, there’s less concern about head coach Erik Spoelstra prioritizing the development of younger players moving forward, giving Johnson strong rest-of-season upside.
Wes Matthews, SG/SF, Dallas Mavericks
After missing two games with a hip strain in late January, Wes Matthews came back no worse for the wear, pouring in 16.8 points on 46.7 percent shooting, 5.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.0 triples in 35.1 minutes across his past 10 outings. During that span, he’s been putting up fifth-round value on a per-game basis, ahead of big-name players such as Paul George, Kristaps Porzingis and Kemba Walker. With Deron Williams having recently returned to Dallas’ starting lineup, Matthews may experience a slight downtick in offensive volume moving forward, but he’s likely to make up for that with increased shooting efficiency, giving him strong top-75 rest-of-season upside.
Dario Saric, SF/PF, Philadelphia 76ers
Channing Frye, PF, Cleveland Cavaliers
Kelly Olynyk, C, Boston Celtics
Will Barton, SG/SF, Denver Nuggets
Terrence Ross, SG, Orlando Magic
Ersan Ilyasova, PF, Philadelphia 76ers
With Philadelphia 76ers rookie big man Dario Saric having caught fire as of late — he’s riding six straight double-digit outings heading into the All-Star break — Ersan Ilyasova’s fantasy stock has conversely taken a hit. In Ilyasova’s past six games, he’s averaging just 8.7 points on a ghastly 28.6 percent shooting, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.8 triples and 0.8 steals in only 21.9 minutes. With Joel Embiid’s rest-of-season status currently unclear, Ilyasova owners should keep an eye on their league’s waiver wire heading into the NBA’s Feb. 23 trade deadline, as a higher-upside option may become available in the coming days.
Sean Kilpatrick, PG/SG, Brooklyn Nets
The days of Sean Kilpatrick routinely pouring in 20-plus points are but a distant memory for fantasy owners, as the Brooklyn Nets combo guard has averaged just 10.2 points on 42.9 percent shooting, 3.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.5 triples in only 21.5 minutes across his past 10 outings. That paltry production places him outside of 16th-round value on a per-game basis over that span, as Brooklyn head coach Kenny Atkinson isn’t giving him enough minutes to maintain consistent fantasy value. Unless the Nets trade Brook Lopez by next Thursday, Kilpatrick’s rest-of-season outlook appears murky, making him potential waiver-wire fodder.
Tyreke Evans, SG/SF, New Orleans Pelicans
After showing flashes of his old self in mid-January — most notably with a 29-point eruption against the Brooklyn Nets on Jan. 12 — a left ankle injury has slowed down Tyreke Evans in recent weeks. Over the New Orleans Pelicans’ past 10 games, of which Evans has played in seven, the Kentucky product has averaged just 7.4 points on 37.7 percent shooting, 3.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 0.9 steals in 19.8 minutes, far outside of cracking even 16th-round value. Given his playing-time restrictions and his penchant for picking up minor ailments, fantasy owners should move on if the trade deadline creates a greater opportunity for someone in their free-agent pool.
Cody Zeller, PF/C, Charlotte Hornets
Mason Plumlee, PF/C, Denver Nuggets
Kent Bazemore, SG/SF, Atlanta Hawks
Reggie Jackson, PG, Detroit Pistons
P.J. Tucker, SG/SF/PF, Phoenix Suns
All rankings via Basketball Monster are based on nine-category leagues and are current heading into Friday, Feb. 17. All ownership percentages via ESPN.com. All average draft position info via FantasyPros.