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Fantasy basketball risers and fallers: Week 20

Minnesota Timberwolves' Ricky Rubio, right, drives to the basket past Milwaukee Bucks' Greg Monroe (15) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
AP Photo/Aaron Gash

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 20. 

Risers

Ricky Rubio, PG, Minnesota Timberwolves

Who knew threatening to trade a player to the New York Knicks could coax some career-best ball out of him? That’s exactly what’s happening with Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio, who has averaged 15.7 points on 46.9 percent shooting, 11.3 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.2 triples in 33.8 minutes across 10 games since the All-Star break. With head coach Tom Thibodeau recently gushing about Rubio, telling reporters, “He’s playing at a very, very high level,” it appears as though rookie point guard Kris Dunn is little threat to usurp him any time soon (at least until the Timberwolves are officially eliminated from playoff contention). 

Brandon Ingram, SF, Los Angeles Lakers

On Wednesday, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported the Los Angeles Lakers “have effectively shut down healthy veterans Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov for the rest of the season to give the majority of playing time over the final 15 games to their younger players.” That’s music to the ears of Brandon Ingram owners, as this past June’s No. 2 overall pick should be in line for a massive minutes load over this final month of the season. Ingram has averaged 14.5 points on 54.4 percent shooting, 4.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.8 blocks and 0.8 triples in 36.5 minutes across his past six games, and with Deng chained to the bench moving forward, his fantasy stock is soaring skyward. 

Tyler Ulis, PG/SG, Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns held Eric Bledsoe out of Wednesday night’s loss to the Sacramento Kings in what head coach Earl Watson deemed a “management decision,” per Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, and according to Doug Haller of AZCentral, he won’t play again this season while he recovers from knee soreness. That has Tyler Ulis’ fantasy stock skyrocketing, as the rookie point guard showed out against Sacramento with 13 points on 6-of-18 shooting, a career-high 13 assists, two steals, one rebound, one block and a trey in a whopping 39 minutes. With the Suns in full tank mode over their final 14 games, Ulis could quickly become a matchup-swinging difference-maker. 

Other risers:

Dario Saric, SF/PF, Philadelphia 76ers

Jordan Clarkson, PG/SG, Los Angeles Lakers

Rajon Rondo, PG, Chicago Bulls

Jeremy Lin, PG, Brooklyn Nets

Jamal Murray, SG, Denver Nuggets

Fallers

Nick Young, SG/SF, Los Angeles Lakers

Nick Young hasn’t been formally benched like Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng, but his absence during the Lakers’ back-to-back set against Philadelphia and Denver on Sunday and Monday was conspicuous. Swaggy P did make it back on to the court Wednesday against the Houston Rockets, finishing with zero points on 0-of-9 shooting and three rebounds in 24 minutes, though the Lakers’ youth movement doesn’t bode well for his long-term outlook. With David Nwaba quickly carving out a sizable role in the rotation, those relying on Young as a three-point specialist should move on and pick up someone like Tim Hardaway Jr. (48.3 percent owned), Jamal Murray (14.6 percent owned) or Jordan Crawford (12.7 percent owned).

Wes Matthews, SG/SF, Dallas Mavericks

Wes Matthews has been ice-cold since the All-Star break, averaging just 8.5 points on 30.5 percent shooting, 3.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.5 triples in 30.4 minutes across eight games, and he suffered a mild calf strain Monday against the Toronto Raptors that caused his night to end early. He missed Wednesday’s contest against the Washington Wizards, telling reporters earlier in the day, “You guys will never know how much pain I’m actually in. I’m not going to give you a barometer.” If the Mavericks slip further out of the playoff race — they’re 3.5 games behind the eighth-seeded Denver Nuggets — Matthews could become a shutdown risk, making it difficult to rely on him in the fantasy postseason. 

Nicolas Batum, SG/SF, Charlotte Hornets

After sitting out the Charlotte Hornets’ loss to the Chicago Bulls on Monday night due to a migraine, Nicolas Batum underwent a CT scan on his brain Wednesday, according to ESPN.com’s Chris Haynes. A league source described the migraines to Haynes as “excruciating,” adding it’s “a scary period” for the 28-year-old forward. Owners shouldn’t necessarily panic-drop Batum — he’s expected to miss at least one more game, per Haynes, although his timetable to return beyond that remains unclear — but his rest-of-season outlook is decidedly cloudier until his migraine issues dissipate.

Other fallers: 

D’Angelo Russell, PG, Los Angeles Lakers

Tristan Thompson, PF/C, Cleveland Cavaliers

Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies

J.J. Redick, SG, Los Angeles Clippers

Steven Adams, C, Oklahoma City Thunder

All rankings via Basketball Monster are based on nine-category leagues and are current heading into Friday, March 17. All ownership percentages via ESPN.comAll average draft position info via FantasyPros.

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