Fantasy Basketball 2013: Stock Report; Who's Moving Up?

By Adam Pfeifer
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports


It’s the most logical comparison you can think of.

Fantasy sports is identical to the stock market. Things happen where a player’s value skyrockets, or tragically spirals downwards. People (sometimes literally) buy into players to acquire and hang onto. Though not as popular, fantasy hoops is the same thing, and three weeks into the 2013 season, players are already seeing their values rise and fall.

Let’s check the risers on the stock report.

Kevin Martin, Minnesota Timberwolves

In ESPN leagues, Martin was selected as the 20th overall shooting guard, being drafted about 103rd overall. Fast forward to the third week of the season, and he is currently the number three shooting guard in fantasy. Playing alongside Ricky Rubio, one of the most unselfish, better playmakers in basketball, as well as Kevin Love, who’s historic start to the season has opposing defenses dialed in, Martin has thrived thus far. Through eight games, Martin is averaging 24.6 points, 2.4 assists, 3.3 rebounds and three three-pointers per contest. That’s awesome, folks. Logging 35.1 minutes per game, Martin is getting plenty of opportunity in an offense that is clicking on all cylinders, currently averaging 106.2 points per game, which is the fourth-most in basketball. So many times have we seen Love haul in an offensive board, and swing a cross-court pass to Martin, who hits a catch and shoot three, where he has done most of his damage.

65 of Martin’s total points have come on catch and shoot situations, averaging 8.1 points per game and shooting 55.8% in said situations. The presence of Rubio and Love are allowing Martin to get a ton of open looks, but he could always score at will. A guy who averaged 20 points per game in four straight seasons with the Kings, Martin is no stranger to scoring points. As long as this core in Minnesota can stay healthy, Martin will continue to be a very productive fantasy asset going forward.

Markieff Morris, Phoenix Suns

I’ll continue to say it.

There is nothing better than a talented young player on a poor team.

Morris has been on a tear lately, averaging 29.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2,0 assists and 1.6 steals over his last five games. On the season, he is now averaging a solid slash line of 17.2/6.8/1.7. Keep in mind that this is all while still coming off of the bench, logging just 28.7 minutes per game. He’s really come on for the Suns, as well as fantasy owners who were fortunate enough to scoop him up. The sky is the limit for the 24-year old power forward, and his usage is expected to see a huge uptick. Head coach Jeff Hornacek stated that Morris will enter the starting lineup soon, but he doesn’t want to disrupt the chemistry of the team. He’ll take Channing Frye’s job before you know it, which will only boost his fantasy value even more. Go check your league and see if he’s available. According to ESPN, Morris isn’t quite universally owned yet.

J.J. Hickson, Denver Nuggets

I’m pretty high on Hickson as a player to start with. A big body who can crash the boards and block shots, Hickson has been the main beneficiary of the JaVale McGee injury. The starting center suffered a stress fracture in his right tibia and is out indefinitely, and since going down, Hickson, not Timofey Mozgov, has slid into the starting role. He’s had a few starts in a row, and is coming off his best outing of the season, scoring 14 points while adding nine rebounds and a block. He has more experience at starting at the center position than Mozgov, and fits the Nuggets scheme better, in my eyes.

Steve Blake/Jodie Meeks, Los Angeles Lakers

Another injury presents opportunity. Veteran point guard Steve Nash has been diagnosed with a nerve root irritation, and will be out for at least the next two weeks. This allows Blake, a reliable point guard, to slide into the starting number one role. Blake has been strong for the Lakers this season, averaging 10 points, five assists, 2.9 rebounds and 2.6 three-pointers per game. The threes will regress, but the assist numbers should definitely rise.

Meanwhile, Meeks, who is quietly leading this team in scoring (12.8 PPG), will likely man the starting shooting guard position for the foreseeable future. According to ESPN, Meeks is inside the top-20 in true shooting percentage, sitting at 66.3%. He’s been very efficient this season, and already averaging 26.4 minutes per game, Meeks should see an uptick in playing time for the time being. Neither of these guys will provide a ton of value across the stat sheets, but in deep leagues, guys who will be in starting lineups certainly have value and appeal.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.





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