Fantasy Basketball Week 3: Risers
- •James Harden, G, HOUIt's difficult for a player of Harden's caliber to boost his already expansive ceiling, but the move to point guard has done just that for Harden. Back-to-back double-doubles in the last week have The Beard's assists (12.4) at almost five more per game than last season (7.5), when he was toiling away at two guard. The scoring hasn't been hurt either, as he's averaging 19.2 attempts per game and is posting career highs in points (31.8) and three-point percentage (39.1 percent).
- •Giannis Antetokounmpo, G, MILSpeaking of full-time moves to point guard boosting a player's already significant fantasy stock, the Greek Freak is Exhibit 1-A. He's averaged 25.5 points on 56.7 percent shooting with 8.0 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.5 steals in his last two games. He's also sporting a team-leading usage rate of 28.6 percent and shooting 47.8 percent from the field, while averaging an increase of more than six shots, one rebound and two assists per game than last season.
- •Tyler Johnson, G, MIAJohnson has been one of the beneficiaries of Josh Richardson's injury and has been coming on over the last week in particular. He's scored in double digits in each game this season but is averaging 19.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.5 steals and 2.0 blocks in 31.0 minutes off the bench in his last two games. While Richardson's eventual return will eat into some of that playing time, Johnson looks like a considerably improved player with solid opportunity for the moment.
- •Sean Kilpatrick, G, BKNAnother young two-guard on a similar track as Johnson, Kilpatrick has played heavy minutes off the bench, and his playing time has actually increased the last two games. The 26-year-old is averaging 21.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 steals over 30.5 minutes during that span on a Brooklyn team that desperately needs dependable scoring.
- •Evan Fournier, G, ORLFournier has thrived in the starting shooting guard role that was vacated by when Victor Oladipo was traded to the Thunder. He leads the Magic in attempts (79), is second in usage (24.6 percent) and is third in shooting percentage (45.6). He went off for a season-high 29 points Thursday against the Kings and has cleared the 20-point mark in three of five games overall. Likely Orlando's most consistent scorer outside of Nikola Vucevic, Fournier's production only figures to increase this season.
- •Tobias Harris, F, DETHarris has taken his play to another level since his midseason trade to the Pistons last year. He's averaged 24.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists on stellar 61.5 percent shooting over his last two games, while also tallying a 57.1 percent success rate on his seven three-point attempts over that span. He's second on the Pistons with 67 attempts and has career highs in scoring (20.8), field-goal percentage (58.2), three-point percentage (52.9) and steals (1.2).
- •Joel Embiid, C, PHIThe usually hapless Sixers appear to have finally gotten one right in Embiid, who leads the team in attempts (37) and usage (42.4 percent), even as his minutes have been carefully managed. He still figures to see an overall playing time cap and the occasional night off as well, but the talent is clearly shining through now that the 2014 first-round pick is finally healthy and on the court.
- •Jusuf Nurkic, F, DENNurkic has taken well to starting alongside center Nikola Jokic in the frontcourt over the first four games, averaging 16.5 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 2.3 blocks in 29.0 minutes per game. He's also shooting a solid 51 percent from the field while hitting double digits in the scoring column in each contest.
- •Jabari Parker, F, MILParker has averaged 24.0 points and 5.0 rebounds over his last two games while posting 58.1 and 57.1 percent tallies from the field and three-point range, respectively. He's also tied with Giannis Antetokounmpo for most shot attempts (67) and second to him among the Bucks' starters in usage (24.0 percent).