Spencer Dinwiddie: He’s looking at a big increase in playing time after D’Angelo Russell underwent knee surgery. Dinwiddie has averaged 17.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 2.8 3pt during five starts this season, so he’s suddenly a must own in all fantasy leagues, yet he’s still available in nearly 40 percent of Yahoo leagues. Brooklyn has the No. 1 Pace in the NBA, and the team lacks offensive weapons, so this is an ideal situation for Dinwiddie to thrive, as he’s taking over a role that produced the player with the second-highest Usage Rate (Russell was behind only James Harden) in the NBA this year.
Kris Dunn: Over the last six games, he’s averaged 14.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.0 3pt. The sophomore recently moved into Chicago’s starting lineup and should be there to stay. Dunn needs to improve at the free throw line (both by getting there more and making them once he does) and cut down on the turnovers (he’s been a top-75 player in 8-cat leagues despite coming mostly off the bench this season), but he’s a big help in steals, and his offensive game continues to improve. The Bulls have the league’s worst Offensive Efficiency, but they quietly are producing fantasy assets, as Dunn is owned in just 60 percent of leagues, and Denzel Valentine is also widely available despite being the No. 45 ranked player over the past week.
Will Barton: He’s been a top-100 player despite coming mostly off the bench, and his role is about to see a major increase with Paul Millsap out around three months after having wrist surgery. Barton has averaged 21.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.0 steals and 3.7 3pt when in the starting lineup this season, so there’s massive upside here. Barton is going to be a big part of a team that currently sports a top-five rank in Offensive Efficiency.
Robert Covington: After shooting just 33.3 percent from downtown last season, he’s at 47.9 percent this year. That effectiveness from deep is sure to regress, but it’s clear Covington has improved his shot and is in the midst of a career year. In fact, Covington has been the No. 15 ranked player, making him more valuable in 9-cat leagues than impressive teammates Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Covington might be the most underrated fantasy superstar out there right now.
John Collins: He’s still coming off the bench, but the rookie looks like he was a steal at pick No. 19, averaging 16.3 points and 7.5 rebounds over the last four games, shooting a ridiculous 77.0 percent from the floor over that span. He’s going to be a fantasy monster once he inevitably joins Atlanta’s starting five, and Collins remains affordable in DFS and available in nearly half of yearly leagues.
Russell Westbrook: After finishing as a top-10 fantasy player each of the past three years, Westbrook currently ranks No. 61, as he’s shooting just 31.9 percent from the field over the past four games. Westbrook is sure to improve, but his Usage Rate has predictably taken a hit (albeit still fourth-highest in the NBA) while sharing the court with Carmelo Anthony and Paul George, and it’s taking longer than expected for the new teammates to gel (Oklahoma City is somehow 0-8 in games decided by eight points or fewer). Given Westbrook’s new situation, it’s safe to expect a top-20 type fantasy player moving forward more so than last year’s MVP version.
Ricky Rubio: After looking like a greatly improved shooter early on, Rubio has reverted to his career ways since, shooting an abysmal 30.6 percent from the field over the last nine games, including an anemic 12.5 percent from three. Moreover, he’s averaging career lows in rpg (3.8) and apg (5.1) with a career high in tpg (3.6), as the point guard’s move to Utah hasn’t gone smoothly. More passing and less shooting would do both Rubio’s fantasy owners and the Jazz some good.
Josh Richardson: An intriguing sleeper entering the year now a full-time starter on a team lacking options on offense, Richardson has contributed defensive stats as usual but hasn’t seen growth on the other end as hoped. He’s shooting only 37.8 percent from the floor, scoring double digits just twice over the past seven games. Still, if impatient owners drop him, go ahead and grab Richardson, as few contribute to so many categories, making him plenty valuable even with the modest scoring.