Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans
Ingram has been one of the season’s most pleasant surprises as a top-10 fantasy player early on. He’s taken advantage of Zion Williamson and Jrue Holiday injuries, as Ingram’s Usage Rate (30.0) ranks in the top-20 in the league. His 21 shot attempts per game are the sixth-most in the NBA, and while it’s safe to expect his 50.0 percent three-point shooting to regress, the 22 year old looks like a completely different player in his new environment. The Pelicans continue to run at one of the league’s fastest paces, and Ingram’s breakout looks for real. Fantasy managers wanting to sell high better get a ton in return.
Malcolm Brogdon, Indiana Pacers
Another young player who’s thrived while on a new team this season, Brogdon has taken over point guard for Indiana and has returned first-round fantasy value as a result. His assists have jumped from 3.2 last year to an NBA-leading 11.3 this season, handing out double-digit dimes in all four games, while just two other players are averaging even 9.0 APG this season. Brogdon is playing over his head and will eventually lose value when Victor Oladipo returns, but that’s not coming any time soon. He’s currently in the top-20 in the league in Usage Rate (helping offset the Pacers’ sluggish pace), so his arrow is shooting up while leading a depleted Indiana team that just lost Myles Turner to an ankle sprain as well (Domantas Sabonis also deserves an upgrade tag).
Eric Paschall, Golden State Warriors
The Warriors’ season hasn’t gone as smoothly as usual this season, and with Stephen Curry now out for the foreseeable future with a broken hand, the team’s new goal is to prepare for 2020/21, which means a whole lot of playing time for the young guys. Paschall is at the top of the list, as he appears to be yet another second-round find by Golden State. He’s not going to be a huge scorer, but the rookie is looking at 30+ mpg after impressing the coaching staff throughout summer and is going to be an underrated fantasy performer right away. Paschall needs to be scooped up in nearly all fantasy formats, and he remains available in more than 85% of Yahoo leagues.
Richaun Holmes, Sacramento Kings
He’s been a rare bright spot for an otherwise dreadful start to Sacramento’s season that features the team winless and ranking second to last in Offensive Efficiency. But Holmes has averaged 20.5 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.5 blocks (73.3 FG%) over the last two games when he moved into the starting lineup during the last one. Marvin Bagley is out the next 4-6 weeks with a thumb injury, while newcomer Dewayne Dedmon has been an utter disaster so far in Sacramento, so the team’s frontcourt is wide open. Holmes has been a top-50 fantasy player on a per 36-minute basis each of the last three seasons, so he’s a popular free agent add for a reason now looking at an expanded role with the Kings.
Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers
It sure didn’t seem like Thompson had this level in him, but he’s hard to ignore after getting 20.3 ppg, 11.8 RPG and 2.3 BPG over the season’s first four games. Maybe most encouragingly, Thompson has done so while Kevin Love has also played, and we can count on the latter racking up DNPs as the year progresses. Thompson is probably not a true sell-high in practicality, but his breakout seems more real than fake anyway. No team in the NBA is pounding the paint more than the Cavs so far this season, and Thompson looks primed for a career-year.
Isaiah Thomas, Washington Wizards
He’s looked terrific during two games with his new team in Washington, putting up 16.5 PPG and 7.5 APG off the bench. Thomas is on a minutes restriction for now, but he’s racked up a top-10 Usage Rate when on the court, so he’s absolutely on the fantasy radar once again. Thomas may not be able to keep up quite this pace until the minutes restriction is lifted, but he’ll continue to fire away at will on a thin Washington team that won’t be getting John Wall back this season. Thomas was the No. 11 fantasy player just a few short years ago (and in the MVP conversation), and it’s great seeing him healthy again.
Chris Paul, Oklahoma City Thunder
While other players have seen their fantasy values skyrocket with new teams, Paul’s has declined in Oklahoma City, where’s he’s taken a backseat to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (and even Dennis Schroder). Paul has yet to record more than five assists in a game (while committing 10 turnovers over his last two contests). He will turn 35 years old later this season, which is his 15th in the league, and he simply doesn’t look the same while not getting to the rim like he used to. Paul could land in a better spot if/when traded later this season, and he has looked a little better lately, but it’s clear he’s in the decline phase (his assist/turnover ratio is a mind-boggling 3.6/3.2). Paul’s biggest fantasy concern is usually durability, but it now also involves his performance when on the court.
Derrick Favors, New Orleans Pelicans
I liked Favors to have a career-season moving to New Orleans this year, but it’s resulted in even less playing time despite Zion Williamson’s absence and a career-low in PER. His team’s pace has gotten a lot faster moving from Utah to New Orleans, but Favors’ minutes are down while his Usage Rate is the exact same as last season. It’s clear the Pelicans view him as solely a rotational player, and he’s now also dealing with a knee injury (deeper leaguers should be adding exciting rookie Jaxson Hayes). Favors hasn’t been a top-150 fantasy asset.
Otto Porter, Chicago Bulls
He was a monster after joining Chicago last year, but it hasn’t carried over into this season, as Porter is off to a brutal start in which he hasn’t returned top-200 fantasy value. Porter is dealing with a hip injury that’s seemingly limiting his minutes, so fantasy managers may not see much improvement until his health cooperates (he clearly hasn’t looked right so far). Porter’s upside is too high to be dropped just yet, so fantasy managers just have to remain patient for now.