Fantasy basketball stock watch: Andre Drummond rising, Jimmy Butler falling

Andre Drummond highlights this week’s look at risers and fallers in fantasy hoops (AP)

STOCK UP

Andre Drummond: He’s scoring (14.0 ppg) and crashing the glass (14.7 rpg) as usual while also posting career highs in apg (2.7) and spg (2.1), but the huge news with Drummond this season has been his transformation at the free throw line, as he’s gone from one of the league’s worst shooters there to above average. He shot 38.6 percent from the charity stripe last season and is up to 75.0 so far this year. To put this in perspective, he ranked No. 83 in 9-cat leagues last season, but if you took out FT%, he came in at No. 17. This year he’s been the No. 14 player in standard leagues, and his sample size (40 free throws) is making it increasingly likely this isn’t a fluke. Drummond’s hard work is paying off in a big way, as this dramatic of an improvement over just one offseason has rarely been seen. Still just 24 years old, he’s turning into a legitimate first round fantasy pick next year.

Kyle Kuzma: He received preseason buzz and has not only lived up to the hype but exceeded it so far. Kuzma has been nothing short of a beast since entering the starting lineup after Larry Nance went down, averaging 17.0 points, 12.5 rebounds, 0.5 steals and 1.0 3pt over two games. The rookie is shooting a remarkable 68.7 percent on two-pointers this season and should remain in the starting five even after Nance returns, yet he’s still available in nearly a quarter of Yahoo leagues. Meanwhile, fellow rookie teammate Lonzo Ball is shooting 29.9 percent from the field and hasn’t been a top-150 fantasy player despite running the point on a Lakers team that has the third-highest Pace in the NBA.

Enes Kanter: Viewed mostly as a huge defensive liability and a salary dump in the Carmelo Anthony trade, Kanter has thrived in New York, where he’s gotten 13.6 ppg and 10.8 rpg while shooting 63.2 percent from the floor and 84.2 percent from the line. He’s dominated the Knicks’ minutes at center (Joakim Noah will soon return from his suspension, but he remains a huge question mark in numerous ways) and ranks as the No. 56 player (exactly one spot behind Anthony).

John Henson: He’s looking at an increase in minutes and Usage Rate with Greg Monroe traded, and while Henson isn’t a big scorer, he’s readily available (owned in just 31 percent of leagues) for those looking for help in rebounds and blocks.

Tyreke Evans: Something of an afterthought after a few years dealing with injuries and underperforming, Evans has been rejuvenated in Memphis, averaging 17.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.0 spg and 2.0 3pt while committing just 1.5 tpg off the bench. Both his FG% (49.3) and FT% (84.8) are career highs, as he looks healthier than he has in years. The Grizzlies are a surprising 7-4 but don’t have a ton of scoring options, so Evans should remain a big part of the team’s offense as long as he can stay healthy. He’s been a top-50 player this season and is still available in a quarter of leagues.

STOCK DOWN

Jimmy Butler: Taken widely as a top-20 pick (if not higher) in drafts, Butler has been a huge disappointment so far, averaging a modest 15.1 ppg while just barely coming in as a top-75 player. His slow start shooting is likely to improve, but he’s taking nearly 4.5 shots fewer from the field than last season, as it hasn’t been a smooth transition with his new team in Minnesota. Put differently, his Usage Rate is down from 26.6 last season to 20.1 this year, which fantasy owners sure hope reverses quickly.

Terrence Ross: He played well after joining Orlando last season but is off to an extremely cold start in 2017/18, shooting an ugly 30.9 percent from the field, including 23.8 percent from downtown. With intriguing alternatives on the Magic’s bench, Ross better find his shot quickly if he wants to remain in the starting five.

Malcolm Brogdon: Last season’s surprise Rookie of the Year should retain plenty of fantasy value, but his stock takes a hit with the Bucks recently trading for Eric Bledsoe, who had the No. 16 Usage Rate in the NBA last year. Meanwhile, teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo has the fifth-highest Usage Rate this season, so Brogdon’s situation isn’t exactly ideal to put up big stats.

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