The NBA season is now rocking and rolling and some Risers and Fallers are starting to come into view after about 10 days of action. We'll look at what players are trending up and which ones are struggling, despite the fact there's a long way to go.
Here are my Risers and Fallers as we prepare to enter Week 3 of the NBA season!
Jalen Johnson, SF, Atlanta Hawks, 31% rostered in ESPN leagues: Johnson looks like a different player this season, often holding his own dunk contest during each game he plays. Through five contests he's made two starts and is averaging 28.3 minutes along with 13.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.8 blocks and 0.8 3-pointers. It would be nice if he wasn't sharing time with Saddiq Bey and had the starting job all to himself, but Johnson's going to be a 30-minute guy and looks fantastic.
Naz Reid, PF/C, Minnesota Timberwolves, 30.5%: Despite the presence of teammates Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns, the backup center is still having a career year off the bench, averaging 16 points, 4.5 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 2.0 3-pointers in 24 minutes a night. He's yet to block a shot, which is concerning to fantasy managers, but looks like a guy who is going to stick around and keep making noise for the Wolves. He's a cheap DFS option currently paying dividends.
De'Andre Hunter, SF/PF, Atlanta Hawks, 23.5%: Unlike Bey and Johnson, Hunter appears to be locked into the starting unit for the Hawks and looks much more comfortable shooting the ball than he has in the past. He's also healthy and averaging a hearty 18 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.4 steals and 2.2 3-pointers in 30 minutes a night. The steals are a key and Hunter's scored at least 15 points in each of his four games since struggling with just nine in the opener.
Isaiah Stewart, PF/C, Detroit Pistons, 15.6%: Jalen Duren is all the rage in Detroit after his hot start but Stewart is also playing well for the Pistons, averaging 13.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.2 steals, 0.2 blocks and 1.6 3-pointers in nearly 34 minutes per game. More blocks would be nice but he's got time to get them going, while the rest of his numbers are at a career-high pace. If he starts blocking shots, look out.
Dereck Lively II, C, Dallas Mavericks, 14.4%: Lively turned heads in the opener but then disappeared over his next two due to foul trouble and a matchup disaster against the Nets. He bounced back against the Bulls on Wednesday with seven points, 13 rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block in 33 minutes. The Mavericks need him to play well if they're going to keep winning and he should get better as the season progresses. He passes the eye test and gets a boost after Maxi Kleber suffered a foot injury Wednesday.
Jordan Poole, PG/SG, Washington Wizards, 97%: Poole's not living up to the hype that had many of us thinking he'd challenge to lead the league in scoring, averaging just 17.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.8 blocks and 1.8 3-pointers while hitting just 38.5% of his shots through four games. He's got time to turn it around and the blocks and steals are encouraging, but he's been a bit of a fantasy dud out of the gate.
Khris Middleton, SF, Milwaukee Bucks, 80.2%: A minutes restriction and some shaky play has Middleton managers scratching their heads and we simply don't know if he'll ever get it going this season. He's averaging just 7.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.7 3-pointers in just under 17 minutes per game. It's early, but he's a tough guy to be rostering in 12-team leagues right now. I'm fine with dropping him if you want to do it.
Scoot Henderson, PG, Portland Trail Blazers, 73.7%: Henderson's rookie season isn't off to the stellar start of guys like Chet Holmgren and Victor Wembanyama, and he suffered an ankle injury on Wednesday night. The Blazers are a disaster and Shaedon Sharpe and Malcolm Brogdon have been holding things down at point guard thus far. Henderson has time to figure it out and turn his season around, but he's barely been worth holding in fantasy through the first 10 days of the season.
Max Strus, SG/SF, Cleveland Cavaliers, 50.3%: Strus got off to a hot start this season but has quieted down over his last couple games. He's in a shooting slump and the averages have dropped to 14.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.8 blocks and 2.8 3-pointers on 34.8% shooting. He's probably worth hanging onto but the rebounds aren't sustainable and Isaac Okoro and Caris LeVert are going to eat into his nightly minutes, as well.
Markelle Fultz, PG/SG, Orlando Magic, 36.1%: Fultz came in with a lot of hype but teammates Jalen Suggs and Cole Anthony are going to make it tough for him to break out. Fultz is averaging just 11.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.5 blocks and has yet to hit a 3-pointer this season. He's hit 50% of his shots but the rest of his numbers aren't exactly mind blowing. You can probably find a more enticing player to roster off your league's waiver wire.