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Roto-league rankings and reaction
After the type of week that LeBron James and DeMarcus Cousins had, it'd be easy to move them ahead of Giannis Antetokounmpo for the No. 1 spot. Both deserve it, and it's awfully tempting to go ahead and do it.
But guess what? Milwaukee's star didn't do so badly himself the past seven days, and it's going to take more than a few games to knock him from atop the pedestal. Through nine games, Antetokounmpo's numbers are rock solid: 31 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 5.0 APG, 1.7 SPG, 1.4 BPG, 58.3 FG%, 79.4 FT%. On top of that, he's connecting on 3-pointers at an all-time high, making just under one (0.8) per game.
We have Antetokounmpo, James and Cousins as the top three this week, with Kevin Durant and James Harden rounding out the top five.
Here's the bottom line: Some weeks these rankings updates are easy. A few small changes. Bump a couple guys up, bump a few others down. This isn't one of those weeks.
Along with the changes at the top, we have massive changes throughout the top 150 this week. Let's hit on some of the bigger ones, starting with some of the league's best big men.
Karl-Anthony Towns (No. 7) stays one spot ahead of Anthony Davis (8) due to his big edge in durability, but Davis' numbers certainly warrant a spot in the top five. He has averaged 30 PPG, 12.6 RPG and 2.6 BPG in his past five contests.
Kristaps Porzingis is second in the league in scoring behind Antetokounmpo with 30.2 PPG, and his contributions as a rebounder (7.8 RPG), shot-blocker (2.2 BPG) and 3-point shooter (1.7 3PM) move him all the way up to No. 9. It will be interesting to see if he can keep this type of crazy production up for the long haul. If he can ... wow!
Other notable risers include Otto Porter Jr. (11), Andre Drummond (20), Devin Booker (40) and Eric Bledsoe (47), the last of whom is suddenly back on track after being traded to the Bucks on Tuesday. He is expected to miss Tuesday's game and join the Bucks for Friday's road game against San Antonio, so take note of that.
Outside the top 50, the stock of Kyle Kuzma (55) and Julius Randle (63) rises considerably, as they get a bump in playing time while Larry Nance Jr. is out of the lineup four-to-six weeks due to a broken hand. Fellow Lakers big man Brook Lopez (60) also moves up for the same reason and is looking better and better from beyond the 3-point arc.
Tim Hardaway Jr. was completely off the list last week and moves all the way up to 74. Why? The shooting guard put up 21.4 PPG and added 4.0 RPG, 4.4 APG, 2.0 SPG and 3.4 3PG in his past five games -- numbers that will continue to move him up in the rankings if he can keep his hot streak going.
Another young guard on the rise is Utah rookie first-rounder Donovan Mitchell, who comes in at No. 96 after scoring more than 20 points in three of his past five games and averaging 3.0 3PG in that span. Consistency and efficiency will be the key to Mitchell maintaining fantasy value, but it appears that the Jazz might have struck gold with this pick back in June.
On the flip side, there are several notable stars who don't appear to be quite the fantasy factor we expected when the season started.
I have generously kept Russell Westbrook at No. 14 this week, based largely on his reputation and what he did last season, but based on pure numbers alone, he could easily be 10-15 spots lower.
Jimmy Butler (49) is the other big name who hasn't lived up to the lofty expectations. It's probably too early to offer him in trades, but his 15.1 PPG and 12.1 FGA are both major disappointments thus far. Along with that, his rebounds, assists, steals and 3s are all down as well. It's worth keeping a close eye on Westbrook and Butler in the weeks ahead because if they don't show some improvement, they're going to fall even further in the rankings.
Another once-highly regarded fantasy asset, Serge Ibaka, falls to No. 99 with his offensive and defensive production continuing to drop this season. Once one of the league's feared shot-blockers, the 28-year-old is averaging a career-low 1.0 BPG through eight games this season.
Here is the full list of the updated top 150: