Read below for points-league rankings and reaction.
Points-league rankings and reaction
In today's rankings, we're talking "All That Jazz" (shout out to Stetsasonic).
The Utah Jazz have (for the first time in quite a while) quite a few fantasy-worthy players this season. What makes them interesting in the moment, though, is that those players' values are all zooming in different directions right now. The team entered the season seeking an identity after the offseason departure of Gordon Hayward, and midway through December, it appears that they've started to find who they're going to be. But the team identify going forward isn't what we thought it would be in the offseason, and thus, the changing player values.
It starts at the top, where big man Rudy Gobert entered the season as the presumed centerpiece of the team (no pun intended). He had an average draft position (ADP) of 13.8 in ESPN leagues, making him a borderline first-round pick in many leagues. He is way down the list in total points this season, because he had an extended injury absence, but his per-game averages are also lower than expected, landing him at 36th in the official ESPN points scoring system.
Gobert is one whose roto value may be higher than his points-league value, because he's such a strong shot blocker with great field goal percentage, but some expected him to become more of a volume scorer with Hayward gone. Instead, the Jazz's offense has gone another way, and without the increased scoring volume, Gobert just can't support a top-20 ranking in a points-based league right now.
Meanwhile, the Jazz's offense has restructured around a brand new star, rookie Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell is taking the league by storm, playing lead guard for the Jazz and putting together an impressive scoring spree overall. He has moved well up the rankings, which has led to a corresponding drop in value for Ricky Rubio.
Rubio had an ADP of 59.8, which projects to a strong starting slot. However, his 30-day average of 10 fantasy points in the standard scoring system would rank 186th in the league over that stretch. I've had people ask me if Rubio is just in a cold spell from which he'll recover, and I thought that too for a while, but after watching the Jazz several times and seeing how much Mitchell is stepping forward, I think Rubio's value will just keep dropping unless something big changes.
Another Jazz player whose value is falling through the floor is Derrick Favors. Favors was a throwback impact player while Gobert was injured, averaging 16.5 points with 9.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 blocks and 0.8 steals in those 11 games. However, he averaged only 7.2 points, 3.4 boards, 0.2 assists, 0.8 blocks and 1.2 steals in the five games before Gobert went down, and has averaged only 8.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.5 blocks and 0.8 steals in the four games since Gobert has been back.
Favors did have a big game in his last outing, which keeps him from dropping as much as he would have, but on the whole, he just doesn't seem like a good production fit next to Gobert.
Injured players, moving in different directions. Stephen Curry drops another few slots on the strength of concerns that his ankle could keep him out for more than a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, Isaiah Thomas continues to edge up each week as his return to the court gets closer.
Jrue Holiday continues to rise, as he has made the transition from solid point guard to borderline elite shooting guard in terms of production.
Devin Booker had been on his way up the rankings before suffering a groin injury last week. He dropped only into the 40s on the assumption that he will miss only another couple of weeks or so, but if the injury lingers, his ranking could continue to slide.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have been looking to Jimmy Butler as their primary perimeter threat of late, which has directly affected Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins has gone four straight games without scoring 20 points, and is averaging only 12.5 points and 3.3 rebounds during that stretch.
E'Twuan Moore makes his debut in the rankings this week, as he's been producing solid numbers for long enough that it is starting to look real. He's the fifth production option on the New Orleans Pelicans, but he is averaging 19 points in December and is coming off a 35-point explosion on Monday.
Kawhi Leonard is making his season debut on Tuesday. He ranked 11th in fantasy points per game in the official ESPN scoring system last season, so it's fitting that he moves up to 12th in the rest-of-season rankings .
Nicolas Batum is back from injury, but still battling to get back up to speed and dealing with lingering issues. Until he shows that he can play at his normal level, he has to remain down in the rankings.
On Twitter (@ProfessorDrz), E.D. asked last week why Taurean Prince wasn't in the rankings. After looking at it, I agree that he should be in there somewhere. Thus, he makes his debut at the bottom of the rankings.
Aaron Gordon has averaged 20.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.3 steals in his last eight games. He has a solid floor and huge upside on any given night.
Zach Randolph has been a monster for the last several games with Willie Cauley-Stein out. Cauley-Stein is due back soon, and it is unknown whether the Kings will continue to give Randolph so much responsibility, but he's showing that he can handle it if they want to rely on him.
For the second week in a row, questions about Anthony Davis' health has dropped him a couple of slots. The injuries remain relatively minor, but the sum of them over time makes him hard to fully depend on.
Hassan Whiteside remains benched with his knee issue, despite the end of his initial 1-2 week prognosis passing on Thursday. His value remains depressed until he officially shows that he is healthy enough to return.
Jahlil Okafor makes his debut in the rankings, on the strength of his new role with the Brooklyn Nets. He makes his Nets' debut this week in perhaps a limited capacity, but his upside as a potential 20-10 big got him onto the list.