Dr. A’s weekly risers and fallers: Jakob Poeltl, Michael Porter Jr. make the list

Now that the NBA is back in action, it’s time to take a look at the latest Risers and Fallers games in the fantasy basketball world.

We’re going to focus on what happened during the return to play on Thursday night, as well as what happened just before the break.

Consider it “what have you done for me lately?” version of this column.


Jacob Poeltle, center, Toronto Raptors

Poeltl went crazy with 30 points, nine rebounds, steals and six blocks on 15-of-17 shooting on Tuesday when he defeated the Magic just before the All-Star break last Tuesday. His career high is 31 points and six hits tied his career high. And just in case you thought it was a fluke, he backed it up with 21 points, a career-high 18 rebounds, three steals and a block in Thursday’s return game. He played at least 30 minutes in two consecutive games and clearly established himself as a starting center for Toronto after just four games. And if you look at his last three, he’s averaging 19 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 3.3 blocks. Of course, this is a small sample, but he is clearly happy to return to the team that selected him, and vice versa. Riding a Poeltl should be fun until the end of the journey, but if you want to trade it in right now (trust me on this one), its value will never be higher.

Malachi Branham, SG, San Antonio Spurs

The fact that Branham only appears in 6.5% of Sportzshala’s leagues is mind-blowing after the February race he entered. The Spurs lost their 15th game in a row on Thursday, and Branham became one of the protagonists of their offense after Keldon Johnson. He has 23 points in two straight games and double-figures in eight of his last nine, is shooting clean, has made at least two three-pointers in five straight games and eight of his last nine, and has solid assists. and steals. Stop what you’re doing right now and find a way to take him away.

Michael Porter Jr., SF/PF, Denver Nuggets

MPJ’s numbers appear to be on the rise after posting 25 points, six rebounds, a block and six three-pointers in a win over the Cavaliers on Thursday. Six triples equaled his season record, and he’s off to the last three, averaging 21.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 5.3 threes. Compare that to 19.6 points. With the 3.9 rebounds, 0.6 blocks and 3.6 triples he averaged in February before Thursday’s game, it looks like he might be ready to start. We’ve waited long enough, right? And, as with Poeltl, the MPJ trade makes sense right now as its value is unlikely to get higher this season and its hot shooting (22 out of 45) should cool off sooner rather than later.

Miles Turner, C/PF, Indiana Pacers

Despite all the trade rumors and the lack of support from Pacer fans, Turner is having an incredible year, as well as his best month of the season since Thursday’s 40-point explosion, which included a career-high eight 3-pointers in overtime. Celtics. It’s unfortunate that Turner can’t fully celebrate yesterday’s success, but he’s on a roll. He hit 13 of 15 shots, 8 of 10 3-pointers and 6 of 7 free throws, adding two assists and a block to the loss. He’s been funky off three-point shots, hitting only 2 of 13 of them in his previous three games, but he’s back on track last night. He is currently averaging 20.8 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 2.3 three-pointers in eight games in February. And, like some of these other guys, this could be your sign to trade Turner before he gets back down to earth. Having said that, The Pacers still think they have a playoff shot, but they’re 3.5 games behind the No. 10 Wizards and they’re running out of time. If they’re going to get there, Turner will have to keep playing like that.

Malik Beasley, SG, Los Angeles Lakers

Beasley played in four games for the Lakers and scored 22 points on February 13, then had 25 points, three rebounds, one assist, three steals and seven three-pointers on Thursday night. He’s averaging 18.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 5.0 3-pointers over his last three games, and it doesn’t hurt that D’Angelo Russell went down with an ankle injury last night. LeBron James and Anthony Davis have been looking for someone to help carry the scoring load in Los Angeles and Beasley appears to be the answer. And the fact that he steals and bombs threes is a bonus. Beasley is available in over 60% of Sportzshala leagues and is well worth picking up if you need a warm body for your lineup.

Talen Horton-Tucker, PG/SG/SF, Utah Jazz

On Thursday, THT hit just 2 of 11 shots but still had nine points, seven rebounds, six dimes, two steals, a block and a three-pointer in 35 minutes. If his throw was a falling shot, he could have a monster line. He started this game by sending Ohay Agbaji to the bench and could stay there until the end. THT averaged 13.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.2 blocks and 0.8 3-pointers in his six games in February and made at least one 3-pointer in three consecutive games. He only appears in 8.7% of Sportzshala leagues, and I’m guessing that number is about to start rising. Speaking of Agbaji, he’s worth keeping an eye on as he averages 14.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 3.0 3s over his last two games. But if you had taken Agbaji last week, I would have dumped him because of THT.

Nasir Little, SF/PF, Portland Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard rested Thursday, and Little joined Cam Reddish in the starting lineup and made 10 of 19 shots and five 3-pointers for 26 points, three rebounds, two assists, four steals and a block in 34 minutes. Reddish has started two straight games for the Blazers and is averaging 21 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 3.5 3-pointers in 34 minutes in those two games. I still don’t trust Reddish, and I was more intrigued by both Little and Schaedon Sharp when Anfernee Simons was out indefinitely with a sprained ankle. Sharpe came off the bench for 22 minutes but hit just 4 of 14 shots and hit a 3-pointer for nine points, three rebounds, one assist and one steal. Little scored just one point in his previous game and had single digits (or zero points) in 10 of his 11 previous games before Thursday’s explosion. And who remains in the starting lineup remains a mystery when Lillard returns. But Little has the best three-player fantasy game, while Reddish is just going to score points with empty stat lines. At this point, I would grab Little and see what happens. Reddish is also worth picking up if he’s stuck in the starting five and you need a scorer, while Sharp is just on your watchlist. There are no guarantees with Little, but if he can steal the starting job from Reddish, there is no limit. All three players are in less than 5% of Sportzshala’s leagues, which means they should all be available in yours. I would rank them: 1. Small, 2. Reddish, 3. Sharp.

James Wiseman, center, Detroit Pistons

The Pistons are not making the playoffs and must figure out what they have in Wiseman before the end of the road. He has played 24 minutes in both of his games since moving to Detroit and is averaging 9.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 0.5 blocks. He should only get better from now on, and while I wouldn’t turn down a good player for him, if you need a center and have some dead weight on your roster, grabbing Wiseman might make sense. He has a real chance of becoming the hero of the silly season in the last month of the season. And his rise will hurt both Jalen Duren and Isaiah Stewart.


Jalen Duren, center, Detroit Pistons

Düren started on Thursday but played just 23 minutes and hit 1-of-5 shots for two points, eight rebounds and a steal in a heavy loss to the Magic. He was in trouble, as always. Duren scored 30 points on 17 rebounds on Feb. 10 and has been in free fall ever since. He has a total of 10 points in the last three games, his minutes are dwindling with Wiseman, and there are simply not enough balls on three centers (Isaiah Stewart is another). If you grabbed Duren after the 30-point explosion, throw him back to get a hot free agent. And yes, it’s possible that he might go for a silly season later this season, but I think Wiseman will look better going forward.

Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Toronto Raptors

The rise of Poeltl and the return of OG Anunoby from a wrist injury should spell the end of Achiuwa’s fantastic value. After playing 25-plus minutes in 14 straight games, Achiuwa played just 20 minutes off the bench last night and hit 2-of-6 shots for six points, six rebounds and a block. While the appearance of Poeltle or the return of Anunobi would be enough to derail Achiuwa, the combination of both of them playing important minutes now should actually bury him. Dump him for a hot free agent.

Derrick White, PG/SG, Boston Celtics

The Celtics are suddenly healthy again and both Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown are back in action. White still played well Thursday with 17 points, three rebounds, two assists and three three-pointers, but he only played 27 and 25 minutes in each of his last two games. Prior to that, he played 32 to 43 minutes in seven consecutive games. At the moment, White is not automatically eliminated, but the managers who make up his roster should be prepared for a drop in his statistics. Since Smart, Brown, and Malcolm Brogdon are healthy, there just won’t be enough minutes for each of them.

Trey Murphy III, SG/SF, New Orleans Pelicans

Josh Richardson starts the Pelicans, and Murphy played just 23 minutes off the bench on Thursday, hitting 3-of-8 shots and hitting a 3-pointer for nine points, two rebounds and a steal. He also scored just two points last Wednesday before halftime in 20 minutes after playing at least 28 minutes in his previous eight games. The pels are healthy again and Murphy appears to be the odd one out. Discard him as a hot free agent and consider grabbing him later if Brandon Ingram’s toe comes into action again or if another player in the Pelicans starter goes under.

Harrison Barnes, SF/PF, Sacramento Kings

Barnes wasn’t touched at halftime and is fading fast…


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