Dr. A’s weekly risers and fallers: Jeremy Sochan, Christian Wood make the list

This week’s edition of Risers and Fallers takes a look at the aftermath of LeBron James and LaMelo Ball’s injuries, the philanthropists and some of the other guys as the fantasy ‘silly season’ takes over and prepares to unfold in full force.


Dennis Schroeder, PG, Los Angeles Lakers

Not only was LeBron (leg) out on Wednesday, Anthony Davis also decided to take the day off with his own leg injury against the Thunder, and the Lakers went on to win 123-117 after Schroeder’s heroism. He finished the game with 26 points, two rebounds, six assists, two steals, a block and three three-pointers on 8 of 18 shooting in 37 minutes.

D’Angelo Russell is also currently out of action with a sprained ankle, and Schroeder should get all the minutes and all the responsibility he can handle while LeBron is out. Over the past four games, Schroeder is averaging 16.3 points, 7.5 assists and 1.3 3-pointers, and is also good at making several rebounds, steals and blocks. Russell’s return will hurt Schroeder a bit, but he should still get a ton of minutes. Make sure it’s not available in your league.

Jalen Williams, SG/SF, Oklahoma City Thunder

Shai Gilgeus-Alexander will miss another game Friday due to health and safety protocols, and Williams had 24 points, four rebounds, seven assists, two steals and three three-pointers on 9-of-17 shooting in 34 minutes. Wednesday vs Lakers. He’s averaging 22 points, 4.3 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.5 3s over the last four games, and I suspect he’ll continue to do so the rest of the way, with SGA or without him.

Jeremy Sochan, PG/PF, San Antonio Spurs

Sochan had 22 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and two steals on 11-of-26 shooting in 31 minutes on Thursday and scored 22, 13 and 22 points in each of his last three games. He missed time with a back injury that saw him relegated in many leagues, but he’s back and ready to play for the Spurs, who somehow won two games in a row after losing 16 in a row. Yes, Devin Wassel is finally back from knee surgery with the Spurs and has 18 points, two rebounds, two assists and two threes in 23 minutes, but I feel like they’re going to limit his minutes left in the game. way. I’d rather play Sochan, especially since Wassell is giving the Spurs a chance to win matches.

I don’t mind taking Vassell either, but Sochan should be in the spotlight for the rest of the season and is widely available in Sportzshala leagues (7.5% of participants). Malachi Branham started and had eight points, six rebounds, four assists and a steal in 24 minutes, and is set to split minutes with Wassell leading if the Spurs don’t switch Vassell off at some point. Wassell and Branham also deserve attention at this stage.

Dennis Smith Jr., PG, Charlotte Hornets

Ball’s season is over with a broken ankle and although DSJ came off the bench on Wednesday, I don’t think it will last until the end. The Hornets are tanking right now, and whether DSJ comes off the bench or starts, they can tank great either way. On the other hand, it took DSJ to be benched to finally get defeated after accidentally winning five games in a row. Even off the bench, Smith Jr. had eight points, five rebounds, six assists, a steal and two blocks, despite hitting just 2 of 7 shots in 26 minutes.

Smith has averaged 9.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.0 steals over the past five games, and I find it hard to believe they’re going to keep bringing him off the bench. Also, Kelly Obre is at his best right now, averaging 19.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.3 3-pointers over the past two games. He may have benefited the most from losing Lamelo, but I’m not giving up on DSJ just yet.

Troy Brown Jr, SF, Los Angeles Lakers

I’m not chasing Brown. But since LeBron is out for the foreseeable future, he is likely to start and have many opportunities to show results for the Lakers. That’s exactly what he did on Wednesday when he had a season-high 19 points, one rebound, four assists, a steal, two blocks and four three-pointers in 34 minutes against the Thunder. He hadn’t scored more than six points in the previous four games but pulled ahead on Wednesday. At the very least, he’s worthy of a DFS flyer until further notice and deserves attention in the deeper leagues. And if Brown comes out against the Wolves on Friday, grab him.


Lamelo Ball, point guard, Charlotte Hornets

Don’t bother holding Ball in league redrafts. He finished the season and Kelly Obre Jr., Terry Rosier and Smith Jr. would benefit from his absence. Go and pick up a hot free agent if you’re still holding one.

LeBron James, PG/SF/PF, Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron is probably not a candidate for elimination after his status update came out on Thursday. He does not need surgery and will be re-examined in three weeks. He has set his sights on a comeback at the end of March, and the Lakers are still trying to get a Play-In Tournament spot, for which they’ll need a healthy James. Find an IR spot for him and hope he can come back sooner rather than later.

Christian Wood, PF/C, Dallas Mavericks

Luka Doncic scored 42 points, Kyrie Irving 40, and the Mavericks finally got a much-needed victory over the 6ers on Thursday night. Meanwhile, Wood’s minutes flew in the wrong direction, and on Thursday he played just 14 of them and finished with 10 points, two rebounds, two three-pointers and nothing else in the win (and had no foul issues).

He played just 14, 18 and 20 minutes in his last three games, and the Mavs are looking to look for Luka and Kairi, who will fill almost all offensive duties going forward. I’m not giving up on Wood, but his decline in minutes and accountability is a worrying trend for those of us with him on the list. He could have easily come to his senses and got more minutes ahead, but his last three games have not been inspiring in terms of either reality or fantasy.

Chris Paul, PG, Phoenix Suns

Devin Booker scored 37 points on Wednesday, DeAndre Ayton had 16 points and 16 rebounds, and Kevin Durant made his Suns debut with 23 points and six rebounds on 10-of-15 shooting in 27 minutes. Meanwhile, CP3 hit just 1-of-8 shots for two points, 11 assists and two steals in 33 minutes to easily defeat the Hornets.

I’m not saying Paul is over, but the Suns just don’t need him to score, and Paul’s value will most likely come from assists and steals in the future. He is 37 years old and will be a minor offensive player when the Suns have so many guns. Don’t drop him, but don’t be surprised if he scores in double figures in just a few of the Suns’ remaining 19 games. The goal for the Suns will be to have CP3 at full strength and rest before the playoffs.

Derrick White, PG/SG, Boston Celtics

The Celtics are finally healthy and they have guys like Jason Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Malcolm Brogdon who will do the hard work all the way. White played just 25 minutes and hit 2 of 5 shots for four points, two rebounds and five assists in Wednesday’s win over the Caves.

White has been a significant contributor to the Celtics for most of the season and has been a valuable fantasy asset, but clearly does more when some of his teammates fail. And now that they are all healthy, White should be more of a role player than a forward coordinator. He’ll likely have a few more big games before the end of the regular season, but you might be able to find a hot no-waiver free agent who’s a more reliable fantasy option for the rest of the journey. Having said that, if one of his teammates in the backcourt loses at some point, White could return to the front for the Celtics.


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