Yahoo Fantasy Edge: Is rookie Ja Morant the real deal or a sell-high candidate?

It’s Thanksgiving in the US, so the NBA takes a day off, but that doesn’t mean we take a day off from looking at our fantasy teams. So, let’s look at some numbers which I found interesting over the last week.

Ja Morant is blowing up before our eyes

In the last week, there is an unfamiliar name in the top 10.

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Ja Morant, the Grizzlies’ rookie point guard is averaging 49.83 fantasy points per game in his last three games, way up from his season average of 34.54. How is he doing this?

Well, it comes down to really one thing - steals. In his first 13 games, he had 12 steals.

Can Ja Maront maintain his form for fantasy managers? (Getty Images)

Below average for sure. In his last three games, Morant has amassed 11 steals. That’s 3.7 per game.

He’s also shooting at 49% from the field, but really, the steals are what is driving his big leap. He is averaging just 1.9 deflections per game, which is fifth-best on his team, so it’s not like he has been hyperactive on that end and the steals just haven’t been coming.

This could have him as a sell-high player.

Jrue Holiday as a Point Guard

With Lonzo Ball battling a groin issue and now a stomach virus, the Pelicans have been relying on Jrue Holiday to play as a point guard.

The results have been excellent for fantasy, with Holiday averaging 45.71 fantasy points over the last eight games, ranking him ninth.

Jrue Holiday has been in fine form for the Pelicans and has rewarded fantasy managers, but can he maintain it? (Getty Images)

When Holiday is on the court without Ball, a good proxy for when he plays point guard, he is averaging 10.1 per 100 possessions.

When he plays with Lonzo, Holiday is at 7.3 per 100 possessions. That is a 28% reduction in his assists. So far this season, Holiday has been without Ball for 764 possessions and played with him for 385 possessions. When those numbers come closer to each other, we can expect Holiday’s assist numbers to drop back off. 

Alec Burks Is A Roller Coaster

Burks was inserted back into the Warriors starting lineup on November 17 and since then, it’s been a wild ride for fantasy basketball. In his games as a starter, in 33 minutes, Burks has averaged 32.46 fantasy points, but if we look at it on a game by game basis, you can see how hard he is to rely on. 

Game

Fantasy Points

17/11 @NOR

19.30

19/11 @MEM

42.60

20/11 @DAL

22.80

22/11 @UTA

42.70

25/11 v OKC

16.30

27/11 v CHI

43.50

A player getting 40 points a night is great. A player getting under 20 is not worth rostering in standard fantasy leagues. Things could get even worse when D’Angelo Russell returns, but given Burks’ history in the NBA, I doubt his inconsistency is going to improve.

Carmelo Anthony’s NBA Return

Melo is back in the NBA and he is garnering interest in fantasy circles. So far, he is averaging 25.10 fantasy points per game, which places him 119th this season. That’s solid, but there are a few things to look at. Firstly, Melo has a usage of 26%.

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When he is on the court with CJ McCollum, Melo has a usage of 28.6% while McCollum is only at 25.8%. That number is sure to reverse, which is going to limit Melo’s effectiveness. He also has a true shooting of only 53%, under league average, while given us no assists, steals, or blocks, and below-average rebounds. 

Eric Paschall Is A Rookie Surprise

Paschall is somehow the 100th ranked player for fantasy basketball this season and that number has elevated to 63rd over the last two weeks. In those last seven games, Paschall is averaging 30.96 fantasy points per season, scoring 19.3 points and grabbing 7.3 rebounds per game.

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But, recently, without D’Angelo Russell, Paschall has taken on a larger load. Before Russell went out with a thumb injury when Paschall and Russel shared the court, Paschall has a usage of just 17%. After that, Paschall’s usage has surged to 26.5 and he has averaged 0.98 fantasy points per minute. It was at 0.73 per minute alongside Russell.

Every week, I’ll be looking at some weird trends across the NBA and seeing what they mean, so make sure you’re checking out The Edge, here every Friday.