Steven Adams: The Thunder have gotten off to a disappointing start (although they’ve played better of late), but Adams hasn’t been the reason why. He’s averaged 22.0 points over the last three games, when he’s shot 82.4 percent from the field. Adams is averaging career highs in ppg (13.5), rpg (8.2), spg (1.4), FG% (65.3) and FT% (69.0), and it’s easy to forget the youngest of 18 siblings is still just 24 years old. Adams broke top-100 fantasy value for the first time ever last season (No. 98), but he’s truly emerged as an elite center in 2017/18, ranking as the No. 40 overall player. He’s been one of the bigger steals at draft tables so far this year.
Austin Rivers: With Blake Griffin and Patrick Beverley out for a team that lost Chris Paul and J.J. Redick during the offseason, the Clippers are searching for answers on offense (Lou Williams can only do so much). Rivers has stepped up, averaging 19.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.5 blocks and 2.7 3pt on 48.3 percent shooting from the floor over the past six games. Rivers has been a top-60 player over that span, and while Milos Teodosic (and Danilo Gallinari) will return to action soon, DeAndre Jordan is a major candidate to be traded, so Rivers should easily set a career high in Usage Rate this year.
Rajon Rondo: He’s back closer to 100 percent and playing more minutes of late, averaging 11.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 10.7 assists and 1.0 steals over the past three games, shooting 55.6 percent from the field (41.7 percent from downtown) over that stretch. New Orleans has one of the faster Pace rates in the NBA (ahead of Houston), and Rondo is going to be handling the ball even more with Anthony Davis sidelined yet again. DeMarcus Cousins is arguably the top DFS option as long as AD is out as well.
Alec Burks: He’s gotten 22.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.5 spg and 2.0 3pt over the last four contests and has been a huge bargain in DFS. Burks’ recent surge has been a direct result of Rodney Hood being out, but the former lottery pick is playing the best basketball of his career and is well worth using in all formats when given minutes like he has been recently. Burks is available in more than half of Yahoo leagues.
Kenneth Faried: He’s been unleashed with Paul Millsap and Nikola Jokic out, averaging a double-double over the past five games while starting for Denver. The Nuggets’ Offensive Efficiency (107.9) ranks seventh best in the NBA, and Faried is owned in just 35 percent of leagues.
Josh Jackson: It’s been an uneven rookie season so far for Jackson, who’s predictably struggled with his outside shot but has shown flashes of potential at times as well. With Devin Booker carried off the court Tuesday night and likely looking at an extended absence, Jackson is set to get more playing time on the rebuilding Suns, who are tied for the NBA lead in Pace this season. Jackson is worth a look in all leagues and is currently available in three quarters of them.
Eric Gordon: His value has taken a predictable hit after moving back to the bench with Chris Paul back, as he’s averaged 22.0 points over 13 games in which he’s started this season compared to 14.4 points over seven contests in which he came off the bench (weirdly, he averaged more points as a sixth man than when starting last season). Gordon will bounce back from his recent shooting slump (he sports a 35.2 FG% over the past seven games), and it helps playing for a team that’s averaging 44.0 three-point attempts per game (10.1 more than the next highest team), but it will take another injury to the Rockets’ backcourt for Gordon’s fantasy value to return to where it was earlier this season.
LaMarcus Aldridge: He’s had by far his best season since joining San Antonio, sporting a career-high PER (25.64) that ranks top-10 in the league. However, his Usage Rate, which has been back to what it was during his prime in Portland, is about to take a hit with Kawhi Leonard expected to return any day now. Aldridge is clearly more comfortable in the Spurs’ system and will remain plenty valuable, but he’s likely peaked (he’s the No. 15 ranked player after not coming in the top-50 last year), so shop him around if there’s still time.
Derrick Favors: Another player taking a fantasy hit thanks to a teammate returning from injury, Favors’ owners aren’t exactly thrilled to see Rudy Gobert back in action. Favors looked like the player many expected he’d be coming out of college with Gobert sidelined, averaging 16.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.5 blocks while shooting 61.0 percent from the field and 77.1 percent from the line (with just 1.6 tpg) over 11 contests. He’s averaged just 9.0 points and 7.0 rebounds with his minutes down in two games with Gobert back, highlighting just how big of an impact the center’s presence has on Favors’ value.