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Periodically throughout the season, we’ve been checking in on the 2022 NBA rookie class, which has been both volatile and unpredictable when it comes to fantasy basketball.
While big names like Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith and Jaden Ivey have, for the most part, stayed healthy and played key roles, none of those three currently feature on the list. 9-Top 130 in CAT Overall Price, With that said, the 2022 class has proven to be deeper than many expected. Walker Kessler and Jalen Williams are the two highest-ranked 9-Cat players on the year and neither were selected in the top 10. Williams moved up to 12th at Oklahoma City, while Kesler fell to 22nd.
With about a month left in the regular season, first-year players will continue to make a major fantasy impact — especially those likely to open their rotations down the stretch on bottom-feeding teams. This week, we’ll take a “stock watch” approach to the rookie class, highlighting which players are trending, trending or holding their positions as we head into the home stretch of the fantasy season.
is in trend
Jaden Ivey, Pistons
Thanks in large part to a fluctuating percentage, Ivy has had a better rookie season in real life than in fantasy, where he currently ranks outside the top-200. He was steady all year, but Ivey has picked things up of late, posting 16.5 points, 6.2 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.8 threes (37.5% 3Pt) since the beginning of February. maybe with bojan bogdanovic on the way to closeIvey should be the Pistons’ undisputed offensive engine the rest of the way.
Walker Kessler, Jazz
Those who caught Kessler early and tossed him to the bench have been handsomely rewarded over the past few months. The Big Man is the best fantasy player in the class and has multiple blocks in 10 of his last 11 games. The Jazz are a bit worrisome from a shutdown perspective, but as a rookie, Kesler should be immune if the Jazz choose to pull back in the final weeks. Early in the season, Kesler is a full round ahead of Rudy Gobert in total fantasy value, despite not taking over as the full-time starter until mid-January.
Jalen Williams, Thunder
Williams is developing into a full-fledged fantasy star, and there is a strong case that he will be a top-three pick in the 2022 re-draft. Over the past 11 games, Williams has averaged 20.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 2.5 steals (!!), 0.5 blocks and 1.6 made threes with a 57/50/85 shooting line. He is currently dealing with a wrist injury, so fantasy managers should monitor his condition closely over the next few days.
Mark Williams, Hornets
The big man may be moving closer to “status quo ante” territory, but overall he’s still on the upswing after taking over as the Hornets’ starting center after the trade-deadline. Williams has been more inconsistent than managers, but he’s still putting up 11.5 points, 9.1 boards and 1.4 blocks in his last 10 games.
Tari Eason, Rockets
Fantasy managers have been waiting months for Eason to breakout, and while we’re running out of time, the LSU product has worked his way into the top-100 in 9-cat overall value. Although he’s still not starting, Eason continues to add value off the bench with high-end steels in 25 to 30 minutes per night.
Osman Deng, Thunder
The Thunder is officially on tank watch throughout the rest of the season, which is incredibly worrying for players like Shai Gilgies-Alexander and Josh Gide. However, if the Thunder starts to rest the veterans, Deng will be in a position of advantage. After spending a month in the G League, Dieng has logged at least 19 minutes in each of OKC’s last three games. In the last two, he totaled 23 points, nine rebounds, four steals and four three-pointers in 39 minutes.
Jabari Smith, Rockets
For the most part, it’s been the same old story for Smith, who just hasn’t shown much tangible upside. He has scored in single digits in three of his last six games and remains a train wreck from long range. no hope of late weather, he’s finally figuring it out The pull from Smith is fading quickly.
Jalen Duren, Pistons
The Big Man has missed six straight games with an ankle problem and doesn’t have a solid timetable. Once he returns, he will face increased competition for minutes from Marvin Bagley, James Wiseman and Isaiah Stewart.
AJ Griffin, Hawks
A staple in the rotation for most of the year, Griffin has been a DNP-CD in each of the Hawks’ last two games. The addition of Sadiq Bey appears to have taken him out of new head coach Queen Snyder’s rotation for the time being.
Paolo Banchero, Magic
Banchero seems to have been on the radar of a mediocre Magic team for the past few months, but he remains one of the most consistent, high-level rookies in recent history. In his last 10 games, he’s averaging 19.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.2 steals/block, though his three-point shooting has fallen off a cliff. Since January 25, Banchero is shooting a terrible 15.4 percent (10-65) from deep. Still, his counting statistics and durability – 48 consecutive games played – have been massive for fantasy managers.
Benedict Maturin, Pacers
It’s true that Maturin’s production has dropped a bit, but for the most part he’s putting up numbers on par with his season averages. Since the beginning of February, Maturin has hit a wall from deep (27.9% 3Pt), but he’s still averaging 13.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.2 free throws per game for the managers.
Keegan Murray, Kings
Like Smith, Murray’s output varies from night to night, but he has been the more efficient player overall. Murray is shooting better than 43 percent from three over the past month, and he’s adding 1.3 steals per game since the All-Star break. He has more steals in his last seven games than in his last 20 combined.
Malachi Branham, Spurs
The Ohio State product had a decent performance in February while Devin Vassell was sidelined, but his role going forward will be a bit more complicated. It’s impossible to project tanking Spurs when it comes to the injury report, so Branham should still be in line for a good number of starts. In his last 13 games (30.8 MPG), he averaged 15.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.8 threes.
Ochai Fire, Jazz
while i want to keep the fire in it trending up In the category, he hasn’t been able to do much with his recent jump in minutes. The Kanas product has made six starts in his last 10 appearances, but he’s only averaging 9.8 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.9 threes (41.0% FG, 33.9% 3PT) in that stretch.
Jeremy Sochan, Spurs
In general, Socha projects as a late riser who should get plenty of minutes over the next few weeks. He’s already climbing as a scorer — 15.4 PPG over the last 15 games — but remains a fairly volatile fantasy asset given his shaky percentage and lack of consistent production on defense. Sochan missed the Spurs’ last game because of a knee injury on Sunday and is considered questionable for Friday’s match with the Nuggets.