Fantasy basketball: Dr. A's weekly risers and fallers

Precious Achiuwa continues to impress in New York. Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Several unexpected players have been returning surprisingly solid fantasy recently and I'm simply going to take a look at what happened on Thursday night after we returned from the All-Star Break.

Precious Achiuwa, the Thompson Twins and Keyonte George all came through while Walker Kessler and Paul Reed were huge failures for their fantasy managers.


Precious Achiuwa, PF/C Knicks (23.6% rostered in ESPN leagues): Precious went off for 18 points, 11 rebounds, two dimes, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer in 38 minutes on 7-of-9 shooting on Thursday. Yes, Isaiah Hartenstein was back, but only played 11 minutes, and yes, Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo all went off, but Achiuwa still managed to have a big game for the Knicks. Maybe he fades away once Mitchell Robinson is back, but I just don't see it happening. Achiuwa should be rostered everywhere until further notice.

Amen Thompson, SG, Rockets (24.5%): Amen led the Rockets in scoring with 22 points and added five rebounds, four assists, three blocks and a 3-pointer on 9-of-13 shooting on Thursday and I just don't know how the return of Fred VanVleet (7 points, 2-of-8 shooting) is going to ruin him. Make sure he's on your roster if he's sitting out there.

Ausar Thompson, G/SF, Pistons (42.9%): Thompson started and had 11 points, five boards, two steals, three blocks and a 3-pointer on 5-of-10 shooting in 35 minutes in the starting lineup. The blocks and steals are gold and there's no reason he shouldn't be playing big minutes going forward. Rostering the Thompson Twins in fantasy is good business right now, especially when they're both seeing minutes in the 30s.

Keyonte George, PG/SG, Jazz (13.8%): George hit 7-of-14 shots and two triples for 16 points, three rebounds and five assists in a loss to the Hornets on Thursday night. He's going to get all the minutes at point guard going forward and should be a fantasy monster down the stretch, or at least a very relevant fantasy point guard the rest of the way. The Jazz are committed to playing him the rest of the way.

Tre Mann, PG, Hornets (12.6%): Mann came through with 13 points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in 30 minutes. Maybe he'll take a hit once LaMelo Ball (ankle) is back for the Hornets, but I can see Mann starting alongside him at shooting guard and continuing to go off. I'm not giving up on him just yet and if he starts when LaMelo returns, he should be rostered everywhere.


Walker Kessler, C, Jazz (79.3): Kessler played just 17 minutes on Thursday and had two points, two rebounds, a steal and a block on 1-of-4 shooting. I don't get it, but it is what it is. Trade him for whatever you can get at this point unless you simply need him for the blocked shots. That's all he's guaranteed for right now and with the minutes so low, those aren't even guaranteed.

Paul Reed, PF/C, Sixers (14.1%): Reed didn't play well on Thursday filling in for Joel Embiid, hitting 1-of-2 shots for two points, five rebounds and zero steals and zero blocks in 22 minutes in a loss to the Knicks. He'll have some big games, but he'll also have plenty of duds. He is what he is. You can probably do better, even though he seems like a no-brainer with Embiid in street clothes. I trust my cat more than I do Reed at this point. And I don't trust my cat, at all.

Ben Simmons, PG/PF, Nets (52.7%): Simmons hit 1-of-2 shots for two points, four rebounds, four assists and nothing else, unless you count his 0-for-1 night at the free throw line. More missed games are coming and you have to wonder at this point how many of his five-game week games will even be played the week after next. What a disaster, unless you love Draymond Green-like triple-singles.

Russell Westbrook, PG, Clippers (83.3%): Westy struggled on Thursday, hitting 1-of-9 shots for two points and five dimes, and playing just 16 minutes. He'll have some big games and is generally worth rostering, but there are so many hot free agents out there I'd rather roll the dice on someone else. Especially the younger kids who are about to be turned loose.

Zach Collins, PF/C, Spurs (18%): If you haven't figured it out by now, Victor Wembanyama is the starting center for the Spurs and Collins has become an afterthought. He had just three points, three rebounds, four assists and a steal on 1-of-4 shooting off the bench in 17 minutes on Thursday. If Wemby sits, fire him up. Otherwise, there's no reason for him to be on your roster unless you're in a 30-team league.