This is one of the most stable weeks that we've had at the top of the rankings this season. I could have moved a player or two around by a spot or two just to stir the pot, but really, the top 15 is all playing well enough to essentially maintain the status quo. However, there were a lot of shake-ups lower down the ranks. Plus, with this being the first rankings after the NBA's trade deadline, a lot of the movement was due to some of the deals that went down, along with some unfortunate injury news.
There are a bunch of storylines in addition to the usual value changes inherent in a long season. So, without any further ado, let's take a look at the rankings and some of these storylines.
De'Aaron Fox benefitted from the trade of George Hill to the Cleveland Cavaliers. With Hill gone, Fox has a clear path to play as many minutes as he can handle for the rest of the season. This earned him a 19-spot bump in the rankings. Hill also benefitted from that trade, as he's now starting for the Cavaliers and looking to benefit from open looks from LeBron James. He moves back into the rankings as a result.
Emmanuel Mudiay is still coming off the bench for the Knicks, but in his first game he produced a 14-point, 10-assist double-double with starter Jarrett Jack playing less than 10 minutes. It's a fluid situation, but enough for Mudiay to sneak into the tail end of the rankings.
D.J. Augustin and Shelvin Mack are battling for the starting point guard job in Orlando after the Payton trade. Augustin has started each of the first three games, including an outstanding game in the first of the trio. However, Mack completely outplayed Augustin in the second game. Both were similarly bad in game No. 3, but Mack played 26 minutes to Augustin's 22. It's an ongoing situation, and both are right at the fringe of the rankings list.
Lonzo Ball is still injured, which gave Isaiah Thomas plenty of time in his Lakers debut. Thomas seems to be in a better situation now than he was with Cleveland, but it's unclear how that might change once Ball returns. For now, both players stay around the same spot in the rankings.
Zach LaVine jumped in the rankings last week, but continues to get better. He moved up even further, into the top 40 this week.
Austin Rivers finally returned from his long absence, but hasn't missed a beat despite changes to the LA Clippers lineup. He's playing well enough to jump back into the top 100.
Kawhi Leonard was recently given a bit of a vote of confidence, with the statement that he would indeed return at some point this season. That's not exactly a ringing endorsement, though, so he actually slides a bit this week on concerns that he could potentially miss quite a bit more time.
Joe Ingles is the unsung member of the Utah Jazz, but has been a big factor in their current winning streak. With Rodney Hood having been traded out of town, Ingles will benefit as he's one of the best pure-shooting wings on the team.
Ben Simmons has been on television all day, mainly to say that Donovan Mitchell may have surpassed him in the NBA Rookie of the Year race. In terms of fantasy value, I see it exactly the opposite. Simmons seems to have gotten through his rookie wall, which is why he picks up about four spots in the rankings.
Kyle Kuzma benefits from the trade that sent Larry Nance Jr. to the Cavaliers. In the three games since the deal, he's flirted with averaging a 15/10 double-double to make his way back up about 25 spots in the rankings.
Clint Capela has been outplaying expectations all season, but has stepped it up even further over the last couple of weeks. He moves up six spots to give the Houston Rockets a third player in the top 20 of the rankings.
Jarrett Allen made his debut on this list last week, and now moves up into the top 100. His level of play certainly deserves it, but be aware that Jahlil Okafor is waiting in the wings and has been getting more court time of late. Allen has to be looking over his shoulder a bit.