6 Fantasy Basketball Players to Buy and Sell for Week 3
It's that time of the week once again when we look for three players to buy and three to sell in fantasy hoops.
The buy options are most often players that are not living up to expectations that present a nice buy-low window, but sometimes it's also about jumping on a player in the midst of a breakout before he reaches his full potential.
On the other side of the coin, we look at players to sell, either because they are temporarily punching above their weight class, or because their situation is about to get less friendly for fantasy purposes.
Let's hit the market.
Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Minnesota Timberwolves
Karl-Anthony Towns has finished in the top-6 in nine-category leagues in each of the last two seasons, so it makes complete sense that he had an average draft position (ADP) of 6.0 heading into 2018-19. He's still got plenty of time to prove that he was worth a high first-rounder, but after seven games, he's only ranked 19th in nine-category leagues.
Over that span, he's averaged 17.6 points, 2.0 three-pointers, 9.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.6 steals, 2.4 blocks, and 2.9 turnovers in 31.1 minutes per contest, while shooting 42.1% from the field and 96.7% from the free throw line. Before last night's 25-point, 16-rebound effort, he had only cracked 20 points and double-digit rebounds once apiece this season (and not in the same game) after averaging at least 21 and 12 each of the last two years. To put it lightly, he hasn't been living up to expectations.
But Towns has been a first-round value since the moment he entered the league. There's plenty of Jimmy Butler-inspired controversy surrounding the team in the early going, but there's no real reason for KAT to drop off in every single category outside of threes, blocks, and free throw percentage. Positive regression is about to hit hard on the 23-year-old, so buy in if his owner in your league is getting frustrated.
Otto Porter Jr., SF/PF, Washington Wizards
Otto Porter Jr. is rarely talked about as a fantasy stud, but he's finished 20th and 22nd in nine-category leagues over the last two seasons. There was no real reason to think that he couldn't repeat those kinds of second-round returns this year, but his ADP still dropped to 57.0 for some reason.
You had every reason to consider him a bargain if you got him in that range heading into this year, but he's only been the 84th-ranked player through his first six games, so perhaps some people think the depressed ADP is justified.
It's not. Exploit those people.
A guy that shot over 50.0% from the field and 40.0% from deep over the last two seasons isn't suddenly going to split 41.1% and 21.7%, respectively, for long. Once the shots start falling, his 9.8 points and 0.8 threes per game should get back up around his 14.7 and 1.8 from last year as well.
Everything else in his line -- the 5.2 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.8 blocks, 0.7 turnovers, and 80.0% shooting from the free throw line -- are all pretty much in line with his normal output, so he'll be an early-round guy again before you know it. Buy accordingly.
C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Portland Trail Blazers
C.J. McCollum has gotten off to a slow start this year. The career 45.3% shooter from the field is hitting a career-worst 39.4% through six games, and he's shy of averaging 20 points per contest for the first time since becoming a regular starter for the Portland Trail Blazers in 2015-16.
If McCollum's owner in your league thinks this little shooting drought is a reason for concern, pounce with a buy-low offer.
Apart from the 19.3 points, 2.0 assists, 0.3 steals, and 39.4% shooting from the field, the rest of C.J.'s line is pretty well in line with what has made him an early-round asset in nine-category leagues for three years running. Once those numbers regress closer to his 21.4 points, 3.4 assists, 1.0 steal, and 44.3% shooting from last season, he'll be knocking on the door of the top-50 all over again.
At the very least, he's not going to stay the 133rd-ranked player in nine-category leagues much longer. Buy, buy, buy.
Brook Lopez, C, Milwaukee Bucks
Brook Lopez is doing a fine job of busting his 96.7 ADP by ranking 64th in nine-category leagues through seven games. You're probably feeling pretty good if you managed to draft him around pick 100, but now is not the time to pat yourself on the back.
BroLo is averaging 12.4 points, 2.4 three-pointers, 2.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.1 steals, 1.6 blocks, and 1.0 turnover in 25.6 minutes per game, while shooting 46.9% from the field and a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line.
The blocks, percentages, and low turnovers are just as nice as they've always been with Lopez, but there's some concern when it comes to most of his value coming from his 2.4 triples per game. The big guy has hit 2.2 and 2.3 triples per 36 minutes over his last two seasons, so his 3.4 per-36 rate so far this year just doesn't seem very sustainable.
But more than anything, who can afford for their 7'0" starting fantasy center to only average 2.7 rebounds per game? If you're not punting boards, now might be the right time to sell Lopez on his mid-round start.
Danilo Gallinari, SF/PF, Los Angeles Clippers
I'm not in the game of predicting injuries and generally think that fantasy players devalue "injury-prone" guys a little too much, but sometimes we have to call a spade a spade. Danilo Gallinari has topped 63 games only once over the last seven years and has failed to hit 60 four times (including a career-low 22 games played in 2017-18).
He's started every game for the Los Angeles Clippers so far this year, playing 29.2 minutes per contest and putting up 26th-ranked value in nine-category leagues. He's no stranger to early-round returns on a per-game basis (he's been in or around the top-50 six of the last eight seasons), but the problem is that he rarely plays enough games to live up to that value.
His 115.0 ADP reflects how everyone feels about his injury concerns, but you still might want to consider selling high on him now, rather than enjoying your solid sleeper pick. History has shown us time and again that Gallo's next injury is just around the corner. See what you can get for him before that happens.
JaVale McGee, C, Los Angeles Lakers
That ranking feels almost too good to be true, so it probably is.
He's averaging 15.4 points, 0.1 threes, 6.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.9 steals, 3.0 blocks, and 1.6 turnovers in 26.0 minutes per contest, while shooting 65.3% from the field and 61.9% from the free throw line. The points, threes, assists, steals, blocks, and field goal percentage all represent career bests, and the rebounding is his best mark since 2011-12.
McGee is likely in for a career year as the most seasoned center on the Los Angeles Lakers, but he's not suddenly going to be an early-round asset at 30 years of age after five straight years outside the top-250. Mid- to late-round value is far more realistic, so if you can sell him for a more proven early-round guy, you should jump on it.