6 Fantasy Basketball Players to Buy and Sell for Week 5
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 who are not living up to expectations and 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.
Andrew Wiggins, SG/SF, Minnesota Timberwolves
In six seasons at numberFire, I have written more blurbs about Andrew Wiggins being a draft bust or sell candidate than I can count. A former first overall pick with a career scoring average bordering on 20 points per game, Wiggins has always been overvalued and drafted far too high in fantasy hoops leagues, generally going in the top 50 despite never cracking the top 100 in nine-category leagues even once over his four NBA seasons.
But now might actually be the perfect time to buy the 23-year-old. I know, I know, hell has frozen over and pigs are flying, but bear with me while I work my way through this one.
Wiggins is the 56th-ranked player in nine-category leagues this season, averaging 16.6 points, 2.1 three-pointers, 3.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.6 blocks, and 1.5 turnovers in 32.8 minutes per contest, while shooting 41.6% from the field and 77.8% from the free throw line. The threes, steals, and turnovers are career bests, while the shooting and scoring represent career lows.
Wiggins has always been overvalued in fantasy leagues because he scores plenty of points without offering much else in any other category. If he's going to boost his value with more threes, steals, and a high free throw percentage, then he suddenly becomes a lot more interesting to have on your squad.
Throw in the fact that Jimmy Butler's been traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, and Wiggins might have a decent shot of reclaiming his 29.0% usage rate and 23.6 points per game that he achieved in his last Butler-less season in 2016-17 to boot.
With more to like in his fantasy line and potentially more scoring to come, Wiggins might finally have a legitimate claim on mid- to early-round value. A pesky quad injury has cost him a handful of games recently, but it's not a long-term concern, and it might even serve to facilitate some buy-low offers before his breakout hits.
Myles Turner, PF/C, Indiana Pacers
The sky seemed to be the limit for Myles Turner after he finished 25th in nine-category leagues in his sophomore season in 2016-17, but he's been on a downward trajectory ever since. He took a step back last year, finishing 55th with his numbers down pretty well across the board, and he's slid even further so far this year, coming in as the 107th-ranked player through 14 games.
His minutes are down for the second year in a row, and his points, threes, and rebounds have taken a dive as well. He's being outplayed by third-year big man Domantas Sabonis, and the two are essentially splitting minutes in the middle.
But all is not lost.
Turner is still averaging a career-high 2.4 blocks per game, shooting a respectable 48.4% from the field and 79.4% from the free throw line, and only turning the ball over 1.5 times per contest. His per-36 numbers have been fairly similar all four seasons of his career, so the key is really getting more minutes.
The Pacers signed Turner to a $72-million extension less than a month ago, so it's not like they're about to go away from him entirely. He's still only 22 years old and has shown enough promise over the last few years to earn the benefit of the doubt. It's likely only a matter of time before he gets it going and earns himself more playing time, so go ahead and buy low now while he's slumping. His recent string of four straight single-digit scoring efforts presents the perfect opportunity for that.
Taurean Prince, SF, Atlanta Hawks
Taurean Prince finished last season as the 97th-ranked player in nine-category leagues and was the 48th-ranked player over the last two months of the season. One would imagine that he would be able to build on that success this year, but he's been slow to get going so far.
Through 12 games, Prince is the 110th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 15.3 points, 2.4 three-pointers, 5.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 3.4 turnovers in 28.4 minutes per contest, while shooting 41.6% from the field and 87.1% from the free throw line.
The key differences between that line and his strong final couple months of last season are mostly that he's scoring fewer points, hitting for a lower field goal percentage and turning the ball over a bit more. If he can sort those few things out, he'll be right back to being a mid-round guy with upside before you know it.
Prince recently missed a game with an ankle injury and came off the bench in his return, marking his first non-start for the team since his rookie season in 2016-17. If you want to use that and his slightly worse line to buy low on him, that wouldn't be a bad idea. The Atlanta Hawks don't have a lot going for them this year, so the continued development of young guys like Prince will continue to be a top priority.
Hassan Whiteside, C, Miami Heat
Hassan Whiteside has been on an absolute tear of late, double-doubling in four straight contests (including two 20-rebound efforts) and tossing in a whopping 18 blocks over that span for good measure.
Through those four games, he's been the ninth-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 17.0 points, 0.3 threes, 16.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.3 steals, 4.5 blocks, and 1.8 turnovers in a healthy 30.5 minutes per contest, while shooting 59.1% from the field and 62.5% from the free throw line.
You're absolutely thrilled with those returns if you grabbed him around his 61.7 average draft position (ADP) this season, but don't get too comfortable. Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra tends to bench Whiteside down the stretch of fourth quarters, so his playing over 32 minutes in three of his last four is an anomaly.
Toss in Whiteside's injury issues last year, and the fact that the Heat have second-year big man Bam Adebayo waiting in the wings behind him, and you have every reason to sell high on Whiteside while he's this blazing hot. He could still crush his modest ADP, but there are enough issues surrounding him to expect that he won't keep posting first-round value much longer.
Serge Ibaka, PF/C, Toronto Raptors
We talked about selling Jonas Valanciunas last week because of the way Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse switches up his starting center on a game-to-game basis based on matchup, and now we're doing the same for Serge Ibaka.
Ibaka is getting the lion's share of starts (he's got nine to Valanciunas' five) and minutes (26.5 to 18.9), and is kicking butt in the limited role, coming in as the 40th-ranked player through 14 games. He's averaging a career-high 17.4 points per contest, while shooting a career-best 57.6% from the field.
He's crushing his 101.7 ADP, but the inconsistent role and reduced minutes should have you worried. The emergence of Pascal Siakam should as well, since he now seems to have the team's starting power forward spot secured, keeping Ibaka locked into his timeshare with Valanciunas at center.
Ibaka could very well outplay his ADP over the run of the whole season, but it seems safe to assume that a guy who has shot 3.8 triples per game over his 113 games in a Toronto Raptors uniform could start jacking more than 2.6 a night before long. With that, his 57.6% shooting mark from the field could sink down to the 49.1% he's shot over his Raptors tenure, taking his early-round value with it.
Regardless, this feels like Ibaka's current ceiling, now that the former block-leader only gets 1.2 or so per contest these days. You should probably see how high you can sell his hot start before he comes back down to earth a bit.
Enes Kanter, C, New York Knicks
Over that nine-game span, Kanter has still managed to rack up six double-doubles, including five in a row. He's averaging 14.7 points and 12.9 rebounds as a reserve, and shooting a very palatable 50.0% from the field and 82.4% from the line in the process, but there's little else to like in his 2.0 assists, 0.2 steals, 0.4 blocks, and whopping 2.8 turnovers per contest.
If you can convince someone to take on his points and rebounds, you should probably jump on that. New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale has hinted that Robinson might be his starting center the rest of the year, while Kanter and his expiring contract could potentially get moved from the rebuilding Knicks to a crowded contender before the season is out. Sell him now while his overall ranking still makes him seem like a mid-round asset.