6 Fantasy Basketball Players to Buy and Sell for Week 6
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.
Ben Simmons, PG/SF, Philadelphia 76ers
Ben Simmons is the 74th-ranked player in nine-category leagues up to this point in the season, which is a far cry from what fantasy managers were expecting based on his 13.0 average draft position (ADP) coming into the year. Maybe he was never going to be a top-15 guy this season -- what with the low free throw percentage, high turnovers, and non-existent threes -- but we figured he'd at least be better than this after finishing 51st in his rookie campaign.
The thing is, his ranking may be down, but his line is closer to what he did last year than you might think:
For the slight bit he's missing in points, assists, steals, and blocks, he's making up in rebounds and free throw percentage, while the minutes, threes, field goal percentage, and turnovers have been practically identical. His ranking is down, but it's not like he's gotten significantly worse in any area.
And that's why you should be buying him now based on his lowered overall ranking. He's giving you a lot of what he did last year, still has plenty of room to grow, and is basically a walking triple-double with defensive upside and a good field goal percentage. If your squad can handle the lack of threes and low free throw percentage, he's even more enticing.
Toss in the fact that the Philadelphia 76ers just acquired Jimmy Butler, and you might be able to convince Simmons' owner that he's in for a reduced role now that he has to share the rock with Jimmy Buckets. The truth is that Simmons has a fairly modest usage rate (20.0%), and doesn't take a lot of shots as it is (10.8 field goal attempts per game), so he should still be able to stuff the stat sheet just fine next to a high-usage guy like Butler.
Donovan Mitchell, PG/SG, Utah Jazz
Donovan Mitchell, much like Ben Simmons, is a second-year guy whose early nine-category ranking suggests he might be going through a sophomore slump. After finishing his rookie campaign as the 54th-ranked player overall, Mitchell currently ranks 75th through 18 games. That's a letdown based on his 21.0 ADP, but much like Simmons, there's not a big reason for concern here either:
His numbers are very similar across the board, with the exception of a slight dip in shooting percentages (most notably his 29.3% mark from long range, as compared to 34.0% last year). We're just a hot streak away from seeing some positive regression there, which would put Mitchell firmly back in the top-50.
Like Simmons, an ADP in the top-20 may have set expectations too high for Mitchell this year, but he's still more valuable than his current ranking suggests. If you can pry him away from a frustrated owner with a buy-low offer, you should jump on the opportunity.
Jeff Teague, PG, Minnesota Timberwolves
If you take away a 2-point, 1-for-9 dud on Sunday, Teague has been the 34th-ranked player in nine-category leagues since the deal, averaging 17.0 points, 1.0 three-pointer, 1.7 rebounds, 10.7 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 2.7 turnovers in 36.3 minutes per contest, while shooting 45.9% from the field and 82.4% from the free throw line.
The departure of Butler for lower-usage guys like Robert Covington and Dario Saric means that Teague will be in the driver's seat on offense more going forward, which should lead to more fantasy goodies. He was the 56th-ranked player in nine-category leagues last year with Butler in tow, so he should be able to flirt with top-50 value from here on out without him.
Due to a slow start to the season, Teague is just the 95th-ranked player overall through 11 games, and he recently missed 6 contests with a bum knee. Toss in the aforementioned dud on Sunday, and a buy-low window might still be cracked open ever so slightly if you want to get in on him before the general public catches on.
Derrick Rose, PG, Minnesota Timberwolves
Derrick Rose is having a renaissance year on the Minnesota Timberwolves, ranking 71st in nine-category leagues through 15 games, following five consecutive years of barely sniffing standard-league value.
He's been even hotter over his last five, ranking 25th over that span with averages of 22.0 points, 3.0 triples, 4.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.2 blocks, and 2.8 turnovers in 34.8 minutes per contest, and a shooting split of 52.0% from the field and 94.4% from the line.
If you want to buy into the idea that a 30-year-old Derrick Rose has suddenly recaptured his MVP form for the first time since his 2012 knee injury, go right ahead, but his carriage is bound to turn into a pumpkin before long.
He has clearly benefited from increased playing time to start the year, filling in for Jimmy Butler during his trade maintenance absences, and covering for Andrew Wiggins and Jeff Teague as they nursed lingering ailments. Now that the Wolves are at full strength, Rose could still have scattered strong performances in his bench role, but it'll be hard to do it as consistently as he has recently.
Over the last several years, there's enough evidence that Derrick Rose is not a reliable fantasy asset anymore (including a 403rd-ranked finish just last season), so you should sell high while the sellin' is good.
Brandon Ingram, SG/SF, Los Angeles Lakers
Brandon Ingram had a 61.7 ADP coming into this season, despite a 176th-ranked finish in nine-category leagues last year. Expectations on the third-year wing have been high, partially because of his status as a former second overall pick, but also because LeBron James was hyping him up as if he were going to be his next Dwyane Wade or Kyrie Irving in the preseason.
Well, 12 games into 2018-19, and Ingram simply seems to be the same guy he was last year from a fantasy perspective. Over that span, he's been the 180th-ranked player in nine-category leagues (basically right where he was last year), averaging 15.2 points, 0.6 threes, 4.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.9 blocks, and 2.1 turnovers in 31.3 minutes per contest, while shooting 45.0% from the field and 72.1% from the charity stripe.
There's still obviously lots of room for the 21-year-old to grow as the season chugs along, but perhaps he was touted as a mid-round guy prematurely. If you can sell him based on his name, age, and draft pedigree for anything in consistent mid- to late-round value, you should jump on it. We might very well hit a point where it becomes hard to justify owning Ingram in standard leagues, let alone relying on him to be an every-week starter.
Jabari Parker, SF/PF, Chicago Bulls
His 144th-ranked finish with the Milwaukee Bucks last year was acceptable, given that he was working his way back from an ACL tear, but the 214th-ranked position through 17 games this year is hard to swallow.
He's even started 10 consecutive games for the Bulls, but in those starts he has only averaged 14.3 points, 0.8 threes, 7.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 3.3 turnovers in 33.1 minutes per contest over that span, while shooting 42.4% from the field and 81.0% from the free throw line. That's good enough to rank him 266th over the last few weeks, which really isn't good enough at all.
Unless you're absolutely strapped for the 14.3 points and 7.0 boards, there's really no reason to even roster a guy only managing to put up those kinds of numbers with an ample opportunity. Injuries to Lauri Markkanen (elbow) and Bobby Portis (knee) have opened up so many minutes for Parker, but their eventual returns will only make this situation worse.
If you can sell Jabari on name, his status as a former second overall pick, or the fact that he's starting and getting a ton of minutes right now, do it for absolutely anything of standard-league value.