6 Fantasy Basketball Players to Buy and Sell for Week 10
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.
All rankings come courtesy of Basketball Monster.
Now, let's hit the market.
Josh Richardson, PG/SG/SF, Miami Heat
Josh Richardson had a breakout fantasy campaign in 2017-18, finishing the year ranked 53rd in nine-category leagues on a per-game basis over 81 played. His average draft position (ADP) of 92.0 across the industry coming into this season did not reflect confidence that he could repeat that kind of mid-round performance, but he has done just that by ranking 54th through his first 28 games in 2018-19.
But he's mostly been even better than that ranking suggests.
Through his first 21 games, he was the 34th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 20.5 points, 2.9 three-pointers, 4.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 2.2 turnovers in 35.0 minutes per contest, while shooting 42.9% from the field and 83.3% from the free throw line.
He's been in a slump over his last seven, however, ranking 191st with averages of 13.0 points, 1.9 threes, 3.0 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.1 blocks, and 1.7 turnovers in 34.0 minutes, and a shooting split of 32.7% from the field and 87.5% from the line.
The scoring and field goal percentage represent the biggest drop-offs in his line, so we'll just chalk this up as your run-of-the-mill shooting slump, since his shot attempts and usage rate have been comparable over both periods. Once his shot starts falling again, he should go back to hovering around early-round value, so use this is a good opportunity to buy low.
Khris Middleton, SG/SF, Milwaukee Bucks
Another early-round guy that has a buy-low window propped open by a horrific shooting slump is Khris Middleton.
Middleton is the 47th-ranked player on the season as a whole, but he was the 20th-ranked guy through his first 19 contests. Over that period, he averaged 19.2 points, 3.1 triples, 5.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.2 blocks, and 2.3 turnovers in 31.0 minutes per game, while shooting 46.6% from the field and 91.3% from the charity stripe.
Over his last eight games, he's fallen off a cliff, ranking 254th based on averages of 13.6 points, 2.1 threes, 6.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 2.4 turnovers in 31.0 minutes per contest, and paltry shooting marks of 31.3% from the field and 74.1% from the free throw line.
Middleton has been a mid- to early-round guy for four years running now, including a 25th-ranked finish just last year. His brutal shooting percentages from the last couple weeks should creep back up to his career splits of 45.1% from the field and 87.6% from the line before too long, so take advantage of this brief buy-low opportunity while you have it.
Nikola Mirotic, SF/PF, New Orleans Pelicans
Sometimes, the best moment to buy a player you have your eye on is when he's on the shelf with an injury. As long as said player is not dealing with a structural issue or something else where the threat of surgery lurks, you can often exploit impatient fantasy owners that are getting fed up with the day-to-day uncertainty and missed games.
One of the best examples of an injured guy that's worth targeting right now is Nikola Mirotic.
Mirotic has missed four of the New Orleans Pelicans' last seven contests. He missed the first two games over that stretch due to illness, returned to play three (all off the bench for the first time this season), then missed the next two due to an ankle injury. The three games he did play were among his worst of the season, as he logged only 19.3 minutes per contest, scored in single digits in two of the three, and shot a miserable 29.2% from the floor.
Before this recent rough patch, however, Mirotic was performing like a flat-out fantasy stud, putting up career-best numbers in several different categories. Through his first 22 games, he was the 20th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 18.9 points, 2.7 threes, 10.0 boards, 1.1 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 1.3 turnovers in 31.4 minutes per contest, while shooting 46.5% from the field and 83.8% from the free throw line.
Recent sub-par returns and unfavorable game-time decisions are likely causing Mirotic owners to get frustrated, but don't lose sight of just how well he's played since New Orleans acquired him near the trade deadline last season. He's a great fit with Anthony Davis, and even though Julius Randle has played very well in Mirotic's place, his job should be plenty safe when he returns.
If Mirotic's owner in your league is starting to sweat the last couple weeks, jump in with a buy-low offer.
Kyle Kuzma, SF/PF, Los Angeles Lakers
Kyle Kuzma was in the midst of a fairly middle-of-the-road sophomore season, but he has completely broken out in the month of December, ranking 16th overall in nine-category leagues since the calendar flipped.
Over that eight-game span, the Kuz is averaging 22.9 points, 2.3 threes, 6.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.8 blocks, and 2.5 turnovers in 34.2 minutes per contest, while shooting 52.2% from the field and 89.3% from the charity stripe.
Before getting all excited and assuming that this is the Kuzma we can expect going forward, keep in mind that this strong stretch coincides directly with time that Brandon Ingram has missed for an ankle injury.
Once Ingram -- and eventually Rajon Rondo -- can get back into the lineup, Kuzma's elevated usage rate and shot attempts are bound to come back down. Sell high on him now before the Lakers get healthy and have more mouths to feed.
Rudy Gay, SF/PF, San Antonio Spurs
Rudy Gay is having a true renaissance season in his 13th year.
After finishing the 2017-18 campaign ranked 149th in nine-category leagues, he's been the 46th-ranked player through 27 games in 2018-19. He's only playing 27.3 minutes per game as a starter for the San Antonio Spurs, but he's putting up a great all-around averages at 14.3 points, 1.2 threes, 6.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 1.6 turnovers.
His shooting marks of 52.9% from the field, 45.8% from deep, and 85.5% from the line all represent personal bests (or darn close in the case of freebies), and are a fairly far cry from his career line of 45.5%, 34.7%, and 79.6%, respectively. He's doing a respectable job in terms of shot selection this year, but those major leaps in field goal and three-point percentage might be due for regression.
Toss in the fact that the Spurs might eventually fall out of the playoff hunt down the stretch (they're currently 11th in the Western Conference, and we give them a 55.0% chance of making it), and the fact that Gay is a prime candidate to get a few "DNP-old" designations from head coach Gregg Popovich from time to time, and now might be the perfect time to sell high.
He's helping you out by being on an especially hot run of late, ranking 11th in nine-category leagues over his last seven contests. Capitalize.
Larry Nance Jr., PF/C, Cleveland Cavaliers
Larry Nance Jr. has been ballin' lately, ranking 28th in nine-category leagues over his last eight games.
Over that span, he's averaged 10.5 points, 0.8 three-pointers, 7.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.9 blocks, and 1.1 turnovers in 27.3 minutes per contest, while shooting 60.4% from the field and 77.8% from the line. That brings him up to being the 89th-ranked player overall on the season as a whole.
If you have Nance Jr. on your squad, you're enjoying this little hot patch, but it's hard to rest on your laurels when you know that Kevin Love (toe) and Tristan Thompson (foot) will eventually return to the Cavs' lineup. Nance hasn't even managed to crack the team's starting lineup with both those guys on the shelf, as they opt to start the likes of Channing Frye and Ante Zizic instead.
Nance Jr. will give you little bursts of rebounding and defensive stats from time to time, while always bringing the efficiency, but his hopes of maintaining consistent early- or even mid-round value in his current role simply aren't very high. Sell now while the sellin' is good.