6 Fantasy Basketball Players to Buy and Sell for Week 13
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.
C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Portland Trail Blazers
C.J. McCollum is having a down year, currently ranking 74th in nine-category leagues after three consecutive seasons in the top-50. As if that wasn't bad enough, he's now in the midst of a pretty brutal shooting slump as well.
Over McCollum's last 11 games, the career 45.4% shooter is only hitting 40.2% of his shots, and that includes a very scale-tipping 13-for-18 performance. Take away that one outlier, and he's only hitting 36.9% of his shots from the field and 21.1% from three-point range over that span.
He might not be the player that ranked 28th in nine-category leagues in 2016-17, but he's most likely not the guy that's ranked 160th over these last few weeks either. His numbers are down pretty much across the board from last season to this one, but once positive regression hits on his shooting, the hope is that the other numbers will go up as well.
Either way, McCollum is a prime buy-low candidate right now. Even if his top-50 days are behind him, he's a mid- to early-round guy when his shot is falling, and you want to buy that kind of talent whenever there's a discount. His owner in your league is probably already frustrated with having spent an early-round pick on McCollum -- his average draft position (ADP) was 33.0 across the industry coming into this season -- so this recent shooting slump might be the straw that broke the camel's back. Pounce.
Gary Harris, SG/SF, Denver Nuggets
Gary Harris has played four games since returning from a hip injury that kept him out for nearly a month, and the fantasy returns so far have been fairly sub-par. He's ranked 167th in nine-category leagues over that span in only 25.9 minutes per contest, coming off the bench for three games before rejoining the Denver Nuggets' starting lineup last night.
And with that return to the starting five, your buy-low window is about to expire. You'll want to act quickly on this one.
On top of 13 games lost to injury, Harris is only ranked 86th on the season in nine-category leagues, following three consecutive campaigns on the rise (88th in 2015-16, 56th the following year, and 34th last season). A big source of this year's drop-off in value is the fact that his shooting split is down from 48.5% from the field, 39.6% from deep, and 82.7% from the line last year, to 43.2%, 33.3%, and 80.2% respectively this season. Now that he's healthy and his minutes are on the rise, not only will you go back to getting plenty of points, threes, assists, and steals from him, but his shooting split should regress to the mean a bit as he finally finds his rhythm as well.
Harris was overlooked in drafts this year (a 74.0 ADP coming off a 34th-ranked season was kind of insulting), and now his mid- to early-round upside is a bit overshadowed by a rough season of lowered efficiency and frequent injury. If you can acquire him before he rounds back into form, you should jump at the chance.
Joe Ingles, SG/SF, Utah Jazz
Joe Ingles had a breakout campaign in 2017-18 (if you can call it that at age 30), ranking 60th in nine-category leagues after four years of failing to crack the top-140. This season, he's taken a bit of a step back, currently ranking 100th overall.
When you look at his numbers, however, they are fairly similar across the board from last year to now. The most notable difference this time around is the shooting split, which has gone from 46.7% from the field and 79.5% from the line last year, to 43.8% and 64.3% respectively in 2018-19. Over the past month (14 games), he's sunk even lower, shooting 40.2% and 58.6%.
His career shooting split of 44.5% from the field and 73.1% from the line suggests that he won't stay this bad forever. He might not be able to reach last year's career-high levels again, but his shot should start dropping at a better rate sooner or later at the very least.
His nine-cat ranking of 166th over this past month has given you a buy-low window if you want to take a shot at acquiring him.
D'Angelo Russell, PG/SG, Brooklyn Nets
It appears that D'Angelo Russell is putting things together in his age-22 season (his fourth in the NBA). After three years of failing to crack the top-100 in nine-category leagues, Russell is currently the 78th-ranked player in fantasy hoops, with his arrow pointing straight up.
Over his past seven games, he's been even better, ranking 49th in nine-cat leagues with averages of 20.7 points, 2.6 triples, 3.7 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.4 blocks, and 3.6 turnovers in 31.2 minutes per contest, while shooting 44.3% from the field and a perfect 19-for-19 from the free throw line.
While it is indeed possible that DLo is a safe mid-round guy going forward, his recent top-50 returns are an anomaly. He's a career 76.2% shooter from the line but hasn't missed a freebie in over a month (he's 24-for-24 over that span), and that's artificially boosting his value.
Before Russell's recent heater, he was only the 90th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging a more typical 17.5 points per contest, while shooting 41.8% from the field and 75.4% from the line, almost exactly in line with his career shooting split. If you want to sell high on this strong stretch in order to acquire a more consistent mid- to early-round player, it wouldn't be a bad idea.
Jusuf Nurkic, C, Portland Trail Blazers
If you got him at or around his 76.3 ADP, you're probably feeling pretty good about yourself right now, but you shouldn't settle just yet. We're not saying that he's due for some kind of regression -- he's got the skillset to be a fantasy beast, and the breakout seems legit -- but there might never be more juice on him than right at this moment.
He had quite possibly the fantasy line of the year on New Year's Day, when he went for 24 points on 5-for-10 shooting from the line and 14-for-16 from the charity stripe, with 23 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 steals, and 5 blocks. That's right -- he had a 20-20 game and a 5x5 game at the same time, becoming the first NBA player ever to record such a feat.
That's fun and all, but he's not suddenly Anthony Davis, nor is he ready to put up lines like that on a nightly basis. He puts up his fair share of solid performances, but his complete lack of threes, high turnovers for the position, and generally unreliable free throw accuracy can drag down his value at any given time. See if you can use that one monster line to sell him for a more surefire early-rounder.
Julius Randle, PF/C, New Orleans Pelicans
Simply put, there have been two different versions of Julius Randle this season:
|Julius Randle||9-Cat Rank||Minutes||Points||3s||Rebounds||Assists||Steals||Blocks||FG%||FT%||Turnovers|
|First 24 games||101st||26.0||17.5||0.5||9.0||2.6||0.7||0.6||54.3%||72.9%||2.7|
|Last 16 games||58th||34.5||23.4||0.8||9.9||3.1||0.5||0.5||54.5%||69.2%||2.2|
The key difference between those two periods? Nikola Mirotic was around, starting at power forward, and generally kicking fantasy butt for the first part, but he has been absent due to what has turned out to be a pretty bad ankle injury for the second part of the season.
Even if Randle manages to hold onto the starting job going forward, Mirotic's eventual return will still take some cookies out of his cookie jar. When Mirotic was healthy, Randle was playing a whopping 8.5 fewer minutes per contest coming off the New Orleans Pelicans' bench. If he goes back to that role, or even plays fewer minutes as a starter, his volume-based fantasy value will dip right back down with his playing time.
And that's why you need to sell high on Randle while you still can. Mirotic missed yet another game last night, but he has to be inching closer to a return after missing close to a month with a bum ankle. If you wait until we get a projected return date on him, you might miss your shot at offloading an overachieving Randle. Act now.