6 Fantasy Basketball Players to Buy and Sell for Week 14
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.
Victor Oladipo, PG/SG, Indiana Pacers
Victor Oladipo had a breakout season in 2017-18, ranking 10th in nine-category leagues in his first season as a member of the Indiana Pacers. He's off to a slow start this year comparatively, ranking 34th overall through 31 games played.
The main drop-offs in his stat line have come in scoring (23.1 to 19.8), steals (2.4 to 1.7), blocks (0.8 to 0.4), field goal percentage (47.7% to 43.8%), and free throw percentage (79.9% to 72.9%). The Pacers are having a fantastic season, currently sitting third in the Eastern Conference at 28-14, but it's come from a more complete team effort and with less of Oladipo carrying so much of the load on both ends.
While he might not get back to being a top-10 player this season, he's still likely to be better than he's been over his last four contests. Over that span, he's been the 189th-ranked player in nine-category leagues for his averages of 17.3 points, 1.8 three-pointers, 2.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 2.3 turnovers in 30.6 minutes per contest, and shooting split of 47.3% from the field and 66.7% from the free throw line.
That's a good buy-low window if you're looking for one. Those numbers are down across the board from both of his seasons with the Pacers and are bound to regress to the mean sooner rather than later. If nothing else, Oladipo -- a member of the All-Defensive First Team in 2017-18 -- is not likely to average less than one combined steal and block for very long after averaging more than three last season.
If you can move a mid-round asset for him while he's slumping, jump at the opportunity.
Kemba Walker, PG, Charlotte Hornets
The new year has not been kind to Kemba Walker.
In the seven games he's played since the calendar flipped, Kemba's been the 204th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, as compared to his ranking of 13th over his first 36 games of the year.
He's still scoring slightly more than 20 points per contest, but his numbers are pretty well down across the board otherwise, including a value-sucking 38.8% mark from the field on 19.9 shots per game in the new year (as compared to his 43.5% rate on the year and similar 43.1% mark last year).
Walker has ranked between 18th and 28th for four seasons running and has a legitimate shot at starting the All-Star game this year. This is nothing more than a shooting slump and a perfect opportunity to buy low. Check to see if his owner in your league is panicking with the recent drop-off in production.
DeMar DeRozan, SG/SF, San Antonio Spurs
DeMar DeRozan has been slightly off for the last month or so.
Over his last 18 games, he's been the 119th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 17.6 points, 0.1 three-pointers, 6.8 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 2.8 turnovers in 34.8 minutes per contest, while shooting 43.8% from the field and 74.1% from the charity stripe.
Obviously the rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks are all perfectly fine, but the dips in his shooting percentages and scoring are what has completely sapped his value. Once shooting regression hits for the career 44.9% shooter from the field and 82.7% from the line, the scoring should come right along with it, and he'll be right back to posting early-round value.
If you're looking to acquire a guy that's ranked in the top-50 in each of his last four seasons, including a career-best 43rd overall ranking this season, your buy-low window is as open as it might ever be right now. He's coming off a week in which he shot 35.2% from the field over four games, so his owner in your league might be frustrated enough to explore some deals.
Blake Griffin, PF/C, Detroit Pistons
Blake Griffin is having his best fantasy season since 2014-15, ranking 37th in nine-category leagues following five consecutive years of diminishing returns (24th, 31st, 41st, 42nd, 61st from 2013-14 to last year). He's missed only two games through the Detroit Pistons' first 42, as well, which is a major improvement after four straight seasons of missing at least 15 contests per year due to injury.
Something's gotta give.
Griffin hasn't played a full season since 2013-14, and the likelihood of him pulling that off now -- as he's pushing 30 and playing more minutes per contest than he has since 2011-12 -- is fairly low. You can't bank on a guy getting injured, but it's wise to play the percentages here.
And he's giving his owners a fantastic opportunity to sell high right now. Over his last 10 games, he's been the 12th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 25.8 points, 2.9 triples, 5.9 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.4 blocks, and 3.6 turnovers in 36.2 minutes per contest, while shooting 50.0% from the field and 90.4% from the line.
He's never been able to sustain that kind of first-round production, despite flirting with it several times throughout his career. If you can move him for an early-rounder with more realistic first-round upside -- or even someone a little less injury prone -- it wouldn't be a bad idea.
Mike Conley, PG, Memphis Grizzlies
This is the time of year that you should be looking to sell off any potential shutdown candidates on your fantasy teams. Mike Conley is a perfect example of that.
Conley is having one of the best fantasy seasons of his career, ranking 28th in nine-category leagues with averages of 20.0 points, 2.1 triples, 3.4 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.4 blocks, and 1.9 turnovers in 33.9 minutes per contest, and a shooting split of 41.9% from the field and 84.6% from the charity stripe.
That's all well and good, but the problem is that Conley's Memphis Grizzlies are spiralling out of playoff contention. They are 3-13 over their last 16 contests and now sit 14th in the Western Conference with a record of 19-24 and four games to make up on the eighth-place Utah Jazz (and with five teams to leapfrog to get there). We give them only a 3.1% chance of making the postseason at this juncture, which is to say they've become a pretty big long shot.
And if the Grizzlies fall completely out of contention late in the season, when fantasy hoopers are having their head-to-head playoffs, what do you think they'll do with their 31-year-old point guard that's played 56, 69, and 12 games over his last three seasons? With the threat that Conley gets shut down for the slightest of injuries down the line, now is the time to sell him on what has been a solid half-season so far.
Donovan Mitchell, PG/SG, Utah Jazz
We talked about buying low on Donovan Mitchell back in Week 6 as he was falling short of expectations set by his 21.7 average draft position (ADP) across the industry at the time. He's still underperforming by that standard, ranking 69th in nine-category leagues through 41 games, but now we're ready to go the other way on him.
Mitchell had a stellar rookie season, ranking 54th in nine-category leagues, and everyone simply assumed that he would take another leap in his sophomore campaign as most players do. It's starting to look as though we all got a little ahead of ourselves, however, and that perhaps he's not ready for another step forward just yet.
So far this season, his numbers have been almost exactly the same as they were last year:
Props to the guy for being consistent and proving that last year wasn't a fluke, but maybe second-round expectations in fantasy hoops were a bit lofty to begin with. This is shaping up to be a year in which he's simply overpriced, producing mid-round numbers while being valued as an early-round guy.
In which case, it might be wise to sell high on his current hot streak. Over his last 10 games, Mitchell has been the 27th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 25.5 points, 3.2 triples, 4.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 2.7 turnovers in 34.9 minutes per contest, while shooting 46.1% from the field and 81.4% from the free throw line.
He will likely have periods of time when he produces at this level, but he simply doesn't seem ready to do it on a consistent, season-spanning basis just yet. His potential is tantalizing enough that you might be able to acquire a more proven early-round guy in exchange for him right now.