6 Fantasy Basketball Players to Buy and Sell for Week 15
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.
Buddy Hield, SG, Sacramento Kings
Buddy Hield has been a draft-day steal in fantasy hoops this season, ranking 43rd in nine-category leagues through 47 games after having an average draft position (ADP) of 113.3 across the industry.
He's been even better since the calendar flipped to 2019 too, ranking 28th overall over his last 11 games. Over that span, he's averaged 22.3 points, a whopping 4.5 three-pointers, 4.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.2 blocks, and 1.3 turnovers in 31.7 minutes per contest, while shooting 52.8% from the field and a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line.
Someone in your league might be looking to sell high, but this breakout looks legitimate. If you want to cry regression on the shooting percentage from the field, the 52.8% mark over this most recent hot stretch isn't really all that far from his full-season mark of 48.1%, and 47 games is a big enough sample size to start believing what's happening over it.
It's true that you'd like to see the guy give you more on the defensive end, but regression might actually hit there eventually, as he averaged 1.5 steals per 36 minutes last season, as compared to a mere 0.5 this year. Otherwise, the points, threes, solid percentages, and low turnovers have been there month in and month out this year.
If you can convince his owner in your league that he or she is selling high on Hield, and you can acquire him for a less exciting mid-rounder or a combination of overachieving players, you should jump at the opportunity. Buddy if for real.
Jaren Jackson Jr., PF/C, Memphis Grizzlies
He's cooled off quite a bit over his last eight contests, however, ranking 166th over that span with averages of 13.6 points, 0.8 threes, 4.3 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.6 steals, 1.1 blocks, and 1.9 turnovers in 25.8 minutes per contest, and a shooting split of 48.9% from the field and 70.8% from the line.
The main areas that have caused his value to take a dip are the shooting percentages and blocked shots. He was splitting 52.2% and 77.9% over his first 39 contests, as opposed to 48.9% and 70.8% respectively over his last eight. At the same time, his 1.6 blocks per contest have sunk to 1.1.
If you want to consider his recent slump as nothing more than a rookie wall, it presents a good opportunity to buy low. JJJ has a very fantasy-friendly game, and he should snap back to life in no time. Since the Grizzlies are in the midst of bottoming out -- they're currently 14th in the Western Conference with a record of 19-28, and we only give them a 0.3% chance of making the postseason at this point -- there's also the chance that the team starts resting veterans down the stretch and fully unleashes its 19-year-old phenom. If you want to buy in on his potential, now's your chance.
Hassan Whiteside, C, Miami Heat
Hassan Whiteside is no longer the guy that ranked seventh in nine-category leagues back in 2015-16, and he might not even be the guy that ranked 39th overall last year either, but he's certainly not the one that's been 192nd over the last two months either.
Over that 26-game period, Whiteside has averaged 11.6 points, 0.0 threes, 10.9 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 0.6 steals, 2.0 blocks, and 1.5 turnovers in 24.4 minutes per contest, while shooting 53.5% from the field and a putrid 28.7% from the free throw line.
The double-double in points and rebounds is still there, as are the blocks, the solid field goal percentage, and the low turnovers. Even the less-than-ideal 25.7 minutes per contest this season is not that far off his career 26.6 mark. He's never needed a lot of minutes to make an impact in fantasy.
The thing that is absolutely killing his value is the godawful 28.7% percentage from the charity stripe over these last couple months and the 42.0% mark on the year. That's not coming all the way back overnight, but it can't possibly stay this bad for much longer.
Whiteside has hit 60.0% from the charity stripe for his career, and 70.3% as recently as last season. He might have the yips, but it seems impossible that he can continue missing freebies at such a historic rate.
If you're looking for a boost in rebounds, blocks, or field goal percentage, and you can take the hit in free throw percentage (or you're punting it entirely), take a shot on acquiring Whiteside at rock bottom, and hope for at least some semblance of regression.
Nikola Vucevic, PF/C, Orlando Magic
Nikola Vucevic has been a fantasy stud this season, ranking 12th in nine-category leagues on the year as a whole.
Through 46 games, he's averaging 20.5 points, 1.2 triples, 12.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 0.9 steals, 1.1 blocks, and 1.9 turnovers in 31.1 minutes per contest, while shooting 51.8% from the field and 77.5% from the line.
It has been his best season in the NBA to date, and he's done it all for fantasy owners that had to spend nothing more than the 52nd pick for him on average across the industry coming into this year. That's a draft-day steal if there ever was one.
But we have no choice but to preach sell on him now while you still can.
The Orlando Magic are on the edge of going into the tank. At 20-27, they only sit two-and-a-half games out of a playoff spot, but there are two other teams between them and eighth place, and we only give them a 12.0% chance of making the postseason at this point. The trade deadline is fast approaching and it will soon be time for the Magic to decide if they are buyers or sellers this year. If they are selling, you can guess that a 28-year-old Vucevic on an expiring deal might be the first asset that they look to move or that other teams come asking about.
With the chance that Vucevic gets traded to a worse fantasy situation, or potentially rested as the Magic play for a better pick in yet another trip to the lottery, it's best to sell while the sellin' is still good.
Kyle Kuzma, SF/PF, Los Angeles Lakers
Kyle Kuzma has had a golden opportunity to shine with LeBron James on the shelf since Christmas with a groin strain, but hasn't really seized the opportunity. He's only been the 163rd-ranked player in nine-category leagues in the 13 games he's played since then, as compared to his 95th ranking on the year as a whole.
He's given his owners a sell-high opportunity this week, however. Over his last three games, he's been the 20th-ranked player, averaging 26.7 points, 3.7 triples, 6.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 3.3 turnovers in 37.7 minutes per contest, while shooting 52.6% from the field and 90.0% from the line.
He's shown early-round flashes throughout the season, but has never found enough consistency to stick as even a mid-round asset. LeBron could be cleared to play in the near future -- he's back to non-contact drills in practice, which suggests a potential ramp up towards a return -- and Kuzma's recent surge in usage rate (29.4% over his last seven, as compared to 24.2% on the season) is bound to take a hit upon the King's return.
If you're a Kuzma owner, take a look around your league and see if you can sell off on his recent back-to-back 30-point games before LeBron comes back and starts taking cookies out of his cookie jar.
Darren Collison, PG/SG, Indiana Pacers
Darren Collison is on a heater right now.
Since December 26th (12 games), he's been the 27th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 11.4 points, 1.3 three-pointers, 3.0 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.9 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 1.3 turnovers in just 26.4 minutes per contest, while shooting 53.7% from the field and 90.5% from the line.
He came at the low, low price of a 103.3 ADP this season, so you're no doubt thrilled with those recent returns, but this is exactly the time to sell high and move on.
Collison has been a top-50 guy over two of the last four seasons, but those performances came with roughly 30 or more minutes per game in backcourts that needed his minutes and production. The Indiana Pacers have an absolutely jammed backcourt that includes Collison, Victor Oladipo, Tyreke Evans, and Cory Joseph, so there's a reason that Collison is only getting 26.4 minutes per contest while he's this hot.
Once regression hits on his shooting percentages (he's only shooting 45.8% and 79.8% on the year), he's likely going back to being the mid- to late-round guy he's been all season (88th overall). If you can find an owner in your league who is starved for some point guard help, you might be able to get something decent back for him at this juncture. Send out some feelers.