6 Fantasy Basketball Players to Buy and Sell for Week 18
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.
Marc Gasol, C, Toronto Raptors
Marc Gasol has played two games with the Toronto Raptors since they acquired him at the trade deadline, and it's safe to say that things have been slightly different for him as a Raptor than they were over his 11 seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies.
For starters, he's come off the bench in both those contests, marking the first and second time he's done that since his rookie campaign in 2008-09.
The returns have been decent -- 11.5 points, 0.5 three-pointers, 6.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.0 block, and 2.0 turnovers in 20.5 minutes per contest, with a shooting split of 62.5% from the field and 50.0% from the free throw line -- but it's been a far cry from the numbers he put up over 10 consecutive seasons as a top-50 fantasy asset with Memphis (including a 33rd overall ranking this season).
While it's obvious that Gasol will be carrying less of the load on a deep Raptors squad than he did over a decade as a focal point on the Grizzlies, it's very unlikely that the Raptors traded away three players (including two 26-year-olds in Jonas Valanciunas and Delon Wright) and a second-round pick to have a three-time All-Star and former Defensive Player of the Year come off their bench for 20 minutes per night.
Valanciunas was filling that role just fine before, and the only reason you make a deal for a 34-year-old Marc Gasol at this point in your lone season to convince Kawhi Leonard to stay in Toronto is to raise the team's ceiling. Bringing him off the bench isn't going to do that.
It's easy to understand that head coach Nick Nurse wants to maintain the chemistry he's struck with a starting frontcourt of Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka -- both of whom are having great seasons -- but if the team wants to get serious about a title run, he'll have to concede to moving one of them to the second unit in order to get Gasol some valuable reps with the starters.
Gasol was a big time sell-high guy when he was a shutdown candidate with the Grizzlies, and while he won't have the kind of opportunity to be a top-25 player in Toronto, he's definitely a buy-low guy right now. The shutdown concerns have evaporated with his move to a title contender, and he only needs minutes in the high-20s to put up top-50 numbers.
If you can convince his owner in your league that Toronto will continue using Gasol the way they have over the first two games, you might be able to pilfer one of the best centers in fantasy hoops for 50 cents on the dollar.
Jonas Valanciunas, C, Memphis Grizzlies
Marc Gasol is not likely to be quite as strong of a fantasy asset in Toronto as he was in Memphis, but Jonas Valanciunas has an opportunity to be a stronger one in his move in the opposite direction.
Yes, reports say that JV will come off the bench at the start of his Grizzlies tenure, and that he'll initially be held out a game in back-to-back sets, but he's never needed a lot of minutes to make a fantasy impact.
Just last season, he was the 71st-ranked player in nine-category leagues in a mere 22.4 minutes per contest, averaging 12.7 points, 0.4 threes, 8.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.9 blocks, and 1.5 turnovers, while shooting 56.8% from the field and 80.6% from the line.
He dropped to 18.8 minutes per contest over 30 games with the Raptors this year, sharing a crowded frontcourt with Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka, but that should see an uptick now that he's competing with the likes of Ivan Rabb and a washed-up Joakim Noah instead.
With the ability to put up plenty of points, rebounds, and blocks in a modest amount of minutes while shooting very efficiently from both the floor and charity stripe, Valanciunas is worth buying right now while his value is at its lowest.
Khris Middleton, SG/SF, Milwaukee Bucks
Khris Middleton may have just been named to his first All-Star team, but he hasn't quite played up to that level over the last month.
Over that 14-game span, he's been the 134th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 15.1 points, 1.4 triples, 6.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.1 blocks, and 2.4 turnovers in 30.4 minutes per contest, while shooting 44.6% from the field and 87.1% from the line.
Most of those numbers are fairly in step with his 60th-ranked full-season line, but the three-point shooting and steals are down from his typically elite levels (he's hitting 2.3 triples per contest on the year, and he averaged between 1.4 and 1.7 steals in each of his last four seasons).
He might not climb back to the heights of his 25th overall ranking in nine-category leagues last season, especially now that the Milwaukee Bucks are deeper and need him to carry less of the load, but he's definitely not a borderline late-round asset all of a sudden after five consecutive seasons of mid- to early-round value.
Middleton likely cost a pick close to his 33.3 average draft position (ADP) across the industry in your league, so that's the kind of upside you're gunning for if you can manage to sell an overachieving mid-rounder for him while he's reeling. Toss out an offer for him now before regression hits on the threes and steals.
Anthony Davis, PF/C, New Orleans Pelicans
After a couple weeks of swirling around in trade rumors following a public demand to be moved, AD is still a member of the New Orleans Pelicans. He's now back from a finger injury that cost him nine games, but things are a lot more awkward than they were when he left. For starters, the league maybe did (but apparently didn't) threaten to fine the Pelicans if they choose to sit a healthy Davis down the stretch of the season in order to preserve his value for an inevitable trade this summer.
Regardless of where the truth lies in the fining situation, the Brow is back to playing, and he's playing well. Over two games back in the lineup, he's averaging 23.0 points, 0.0 threes, 12.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.0 steal, 2.5 blocks, and 2.0 turnovers in 29.4 minutes per contest, while shooting 65.2% from the field and 80.0% from the line.
He weirdly got benched down for the entire fourth quarter of a close game with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday, but then played 34 minutes in the second game of a back-to-back set on Saturday. Trying to predict how the Pelicans use him from here on out is going to be a losing battle.
And that's why you should sell him immediately.
Any potential suitors for your AD shares are going to be scared of the risks attached to trading for him, but you owe it to yourself to see what you can get. Maybe you won't land the first-round stud he was worth prior to this whole fiasco, but you should still be able to get something very good for his league-winning upside.
He has a reputation for being somewhat injury-prone, and the lottery-bound Pelicans have no reason to rush him back from even the slightest of injuries moving forward. If you're in contention for a fantasy title, you want no part of that, so get out while it's still remotely possible.
Tobias Harris, SF/PF, Philadelphia 76ers
Tobias Harris is having the best season of his career to date, ranking 24th overall in nine-category leagues after four consecutive years of flirting with the top-40.
He got off to that career-best start through 55 games as the number one option on the Los Angeles Clippers, before being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers at the deadline, where he'll now share the limelight with the likes of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Jimmy Butler.
Through two games as a Sixer, the returns are incredibly similar to what he was doing in LA. Through his first 55 games of the season as a Clipper, Harris averaged 20.9 points, 2.0 triples, 7.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.4 blocks, and 2.0 turnovers in 34.6 minutes per contest, while shooting 49.6% from the field and 87.7% from the free throw line. In two games with Philly, he's averaging 18.0 points, 2.5 threes, 7.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 0.5 turnovers in 30.6 minutes per contest, while shooting 57.7% from the field and 1-for-2 from the line.
That is a promising start, no doubt, but it makes this your last and best chance to sell high on him before reality sets in. 34.6 minutes per contest and a 23.6% usage rate are simply not going to follow him to his new home. Through two games, those rates are already down to 30.5 and 19.2%, respectively. He will have great games and should still maintain mid-round value, but his top-25 returns simply won't be sustainable as the de facto fourth option on the loaded 76ers.
If you can move him for an early-round asset with a higher ceiling, jump on it now before it's too late.
DeAndre Jordan, C, New York Knicks
DeAndre Jordan will reportedly not be bought out by the New York Knicks. Sure, he won't be buried in a loaded contender's rotation like most buyout guys, but that doesn't mean that his value is in a safe place.
DJ's been the 69th-ranked player in nine-category leagues this season, and his numbers have been very similar over his five-game Knicks tenure to date. Over that span, he's averaged 11.2 points, 0.0 three-pointers, 11.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.4 steals, 1.0 block, and 2.2 turnovers in 26.6 minutes per contest, while shooting 70.0% from the field and 66.7% from the free throw line.
Those numbers are exactly what you wanted when you spent a mid-round pick on Jordan this year, but they're very much in jeopardy as a member of the 10-46 Knicks. As New York keeps an eye on the tankathon.com standings and where their record puts them in the Zion Williamson sweepstakes, winning games and giving minutes to experienced veterans who do not fit the team's long-term plans will no longer be on their list of priorities.
With that in mind, Jordan is a minor injury away from being shut down for an extended period. If you can find a rebound-starved owner in your league who is willing to take a chance on him in his new situation, you should take the opportunity to move on.