6 Fantasy Basketball Players to Buy and Sell for Week 19
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.
Lauri Markkanen, PF, Chicago Bulls
Lauri Markkanen has been the 34th-ranked player in nine-category leagues through 35 games this season, and not only might it be time to fully accept his status as an bona fide early-rounder, it might also be time look at him as a top-25 fantasy asset going forward.
In fact, he's been exactly the 25th-ranked player over his last 16 games. Over that span, he's averaged 20.8 points, 2.8 triples, 10.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 1.4 turnovers in 33.8 minutes per contest while shooting 44.3% from the field and 91.3% from the charity stripe.
The Chicago Bulls offloaded both Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker to the Washington Wizards in a deal for Otto Porter at the trade deadline, and that's left Markkanen a lot of room to operate in the team's suddenly not-so-loaded frontcourt. His minutes and usage have been way up since the deal, so his fantasy arrow is pointing straight up with them.
Markkanen was available at a relative discount coming into this season due to an elbow injury, which explains the 71.3 average draft position (ADP) across the industry following a 66th-ranked rookie season. His owner in your league is no doubt happy with that return on investment, but perhaps he or she sees his most recent hot streak as a sell-high opportunity. If you have an early-round guy that is not quite living up to your expectations, see if you can swap him for Markannen, whose ceiling is getting higher by the day.
Steven Adams, C, Oklahoma City Thunder
Steven Adams has been having a career year, but he's been in a bit of a slump lately.
Over his last eight games, he's been the 108th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 10.9 points, 0.0 three-pointers, 6.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.8 blocks, and 1.6 turnovers per contest while shooting 57.7% from the field and 38.5% from the free throw line. If you compare that with his 46th-ranked returns over his first 47 games, when he averaged 15.4 points, 0.0 threes, 10.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.8 blocks, 1.7 turnovers, 61.2% shooting from the field, and 56.1% from the line, then it's easy to see the current buy-low potential.
Adams has never been particularly efficient from the free throw line, but 38.5% over this recent stretch is a pretty brutal mark, even for a career 56.5% free throw shooter. Once regression hits on that and he starts getting a few more points and rebounds per game, he'll be right back to being a top-50 guy.
If you've been looking for a window to buy in on the Big Kiwi's breakout year, this is the best opportunity you've had all season.
Dario Saric, PF/C, Minnesota Timberwolves
Dario Saric has been having a fairly lackluster third season after a breakout sophomore campaign in 2017-18. After ranking 79th in nine-category leagues last year with the Philadelphia 76ers, the Homie has ranked 169th in 2018-19, splitting time between the Sixers and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Something has clicked lately, however. Over his last five games, Saric has been the 35th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 16.4 points, 2.8 three-pointers, 6.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 1.2 turnovers in 27.3 minutes per contest, while shooting 60.4% from the field and a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line.
That level of production might not be sustainable, but it's been enough to finally earn him a starting gig over Taj Gibson. If he can stick in the starting five for the Timberwolves, and get the full complement of minutes that comes with that, he could very well get back to being the mid-round guy with early-round upside that he was becoming last year.
You might still be able to buy low on him based on his season-long body of work. His post-All-Star breakout potential is starting to look high, so you might want to jump on that before it's too late.
Andre Drummond, PF/C, Detroit Pistons
Andre Drummond has been on an absolute tear lately.
In his nine games played since the three he missed in mid-January due to a concussion, he's been the fourth-ranked player in nine-category leagues, trailing only Paul George, James Harden, and Giannis Antetokounmpo (also known as the consensus top-three MVP candidates this season in some order). Drummond flirted with the top-20 last year (he finished 22nd overall), but these heights mark new territory for the walking double-double.
Over that span, he's averaged 22.8 points, 0.0 threes, 15.7 boards, 1.1 assists, 2.0 steals, 1.9 blocks, and 1.4 turnovers in 33.2 minutes per contest while shooting 66.7% from the field and 71.2% from the charity stripe.
The rebounds, defensive stats, and even points are not that far off his season averages, but that epic shooting split is up quite a bit from his season-long 52.5% and 56.1%, respectively, and career marks of 54.2% and 43.6%.
He seems to have figured out something from the line over the last two seasons, shooting 60.5% and 56.1% as compared to five straight years barely at or below 40.0%, but it seems highly unlikely that a bump on the head suddenly made him better at the line than the likes of LeBron James (67.9%) and Russell Westbrook (65.6%).
Drummond is going to be a stat-stuffing beast down the stretch as the Detroit Pistons vie for a playoff berth, but regression is bound to hit his free throw shooting fairly hard before long. If you want to sell high on this dominant stretch, it might not be a bad idea.
Chris Paul, PG, Houston Rockets
Death, taxes, and Chris Paul being a top-10 fantasy asset.
CP3 was "merely" a top-20 guy over his first two seasons in the league from 2005-07, but he's ranked in the top-10 in each and every of the 11 years that have followed, including eight consecutive finishes in the top-five from 2007 to 2015.
This might be the year that he bucks that trend, however, as he currently ranks 23rd in nine-category leagues on a per-game basis. That's still a pretty darn good return on his 22.3 ADP coming into this season, but it does show signs of his age catching up to him.
Paul will turn 34 in May and has missed 20-plus games in each of his last three seasons due to injury. He's been playing well since his most recent return to action -- he's the 18th-ranked guy over his last eight -- but it's hard not to worry about how close we are to the next injury and multiple games missed.
If you're concerned about the decline and injury risk, now is the perfect time to sell high on Chris Paul.
Gordon Hayward, SG/SF, Boston Celtics
We've all been holding out hope for Gordon Hayward to return to something resembling his All-Star form, but perhaps it's time to accept that it's simply not going to happen this year.
After missing all but five minutes of last season due to a gruesome ankle injury, Gordon has had a rough transition year on the Boston Celtics. He posted mid- to early-round value for five consecutive seasons with the Utah Jazz -- including a career-best 33rd-ranked finish in nine-category leagues in his last full campaign in 2016-17 -- but has been only the 125th-ranked player so far in 2018-19.
He's been fairly decent recently, ranking 63rd over his last eight and 26th over his last three, but that doesn't change the fact that his overall production is way down from what we've grown accustomed to from him. Building up strength and confidence after such a brutal injury has looked challenging, and the Celtics simply don't require him to do everything on their loaded roster as he once had to as the go-to guy in Utah.
You still might be able to sell Hayward on his name and the hope that comes with this recent hot stretch. If you're barreling towards the fantasy playoffs, you might want to see if you can offload him for a more reliable mid-round asset with a palatable floor.