6 Fantasy Basketball Players to Buy and Sell for Week 20
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.
As this is the week of the trade deadline in the vast majority of fantasy hoops leagues, please note that this will be the final installment of 6 Fantasy Basketball Players to Buy and Sell for Week X this season.
Now, let's hit the market one last time.
LaMarcus Aldridge, PF/C, San Antonio Spurs
LaMarcus Aldridge is in a bit of a slump, so now is a good time to buy low on one of the best big men in fantasy hoops.
Up to February 4th, LMA was the 24th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 21.1 points, 0.1 three-pointers, 8.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.6 steals, 1.2 blocks, and 1.9 turnovers in 32.6 minutes per contest, while shooting 51.5% from the field and 85.5% from the free throw line. He missed his one and only game this season on February 6th due to rest and has been the 114th-ranked nine-cat player in six games since then.
Over that span, his minutes (31.9), threes (0.2), boards (8.7), assists (2.0), blocks (2.0), and turnovers (1.7) have all been fine, but he's seen dips in scoring (17.3), steals (0.2), field goal percentage (45.1%), and free throw percentage (75.0%).
Once regression hits on that shooting split, and it creeps back up to his career averages of 49.0% and 80.9%, his scoring should come right back with it, along with his early-round ranking. The nearly non-existent steals over this stretch should come back up a bit too, although that's never been where LMA draws much of his value.
Veterans on the San Antonio Spurs would normally be a major threat for random DNPs down the stretch of a season, but considering the fact that they're only holding onto a playoff spot by one game, they won't really have that luxury this time around. If you can convince Aldridge's owner to sell low on this recent bump in the road or the threat of random rest days, you'll likely come out on top in the deal.
Blake Griffin, PF/C, Detroit Pistons
Blake Griffin has been having one of the best seasons of his career, averaging a career high in points per game at 25.8, to go along with a pretty fat line of 2.5 triples, 8.0 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.4 blocks, 3.7 turnovers, 47.4% shooting from the field, and 74.8% from the free throw line.
His overall ranking in nine-category leagues on the season sits at 48th, and that would be a fair bit higher if it weren't for all the turnovers. He's been in a lull lately, however, ranking 160th over his last 12 games with averages of 24.3 points, 2.8 threes, 7.4 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.2 blocks, and 3.5 turnovers per contest, and a shooting split of 44.7% from the field and 69.3% from the charity stripe.
His popcorn numbers in points, threes, rebounds, and assists have been on par, but the already low defensive stats have gone down even farther, and he's taken a slight hit in both percentages.
Griffin has never gotten much of his fantasy value from what he does on the defensive end, so if you can take the hit in steals and blocks, you have a solid buy-low opportunity in front of you. Regression will no doubt hit the shooting line as well, and the Detroit Pistons will be turning to Griffin a lot down the stretch as they battle for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Get him on your squad.
Jonathan Isaac, SF/PF, Orlando Magic
Jonathan Isaac is scorching hot, ranking 28th in nine-category leagues over his last 15 games.
Over that span, he's averaged 12.4 points, 1.5 three-pointers, 6.9 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 1.1 steals, 2.1 blocks, and 0.9 turnovers in 29.0 minutes per contest, while shooting 44.7% from the field and 90.3% from the line.
His overall ranking only sits at 113th on the season, so it is possible that his owner does not realize to what extent he's becoming a stud, particularly with the crazy defensive numbers. You could buy low on the four-point dud he put up over the weekend, or just buy in because this strong sample is growing big enough to suggest that his recent fantasy breakout might be legit.
One way or another, Isaac will be a fun guy to own down the stretch of the season, so he's a good guy to target at the fantasy trade deadline.
Jrue Holiday, PG/SG, New Orleans Pelicans
Jrue Holiday has been ripping it up lately, ranking 11th in nine-category leagues over his last five contests.
Over that span, he's been averaging 22.2 points, 2.4 triples, 4.6 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 2.4 steals, 1.2 blocks, and 1.4 turnovers in 31.0 minutes per contest, while shooting 46.6% from the field and 81.0% from the free throw line.
One might think that this is a good time to buy in on Holiday, particularly with all the Anthony Davis drama and rest potential, but you should be looking to sell high instead if you're a Jrue owner.
The New Orleans Pelicans' playoff hopes are all but gone (we only give them a 2.4% chance of making it at this point), and their interim general manager Danny Ferry has said that the team will reduce Davis' and Holiday's minutes down the stretch of the season.
We haven't seen that yet in Holiday's case, as he's played over 33 minutes in three of his last four contests, but it'll come as the Pels get further and further from playoff contention. Sell him now before it's too late.
Paul Millsap, PF/C, Denver Nuggets
Paul Millsap has been on an absolute tear over his last four contests, ranking 12th in nine-category leagues over that span with averages of 18.0 points, 1.3 threes, 13.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 2.5 steals, 1.5 blocks, and 1.3 turnovers in 28.7 minutes per contest, and a shooting split of 53.8% from the field and 68.8% from the line.
It's been great to see this nice little renaissance for the former All-Star, but don't rest on your laurels during the best sell-high opportunity you're ever going to get for the 34-year-old.
Millsap was an early-round guy from 2010 to 2016 -- even a top-15 asset in three of those six seasons -- but he's simply not that anymore, ranking 45th in 2016-17 and 82nd just last year.
The Denver Nuggets are a deep squad, and practically no one outside of Nikola Jokic is a lock for consistent value down the stretch. If you can sell Millsap based on this recent explosion for a mid-round guy with a higher upside, that'd be a savvy move.
Serge Ibaka, PF/C, Toronto Raptors
Serge Ibaka has been having a solid season overall for the Toronto Raptors, ranking 62nd in nine-category leagues with averages of 15.9 points, 0.6 three-pointers, 8.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 1.3 blocks, and 1.7 turnovers in 28.7 minutes per contest, and a shooting split of 52.3% from the field and 77.5% from the free throw line.
He may not be the block machine he once was, but he's averaging a career best in points and assists and is darn close in rebounding too.
Most of the juice in that ranking comes from his early-season returns, however. Through his first 31 games, he was the 37th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, but he's been 113th in the 26 games he's played since Christmas Day.
You would think that the drop-off would come from his fluctuating starting spot, but he started all but one game over the latter stretch, while coming off the bench in roughly a third of the contests in the former.
Ibaka is simply not living up to his hot start to the season right now. Toss in the fact that the Raptors bulked up their frontline by acquiring Marc Gasol at the trade deadline -- who happened to get the start over Serge on Sunday -- and it's clear that Ibaka is nothing more than a middling mid-rounder going forward. If you can sell him for someone with a more consistent role or more upside, jump on it.