With the NFL season wrapping up—and my general interest in the sport being at an all time low—I’m going to take a crack at fantasy basketball this year and see how it goes.
Here are three players to buy and three to sell in fantasy hoops this week. The buys are guys who are either in slumps that they’ll eventually bust out of or players who are peaking but you can still get before they’ve reached their upper most point. Meanwhile, the sells are guys who’s recent level of production is not sustainable and you should consider selling while they’re at their highest point.
Let’s get it!
T.J Warren, SF/PF, Phoenix Suns
You should be pestering who ever has Warren in your league with trade offers every day until you eventually wear them down or they decide that fantasy basketball just isn’t worth it and delete their team and leave the league. Which then means you get Warren for free off the waiver wire! So start pestering!
Warren missed a stretch of time with an injury (which really would’ve been the perfect time to trade for him) and hasn’t missed a beat since returning to the court. Over the 7 games, Warren has been the 5th best player on ESPN’s player rater and is averaging 25 points, 2.8 three-pointers, 1.8 assists, 1 steal and 0.8 blocks over that time and shooting a whopping 55.3% from the floor and 45.8% from three.
The addition of a consistent three pointer from Warren has been huge this season, and while the percentage isn’t likely to remain at 45% (he’s a 33% three-point shooter in his career) I love seeing the huge jump in three’s taken per game—4.2 this season compared to just 11.4 last year. Obviously don’t get crazy with your trade offers, but Warren is certainly worth buying right now.
Nikola Mirotic, SF/PF, New Orleans Pelicans
There’s no better time to buy on a player then when he’s coming off an injury and everyone has forgotten just how dominant he was to start the season. That’s certainly the case with Mirotic who’s missed four out of the Pelicans’ last seven games and the three he did play, he looked like a walking disaster.
Don’t let that overshadow what he did to start the season, where he was shooting 47% from the field and 37% from three. Through his first 20 games, Mirotic was averaging 19.2 points, 2.7 three-pointers, 10.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.7 blocks, and was 13th in the league in three point attempts (7.3).
His combination of rebounding and three pointers is fantasy gold and you would be wise to try and pry him away from an owner who’s simply lost paitence in him.
Robert Covington, SF, Minnesota Timberwovles
Have you ever heard of Robert Covington? Probably not. It’s not like Natty has made it his personal mission in life to peer pressure every fantasy basketball owner who reads this site to add him onto their team. I mean, he’s definitely not the reason Covington is on my fantasy team...
There’s good reason Natty is so hellbent on making people see the light and join him in the church of Covington: It’s because Covington is a hell of a good basketball player. This season Covington is the averaging 12.5 points, 2.3 three-pointers, 5.5 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.4 blocks and ranks 37th in ESPN’s player rater. And those averages have only gotten better once joining the Timberwolves.
He’s been dealing with injury recently and has come out of it in a slight shooting slump—shooting 36.7% from the field, 26.7% from three over the last week—which has dampeded his fantasy output. However the attempts are still there and so is his defense. I bet you can buy low on him (or even get him off waivers) and enjoy once the slump has ended.
Klay Thompson, SG/SF, Golden State Warriors
It might sound preposterous to even think about trading Thompson but he’s never going to be in a more favorable fantasy situation than the one he’s in right now. Klay has gotten off to a sizzling start but a lot of his stats have been inflated given his career-high 19.6 field goal attempts this season. That number is due to Steph Curry and Draymond Green both missing extended time. (For what it’s worth, Klay has never shot more than 17 attempts per game in his career.)
Now with Curry and Draymond back, we’re likely to see Klay’s shot attempts go down and that doesn’t bode well for his fantasy value as he’s currently shooting 45% from the field—his worst since 2013-14—and 35% from three—lowest in his career.
Before those percentages start catching up with his fantasy output, now is the time to package him up and see if you can get a top 35-40 guy for him. You’ll be happy you did in a couple of weeks.
Larry Nance Jr., PF/C, Cleveland Cavaliers
Nance Jr. is one of the most popular adds off waivers this week and when you look at his last eight games, it’s pretty clear why. In those games he’s averaging 10.5 points, 0.8 three-pointers, 7.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.9 blocks in 27.3 minutes. Those numbers are pretty no doubt but they’re not sustainable in the long term.
It’s hard to think that Nance Jr. will continue to get these kinds of minutes when guys like Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson return from injury and are back in the Cavaliers’ lineup. Honestly, you should be tempering your expectations even with them out as Nance Jr. still hasn’t been able to break the Cavs starting lineup, with guys like CHanning Frye and Ante Zizic getting the nod over him. If you own him, trade him now while people are clamoring for him. His value isn’t going to stay this high forever.
Jeff Green, SF/PF, Washington Wizards
Green is an obvious sell high candidate as his recent success has been built upon numbers that I promise you are not meant to last. Over his last five games, Green has been shooting 57.4% from the field and a simply bonkers 60% from three. And it’s not as though Green has been taking one shot from downtown each game and making most of them; Green’s taking FIVE three-point attempts each game and making three of them (all averages of course). That kind of shooting isn’t going to hold up much longer.
I doubt Green is going to pull a lot of return just on his own, but he could be a guy you can use to sweeten a trade and tip the scales in your favor. He’s also the kind of player you know won’t come to bite you after you’ve traded him.