Here are three players to buy and two to sell in fantasy hoops this week. The buys are guys who’s stock is down at the moment for whatever reason—coming off injury, slow start to the season, people just have forgotten this player has existed because how many of us actually remembered that Jahlil Okafor was still in the NBA—while the sells are guys who’re playing at a level of production that isn’t sustainable and you should maximize them at their highest value.
Joe Ingles, SF/SG, Utah Jazz
It’s been a real slow start to the season for Ingles and for those who’ve been patient enough to continue to roster him. His shooting percentages have been in the dumps this season, shooting well below his career percentages: shooting 42.8% from the field this year, compared to 44.3% in his career and 35.7% from three despite shooting 44% the last two years.
The reason he’s on this list is because his counting stats—attempts, minutes, rebounds, assists, etc—are all exactly on par with his stats last year, which means if his shooting percentages revert back to the norm, he’d be in line for an uptick in points. Once more, it’s possible you can get him for free off the waiver wire which is always an added bonus on this list. Now’s the time to invest in the man from Down Under.
Jaren Jackson Jr., PF/C, Memphis Grizzlies
Triple J has been putting together a solid—and if he’s not on your fantasy team, likely quiet—rookie season in Memphis. This season he’s been averaging 13.5 points, 4.6 boards, 1.2 assists, 0.9 steals and 1.5 blocks on 25.8 minutes and is 48th in ESPN’s player rater. However, the last week hasn’t been so good to Jackson has he’s seen his shooting percentages drop and his player rating fall well into the 100s (124 to be exact).
Now, I’m not saying buy Jackson just because he’s in a little bit of a shooting slump. I mean, I am, since that’s often the premise of this article, but there’s another thing possibly brewing in Memphis that makes Triple J even more desirable: the trade deadline. Memphis is rumored to be shopping Marc Gasol and Mike Conley and that could mean big time minutes for Jackson. If the Grizzlies trade both Gasol and Conley, it’s officially tank time and that means playing a lot of Triple J to help him develop; if they just trade Gasol, means all the more minutes for Jackson. It’s what we in the business like to call a win-win-win (because you the fantasy owner wins as well).
Even if the Grizzlies don’t make a trade at the deadline, Jackson is still a solid fantasy option and now is the time to buy low on him.
Jahlil Okafor, C, New Orleans Pelicans
Don’t even bother reading what I have to say about Okafor. Just close this page, bring up your fantasy league, find him and add him right away. (However, if you’re in a league filled with annoying younger siblings who pick up all the guys you want right before you have a chance, then stick around I guess so you can read about the guy you could’ve gotten.)
Right now Okafor is 100% benefiting from the injury plague that has hit New Orleans. With both Anthony Davis and Julius Randle out, Okafor has seen his minutes jump from single digits to averaging 30 a game over the last week. And the production has come with the playing time. Over the last week, Okafor has averaged 19.7 points, 11 rebounds and surprisingly 3 blocks while shooting 75% from the field. If the Pelicans do the dumb thing and trade Davis to the Lakers for the “elite talent that they obviously have and are the perfect players to rebuild your franchise around even though they’ve done nothing during their LeBron-less showcase” at the deadline, Okafor is a must own in every league. Even still, he’s worth having for as long as Davis and Randle are out.
LaMarcus Aldridge, PF/C, San Antonio Spurs
Aldridge was on a tear last week (between January 20th and 27th) averaging 25.3 points on 56.8% from the field, 10 boards, 4 assists, 1.8 blocks in 32.4 minutes. He also made it to the line 4.3 times per game and shot 88% from the charity stripe. Unfortunately, this uptick in production can be attributed rather easily to a hot streak, one that’s not likely to last much longer.
For his career, Aldridge has a field goal percentage of 49 and a free throw percentage of 80.9. His attempts and minutes are all down from last year, meaning that when his percentages return closer to his career averages, his production will take a hit. Now’s the time to capitalize on Aldridge’s fire week and get back a top-30 player.
Nikola Vucevic, PF/C, Orlando Magic
So far this season Vucevic has been a fantasy monster, averaging 20.6 points, 1.2 threes, 12 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1 steal and 1 block on 31.2 minutes and ranks 11th in ESPN’s player rater for the season. That’s pretty amazing return for a guy who was been taken around the 52nd pick in drafts. Unfortunately, while the trade deadline might help the guys above, like Jaren Jackson and Jahlil Okafor, it could diminish Vucevic’s fantasy shine.
The Magic are in the beginnings of full tank mode and if they decide to become sellers at the deadline, it only makes sense that they try and move their best player—who’s on an expiring deal mind you—for future assists. It’s likely that in a trade, Vucevic wouldn’t be heading to a fantasy situation as good as the one he has in Orlando which spells a downward spiral for his value. Sell him now for a top-15 guy while his value is at its highest.