Here are three players to buy and three to sell in fantasy hoops this week. The buys are guys who’s stock is down at the moment for whatever reason (coming off of injury, in a slight shooting slump, is in the midst of a meteoric rise and you need to jump on the bandwagon before the bandwagon becomes so full people are pushing each other off fighting for their own survival) while the sells are guys who’re playing at a level of production that is not sustainable and you should consider selling them at their highest point.
For those of you who heeded my advice and bought Bradley Beal last week, good on ya! You were also rewarded with a very nice stretch of games in which Beal averaged 27.3 points, 3 threes, 6 rebounds, 6.3 assists and a steal on 37.7 minutes. You’re welcome. (I also said sell Buddy Hield who had three 25+ point games in his last four BUT his last game he only scored 13 sooooo I think that’s a win.)
Here are this week’s candidates.
Gary Harris, SG/SF, Denver Nuggets
Harris falls under the category of coming off injury AND in a slight shooting slump so a little two for one action here. Since returning from a hip injury, Harris has played four games for the Nuggets and so far has fairly underwhelmed. In that span he averaged 12.8 points, 1.8 threes, 3.8 boards and 2.3 assists on 26 minutes and coming off the bench for the first three of those games. Last night, Harris returned to the starting lineup and now is the time to buy.
It’ll take him a little bit of time to get back into the rhythm of things, but don’t let recencey bias cloud your memory. Harris is coming off a season where he shot 48.5% from the field, almost 40% from three (39.6% to be exact) and 82.7% from the line. He also boasted a little defensive value last year, averaging almost 2 steals per game.
Now that he’s in the starting lineup, he’s going to get the minutes and time to get his shot back and his offense grooving again and when he does, he’ll be a very productive fantasy player. I don’t think 18 a game with 2-3 made threes per game is wildly out of the question. Get that kind of production on your team now.
Jeff Teague, PG, Minnesota Timberwolves
Teague has looked excellent in his two games back from ankle injury. He’s averaging 19 points, 3 threes, 4 rebounds, 10.5 assists and 1.5 steals in those games on 28.5 minutes. The minutes should be especially encouraging as it doesn’t seem the Wolves have him on a minute count which is great for Teague owners. Obviously I don’t expect those numbers to continue, but his offense seems to have gotten back on track after a slow start to the season.
There’s still a bit up in the air what with the Wovles’ change at coach and Derrick Rose still being on the roster (though with Rose, you never know when he might get injured, as he currently is), but if Teague’s shot is starting to fall again, he certainly has fantasy value.
Pascal Siakam, PF, Toronto Raptors
Siakam isn’t coming off injury or in a cold spell, he’s just really good and you should try and get him on your team. Hopefully he’s a “no-namer” enough that whoever in your league owns him might not think anything of trading him because he/her aren’t really keyed into what he’s done this season. Then again you might not play in this imaginary league that I’ve created where every other owner is so lazy that they have no idea who the players are on their team and will happily give them away for a grain of rice.
Siakam has been a boss this season, averaging 15 points, 0.8 threes, 6.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1 steal, and 0.7 blocks on 30.6 minutes and is currently well in the top-50 of ESPN’s player rater (40th this season). What brings him to my attention this week in particular is how his game has steadily gotten better in recent games without a drastic uptick in minutes.
What makes this pick frustrating for me is that in my fantasy league, my brother currently owns Siakam and anytime I mention a player on his team as a buy, I get a cocky text from him asking what I want to give up for said player. Cleary I don’t play in my madeup, super easy league.
D’Angelo Russell, PG/SG, Brooklyn Nets
So far this season Russell has been playing like a top-50 fantasy option. That’s pretty apparent as he’s currently 33rd in ESPN’s player rater, averaging 18.1 points, 2.4 made threes and 6.3 assists so far this season. Those numbers are mightily alluring and you can’t argue against the production he’s given you so far this season but I’m not so sure these numbers are going to keep up.
For starters, Russell is shooting at least ten points above his career shooting percentage from the field, three and the line. I understand that in his fourth season in the league, and second with a team that actually wants him, these numbers could just be a sign of him steadily improving. I don’t doubt he’ll put together a career year, but shooting 44.3% from the field (his percentage over his last seven games), despite never finishing above 41.4 in his career seems a bit far fetched. His also been absolute money from the free throw line this season—he hasn’t missed one in over a month, going a perfect 24-for-24 from the line—which has helped to pump up his fantasy numbers.
There’s nothing wrong with selling high on Russell to acquire a mid to early-round guy who’ll bring you more consistent production.
Julius Randle, PF/C, New Orleans Pelicans
Another ex-Laker finding plenty of success outside of LA (if only LeBron had these guys to play with AM I RIGHT!?), Randle is an easy sell because there’s such a clear explanation for his recent success: a serious lack of Nikola Mirotic in Nola.
In the last 16 games, Randle has been averaging 23.4 points on 54.5% shooting, 0.8 threes, 9.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists on a hearty 34.5 minutes per game. As one would expect, this recent performance has bumped Randle into the top-50 player rater over the last 15. However, Randle was not this fantasy stud to start the season when the Pelicans had a healthy Mirotic on the court. In the first 24 games this season, Randle still was just as effective shooting the ball (54.3%) but his minutes were substantially lower—26.0 average as compared to his current 34.5 average—leading to lower production across the board.
Even if Randle retains the starting job when Mirotic returns, he’ll still see less time which will bring all his fantasy value down again. Sell him while he’s the king pelican in New Orleans.
Kemba Walker, PG, Charlotte Hornets
I’ll keep this brief as this as already been a lengthy edition and Walker is less of a “sell NOW!” candidate and more of a “hey, this might be someone you think about moving if you so feel like it” guy. We all know how good Walker’s been this season and if you’ve had the pleasure of having him on your team, you’ve been very thankful for his All-Star production. However, the averages have been catching up with Kemba recently and his scoring has cooled as of late, most notability his three-point shooting.
Heading into January, Kemba was taking a staggering 9.2 three attempts per game, which is well, WELL above his career average 5.7 attemps. Since the New Year, Kemba’s only been attempting 6 threes per game and has been hitting them at a much lower rate. He’s still going to get you points, but I’d think about trying to get yourself another top-20th guy in return and watch Kemba regress slightly (slightly I say) back to his career averages.