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Fantasy basketball buy & sell: Week 19

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It’s time to buy Lauri Markkanen but sell Chris Paul.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Chicago Bulls Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Here are three players to buy and sell in fantasy hoops this week. The buys are guys who’s stock is down for whatever reason while the sells are guys whose value will never be higher and now’s the time to capitalize on their recent production (specifically the two games right before the All-Star break which is all anyone actually remembers. Take advantage of our country’s shrinking attention span!).

What’d I tell ya about Jonas Valanciunas in Memphis? Didn’t look half bad did he? And it’s only gonna get better for him.

BUY

Lauri Markkanen, PF, Chicago Bulls

Markkanen was always in the Bulls’ future plans but he’s quickly become their number one star. Chicago traded away Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker to the Wizards for Otto Porter Jr. at the deadline and that’s opened up the front court for Markkanen’s recent run of excellence. Since then, Markkanen has averaged 24.4 points (47.2%), 2.8 threes (39.9%), 13.2 rebounds, and 3 assists on 36.8 minutes. Hopefully whoever owns him in your league has forgotten about just how much of a tear he was on before the All-Star break and you can snag him out from under your fellow league mate.

Enes Kanter, C, Portland Trail Blazers

I know Kanter hasn’t played a game with the Blazers yet AND he’ll be backing up starting center Jusuf Nurkic but that shouldn’t stop you trying to get him onto your fantasy team. First of all, Nurkic’s averaging 27.3 minutes per game this season which still leaves plenty of time for Kanter to get his. And that’s assuming Kanter doesn’t cut into Nurkic’s minutes (Nurkic after all averaged 26.4 minutes per game last year).

Regardless how many minutes he plays, you know Kanter is going to get you two things: buckets and boards. Between 2015 and 2017, Kanter averaged 21 minutes per with the Thunder and still managed to post 13.4 points on 56% shooting and 7.4 boards per game. I’d gladly add that production to my fantasy team.

Marquese Chriss, PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

Much like Markkanen and Kanter, Chriss’ fantasy value was also positively affected by the NBA trade deadline. Since arriving to Cleveland, Chriss’ minutes have skyrocketed which naturally has led to an increase in all his stats. In four games with the Cavs he’s averaging 14.3 points (53.7% shooting), 2.3 threes (56.3%), 6.3 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal per game. Another beautiful thing about Chriss: he’s available on the waiver wire. You don’t even need to trade for him. Just pick him up, enjoy his production and thank me later.

SELL

Chris Paul, PG, Houston Rockets

Selling Paul hinges on your trust in him to play the rest of the season. He’s already missed time this season—missing 16 games thanks to a hamstring injury—and has averaged only 64 games per season over the last three years. There’s a very real chance that he misses more time later in the season thanks to another injury.

Don’t worry too much Paul owners as you should be able to still get good value for Paul, not just based on him being a household name. Since coming back from his hamstring injury, Paul has averaged 16.3 points, 2.3 threes, 4.4 rebounds, 8.3 assists, and 2 steals on 31.1 minutes. Sell him now for a guy without so many injury risks moving forward.

Marc Gasol, C, Toronto Raptors

Real basketball wise, the Raptors trade for Marc Gasol was brilliant and has been huge for their offense. Having a passing big man like that has opened up the spacing on the offensive-side of the court and the Raptors look mighty dangerous now in the East. However, fantasy wise, this trade sadly crushed Gasol’s value.

What’s made Gasol so potent for the Raptors in real basketball is him coming off the bench and bringing his passing and toughness to the second unit. Unfortunately, that’s about the worst thing that can happen for his fantasy stock. In the three games he’s played with Toronto, Gasol has averaged 20 minutes (well below the 33 he averaged in Memphis) and only 10 points, 6.3 boards and 1.7 assists per game. Sell him now before people realize these numbers are the new norm and not just a fluke.

Gordon Hayward, SF/SG Boston Celtics

As a Celtics fan, I’ve loved seeing the recent Hayward success before the All-Star break. He’s finally starting to look like Utah Hayward in the way he attacks the basket and plays with reckless abandonment. It’s great to see his confidence in both his ability to still play basketball and his surgically repaired leg continue to grow.

That being said, I don’t trust that the Hayward we saw heading into the All-Star break is what you’re going to see rest of the season. For starters, three of Haywards biggest games in the last five—including his 26 point outing against the Sixers—came when Kyrie Irving was out. With Irving healthy and playing, Hayward’s production and minutes take a hit. Use his hot streak heading into All-Star week to sell on him high.