Fantasy Basketball Buy/Sell (2/15)
Now that the dust has settled from the NBA trade deadline last week, it’s time to get fantasy squads ready for the stretch run and into the fantasy playoffs if you play in an H2H league. I know, I know. It’s the middle of February and it’s been a long freaking season.
Trust me, as a man that just lost Kristaps Porzingis last week, I feel your pain. But if you want to end the season strong, you have to stay on top of things and that includes potentially making some trades and/or cutting some dead weight on your roster for a more useful player.
Players to Buy
Zach LaVine (PG/SG – CHI)
Players coming back from major injuries are always going to be significant question marks. How well will they perform? How long will it take to shake off the rust? Will they get re-injured? Very well, not long, and not yet are the answers to those questions in the case of Zach LaVine. The high-flying guard returned from a torn ACL guns blazin’ and made it seem like he never missed any time at all.
Over the last two weeks, LaVine has averaged 24.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.4 steals, and 2.6 three-pointers on 46.2% from the field and 87.1% from the line. That’s good for top-20 value in that timespan. Is LaVine top-20 good? Probably not. But the Bulls badly need his scoring, especially with Kris Dunn still sidelined and Nikola Mirotic no longer with the team. LaVine should be able to post top-50 value the rest of the way and makes for an intriguing trade target if you need a boost in scoring and/or three-pointers.
Mario Hezonja (SG/SF – ORL)
The third-year Croatian guard is finally starting to show why the Magic made him the fifth-overall pick back in 2015. Over the last two weeks, he’s putting up second-round value with averages of 16.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 2.4 three-pointers while shooting 48.7% from the field and 84.0% from the line.
This type of production shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as his per36 numbers always hinted that Hezonja had this in him if given the opportunity. The Aaron Gordon absence has provided him with that opportunity as he’s stepped into the Orlando starting lineup as one of the two starting forwards along with Jonathon Simmons. One of these two will have to return to a bench role when Gordon returns. If Hezonja keeps playing like this, that bench role will likely belong to Simmons.
Nikola Mirotic (SF/PF – NOP)
Mirotic couldn’t have ended up in a better spot for his fantasy value than in New Orleans. Before the trade, many thought he would be dealt to a contender where his minutes and offensive role would take a hit. Luckily for fantasy owners, that wasn’t the case, and he now has a great chance to thrive with the Pelicans.
In his five games in the Big Easy, Mirotic is averaging 15.4 points, 9.6 rebounds, 1.6 steals, 1.2 blocks, and 2.2 three-pointers in almost 35 minutes per game. With DeMarcus Cousins lost for the season, Mirotic is going to have a big offensive role regardless if he’s starting or coming off the bench and looks poised to finish the season strong, making him a solid trade target in fantasy leagues.
Dewayne Dedmon (C – ATL)
The starting center spot in Atlanta is a back-and-forth situation. As of two games ago, Dedmon is the chosen one going forward. He has responded nicely averaging 16.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, 2.0 steals, and 1.0 blocks on 75% from the field and has even hit a three-pointer in nine straight games.
It’s always been about the playing time with Dedmon. He’s performed well when given the opportunity but has only averaged 23.5 minutes per game this season. His per36 minutes look tasty with averages of 15.5 points, 11.6 rebounds, 0.8 steals, and 1.1 blocks. Dedmon is currently available in over 50% of fantasy leagues, so if you’re still mourning the losses of Porzingis or Boogie Cousins, let Dedmon help try to get you through the tough times.
Players to Sell
Marcin Gortat (C – WAS)
Let me start off by saying that Gortat still being owned in 75% of fantasy leagues is mind-boggling and cringe-worthy. He helps you in two categories (where he’s mediocre at best) and is a non-factor in three. On the season, Gortat is barely clinging to top-150 value. That last sentence doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence, does it? Unless you desperately need rebounding and field goal percentage, Gortat is safe to drop in standard leagues at this point. I’d much rather have a guy like Dedmon on my team for the rest of the season.
Jaylen Brown (SG/SF – BOS)
After a spectacular start to the season, a lot of the young players in Boston seem to be hitting a wall. With a rookie like Jayson Tatum, I get it. He’s never played an 82-game season before. But Jaylen Brown has. Albeit, just one, but he’s been here before. As the season has progressed, Brown’s fantasy value has gone from “what can Brown do for you?” to the NBA equivalent of the Cleveland Browns.
Speaking as a Boston Celtics fan that has seen Brown countless times, he’s incredibly exciting to watch, but his offensive game needs some work. There have been some progressions since he was drafted, but there’s still much more work that needs to be done. The emergence of Jayson Tatum hasn’t really helped Brown’s fantasy value either. Brown doesn’t help out much with the defensive stats and can’t seem to get his free throw percentage above 60% for the season.
For the season, Brown is barely putting up top-200 value and that is trending the wrong direction with each passing month. If there’s a hot free agent sitting on the waiver wire, it makes a lot of sense to cut ties with Brown at this point in re-draft leagues. However, he’s still a hold in dynasty formats for his long-term upside.