Fantasy Basketball Buy & Sell: Week 17
The NBA trade deadline did not disappoint. A flurry of action created plenty of changes in fantasy value. More on that topic will be discussed in the meat of this article.
Fantasy managers still need to keep an eye on the buyout market, though. Over the next week or so, plenty of veterans on expiring deals will be looking for new teams. That can cause some of them to lose significant value. Players going from the third option on a struggling squad to a 15-minute role player for the Warriors are not going to retain their fantasy positioning.
Be ready to pounce on the waiver wire over the next few weeks to shore up your squad for the stretch run. Let us move forward into the buys and sells for Week 17.
A look at two players fantasy managers should target because their value is likely to increase for the remainder of the season:
Jonas Valanciunas (MEM – C)
The Memphis Grizzlies traded away one of their two pillars at the deadline. They shipped Marc Gasol to Toronto in return for Valanciuans. Memphis made plenty of deals but kept Mike Conley to run the show.
Trading away Gasol’s 33.7 minutes per game at the five opens up plenty of run for JV. Here is the wild part: Valanciuans ranks 186th on the Player Rater in 18.8 minutes per game. If the 26-year-old can snag over 30 on the Grizzlies, watch out. He would easily be a top-50 option.
The Grizzlies are rebuilding, though. They may want to use Jaren Jackson Jr. at center, meaning Valancuinas would play limited minutes. JV was a top-80 option in 22.4 minutes per game last season, so a small uptick in playing time is all he needs for standard-league viability.
Try to buy Valanciunas now for any player outside the top 100 and reap the rewards in the coming weeks.
Markelle Fultz (ORL – PG/SG)
The Orlando Magic were willing to pay a significant price to acquire Fultz at the deadline. They also lack a point guard, which should put him back in his preferred position. The Sixers, who had Ben Simmons, were never willing to give Fultz the keys to their offense. That should not be an issue in Orlando.
Fultz has the potential to shine for fantasy purposes. His career per-36 numbers are 13.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.5 steals, and 0.5 blocks per game. The percentages are poor, making him a difficult buy in roto leagues, but head-to-head managers can grab a four-category contributor off the waiver wire.
Fultz could easily be a top-100 player from today forward, so snag him right now if he’s on the waiver wire. Do not be afraid to trade for him either. Orlando is going to give him a significant opportunity down the stretch.
Fantasy managers should look to move these two players, whose value will likely tumble for the stretch run:
Anthony Davis (NOR – PF/C)
Selling the guy who is number five on the Player Rater is a bold strategy. Davis is an amazing talent, but staying in New Orleans was not fantastic for his fantasy value. Yet news that AD will play the rest of the season should have people dancing and clamoring for his services.
Consider me more than skeptical. Davis is going to play through the All-Star break. Since he’s part of the All-Star Game, the Pelicans cannot sit him out before, only for him to star in the main event. They will want to play him a few games after the break to save face, but then all bets are off.
New Orleans, needing a king’s ransom in return to have any chances of winning in the near future, is taking a massive risk every time Davis plays. The Pelicans will not want to keep taking those chances once their playoff hopes are gone.
Fantasy managers should trade Davis straight up for any top-10 player. Shoot high here, though. Make someone pay a massive haul to acquire Davis, just like the Pelicans will this summer.
Marc Gasol (TOR – C)
Gasol’s fantasy value also took a massive loss on deadline day. The trade makes Toronto an interesting squad when talking about title contention, but not in terms of fantasy. Gasol, the second scoring option in Memphis, will likely slip down the pecking order for the Raptors.
There are two interesting things to watch in the coming weeks as Toronto’s rotation takes shape.
First, is the minute’s load Gasol is asked to play. He turned 34 at the end of January, and the Raptors have used both Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam at center before acquiring Gasol. Toronto likely plays him closer to 30 minutes per game, which decreases his fantasy value immediately.
Second, will Gasol’s assists drop with the Raptors? His high-post passing in Memphis has boosted his fantasy value for years. His 4.5 assists per game over the last three seasons pushed him into the top 30. Toronto, though, is not known for running those actions. Will the Raptors continue giving Gasol those opportunities by changing their offense, or will the seven-footer be asked to adapt to their ways? Only time will answer these questions, but fantasy managers should know that it matters.
Trading Gasol for any top-40 player seems wise at this moment. His value is unsteady heading to Toronto, and fantasy managers should not want to gamble on it slipping during a crucial point of the season.
Tyler Watts is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Tyler, follow him @tylerpwatts.