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Fantasy Basketball Buy & Sell: Week 2 (2021)

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Oct 29, 2021
Chris Duarte

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another fantasy basketball season. Last year, I focused on the categories to go after on the wire or in trades in hopes of putting your team in the best position possible for the championship run. 

While I’ll still be tackling that column this year, I’m also going to be branching out and letting you know each week whose performances thus far that we should be buying and those we should be selling.

Buy low, sell high is one of the oldest terms in fantasy, but it’s more involved than that. You have to look at the “low” and “high” of it to make sure you’re maximizing value. We can also buy the player but question the team and role they are in when it comes to maintaining the pace they are on.

Most importantly, here, with any call you make, you have to be willing to lose the deal or accept that you made the wrong call. It happens all the time when we think we are selling at the highest value, only for that player to buck the trend and play like a stud from now on.

Now that you have an idea of what to expect for this column week to week let’s get to the players.

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Buy

Miles Bridges (CHA –  SF/PF)

Last year was the Mikal Bridges breakout season as one of the best lockdown 3-and-D players in the league. Miles had his highlight-reel moments, too, thanks to LaMelo Ball, but the Miles Bridges we are seeing this year is a player who is on a whole other level.

As of Thursday morning, Bridges is the No. 1 ranked player in all fantasy. Yes, all of fantasy. Not bad for someone with an NFC ADP of 81 overall.

Bridges is playing in the mid-to-high-30s for minutes each night, and he’s hit the 30-point mark in three of the last four Hornets games. 

Am I buying Bridges as the No. 1 overall player? Of course not. Is this the sign of a breakout that will establish him as more than just a dunker? You bet it is if he can maintain the gains in three-pointers and rebounds per game. Once Terry Rozier gets fully healthy, we should get a better idea.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker (NOP – SG/SF)

Alexander-Walker was a player who I targeted in every draft, and the results have been encouraging thus far. So if you’re looking for an opportunity to trade for him, you may be able to take advantage of his Wednesday night dude, where he shot 3-14 from the field, including 0-7 from three-point range.

That game aside, NAW has been a great all-around contributor, averaging 15 points, 6.8 boards, two assists, and 1.6 steals per game. With the concerns around Zion Williamson, don’t be surprised if NAW continues to become one of the main offensive options along with Brandon Ingram. Unfortunately, your time to acquire him at a reasonable price is running out.

Michael Porter Jr. (DEN – SF) 

Porter was everyone’s favorite breakout pick this year, and it makes sense. We saw him launched into a larger role in 2020 during his second season, and with Jamal Murray out an extended period, Porter seemed poised to take yet another step forward this season.

So far, not so good. Well, on the surface, at least.

Porter has yet to eclipse 15 points in any game this season, and he’s shooting a disastrous 35 percent from the field.

But what’s encouraging is that he’s still averaging 32 minutes per night, and his usage rate is in line with what it was last year (19.4 this year compared to 21.7 last year). If Porter continues to get the minutes and the usage, he’ll live up to his draft price tag. With Nikola Jokić now hurt, he may not have any choice. 

Kevin Love (CLE – PF/C)

Maybe we wrote off Love too soon. The injuries have taken their toll, yes, and Cleveland would love (get it?) to alleviate themselves of his contract, so if the player we see early on is a sign of things to come, the Cavaliers might get their wish.

Love has been relegated to a bench player, but he’s hit 24 minutes per game in three of his past four games. In his past two games alone, Love has a double-double to his name, as well as a 22-point performance against the Nuggets. He’ll be a great resource of rebounds in the future, and he can easily slide into the starting lineup if anything were to happen to Evan Mobley or Lauki Markkanen. 

He has to stay healthy.

Sell

Chris Duarte (IND – SG)

It’s the first column, so let’s start with an apparent layup, yeah? Duarte was overlooked in the draft, and he was arguably one of the most NBA-ready prospects thanks to his experience in college (go Ducks).

He’s come out firing this year, scoring in double-digits in each game for the Pacers, including a 27-point Opening Night performance where he hit six three-pointers.

Usually, we’d be excited about Duarte’s prospects moving forward. Still, eventually, this Pacers team will get Caris LeVert and T.J. Warren back, not to mention Malcolm Brogdon, who just got hurt Wednesday. Duarte should continue to be rostered until those guys – especially the former two – come back, but you can either look to flip the most well-known secret in fantasy hoops right now, or you can juice the orange and take the category help.

Ja Morant (MEM – PG)

To show that I’m not biased (we all have our biases, folx), I’m selling the performance of my favorite real-life player.

Notice I say real life there because that’s where the majority of Morant’s value lies.

Yes, he’s been unreal to start the season, but he’s also shooting nearly 60 percent from the field and 45 percent from the three-point line. Both would not only be career highs, but they’d launch him into the elite-of-elite category. That field goal percentage is what we see from big men living under the basket. 

Can Morant have a career season where he improves his shooting? Absolutely. But it will be closer to 24 points per game than the 30 points that he’s averaging now. So I’m buying the talent but selling the production.

Ricky Rubio (CLE – PG)

Like it was the case with Duarte, this is also an obvious call, but let’s address it anyway. This season, Rubio has been fantastic for the Cavs, and he’s a top 50 player in Yahoo leagues. 

The big driver of his value now – and always – has been his playmaking ability, as he’s 7.8 assists per game, but he’s also scoring 14.4 points per game, too.

But the bigger driver for him is that he’s been filling in for Darius Garland, who returned from an ankle injury Monday. Once Garland gets back up to full speed, we’ll see Rubio fade back into a fringe player to roster, as he’ll be too buried behind the great SexLand duo to make a difference. He has some name value if you want to throw him out there in some early-season trade talks.

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Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.

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