Fantasy Basketball Advice from a Self-Proclaimed NBA Expert

Steven KersteinContributor IFebruary 16, 2012

Fantasy Basketball Advice from a Self-Proclaimed NBA Expert

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    Yeah, I'm that guy who spent $43 on Eric Gordon.

    But I'm also that guy who spent a combined $55 on Lamarcus Aldridge, Andrew Bynum and Tyson Chandler.

    Call me a genius. Call me lucky. I'm sitting pretty at the top of my league.

    Fantasy basketball is the best. It has the power to make a Tuesday night Milwaukee-Charlotte matchup a thriller for owners of the likes of Boris Diaw and Ersan Ilysova.

    We're getting to the middle of the season, and it's make-or-break time for struggling owners. Are you all-in, or will you fade down the stretch?

    With the help of my expert advice, you can hear about some buy low, sell high and run to the waivers options. My advice can propel you to the top, so listen to this self-proclaimed expert.

    The choice is yours.

Buy Low: Dirk Nowitzki

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    There's nothing worse than breaking the bank for a guy who hardly dents the score sheet. I take that back; my friend accidently spent $110 on Jason Terry in our online auction.

    Nevertheless, these underachievers make fantasy owners want to tear their hair out. Despite their struggles, you have to at least try to low-ball your opponent into giving them up for less value. It's the moral thing to do.

    Dirk Nowitzki: The 7'0" German just has to get better. His 18.5 PPG, 6.2 RPG and 24.3 percent 3P FG are way under his career averages (22.5 PPG, 8.3 RPG and 37.8 percent 3P FG).

    I know his age is creeping up on him, but this dramatic of a fall can't happen this rapidly. He's finally starting to get his legs back, and his numbers over the last week are much better (24.8 PPG, 7.4 RPG and 38.1 percent 3P FG).

    If you can pry him off some desperate owner, do it. You know he's only going to get better. He's Dirk, for God's sake.

    Other candidates: Danny Granger (sprained ankle aside, he's been much better as of late), Darren Collison, Amare Stoudemire (pick-and-roll game with Lin = baskets galore) and Carmelo Anthony (Yeah, I think Lin and Melo can co-exist.).

Sell High: Brandon Jennings

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    Sadly for this owner, I didn't get on this train earlier.

    It was only a matter of time before Jennings' career FG percentage (38.5 percent) was going to catch up with him.  

    The speedster has been dreadful so far in the month of February, shooting 33 percent from the field while only putting up 14.9 PPG.  Although Jennings is a valuable contributor on in points, assists and steals, try to pin him off on some naive owner who thinks his slump is short-lived.

    As of late, Jennings has not only alienated himself from the good graces of Scott Skiles, but he recently called out his teammates for lack of effort after losing to New Orleans.

    Coupled with the fact that he's already talking about his next big contract, you got to get the guy off your fantasy squad. Hopefully, the rest of my fantasy league isn't reading this, as he's still stuck on my team.

    Other candidates: Jeremy Lin (How can I not put him on this list?), Tyson Chandler, Monta Ellis (People love big names.) and Ryan Anderson (If Dwight gets traded, say goodbye to open shots.).

Run to the Waiver Wire

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    There a couple of reasons why I have success in fantasy basketball: luck, a keen eye for the game and the ability to play the waiver wire.

    When it comes to playing the wire, players that step into open opportunity are exclusively on my radar. 

    When I saw that Darko was a) starting for the T-Wolves, b) playing atrociously and c) had a solid backup in Nikola Pekovic, I just had to get my hands on Pek, AKA the scariest-looking man in the NBA.

    Darko inevitably got hurt, and Pekovic has just run away with the starting job. Take a look at his line in the month of February: 17.1 PPG and 10.6 RPG while shooting a ludicrous 61 percent of field goals. Keep in mind that he's also one of the best offensive rebounders in the league, and you've got a keeper.

    If you play in a league with novices, he could still be on the waiver wire. If not, try flipping a big name for a slightly lesser one with Pek on the side. If not, tough luck; you missed out.

    Other candidates: Linas Kleiza (somebody's got to score up in Canada), Ersan Ilyasova (everybody's favorite Turk) and Aaron Afflalo.

Please Get Traded so I Can Pick You Up Guys

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    Ramon Sessions, stuck behind potential Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving, should be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for two reasons: Derek Fisher is a dinosaur, and he would greatly help my fantasy team if he got more playing time. In starts this season, the guy is averaging an insane 18.3 PPG and 12.3 APG. 

    Heck, I'll buy his plane ticket. Just trade the man already.

    Goran Dragic could be an NBA starting point guard some place else. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, Kyle Lowry has fully entrenched himself as the ball facilitator for the Houston Rockets. When Lowry's been sidelined, Dragic has been great in his two starts as well, going for 15.0 PPG and 9.5 APG.

    But Houston will probably hold on to Dragic, seeing that two capable point guards is a luxury for any fringe playoff team. 

    Nonetheless, these guys could blossom with the opportunity.

Closing Thoughts

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    Ok, so you might not have LeBron James, Dwight Howard or Kevin Love for that matter. Your chances of winning are not over. You can only lose a league on draft day, not win one.

    View your fantasy team as a stock portfolio. Your players are just a bunch of diversified assets. Make sure to have a balance of conservative and risky options. Like a smart investor, know that success shouldn't be taken for granted. Always sell high and buy low.  

    Play the waiver wire like a fiddle. Look for opportunity and skill set, not a name. Who knows; maybe you can find the next Jeremy Lin or Nik Pekovic?

    Follow my guidelines, and with a little luck, you'll be right in the thick of things come March.  

    Who knows; maybe Eric Gordon will be that final piece to your championship team?