Best Buy-Low, Sell-High Fantasy Basketball Players Entering 2014
It's almost time to make New Year's resolutions, which means fantasy owners can vow to atone for some poor starts to the season and flash their basketball acumen in the coming days and weeks.
And whether it's selling a player who's currently lighting it up in hopes of capitalizing on a fellow owner's misjudgment of the baller's true value or buying low on a struggling stud, there are plenty of shrewd ways to improve your team as the calendar turns over to 2014.
From Brandon Knight to Victor Oladipo, we've compiled a comprehensive list of players whom you should be targeting and trading away in order to make a run at a fantasy title.
All statistics are current as of Dec. 25 and were retrieved from Basketball Reference unless noted otherwise.
Buy Low: Victor Oladipo
The Rookie of the Year buzz surrounding Victor Oladipo has calmed down a bit lately, and for good reason.
Ever since Tobias Harris' return to the Orlando Magic starting lineup, Oladipo has been pushed back to the bench as the team's sixth man.
And the move has led to some disappointing numbers.
Over his last three games (all of which Harris has started at small forward), Oladipo has scored three, eight and 15 points, and he is averaging 12.6 points on 36.9 percent shooting in December.
He looked more comfortable as a starter, but owners should have faith that he'll work himself into a groove coming off the pine. He has too much talent not to, according to Bleacher Report's Adam Fromal:
Splitting time at point guard and shooting guard for the Orlando Magic, Oladipo has shown flashes of brilliance in just about every way possible. Some games he chooses to highlight his athletic ability with a burst to the rim and big finish. Others he displays his passing skills and locks down on the defensive end.
Regardless of the method, he's been able to make an impact for the Magic.
If an owner in your league is souring on Oladipo, now would be the time to lowball him and see if you can steal the Magic guard away.
Sell High: Andray Blatche
The news that Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez will miss the remainder of the season with a broken foot means that Andray Blatche's fantasy stock will be trending in a positive direction in the coming weeks.
While some owners may view him as a potential source of double-double consistency—he's had two all season—he's too erratic to trust as a frontcourt staple on your team.
However, with Blatche's minutes, scoring average and rebounding average all up from last season, he'll emerge as a nice sell-high candidate if he can string together a few big games over the next week.
And the sooner you can unload him, the better: The Nets will play the Indiana Pacers, Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs in three of their next four games.
Buy Low: Danny Green
The San Antonio Spurs have been riding the hot hand of Marco Belinelli lately, and for good reason.
Through 28 games, he is averaging 10.3 points and shooting 51.1 percent from three, and he has been scorching hot to the tune of 11.9 points on 51 percent shooting from the field and 45.7 percent from three during December.
Belinelli's hot shooting has been much needed to mask the struggles of Danny Green, who has followed up a strong 2012-13 season with some underwhelming scoring numbers.
Although he's hitting on 41.4 percent of his three-point attempts, he is converting just 43.2 percent of his looks from the field, and his number of attempts from beyond the arc has decreased by 0.5 from a year ago.
Owners who are looking for a reliable source of long-range buckets are panicking over Green's scoring average of 7.6 (his lowest since 2010-11), but he has plenty to improve upon his mark of 1.6 made threes per game.
Sell High: Thaddeus Young
Statistically speaking, Thaddeus Young is having the most productive season of his career.
Through 25 games, he is averaging a career-high 16.8 points on 49.9 percent shooting from the field. In addition, his conversion rate from beyond the arc has skyrocketed to 44 percent (nearly 10 percentage points better than his previous career high) in Brett Brown's fast-paced, run-and-gun system that emphasizes high-percentage looks and plenty of threes.
So why should owners sell a player who's not only scoring but rebounding well (6.7 boards a game) and ripping 1.4 steals per game?
Simply put, Young may not have much time left in Philadelphia, as he recently filed a formal trade request, according to Jake Fischer of Liberty Ballers.
Owners will be taking a risk by selling Young at this point in time, but putting foresight to work isn't the worst thing for those looking to capitalize on the versatile forward's peak value.
Should Young get dealt and find himself coming off the bench for a contender or starting in a system that is less conducive to such statistical breakouts, his fantasy stock will start to drop, and owners will be happy that they sold.
Buy Low: Tony Wroten
Tony Wroten's entertaining and statistically laden run as the Philadelphia 76ers' point man came to an end last week when Michael Carter-Williams returned to the starting lineup and resumed his push to capture the league's Rookie of the Year hardware.
Ever since Carter-Williams' return, Wroten's numbers have been slightly more unstable. He has scored 13, 19 and eight points in his last three games, dishing out a combined seven assists and 13 turnovers while managing just 19 minutes in the Sixers' loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Dec. 21.
However, owners who are looking for a guy who can fill up the stat sheet will be pleased to hear that head coach Brett Brown wants to pair Wroten and Carter-Williams together in Philly's backcourt, per Philly.com's Keith Pompey:
"He said we need to figure out how we are going to do playing together, because that's what he wants to do," said Wroten, who started the last six games in place of Carter-Williams. "He wasn't saying that we are both going to start. He was just saying [to] keep that in mind and talk it over."
So while Wroten may not be handling the ball as much now that MCW is back in the starting picture, he should have plenty of opportunities to flourish as a producer of instant offense.
Sell High: Brandon Knight
The Milwaukee Bucks have lost six of their last seven games, but point guard Brandon Knight has been on a tear, scoring 36, 21 and 26 points in three of his last four.
What's even more impressive is that he has failed to crack double figures in the scoring column just once since Nov. 29.
The concern, though, is that he is still inconsistent, as he's shooting just 38.6 percent on the season and 39.5 percent from the field this month. He's also shooting 34.2 percent from three, which would be the worst mark of his career for a single season.
And despite some big scoring numbers of late, Knight is still only averaging 4.5 assists and less than one steal per game.
He is an interesting commodity, but owners should dump him before his production tapers off.
Buy Low: Jordan Hill
Ever since Jordan Hill's sensational November run when he recorded double-figure scoring totals in seven straight games (Nov. 12-Nov. 26), he's been anything but consistent, and owners' patience with the streaky big man is starting to wear thin.
He has scored in double figures just once over his past four games, and he has pulled down double-digit rebounds one time since Nov. 27. In addition, he has seen just 18.1 minutes per game over his last 10 appearances.
Head coach Mike D'Antoni may be falling out of love with Hill at the moment, but those who can afford to stash a high-energy body capable of churning out double-doubles with a bump in minutes could do worse than to make a deal for the Lakers' underutilized forward.
Sell High: Trey Burke
Trey Burke is one of the leading candidates to capture the league's Rookie of the Year award thanks to an impressive showing in December.
And while he is capable of producing big numbers (he dropped a career-high 30 points on 12-of-20 shooting against the Orlando Magic), he's proved to be an inconsistent source of scoring through 19 games.
In more than half of his appearances, Burke has scored fewer than 15 points and totaled a combined five points against the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks in two of his last five games.
He has been quite careful with the ball, though, recording the league's sixth-best assist-to-turnover ratio to date (3.62), but he is only averaging 4.9 dimes.
However, with prospective buyers looking at Burke as a source of monstrous potential, now would be a good time to see if an owner is willing to overpay for the talented point guard.
Buy Low: Jordan Farmar
Jordan Farmar made his return from a torn hamstring on Wednesday, which means you still have time to jump on the bandwagon.
He is currently the only healthy point guard on the Lakers' roster, and while he's dished out just 4.4 assists a game, there's an impending spike in dimes coming for owners who are in need of assists.
With getting starters' minutes temporarily, Farmer will be given every opportunity to build upon some impressive advanced figures.
Entering Wednesday, he ranked No. 5 among all players in points generated by assists per 48 minutes (27.4), behind only Chris Paul, Deron Williams, John Wall and Ricky Rubio. That's some mighty fine company, according to the NBA's SportVU player tracking data.
Factor in Farmar's ability to fill it up from deep (39.3 percent shooting from three), and he's a sneaky buy-low candidate.
Sell High: Jamal Crawford
Jamal Crawford has been hot since entering the Los Angeles Clippers' starting lineup, averaging 20 points over his last five games entering Wednesday night's showdown with the Golden State Warriors.
He's also been bombing away from three recently, hitting a combined 10 threes in his last two outings against the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves.
And while those numbers are quite nice, Crawford owners would be wise to look for willing trade partners sooner rather than later, as incumbent starter J.J. Redick figures to return from a fractured hand and torn ligament in his right elbow sometime in January. He suffered the injuries on Nov. 29, and the timetable for return was listed as six to eight weeks.
Crawford will slide back into his role as the team's sixth man upon Redick's return, which means his minutes and scoring numbers will dip a bit.