After almost a decade of brilliance, it looks like Wade’s game is slowly starting to decline. Right now, he’s averaging just 19.4 points (his lowest since his rookie season), 3.9 rebounds and 4.5 assists. Most of his past fantasy value had come from a guarantee for 100 steals and 100 blocks per season, but 17 games into Miami’s season, Flash has a measly 17 steals and nine blocks. So all fantasy owners should just fire sell Wade for whatever they can get right? WRONG! Wade still has tons of value and I’ll be taking bets if you’re going to tell me that he’s going to average under 20 points. He’s only attempting 0.8 treys per game, so you’re going to have to surround him with three-point shooters, but his field goal percentage and dimes from the shooting guard position will give you an edge over your competitors. He may not get up to 100 blocks this year but any block from your shooting guard is just gravy. Go get him now before the buy low window is closed.
We all know the story with DeMarcus Cousins. If his attitude is right and his head is on straight, there’s few bigs that can compete with his numbers. He’s admitted that a two-game suspension earlier in the year got to his head a little bit, and his 16.6 points, 9.7 rebounds and 43 percent shooting are a downgrade from last year’s 18.1 points, 11.0 rebounds and 45 percent shooting. However, don’t expect Cousins to continue a downward spiral. He’s simply too talented not too. Sure, he’s a problem in the locker room, but luckily your fantasy team doesn’t have one and the only thing that matters is his production on the floor. The occasional (but more frequent for Cousins) lack of stats because of a game in foul trouble presents the perfect buying opportunity for prospective owners. Look to take advantage of a frustrated owner and expect production like Wednesday night’s 25-point, 13-rebound performance.
Those who drafted Jeremy Lin in hopes of him putting up Linsanity-type stat lines were sorely disappointed when Houston acquired James Harden from Oklahoma City. Without the ball in his hands at all times, like expected, his numbers have taken a bit of a hit, all headed by his ugly 39 percent shooting from the field. However, Lin still has more than enough value to help out you squad. His 6.4 assists and 1.9 steals are more than useful and he’s too smart of a player to continue this atrocious shooting pace. By virtue, once his field goal percentage rises, so will his three-pointers made. Expect Lin to find his way out of this early season rut and for now, see if you can trade for him on the cheap. I doubt we will ever see those bomb stat lines on a night in and night out basis again, but Lin can be a more than serviceable point guard for your fake team.
In seven games of last year’s playoffs, JaVale McGee nearly succeeded in taking down the Lakers by averaging 8.6 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.1 blocks in almost 26 minutes per game. I thought he had shown enough significant improvement to warrant more minutes this season from George Karl, however, Kosta Koufos still remains the starter, leaving McGee to compete with Timofey Mozgov for time. In just 19.3 minutes per game this year, McGee is putting up 10.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game, leading to per-36 minute averages of 20.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.3 blocks. While McGee will most likely never see 36 minutes per game, you can make an argument that he is the best center on the team and it will only be a matter of time before Karl realizes that. Now is the time to buy. If he ever gets those extra minutes, McGee can have a Serge Ibaka-like impact on your blocks and even without the extra run, his 1.8 blocks alone warrant a roster spot. Look to buy low and hope for the best.
This includes Eric Gordon, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Kyrie Irving, Ricky Rubio and Anthony Davis, among others. It seems when players get injured, their public perception is totally ruined. Sure Eric Gordon has a bountiful injury history and still has no timetable for a return, but if you can deal for him on the cheap, you’ll be looking like a genius in a couple of weeks. I cannot reiterate this enough. My advice is to trade for these guys before there is a set return date because once an owner can see the light at the end of the tunnel, they will be more reluctant to give them up. Don’t make a move for these guys if you’re already sitting on an injury or two, but if the opportunity for a buy low arises, strike before their value trends upwards.
I’m actually a huge fan of Ryan Anderson’s fantasy game but wasn’t a fan of his 44th average draft position. Luckily, Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon both have missed substantial time, leaving the scoring gap to be filled by Anderson’s three-point prowess. While Gordon will remain out for at least another month or so, Davis should be returning sooner rather than later, delegating Anderson back to the bench, thus reducing his minutes. Even as a sixth man, Anderson can still heavily contribute to your threes, but if you are able to deal him, his numbers can easily be replaced by shooting guards on the waiver wire. Look for an owner who needs a combination of treys and boards and move Anderson for something more useful to your team.
Let me preface this by saying that Anderson Varejao will be an absolute fantasy beast this season. He is the perfect prototype of power forward that I look to own because most of his numbers come from pure hustle so it doesn’t matter how many minutes he plays. However, people have been salivating over his average of 15.4 rebounds per game, a stat that is downright unsustainable over a full 82-game season. My advice would be to sell Varejao high while you can. It would be wise to try and package him with another player to acquire a monster rebounder such as Kevin Love so that the rebounds per game will not be missed, but you know your team needs better than I do so send a bunch of offers and see if you get any bites.
Carlos Boozer left his best fantasy days back in Utah, but still boasts averages of 13.5 points and 9.9 rebounds. With plenty of time before Derrick Rose returns, Boozer will still be a focal point of the offense, but it’s probably time to start thinking about dealing him. During the offseason, there were whispers of Boozer being an amnesty casualty and with Taj Gibson already inked for the long term, there is a great possibility that there is no place in the future plans for the two-time All-Star. His numbers may not get any higher than they are at this point, so look for a team in need and strike a deal before it’s too late.
One thing the New York Knicks have is tons of depth, especially at the guard position. They often start Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton, while spelling them with J.R Smith and Ronnie Brewer. At some point after the New Year, Iman Shumpert will be back, totally killing J.R.’s fantasy value. Shumpert’s role defensively will keep him on the floor, and while they can play some minutes together, with Carmelo Anthony and Steve Novak log-jamming the small forward position upon Amar’e Stoudemire‘s return means that J.R.’s current average of 33 minutes per game simply can’t be sustained. Luckily for you, it’s relatively easy to sell a Knick player to a Knick fan so upgrading Smith shouldn’t be so difficult, especially after his game-winning step-back on Wednesday night.
Which players are you looking to trade for right now?
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