We at Hashtag Basketball are introducing a new feature today. This feature should take you to the next level in your fantasy basketball leagues. The first key to fantasy basketball is staying locked in, managing your roster, and using the waiver wire properly. That is good enough to win your average fantasy league.
Now, you find a competitive league where every player does that. How do you set yourself apart from other owners? Maybe you get lucky? Or Maybe you have the perfect draft and that does it?
The easiest way to make it happen is by making trades and acquiring players when their value is at its lowest point. Think about it like the stock market, you want to buy the stocks at their cheapest price and sell them at their highest price to maximize your profit.
Today, I will take you through 5 buy low targets for your fantasy basketball leagues. Hopefully, you can acquire 1 or 2 of these players and they help you bring home your fantasy championship.
Karl-Anthony Towns - PF/C Minnesota Timberwolves
According to Basketball Monster, Karl-Anthony Towns is the 18th ranked player in 8 category leagues and 25th in 9 category leagues. On draft day, Towns was picked as a first round player. Towns was drafted as number 3 overall and as low as 12 or 13 in most leagues.
Why Buy Low
Towns has taken the second year leap we expected in every area but one. Towns is averaging 21.7 points, 1.2 three-pointers made, 11.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 0.6 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game. He is shooting an identical free throw percentage to last season, but his field goal percentage has fallen to 48.2% from 54.2% last season.
KAT is a strange case to examine for two reasons: 1) most rookies do not shot 54.2% while attempting three-pointers, so not a lot of historical data and 2) we only have this year and last year to go on so it is difficult to pinpoint a projection on a limited sample.
If you view his field goal percentage per month, I think it gives you all the information you need to know, though. In October, 2 games shooting 50.0%. In November, 16 games shooting 50.0%. In December, 15 games 46.9% and in January, 5 games shooting 45.3%. It looks like it has just been 20 cold shooting games from Mister Towns and if he bounces back he is back to a first round pick.
If you can buy Karl-Antony Towns for second round value jump on it because he should return first round value in a 12 team league the rest of the season.
Paul Millsap - PF Atlanta Hawks
According to Basketball Monster, Paul Millsap is the 38th ranked player in 8 category leagues and 39th in 9 category leagues. On the ESPN Player Rater, Millsap is ranked 43rd for this season.
According to ESPN's average draft results, Millsap was the 20th highest player taken and have an average pick 21.2. Meaning he has slipped about 20 spots from his draft day price.
Why Buy Low
Millsap is actually playing more minutes per game than last season (32.7 to 34.1), scoring more points (17.7 to 17.1), and getting more assists (3.3 to 3.8). His three-point attempts are up on relatively the same percentage meaning more three-pointers made too.
This is another player who is struggling with his field goal percentage. He has shot over 47% the last two seasons, but this year clocks in at 43.8% on 14.6 attempts. The attempts should continue, but why did the percentage dip so drastically?If you view his shooting from basketball reference, it outlines the change. He is taking more shots from 3-10 feet and 10-16 feet from the basket and he is shooting a poorer field goal percentage. Those mid-range jumpers are rendering him less effective. I think he ticks up a little bit on those shots and takes a few less per game once he realizes it is affecting his efficient allowing his field goal percentage to tick up closer to 45%.
This is a player who was slightly overvalued on draft day in my opinion. I had him as pick 30 instead of 20 and I feel like he is a top 30 player going forward. If you can buy him at his current value of 40, I would swoop in and make the deal.
You may be able to get a discount on speculation that he gets traded as well allowing you to maybe sell for a player around 50th overall making this a steal of a trade if you can pull it off.
D'Angelo Russell - PG Los Angeles Lakers
According to Basketball Monster, D'Angelo Russell is currently the 68th ranked player in 8 category leagues and 93rd in 9 category leagues. On ESPN's Player Rater, Russell ranks 104th for the season.
If you view ESPN's live draft results, Russell was the 53rd highest player taken with an average pick of 52.6.
Why Buy Low
This is a 20-year-old point guard who is finally hitting his stride this season. In only his 2nd year, he started off the season slow and potentially weighed down by high expectations.
If you view his last 6 games in comparison to his season totals, all the numbers are starting to tick up including the all-important minutes played category. He is averaging 30.9 minutes per game in his last 6 games while producing 19.8 points, 2.7 three-pointers made, 5.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 2.0 steals, and 0.2 blocks.
Check out this highlight video from the New Year’s Day game against the Toronto Raptors to underscore the talent of D’Angelo Russell.
This is a player whose role and production should continue to expand and evolve as the season goes on, so buy now even if you have to buy slightly higher than you did a few weeks ago.
I think D'Angelo Russell is easily a top 40 player the rest of the season. If you can buy him at his current value you are getting a steal. If you even have to offer a player on the cusp of the top 50 I would do the deal in a heartbeat.
Try to sell the other owner on this just being a hot streak and point to the unsustainable 2.0 steals per game and 2.7 three-pointers made. Hopefully, that lowers the price enough where you can get great value in the trade.
Maurice Harkless - SF Portland Trail Blazers
According to ESPN live draft results, Maurice Harkless was a undrafted player in most leagues. He was the 158th highest player selected and had an average pick of 140 outside the top 130 of ESPN’s standard league. This guy was most likely a waiver wire pick up in your league.
Harkless ranks 75th in 8 category leagues and 68 in 9 category leagues according to Basketball Monster. He is 59th on ESPN’s Player Rater for the season so far.
Why Buy Low
I will keep this pretty short and sweet. Nothing Maurice Harkless is doing screams fluke to me. He is just 23 years old and has finally been given the opportunity to play. He has taken that chance and thrived. I don’t see him losing minutes to anyone on the roster and I think he continues to produce at this level.
So I know what you are thinking, how am I going to buy low then? Do you believe other owners are valuing him as a top 75 player? A guy they picked off the waiver wire early in the season? I doubt it.
You could probably offer one of your three worst players for Harkless and get him in a trade. That would give you great value. I would be offering any player who is ranked right around 100 or below in an attempt to get Harkless and be laughing at the two rounds of value I stole off a fellow owner in my league.
Derrick Favors - PF Utah Jazz
Here is how low Derrick Favors currently sits this season. If you view Basketball Monster's standard player rankings for the season Favors name doesn’t show in either 8 or 9 category leagues. That is the top 188 players and Favors doesn't make the cut.
He is currently 252nd on ESPN's player rater for the season.
If you view the live draft results at ESPN, Favors was the 42nd highest selection with an average pick of 44.7.
Why Buy Low
Injuries have limited Favors to 24 games this season, but he is back and healthy now. He is slowly ramping up his minutes still only playing about 25 minutes a night but has averaged over 30 minutes a game in each of the last 3 seasons. Let us not kid ourselves, this is a top 50 player in 30 minutes, so get out there and make an offer.
Try sending off a player on a hot streak or someone ranked around 75th and try to snag Favors. He should produce top 50 value after this minutes restriction is lifted which could be any day now. Enjoy the value in trading for Mister Favors.