It’s one of the most overlooked aspects of fantasy sports, believe it or not. Owners tend to just use their gut, and avoid using strategies to help better their chances of winning. One of the best strategies in fantasy land is the idea of buying low and selling high. It’s a pretty simple concept. You part ways with a player who is exceeding his typical play and is expected to regress. Or, you target a struggling start who is too good to be playing so poorly. It’s only the fifth week of the fantasy hoops season, but let’s highlight some significant buy low/sell high candidates thus far. Oh, and go get Luc Mbah a Moute.
Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets: Lopez isn’t a buy low candidate because of struggles, but is instead a target because he hasn’t been available. After a scorching start, Lopez has been dealing with a nagging ankle injury that has sidelined him for the last seven contests. Prior to the injury, Lopez was averaging a strong 20.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game. When on the court, he’s been one of the best fantasy centers, but because of some unfortunate injuries, the Nets are struggling, currently sitting at record of 4-11. That alone may be a reason for owners to shy away from Nets players, but don’t let that be Lopez. There are no indications that the injury is serious, but rather a lingering ankle sprain. The Nets are playing it safe, and when he returns, he’ll be great. Prior to the injury, Lopez was the focal point of the offense, seeing a healthy 5.5 close touches per game, which are offensive touches coming from 12 feet of the basket. He was also averaging a very strong 0.53 points per touch. If a Lopez owner is frustrated and impatient, take advantage, folks.
Ersan Ilyasova, Milwaukee Bucks: Ilyasova was expected to be a major breakout candidate for the 2013 season, but struggles out of the gate and an ankle injury have him disappointing fantasy owners hoping for a magical year from the 26-year old from Turkey. Now, back from injury, his minutes have been inconsistent. Over his last five outings, he has posted minute totals of 22, 41, 21, 16 and 39, averaging 27.8 per game. The Bucks are a mess right now, so they likely don’t want to rush their prized power forward back into action, but once he is 100 percent, he’ll log all the minutes he can handle. Not many players on Milwaukee can create their own shot, and Ilyasova can give you three-pointers, points and rebounds.
Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers: An obvious one here, but it’s not like he’s been terrible. Averaging a solid 21 points, 6.1 assists and 3.5 rebounds, Irving has been fine. Sure, he hasn’t been the top-10 pick you invested on him, but he appears to be hitting his stride. Over his last five games, Irving is averaging 24.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.6 steals per game. One of those games, he dropped an awesome 41 points. Despite the handful of weak stat lines, the opportunity is still very much there, as Irving is currently averaging 81.4 touches per game, which is inside the top-15 in basketball. He is also shooting the ball 19 times per game, but he just hasn’t been efficient, which is the problem. Shooting just .404% from the field, Kyrie has not been lights out. However, after slumping, he is shooting .450% over his last five. He’s an elite point guard, and if an owner is worried, shame on them.
Kyle Korver, Atlanta Hawks: Obviously, the main attraction with Korver from a fantasy perspective is the long ball. Korver is attempting 4.3 three-pointers per game, nailing two of them. There’s no reason he won’t be able to sustain those numbers, but I don’t think he can sustain his 33.5 minutes per game. A 32-year old player who isn’t in the greatest shape, I don’t think he can handle that workload. Not to mention, Louis Williams is still fighting back from last year’s ACL injury, and Atlanta already stated that as of right now, they don’t want to play him in consecutive games. They’ll ease him back in, but when he is good to go, he’ll be an important part of this offense, resulting in less playing time for Korver.
Arron Afflalo, Orlando Magic: For his career, Afflalo is averaging just 10.3 points. In 2013, he is averaging 21.7 points per game. Do you think some regression is imminent? I sure do. Afflalo is playing very well, and because the Magic aren’t the greatest of teams, he should log plenty of minutes going forward. But for how long? The Magic could very well go with a youth movement, which could spell disaster for Afflalo. He certainly won’t average 20 points per game, as well as over 35 minutes per contest. There’s just no way. Get something for him while you can, before it’s too late.
Wesley Matthews, Portland Trail Blazers: I’ve always been a fan of Matthews’ game, constantly stating how underrated he is. However, is he this good? On the season, Matthews is taking over half of his shots from beyond the arc, shooting an impressive .505% from three-point range. He’s also shooting a ridiculous .554% from the field this season, both of which are pretty unsustainable numbers, if you ask me. Matthews is good, but he is currently ranked 22nd on ESPN’s Player Rater. He is not that good, folks. Matthews is shooting an insane 7.2 threes per game, so it’s pretty much a fluke that he is knocking down so many. I think he can be a strong fantasy commodity, a guy who can score between 15-17 points per game, but this shooting percentage is too good to last.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.