The season is a few weeks in, meaning we have enough games to analyze and discover trends, but still not nearly the sample size that we need to make sound judgments. Conceivably, we’re at a point in the season where the Buy Low, Sell High philosophy can really pay off. If you play in a league with impatient owners, or guys who take their draft picks underachieving a bit too personally, you can usually grab their troubles off their hands for a nice price. This week, a consortium of fantasy basketball bloggers from around the web tackles the question that attentive owners should be asking themselves:
Of players who have disappointed so far this season, who is the best buy-low candidate?
Let’s see what the experts have to say…
The time has probably passed to pluck Gallinari at a low, low price from frustrated owners. Gallo’s October was terrible thanks to a bum shooting wrist. After averaging a putrid six points on 20.8 percent shooting with just two threes in October, the Rooster has come back healthy in November (in his last three games, he’s averaged 18.3 points, 3.33 threes, 5.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, a steal and a block while shooting 48.6 percent from the floor and 84.6 percent from the free-throw line). The 3.33 threes comes on an insane 52.6 percent shooting. Gallo could lead the league in threes at that rate. The chance to snag Gallo on the cheap may not be completely shut. His awful October numbers have dragged down his overall averages (12.2 points on 37.3 percent shooting), so there may still be a window of opportunity to grab him from a grudge-bearing owner with an attention-span that ends after week one. With each game, the opportunity is quickly slipping away. Hurry up and make an offer. – Justin Kendall, Life is Just a Fantasy … Basketball Blog
The Raptors are struggling and so is Kleiza. This still is a period of adjustment that he is going through. Expect him to get his offensive game in sync with Andrea Bargnani’s in due time. He should eventually be a dependable source of points, treys, and some other peripheral cats here and there. Feel free to approach his disgruntled owners and take him. – Erik Ong, Give Me The Rock
I think Turner is struggling to support the expectations of many fantasy owners, but even in just 5 games so far, he’s shown the potential for good fantasy numbers. And now is the perfect time to buy low because Turner has an opportunity with Andre Iguodala being questionable with an injury that could have some nagging after-effects. – Nels Wadycki, Give Me the Rock
We all expected Bosh’s numbers to decline with the Miami Heat, but 14.4 points and 5.4 rebounds through 7 games is ridiculously bad. That is the equivalent of spending your second or third round pick to get Thaddeus Young. Not surprisingly, many fantasy owners are panicked and looking to sell Bosh for anything they can get at this point. Their situation is not helped by the fact that Bosh has admitted that he’s a little lost on the court right now. However, I’m buying while his value is at its lowest. Why? While Bosh is the third option on the Heat and may not score more than 15 points a game this year, it’s his rebounding numbers that should bounce back soon. The Heat have been a bad rebounding team, and prior to this year Bosh has traditionally been one of the league’s best. The stats show that both his offensive and defensive rebounding rates have fallen off a cliff so far this season, probably because he really has been lost on the court. As he gets more comfortable with his role, the rebounding numbers will climb back up and so will Bosh’s fantasy value. Not back to second round territory, but if I can get Bosh in exchange for a player off to a hot start – say Elton Brand or Wilson Chandler – I’m making that trade. – Patrick Madden, Give Me The Rock
Randolph strikes me as a very appealing buy-low candidate, not only because he still has significant upside, but also because he can be probably be had for 20 cents on the dollar right now. He reeks of disappointment and is probably agonizing for his owners to hold, which makes him easier to pry away from their jaded grips than other more-proven buy-low guys are. I might be going out on a limb here, but I still think he’ll approach 23-26 minutes a night if his frail frame can handle it, which means he’ll be plastering numbers all over the place before the season’s done. Buy low, buy cheap. – Jason Hahn, fBasketballBlog
The bigger the name, the bigger the worries. As of Wednesday James was averaging 20.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 7.2 assists. Those are not King James numbers. They are more like Devin Harris numbers. James is playing just over 34 minutes a game thanks to the blowouts. There will still be plenty of them coming, but I can’t help but think LeBron will see a significant increase in both his scoring and rebounding. If I can get LeBron as even a slight discount, I’m all over it. – Ryan Lester, Lester’s Legends
Arenas has underperformed due to injury issues. Big surprise. Still, I think he’s a very nice buy low candidate. John Wall is proving that he is ready for the big stage. Arenas is already feeling the pressure to perform with the rookie. In his two games back, Arenas’ points have been limited and his other stats have been virtually non-existent. I think his points will increase as he and Wall get comfortable with one another. Sure, Arenas has never been a pure point guard himself, but playing with Wall should help him get a few assists. More than anything, Agent Zero will be playing harder than he has in a while due to this new pressure to perform. When you factor in Hinrich off the bench and how he could fit with Arenas when Wall is sitting, Agent Zero looks like an even better option. He’s not the kind of buy low that you should go out and give up a 2nd round pick for, but keep him on your radar. His lack of minutes and, therefore, stats so far this season should make for an easy grab. – Daniel Shirley, Rotoprofessor
It’s hard to call a guy who has been hurt a disappointment, but he’s really only missed a few games and prior to that he wasn’t playing anywhere near the top 20-30 pick he was taken with in most drafts. He played 5 games before the injury and in only one of them did he do anything of real substance, and only once did he score more than 12 points. However if you look at his past history, rough Novembers aren’t out of the ordinary. Two years ago he averaged just over 13 points for the month and still finished with 18.8 per game. And add the injury to the slow star and Iggy’s value probably won’t get lower than this. If you can convince his owner he’s not a top 30 player he would be a steal, cause at the end of the year, that’s exactly what he’ll be, top 30. – Will Overton, Rotoprofessor
We’re still at the point in the season where ADP means a lot—more perhaps than it should. Fantasy owners are still likely to be steadfast in their belief that a player drafted in RD2 necessarily has RD2 value, even if reality dictates otherwise. This is, after all, fantasy basketball, and we have to allow our fellow owners to, well, fantasize. However, one player that immediately springs to mind is Davis. Baron has an unholy trinity of fantasy misfortune working against him. One, he’s been injured. Two, when he’s been “healthy”, he’s played well below expectations. Three, his backup (Eric Bledsoe) had outplayed him at every turn. However, Davis has a huge contract and needs to play to justify that expense to the Clippers, even if his style of play doesn’t particularly mesh with coach Vinny Del Negro’s system. No, he’ll never be that 20 PPG player of a few seasons ago, but there’s no reason he can’t return to last season’s 15 PPG, and 8 APG. While his sub-40% FG isn’t well suited for the ROTO game, there isn’t a H2H owner out there that wouldn’t welcome a few extra points and assists. Plus, if your league awards points for facial hair, well, you’re not going to want a value like Baron Davis slipping away. – Damian Schaab, SportsGrumblings.com
I know this might pain my good friend Jeff Andriesse, but one guy I’m looking to buy-low on right now Gerald Wallace. He’s struggled early on in his bread-and-butter stats: rebounds, steals, and blocks. Wallace is only averaging 7.3 boards per game, blocking 0.6 shots, and stealing 1.0 balls. We expected at least nine rebounds and 2.5 blocks+steals this season. That’s why you drafted him, right? He’s also averaging 3.1 turnovers per game, which is pretty bad for a guy who’s not typically creating plays. I can see Wallace turning things around, especially on the defensive side of the ball. I would see if you can get him on the cheap right now. You’ll probably be able to use a hot-start fader to get Crash on your team. – Tom Lorenzo, Damn Lies & Statistics
Very nice: a different answer from each participant! And all good ones, although I’m not sure someone would give you LeBron for, say, Steve Nash, or even Dirk Nowitzki. Going after Arenas is a smart move if you are a risk-taker, and while I’ve been cursing out Kleiza all season I’m trying to be patient. And Tom, we were friends until you brought up Wallace, my second-round pick in several leagues. Some other buy-low candidates right now include a still-adjusting Amar’e Stoudemire, a scuffling Nene Hilario, and a slow-starting Mo Williams. Also consider guys like John Salmons, Caron Butler and Jameer Nelson. Good luck trading, and thanks to everyone who participated.