2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Week 8 Buy/Sell
Welcome to the Week 8 Buy/Sell report, folks. If you happened to check out the Week 7 edition, buy low recommendation Isaiah Thomas has rattled off three straight 20+ point performances while Thaddeus Young set a season-high in scoring (29) and Jared Sullinger has rebounded after his four-game mini-funk. Hopefully you were able to take advantage of the buy-low windows for these players as they look to be settling in quite nicely. Additionally, sell-high recommendation Bradley Beal has predictably cooled off and gone back to his inconsistent ways. If you were able to acquire or ship off any of the aforementioned players in trades, would love to hear about your deals in the comments sections if you so choose. Without further ado, here is the Week 8 edition.
Serge Ibaka (37) – 14.4 PTS-6.9 REB-1.0 AST-1.3 3PM-2.4 BLK–46.5% FG-83.0% FT
While the recent returns of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook has helped Ibaka in regards to his efficiency as he’s shooting 49.5% over his last 10 games, his fantasy value has yet to truly take off due to a couple of key factors. First, while Ibaka’s field goal percentage has risen lately due to him being relegated to the third option on offense rather than first or second, his 46.5% mark from the field for the year pales in comparison to his output in this area in years past. Ibaka is a career 53.9% shooter and has never shot below 53.5% from the field in any of his five previous NBA seasons so he definitely has his work cut out for him to meet that threshold this year. His drop in field goal percentage can partially be attributed to his career-high of 3.4 three-point attempts per game this season, easily surpassing his previous career-high of 0.7 3PA. Owners can’t complain too much as he is hitting 1.3 treys per on an impressive 37.6% mark from behind the arc, but owners would surely live with a slight drop in 3PM if it meant a better field goal percentage to increase his fantasy value.
Operating farther away from the basket on offense likely has something to do with his pedestrian average of 6.9 rebounds. The 25-year-old Congo native averaged a career-high 8.8 rebounds last year and his current mark would be his lowest since his rookie season. His drop in rebounding is especially disappointing considering the fact that Westbrook and Durant missed so much time to start the year and left Ibaka as their primary rebounder. Expect his boards to rise as the season progresses though as he settles into his familiar role on the court with KD and Westy back. The last reason why his fantasy value hasn’t reached first- or second-round status is due to the slight dropoff in the blocks department. The artist known as Iblaka is swatting 2.4 shots per game and while this mark is tied for second-best in the NBA, it would be his lowest average since the 2010-11 season. He has averaged 2.6 blocks throughout his career though so owners shouldn’t fret too much about his current output. Besides, over his last 10 games Ibaka has picked up the pace in that area as he’s averaging 3.3 blocks over that timeframe. The rest of his statistical profile looks awfully similar to his past production and if Ibaka can even slightly improve upon the three aforementioned areas of concern, he’ll end up being a top-25 value just like most envisioned before the season.
Rudy Gobert (107) – 5.8 PTS-5.9 REB-0.8 AST-0.5 ST-1.8 BLK-63.9% FG-67.2% FT
While Gobert only lasted as a starter for two games earlier this week thanks to the quick return of Derrick Favors from his ankle injury, he made quite the impression and shouldn’t be sitting on any waiver wires even though he’s coming off the bench once again. I’ve seen Gobert hit the waiver wire in a few of my leagues this week and it just doesn’t make much sense to drop the uber-talented 22-year-old center for the Utah Jazz. Naysayers will point to the fact he is only averaging 18 minutes of playing time and while it’s a valid point in relation to his current upside, he is still the 107th-ranked 9-cat value in Yahoo formats in those limited minutes. Gobert showed his upside last night against the Charlotte Hornets as he secured the first double-double of his brief career, finishing with 11 points, 12 boards, one steal and two blocks on 5-6 FG in 30 minutes. He is a physical specimen at 7’1/245 and can do many things on the hardwood that normal 7-footers would have no prayer of completing. Don’t believe me? Check out the ridiculous Euro step Gobert unleashed on poor Udonis Haslem in transition below. It’s simply beautiful to watch and he caps it off with a nonchalant finger roll.
Double-digit point outings should be considered an added bonus for Gobert owners at this stage though as his biggest fantasy contributions come in field goal percentage and blocks. He has hit over 50 percent of his shots in eight straight games and his 63.9% mark from the field is the fourth-best figure in the NBA, trailing only the likes of Brandan Wright, Tyson Chandler, and DeAndre Jordan. While fantasy owners would like to see him average more than 3.5 FGA due to his outstanding efficiency, he provides a huge boon in field goal percentage regardless. Gobert is known as the “Stifle Tower” due to his propensity for blocks and he has definitely earned the moniker. He is averaging 1.8 blocks in only 18 minutes and if he were to receive 25-30 minutes on a consistent basis there’s no question he could challenge Anthony Davis as the leading shot blocker in the NBA. Gobert has recorded a block in eight consecutive games and is averaging 2.3 swats over his last 10 games. Over his last 25 games he’s only failed to record a block three times so owners can usually bank on him to deliver in that regard. The Jazz currently sport the second-worst record in the Western Conference at 8-20 and it wouldn’t at all be surprising if head coach Quin Snyder starts to unleash Gobert down the stretch more to shore up the team’s defense in what is turning out to be a lost season. Hang onto him if you currently own him and if you don’t, make sure to send out some buy-low offers to whoever owns him as he has a great chance to post top 50-75 value if he receives 25-33 minutes on a nightly basis.
Carmelo Anthony (34) – 23.5 PTS-6.8 REB-3.2 AST-1.5 3PM-0.9 ST-45.7% FG-80.1% FT
Anthony managed to return to the court on Saturday against the Suns and surprisingly played 40 minutes while scoring 25 points on 9-19 shooting to go along with 11 rebounds, three assists, three steals, one block, and one 3-pointer. It went all for naught however as the Knicks lost and fell to 5-24, which is the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference. As you are likely aware, Anthony has been dealing with knee problems this season which has caused him to take some DNPs and with each loss the hapless Knicks will have to seriously consider whether to shut him down in a season likely to end without a trip to the playoffs. It’s worth noting that Anthony says he knee felt good during the game yesterday and he also intends to play today against the Raptors. While this is good news for Melo owners for the time being, a nice sell-high window has emerged after his double-double performance last night.
While the knee issue will be a lingering threat in regards to a potential shutdown, owners also should take note of his statistics as well. After averaging 27.4 points in 2013, Melo is only averaging 23.5 points this season and that would be his lowest mark since the 2011-12 season. Additionally, his averages in rebounds (8.1 >6.8), steals (1.2 > 0.9), blocks (0.7 > 0.4), 3PM (2.2 > 1.5), and FT% (84.8 > 80.1) are all down from a year ago. The 30-year-old is still one of the best pure scorers in the NBA and will likely improve upon his averages as the season wears on, but one can’t help but wonder how much his knee injury is affecting his play. Once he strings together 3-5 good games in a row, you should seriously consider selling high on him to acquire someone without the injury concerns.
Dwyane Wade (104) – 22.8 PTS-3.8 REB-5.5 AST-1.0 ST-0.6 BLK-52.2% FG-67.7% FT–3.8 TO
Wade is going to be a beast as long as he stays on the court with Chris Bosh (calf) out indefinitely as evidenced by last three games where he’s averaged 32.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 1.7 3PM on 52.2% from the field and 70 percent from the charity stripe. Although he’s bumped up his average in points by nearly four points per game (19.0 > 22.8), owners are learning the hard way that scoring a lot points doesn’t always equate to an amazing fantasy value. Due to his wretched high-volume free throw shooting at 67.7% and his mark of 3.8 turnovers per game which is tied for the fourth-worst figure in the NBA, Wade is only ranked 107 in 9-cat formats. Owners who drafted Wade were definitely expecting a lot more than his current 9th-round value.
His career-low in free throw percentage entering the year was 72.2% and he’s a career 76.3% free throw shooter so he will likely improve there. The high turnovers are disturbing though as he won’t be able to live up to his lofty 36.4 ADP if he doesn’t improve upon his other deficiencies. Wade has always been great in the steals department as he’s averaged at least 1.4 steals in his previous 11 seasons, so his current output of one swipe per game is quite alarming as well. Additionally, his 3.8 rebounds per game would be a career-low. If the previous shortcomings don’t alarm you too much, his propensity for DNPs probably will as he has already missed seven of the first 27 games for the Heat. Right now is the ideal time to sell high on Wade as his high point totals will likely obscure his areas of concern and you can try to take advantage of this. Find yourself a more durable player for which you can rely upon down the stretch and into the playoffs.
Thanks for reading and thanks to Yahoo and Nba.com/stats for the statistical information. Be sure to comment below with any questions or remarks. You can follow me on Twitter @MattMoczy and I’m more than willing to answer any questions you may have.