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NBA Fantasy: Five Buy-Low Candidates

Five buy-low candidates who can still make a big difference for your team.

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A little over a month into the regular season, now is a perfectly appropriate time to start giving serious consideration to making some trades to improve your fantasy basketball roster. There are a million ways to go about doing this, but one of the most effective is to buy low on a player you think projects to perform better than their current statistics show.

Just like every year, there are plenty of candidates for precisely this kind of trade. Here’s a handful of this season’s most likely buy-low players:

Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards – Beal’s value is way, way down since returning from injury, primarily because he isn’t scoring as much or hitting as many three-pointers as we’re accustomed to seeing. Since that’s where the majority of his value comes from, it’s conceivable that his owners are a little frustrated with him right now, particularly after having missed all that time to start the year. Anybody who’s actually watched him, though, knows he’s clearly shaking off some rust and has nowhere to go but up. He should jump up from 14 PPG and 1.3 3-pointers to something like 18 PPG and two 3-pointers. Those numbers are much tastier, and could even be under-selling it if Beal makes the leap this season he’s capable of making.

Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons – It might be a little late after what Drummond did in the last week, averaging nearly 20 points and 15 boards a game from last Friday through Thanksgiving, but on Sunday he put up a major dud, scoring only two points on 1-of-8 shooting and adding a scant seven rebounds. At his best, Drummond is an absolute force of nature, but foul trouble and inconsistency have him off to a weird start. Better days have to be coming, but ask a Drummond owner how much they love him and I’m guessing you’ll get more scowls than smiles. And if he can be had for less than market value, he’s definitely a big man worth going after.

Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets – Those who took a chance drafting Walker ahead of his already-lofty ADP this year are understandably angry, as well they should be. Really anybody who bought stock in the Hornets are fuming, but unlike Lance Stephenson, who looks kind of hopeless right now, Walker still has a shot to turn it around relatively quickly. He still rebounds really well for a point guard, knocks down his free-throws and dishes out assists at an elite level when he’s at his best. He hasn’t been at his best every game, though, and he’s been shooting the ball atrociously (his FG% has been up over .400 in only one game since November 9). On Saturday, he put up an absolute stinker, scoring four points in only 25 minutes. The Hornets only play two games next week, and that combined with the recent past makes him an interesting trade candidate.

Thaddeus Young, Minnesota Timberwolves – Owners probably aren’t entirely sure what they’ve got with Thaddeus Young at this point, as he missed significant time this year to be with his mother, who recently passed away due to breast cancer. Now that he’s back, though, he’s going to be asked to shoulder a lot of the offensive load with Kevin Martin expected to miss 6-8 weeks following wrist surgery last week. His first game back was no good, but he scored 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the floor Saturday. It’s a small sample size, but perhaps the ambiguity will allow you to get a hold of the guy for less than he’s likely to be worth for the remainder of the season. Wait for another crummy game, and then pounce.

Reggie Jackson, Oklahoma City Thunder – It’s hard to call a borderline top-50 player a buy-low candidate, but many assume that Jackson is about to lose a ton of minutes because of the recent return of Russell Westbrook and impending return of Kevin Durant. That means there are owners right now that could be looking to cash out Jackson, and you could drive the price down quite a bit by arguing that he won’t play as much. While it is impossible for him to keep up 38 minutes a game, there’s a great chance he’ll play 30 and probably even start alongside Westbrook, and even at 75 percent of the time, he’d be averaging right around 15 ppg, 5.5 apg, four rpg and nearly a steal and a three-pointer per game. That’s still loads of value, and if you play the negotiations right, he could be yours for a very reasonable price right now.

The art of the trade in fantasy basketball is something not all managers can master, but buying low is an essential part of getting there. These five players could help you win a championship, especially if you’re able to get a bargain on any of them.

Joel Brigham is a senior writer for Basketball Insiders, covering the Central Division and fantasy basketball.

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