In the world of finance, investors often get caught up in media hype and buy during peaks, or get scared by negative publicity and sell during valleys. Sound familiar? If you haven’t caught on yet, I like to draw parallels between the investing and fantasy sports. Before you make any add/drop or trade, ask yourself the same questions that smart investors should:
Does this investment match my investment goals?
Why is this investment suitable for me?
What are the risks of this investment?
How long is the track record of this company?
How are they doing compared to their competitors?
What outside factors could impact the profitability of this investment?
If you get caught up in the hype of a player, you’re more apt to forget these fundamental questions and make a move that has a negative impact on your fake portfolio.
Take for instance, the curious case of Jeremy Lin. He’s all the rage in the NBA right now, but I called him a prime SELL candidate a week ago. And yes, he’s averaged 23.7 points, 9.7 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 1 three per game (including a clutch game winner against the Raptors on Tuesday night) in four games since that time. But put the hype and emotional attachment to the NBA’s newest star aside and ask yourself whether keeping him is really better for your team than selling him while his value is at its peak.
Do you need assists specifically? If not, there is certainly someone else in your league who does. Can you afford to take on his 6 turnovers per game? Lin’s current turnover rate is far greater than any player in the league. Will he continue taking close to 20 shots per game once Amare AND Carmelo are back on the floor? I highly doubt it, simply because only the most elite scorers in the league tend to approach that figure.
My original projection for Jeremy Lin was that he would settle into a 14 point, 7 assist type player, and I still think that’s realistic. That makes him a fine fantasy player, a “must-own” if you will, but judging by the “Linsanity” hype that is sweeping the nation, there are plenty of people out there who will value him much higher than that. Take advantage.
Here are some other buying and selling opportunities to consider:
Nicolas Batum has entered the exclusive 1/1/1 club (threes/steals/blocks) which means you want him on your team. The only other player in the club this season is Kevin Durant. If you’re a fake bballer, you want to be in the company of Kevin Durant as much as possible. With season averages of only 13.1 points and 4.0 rebounds, he may be undervalued by his owner. Watch him play and you will be convinced that he’s an elite talent who is starting to come into his own. Buy now.
Nikola Pekovic was featured in this column last week, but I can’t help but bring him up again. In his last 8 games (7 starts), Pekovic is averaging 17.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.1 blocks per game on 63.2% FG shooting. That statline looks eerily similar to another favorite center of mine, Marcin Gortat. Pek will continue to start for the T-Wolves, and is a valuable commodity who you might be able to get at a discount based on his obscure name.
Tony Allen has been sneaky good this season. Always known for his defense, he’s been more assertive offensively this season, taking a career high 8.3 shots per game, averaging 11 points per. He’s averaging 2 steals per game, good for 6th in the league, and he’s improved his rebounding to nearly 4 per game this season. TA won’t hurt you anywhere, and thanks to his reputation as a defensive specialist, he’s probably undervalued. If you need steals, look no further.
Trevor Ariza is frustrating to own. If you hate players who put up the occasional stinker and demand steady, consistent production every night, he’s not your man. But if all you really care about is filling up statistical categories, Ariza is a solid buy. Despite his propensity for duds, Ariza is averaging 12 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.6 blocks, and 0.6 threes per game over the last 30 days. That is a pretty unique statline. Check in with the Ariza owner in your league, who is probably ready to pull his/her hair out, and see if you can take him off their hands.
Paul Pierce was a recommended buy in my first ever article for this website, but at the time his value was extremely low due to an injury and some horrible shooting to open the season. Now, I’m recommending you sell while you still can. Why? Pierce did it all for the Celtics during the last week of January and the first week of February. Not coincidentally, this was while Rajon Rondo was out with a wrist injury, but now that he’s back, Pierce is taking a back seat in scoring and passing. I expect Rondo to continue to take control of the team and establish himself as Boston’s best player, which will hurt Pierce’s numbers a bit going forward. Also, at 34 years of age, The Truth will need a bit more rest down the stretch.
Monta Ellis can fill it up on any given night, but Stephen Curry has established himself as the Warriors main distributor, which has begun to really show up in Ellis’ assist numbers. In the last 30 days, Ellis is averaging just 4.6 assists per game. Since Curry’s return on January 20th (12 games), Ellis has tallied more than 6 assists only twice, and he has 3 or fewer assists five times. He’s still a valuable fantasy player due to his scoring and steals, but if you need more assists from your guards, now is a fine time to move him.
Antawn Jamison has been on fire lately, averaging 22 points and 9.3 rebounds per game over his last 7 contests, but if I owned him I’d be selling. It’s been three years since Jamison averaged almost exactly those numbers for the Wizards, and at 35 years old, he’s very unlikely to keep up this surge for much longer. Additionally, he doesn’t shoot well or get many blocks for a forward. I’d highlight how great he’s been playing and put him on the block.
Wesley Matthews has been a bit of a disappointment this year. His scoring has dropped from close to 16 points per game last year to just 12.6 per game this season, and he’s shooting a lower percentage from the field (41.3, down from 44.9 last year). The problem for owners is that he’s still too valuable to drop, thanks to his contributions in threes and steals. You have little choice but to hold Matthews. Selling him now would be selling him low, and he could pick his game up at any time.
Jeff Teague has generated a lot of questions in recent days, because he’s had a few games with light minutes and his assist totals have dropped this month (only 3.3 per game in February). But like Wesley Matthews, I’m preaching patience with Teague. He’s in no danger of losing his starting spot for the Hawks, and he has a very balanced, efficient game that is perfectly suited to fantasy. If you’re hurting in assists, I could see shopping him for a guard with more dimes, but keep in mind it will be difficult to duplicate Teague’s solid FG% and strong steals. Those players tend to command a hefty premium.
Corey Maggette is finally back for the Bobcats, and he’s resumed a starting role, pushing Tyrus Thomas to the bench. Maggette can still score, and should pull down about 5 rebounds per game, but don’t expect major contributions anywhere else. I’d call him a SELL, but his injury history is well-documented, so I wouldn’t expect to find many takers out there. Owners should hope for a hot streak that will temporarily inflate his value (creating an opportunity to sell). Otherwise, enjoy what you have…a mediocre fantasy player!