Early Season Buy Low / Sell High Fantasy Basketball Candidates

We've all been in the situation before where we're coming down to the business end of the fantasy season and look back and think, "Man, why did I not buy that guy when he was undervalued?" Or, "Why didn't I sell high on that guy while I still could?"

Hindsight is 20/20, however, there are things we can do early in the fantasy season to ensure that cooler heads prevail and we end up solidifying our rosters with players that can make an impact down the stretch.

One way to do this is via trade. In my experience, the fantasy trade market can be tricky to navigate, as the end goal is a deal that both sides believe is in their best interests, so you've got to give something up of value to get something back.

The early season is one time where the trade market is primed. Certain players have disappointed owners and present buy low opportunities. Others have started out super hot and are delivering unsustainable value, indicating that you should sell high, despite their early hot streak.

Here is the short list of guys to keep in mind.

Buy Low

Nikola Jokic. 23.0 mpg, 9.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.3 blocks, .500 FG%, .200 3P%.

Jokic was one of the darlings of the fantasy preseason, blazing up draft boards with an ADP as high as the 28-35 range. However, with a crowded Denver front court and an awkward fit alongside fellow big Jusuf Nurkic, Nurkic has frustrated his owners in the early going. Keep in mind that with Kenneth Faried a perennial trade candidate, minutes should soon open up for Jokic and his production will rise along with it.

Derrick Favors. 25.0 mpg, 10.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.1 blocks, .453 FG%, .567 FT%.

It has not been a good start to the year for the young Jazz big man. After his back spasms drove his owners crazy last season, he came into this season undercooked while recovering from a knee complaint. This has led to a minutes restriction and a big drop off in production, however, he's starting to get it going now. In his latest game against the Sixers going off for 16 points, 14 rebounds, a steal and three blocks on 6-of-11 shooting in 29 minutes.

Al Horford. 29.3 mpg, 12.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 0.3 steals, 2.3 blocks, .556 FG%, .286 3P%.

You might be able to capitalize on a lack of patience from Horford's owners here, as he will have missed the last four games including Wednesday's game against the Wizards. The other factor at play is that Brad Stevens tends to favor a deep rotation, and Horford is unlikely to crack the 30-minute barrier anytime soon, which may scare off some who drafted him this season. Meanwhile, his long-term outlook should be solid, and you could throw a deal at his owner to take one of your guys who is playing well right now.

Jrue Holiday - coming back next week

This could be your last chance to throw an offer at Jrue Holiday's owner. The latest reporting from The Vertical has Holiday due back no later than November 18 against the Blazers, with an "outside chance" that he could return as early as Wednesday's game against the Wizards. The Pelicans look like the worst team in the NBA right now, so Jrue's usage and production should be near all-time highs.

Victor Oladipo. 33.9 minutes, 16.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.8 steals, .414 FG%, .400 3P%, .713 FT%.

Oladipo's ADP hovered around the 30-mark as many anticipated that he and Westbrook would form a soul-crushing duo in OKC to help fill the massive void left by Kevin Durant. It hasn't quite been the explosion we expected, however, that presents an opportunity to trade for Oladipo while he gets accustomed to the Thunder system. Look for his free throw percentage and field goal percentage to lift as the season continues.

Sell high

TJ Warren. 36.3 minutes, 20.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.8 steals, .458 FG%, .333 3P%, .810 FT%.

Warren has arguably been the Waiver Wire MVP so far this season. While everyone was looking to Devin Booker to be the breakout star in Phoenix, Warren has stolen the show with an insane start to the season. You could ride this and hope it's not a streak, or you could trade him in now for a really solid value and take the win.

Dwight Howard. 28.8 minutes, 15.9 points, 12.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.3 steals, 2.1 blocks, .622 FG%, .507 FT%.

The move to Atlanta has been a good one for Dwight, and he has been a consistency monster so far. His rebounds and blocks numbers would be enough to pique the interest of any prospective trade partner, and you can hedge your bets against his well-known injury history by offloading him for a top 15-20 value (if you're punting FT%).

DeMar DeRozan. 37.4 minutes, 34.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.3 steals, .533 FG%, .167 3P%, .814 FT%.

DeMar has gone full Michael Jordan mode to start the season and he has our attention. As you watch him drain mid-range jumpers, just keep in mind that his career field goal percentage is 44% and he's floating up at 53% right now. That's likely to see some regression. You could make a legitimate trade offer for a first rounder with your DeRozan trade chip right now.

Jusuf Nurkic. 24.5 minutes, 12.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.9 steals, 1.6 blocks, .541 FG%, .606 FT%.

Nurkic is the lesser hyped out of the two key bigs in Denver, himself and Jokic. However, it's been Nurkic that has produced the bigger lines in the early going, with strong numbers across the board solid block numbers. Things could change quickly in Denver, however, and Jokic appears to be the future cornerstone big man of the franchise. You might want to cash big Nurk in for a middle round value while you can.

Sergio Rodriguez. 29.9 minutes, 9.0 points, 7.3 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 1.1 steals, .355 FG%, .222 3P%.

If you got Sergio, you were either watching Spain at the Olympics and drafted him in the final round, or you scooped him off the wire as his assist numbers started jumping out at you. His value will never get higher, and as Philly gets more help at the point guard position and Ben Simmons returns, Sergio's numbers are likely to dry up. Sell now.

There is an art to buying low and selling high, and to do it well you have to manage your emotions and not get too caught up in a player's hot streak or get too low on a slow start. This is not easy to do, and it spells opportunity if you can keep the season long value of players in mind when doing your deals.

You can follow me on Twitter @FrancisOKC


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