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2023-24 Fantasy Basketball Buy or Sell: Friday, December 8

Jabari-Smith-Jr. - NBA-DFS-Picks-Daily-Fantasy-Basketball-Rankings-Injury-News

G'day RotoBallers! With about a third of the fantasy season under our belts, now is the time to start looking at your strengths and weaknesses. Trading players is a great way to lean into what your team is good at, affording both managers a chance to walk away feeling validated.

However, executing a trade can be harder said than done. Not all managers love the idea of a trade, especially if they believe they will be the attempted target of a fantasy heist. Ensure you know your league and who might be willing to consider a player swap. While the option does exist, I recommend not having a league veto system. Ensure your commissioner is knowledgeable and transparent, and allow them to dictate trade decisions.

With all that out of the way, here are our current sell-high and buy-low candidates as you prepare for Week 8 of the fantasy basketball season.

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Jalen Williams, F - Oklahoma City Thunder

Baller Move: Buy Low

After a breakout rookie campaign, Williams came into the season viewed as a potential top-50 player. Despite the fact the Thunder were adding Chet Holmgren, Williams' ability on the defensive end was seen as reason enough to grab him in the fifth round of drafts. After seven weeks of action, things have certainly not gone to plan. Williams is outside the top 100 in standard leagues, averaging 17.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.1 combined steals and blocks.

His scoring has picked up when compared to last season, as have his assists numbers. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for his defensive numbers. In fact, his productivity has almost halved on that end of the floor, dragging down his overall value. This alone is a great example of why it can be hard to trust players whose value is built around low-volume categories like steals or blocks.

Projecting forward, it's somewhat safe to assume that he will get back to at least 1.2 steals per game. Add to that a slight bump in efficiency, and he could be back in the discussion as a top-50 player. However, with the Thunder playing very well, managers may have concerns that this is who he is now. If you sense that might be the case in your league, throwing out a top-80 player as trade bait isn't a bad idea.

 

Walker Kessler, C - Utah Jazz

Baller Move: Buy Low

After suffering an elbow injury in the first game of the season, Kessler attempted to stay on the court for the next couple of weeks. Little was known about the extent of the injury, meaning managers were simply left thinking he had lost his mojo. The medical staff eventually caved, resulting in Kessler missing seven games. Upon his return, he has looked much better, yet he is still outside the top 100 in nine-category leagues, averaging 8.9 points to go with 7.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks.

Since returning from his injury layoff, Kessler has looked noticeably better on both ends of the floor. With that said, he has only recorded double-digit rebounds once in the past six games, scoring double-digits three times. He continues to come off the bench behind Omer Yurtseven, a questionable decision in itself. How long that sticks is anyone's guess.

Given his inconsistent play and the fact managers likely had to reach out to secure him in drafts, a sense of woe is possible. It feels highly likely that he will re-enter the starting lineup at some point soon, providing him with an opportunity to right the ship. He should be much closer to averaging a double-double with 2.5 blocks, numbers that should come with the impending promotion. Now is the time to strike in an attempt to snatch him away before the Jazz coaching staff come to their senses.

 

Desmond Bane, G - Memphis Grizzlies

Baller Move: Sell High

Coming off a career-high 49 points against the Pistons on Wednesday, Bane is living up to the preseason hype. Taken in the second round of a lot of drafts, he was seen as the only reliable offensive threat on a Grizzlies team slated to be without Ja Morant for the first 25 games. While the team has been far less successful, Bane has been able to turn himself into one of the best pure scorers in the league, with the ability to score from all over the court.

He is inside the top 20 in nine-category leagues, averaging 25.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.8 blocks, and 3.3 three-pointers. He has scored at least 27 points in three straight games, putting together a stretch of top-10 value. He has also led the Grizzles to three victories in their past four games, albeit over some woeful opposition. If you are rostering Bane, you have to be thrilled with what has been able to deliver from a productivity standpoint.

However, this is where it gets interesting. Morant is due back in just over a week. Upon his return, Bane likely becomes the second option on offense. Add to that the fact Marcus Smart is also nearing a return, and we have two guys who will be playing with the ball in their hands. While Bane is obviously a key piece for Memphis moving forward, his numbers are almost certainly going to take a hit. If I had to guess, I would have him ending the season as a top-35 player. If you have some concerns over his current production like me, now is the time to try and offload him. With that said, I would only entertain offers in which you are getting a second-round talent back.

 

Jabari Smith Jr., F - Houston Rockets

Baller Move: Sell High

Smith was coming off a disappointing rookie season, ending as the 145th-ranked player in standard formats. On the surface, his numbers were serviceable, averaging 12.8 points to go with 7.2 rebounds and 0.9 blocks. However, he shot just 40.8 percent from the field, highly inefficient for a power forward. Following his indifferent season, Smith appeared to have worked on a few things, showing out during the preseason. This gave managers hope that he might be ready to become the player we expected last year.

He started the regular season by building some momentum thanks to an improved offensive repertoire. However, he then had a run of single-digit performances, a worrying sign for those holding out hope. Since then, he has played arguably the best basketball of his career, putting up borderline top-50 value over the past two weeks. He has shot the ball much better, going at 55.6 percent from the floor on 9.0 attempts per game. He is also coming off a career-high 18 rebounds against the Thunder, another sign of growth.

Although it does appear as though he is beginning to find his footing in the NBA, the top 50 does feel unsustainable. He is an interesting case when it comes to selling high, simply because he is not someone you would have invested a lot of stock into coming into the season. Attempting to trade him for another top-50 player would be a viable strategy, but not one that will be easy given the small sample size. Throw your offers out there to see if anything sticks, and if not, just be happy with what you've got.



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