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2023-24 Fantasy Basketball Buy or Sell: Friday, November 17

G'day RotoBallers! Trading and fantasy basketball go hand in hand. So many players. So many teams. So many weeks. Whether getting the upper hand on your mate, leaning into a punt strategy or simply planning for the future, trading can have more than one winner.

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 five of the fantasy basketball season.

 

Jaren Jackson Jr. - F/C, Memphis Grizzlies

Baller Move: Buy Low

Let's be honest, the Grizzlies are a trainwreck right now. They currently sit dead last in the Western Conference with a 2-and-9 record. The fact Ja Morant is serving a 25-game suspension has been much publicized. A season-ending injury to Steven Adams, as well as the extended absence of Brandon Clarke has resulted in a very thin frontcourt. A recent ankle injury to Marcus Smart now has alarm bells ringing in Memphis.

Coming into the season, many saw this as an opportunity for Jackson to step into a larger role, especially on the offensive end of the floor. Unfortunately, we are yet to see any indication he is ready to take that next step, currently averaging 19.4 points per game on 44.3 percent shooting from the field. Another repercussion has been a significant reduction in blocked shots. He ended the 2022-23 season averaging 3.0 blocks per game, placing him just outside the first round in standard leagues when all was said and done. Perhaps the need to focus more on being a reliable scoring threat has left him feeling somewhat deflated when defending the basket.

When projecting forward for the remainder of the season, there is a decent chance he fails to replicate what he was able to do last season, specifically on the defensive end. With that said, both his efficiency and block rate should increase, especially as the team starts to get some bodies back on the floor. Most rostering Jackson would have grabbed him in the second round, meaning a suitable trade partner would need to be offering someone in the top-30 range. However, anyone who does have him on their roster could very well be struggling immensely right now. If you suspect this might be the case, why not throw out a top-50 player to see what transpires?

 

Cade Cunningham - G, Detroit Pistons

Baller Move: Buy Low

Coming off a wasted season, Cunningham was one of the more hyped players during the preseason. In fact, despite the fact he has never finished higher than the top 90 in per-game value, many were taking him in the third or fourth rounds of drafts. Across his first two seasons in the NBA, Cunningham shot 41.5 and 41.6 percent from the field, an issue that many thought he could rectify, at least to some degree. Thus far he is at 40.2 percent from the field across the first four weeks of the season and yet is putting up a career-high 21.3 points per game. His assists are also up from 6.0 last season to 7.3, while his rebounds have almost halved.

It's hard to get a good read on Cunningham at the moment although one thing is for sure, he is going to be given every opportunity to prove himself. As with many players who underperform to begin the season, it comes down to efficiency for Cunningham. I'm still confident he can get up to 43.0 percent from the field, something that will improve both his points production and perimeter scoring. If he can get close to 1.0 steals per game, the top 50 is well within reach. For anyone of the same opinion and therefore in the market for a trade, I'd be willing to offer a top 50 player, especially if you are punting field goal percentage.

 

Caris LeVert - G/F, Cleveland Cavaliers

Baller Move: Sell High

Outside of the 2020-21 season, during which LeVert ended as a top 60 player, he has never been anything more than a top 150 fantasy asset. His season typically comprises stretches of games in which he emerges as a must-roster player, followed by a sharp downturn in production, resulting in him being sent back to the waiver wire. To open this season, he has managed to extend that productive stretch to four weeks. When narrowing our focus to the past week, he has been able to put up third-round value, averaging 20.0 points per game, adding 5.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.0 steals and 2.0 three-pointers.

Coincidently, this has come during a stretch where Darius Garland has not only underperformed but spent meaningful time on the sideline. If your league is made up of knowledgeable managers, trading LeVert could be tricky given the sample size we have from the past seven years. However, you're up against a number of fresh faces who have yet to immerse themselves in the full Caris LeVert experience, it might be worth trying to offload him for a top 80 player who is less likely to regress.

 

Michael Porter Jr. - F, Denver Nuggets

Baller Move: Sell High

Porter's career has been wildly disrupted to this point, something that is reflected by his per-game value in each of the past four seasons. During that time he ended as the 189th, 27th, 266th, and 81st ranked player in standard nine-category formats. His game has typically been reliant on only a few categories, those being points, threes, and rebounds. Over the past two weeks, he has upped his production, averaging 20.8 points per game to go with 7.8 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, and 3.2 three-pointers. For anyone familiar with what Porter offers on the defensive end, the block numbers stand out like a sore thumb. Given he is coming off two seasons in which he averaged 0.5 and 0.2 blocks respectively, there is cause for concern moving forward.

As a top 50 player across the season, Porter has been able to quietly sway public opinion. However, the fact that Jamal Murray has been sidelined needs to be factored in when projecting what Porter can do ROS. A dip in defensive production as well as regression in the offensive pecking order is likely to see him slide down the player ranks. If you are someone who managed to snap him up in drafts, now would be an ideal time to try and offload him. Given what we know is coming, I think getting any top 50 player in return could be a sizeable win when March rolls around.

 



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