Fantasy Basketball Buy, Sell or Hold: Evan Fournier and R.J. Barrett
The NBA Trade Deadline is quickly approaching, meaning, so is the deadline in your fantasy basketball league. The frenzy of rumors and tweets that comprise the Trade Deadline craze are all apart of the fun: cemented All-Stars pack their bags for new teams, struggling second-year guys get the change of scenery they needed, veterans get a mid-season chance to chase a ring.
Whether you’re looking to boost your playoff seeding or make a late push for the final postseason spot, here’s a glimpse at what you need to know ahead of the trade deadline.
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Fantasy Basketball Buy, Sell or Hold
Evan Fournier, G/F – ORL
To put it simply, Fournier is having the best season of his career. His 18.5 points per game matched his career-best for a season ago. Though his shooting percentages took minute hits from a season ago, his 3.8 assists and 3.1 rebounds are each up a tick or two since last year. He’s been an offensive spark in an otherwise dreadful Orlando Magic offense (ranked 28th).
His production comes with a caveat: his health. Fournier, who averages nearly 30 Fantasy Points per game, has missed chunks of the year with back spasms and most recently has been sidelined with a strained groin. He won’t play Thursday or Friday, and with his name floating around the Rumor Mill, he may sit longer while the Magic try to find a suitor.
So what does all this mean for you? I say, if you want him, go get him. He scored 20 or more points in three of his seven games since his last stint with spasms, and had the entire All-Star break to rest his groin, so I wouldn’t worry too much about the injuries. The biggest obstacle will be if he finds a new home, with a reduced/different role on offense.
The talent and production are there, and the injuries may be a little troublesome, but will another team take on his $17 million contract? Does he stay this productive through the postseason? With the bit of uncertainty, I think you can land the 160th-ranked Fournier without breaking the bank.
Verdict: Buy Low
R.J. Barrett, G – NYK
Barrett is in a different position than Fournier. He’s ranked in the Top-50 on Fantrax. He’s a part of the Knicks’ future, not their trade rumors. He is, however, having the best season of his still young NBA career and is getting better with each game.
Barrett is averaging two more points than he did as a rookie, nearly half an assist more, and is bringing down a full rebound more per game than he did last year. His biggest improvement has come in his shooting percentages. Across the board, his numbers are at least three percentage points higher than last season. Oh, and his free-throw shooting his up 12 (!!!) percentage points.
So, what should you do about Barrett? The Knicks have won four of their last five, and Barrett scored 20 or more in three of those wins. Expand the range to the last seven games and Barrett is scoring nearly 17 points, with six rebounds and a ridiculous 60% mark from downtown (14-for-23). Landing him may prove costly, especially in dynasty formats, as he seems to be trending up and up each day. While I don’t think his presence alone can push a fantasy team over the hump, the returning package might do the trick.
Verdict: Sell High
Looking for more depth for your fantasy basketball squad? Check out the latest Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire.
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