There are just so many guys hurt right now. If your team is healthy, you should probably be playing the Powerball tonight.
That’s also something you should think about when it comes to finding a trade partner. If a team is really banged up, they are probably more apt to giving up a hurt guy at a discount.
Buy low (from Mike Gallagher)
Jordan Clarkson - Kobe Bryant (shoulder) is another ticking time bomb for a guy who eventually be shut down. He might not be shut down for the year, but he’ll rest a lot because there’s really no way he wants to have his career end on another serious injury.
Since Dec. 1, Clarkson put up a 25.2 usage rate in his minutes without Kobe Bryant. He made a respectable 44.1 percent from the field and he’s seen his other numbers go up, too. Clarkson hasn’t played well in his last 10, so now is the time to get him before he gets hot again. He should be a top-75 kind of player.
Reggie Jackson - He’s been pretty bad lately and the timing is certainly interesting. Brandon Jennings has returned and he’s had some decent games in the five. Meanwhile, Jackson has been really bad in his last 10, averaging 16.7 points, 2.7 boards, 6.0 assists, 0.3 steals, 1.0 treys, 2.6 turnovers and 41.3 percent from the field.
When it comes to his shooting, he’s really been bad around the rim right now. Jackson has only put up 10th-round value in that span, so his owner might be a little worried about him playing less than 28 minutes in three of his last four. He’s not going to be a top-50 guy, but he should be a top 60-90 guy.
Jrue Holiday - He had a huge run three weeks ago, but he’s really taken a step back lately. It feels like Tyreke Evans (knee) is eventually going to miss time, which will open up more minutes for Jrue. He has a very nice floor and could be a top-30 player once Evans goes down. You can have him for probably a nice 2-for-2 deal. Chances are his owner thinks he won’t miss him.
Brandon Knight - He won’t be a buy low player for much longer. Knight is learning how to play with his new-ish team, so expect him to really get hot. Knight has just 14th-round value in his last 10. I’d be really surprised if he’s not a top-40 player going forward.
Avery Bradley - A lot of Bradley owners might be worried Marcus Smart getting back in there could hurt Bradley, but it won't. It'll hurt Evan Turnerand R.J. Hunter.
Sell high (from Jonas Nader)
Kemba Walker- Due to some injuries in Charlotte to guys like Al Jefferson (knee) and Nicolas Batum (toe), Walker has been the man lately and has produced some monster performances. He’s averaging 25.2 points, 4.8 assists, 4.2 boards, 2.4 steals and 1.6 3-pointers on 40.4 percent shooting from the field, returning first-round value in that span. While Big Al is not coming back any time soon, Batum should be back any day now and will take back a lot of offensive responsibility. For what it’s worth, I can’t see Walker’s value climbing any higher than it is right now.
LeBron James- Speaking of the last five games, LeBron has been the best player in standard leagues in that span. He’s averaging 26.2 points, 5.4 boards, 4.6 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.6 blocks, 2.2 3-pointers and 2.2 turnovers, and what’s more impressive is that he is doing this while the Cavaliers are at full strength. The Cavs have a three-game lead for first place in the Eastern Conference, so you better believe that Mr. James has some maintenance days coming. We all saw how exhausted he was in the NBA Finals last season, so I doubt that the Cavs will make that mistake again. As of right now, you could probably get a top-10 player in return for the King.
Khris Middleton- The Bucks have been shocking this season, and that’s putting it nicely. However, Middleton has been playing incredible ball lately, averaging an impressive 25.4 points, 5.4 assists, 3.2 boards, 0.8 steals and 3.6 3-pointers on 52.9 percent shooting from the field. That’s good for top-four value in that span, putting him ahead of guys like Stephen Curry and Kawhi Leonard! As much as I love Middleton, I think he will be more of a top-35 player moving forward. Other than Giannis Antetokounmpo, Middleton is the only Buck that I would be eager to own.
J.R. Smith- Just when you thought his fantasy relevancy was all but over, Smith has scored 24 and 25 points in his last two games. To make things even weirder, the Cavs have been at full strength as well. He has been a top-30 player over the last five games mainly due to this recent outburst, so if you get a top-75 player in return I wouldn’t hesitate for a second. I’m still convinced that Iman Shumpert will return to the starting lineup at some point, as the Cavs could really benefit from bringing Smith off the bench for his instant offense. His next cold streak is always right around the corner, so make a move before it’s too late. It’s possible that he could have some nice games down the stretch if the Cavs rest their stars, though.
J.J. Redick- The guy has been incredible since Blake Griffin went down with his quad injury. Over his last four games, Redick has been the 13th best player in standard leagues, boasting averages of 22.0 points and 3.8 3-pointers per game on 58.5 percent shooting from the field. For a guard that gets most of his shots on or near the perimeter, that’s super efficient. Additionally, Redick hasn’t missed a free throw in six straight games. This run won’t last forever and Griffin’s eventual return will bring him back down to earth, but you should have at least one more week of monster production before you can consider selling high.
Taj Gibson- He had his best game of the season on Tuesday vs. the Bucks, scoring 11 points with 14 boards and six blocks in 38 minutes. He has been getting a ton of playing time lately, but it should be noted that Joakim Noah could return from his shoulder injury any day now. Additionally, rookie Bobby Portis has all but earned a sizable role off the bench moving forward, so I would guess that Gibson’s role is in the most danger. Also, there was a report last week that he still experiences soreness in his surgically-repaired ankle as well, so that makes a little nervous for him.