Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, we pose a question to a panel of ESPN fantasy basketball experts to gauge their thoughts on a hot topic.
Today’s contributors are ESPN Fantasy’s Andre Snellings, Jim McCormick and Kyle Soppe.
What player would you recommend trading for because you think his value will increase in the coming weeks?
Andre Snellings — DeAndre Jordan, C, LA Clippers: I tackled this question in a video that should run today, naming players like Russell Westbrook, Kyle Lowry and Karl-Anthony Towns that have either awakened after a slower start or project to get much better based on past trends. I also would seriously consider Eric Bledsoe for this spot, because his value bottomed while the Suns sat him, and he’s starting to show that he can again be an impact player in Milwaukee while playing next to Giannis Antetokoumpo. However, DeAndre Jordan is the call today, because with Blake Griffin out for the next two months, everything should be built around the giant in the middle.
Historically, Jordan has become more assertive on offense with Griffin out, routinely putting up numbers well over 15 points and 15 rebounds during Griffin’s many absences in the past few years. If Lou Williams continues to step up as a credible high-volume scorer from the perimeter, it should help keep things open for Jordan to be really aggressive in the middle. Jordan’s free throws always give some level of pause in roto leagues, but in points-based leagues he should gain quite a bit of value for the foreseeable future.
Kyle Soppe — D’Angelo Russell, G, Brooklyn Nets
I was very high on him entering this season and when he was healthy, I was fine with what I was seeing in the early going. Sure, he is going on three weeks of missed time with a knee injury, but that is exactly why you pounce now. James Harden. That’s the entire list of players with a higher usage rate than Russell this season and why would we expect him to regress in that area? Spencer Dinwiddie has looked good at times, but this Nets team lacks playmakers and Russell is the clear first (and probably second) option. His mid-range game was impressive pre-injury (shooting 52 percent from 8-to-24 feet) and given his marksmanship entering this season (35.1 percent), Russell feels like a 20-point 11 assists-plus-rebound player that won’t cost you nearly that much right now. Act now — he’s going to be back soon.
Jim McCormick — Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis Grizzlies
Even once Mike Conley returns, Tyreke Evans can sustain top-50 value as a fantasy asset given he has reestablished an efficient scoring pattern that has been absent from his game for years. Evans is taking a scant percentage of his shots from 10 to 22 feet and is shooting his highest percentage of shots at the rim since 2015. By advanced metrics, Evans is sporting the best offensive win shares and offensive rating of his career and is 14th in drives per game overall and is fifth in potential assists per game among NBA forwards over the past 10 games.
I’m not sure the market fully appreciates the production pattern of Evans over the past month; he’s rostered in around 85 percent of ESPN leagues and yet has been a top 50 player on the Player Rater over the past 30 days. The tape doesn’t lie, as Evans looks fully healthy after years struggling just to stay on the floor. I think he’ll continue to be the key playmaker on the second unit and his shift in shot selection indicates a rising fantasy profile that some might see as unsustainable.