Fantasy: Kevin Love leads stars to steal
by Yannis Koutroupis, USA TODAY Sports
If a great player struggles for a week in the middle of February, it is typically disregarded as a minor blip on the radar. Especially if that rough patch is preceded and followed by solid fantasy production. However, if that same player happens to slump over the first five games of the season, panic abounds. When a top-round draft pick struggles mightily over the initial handful of games at the start of a season, unnerved fantasy owners may undervalue him. This presents a rare opportunity for shrewd fantasy leaguers to pounce and trade for elite-level talent at significant discounts.
Listed below are six players who have stumbled out of the gate and could present an excellent buying opportunity if a panicked owner in your league is looking to make a move.
Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love
If the owner who drafted Love in your league is near the bottom of the standings and is anxious about it, this might be a fine time to throw out a few offers and see if he is willing to give up on Love for a healthy player. Love is out for at least the rest of the month with a broken hand, but he has been as proficient as any player in the sport. Look at the ridiculous numbers he posted last March: Over 16 games that month, he averaged 30.7 points, 13.9 boards, and 3.0 three-pointers. He finished the year averaging 26 ppg, 13.4 rpg, and 1.9 three-pointers. Love finished the season with more rebounds than Andrew Bynum, more points than Carmelo Anthony and more threes than Jason Richardson. Love is currently rehabbing and targeting an early-December return.
Atlanta Hawks small forward Josh Smith
Back in October, Smith was universally viewed as a first-round pick after posting the best numbers of his career last season. Smith ranked among the NBA’s best in several defensive categories. He tied for eighth in blocks, 10th in rebounds, and 18th in steals. He was the only player in the NBA ranked in the top 20 in steals and blocks a game. He also averaged a career-high 18.8 points and chipped … [For more on Fantasy basketball: Kevin Love leads stars to steal, click here.]