Post-break buy, sell options

Updated: February 11, 2013, 12:26 PM ET
By Brian McKitish | Special to ESPN.com

With All-Star weekend only a few days away, fantasy owners will get a much-needed break to take a step back, analyze their rosters and make any adjustments required for the remainder of the season. The four-day break gives us an opportunity to evaluate our rosters, and brainstorm trade ideas to prepare for the stretch run. To help, I've compiled a list of post-All-Star break buy and sell candidates:

The Top 130

"Note: Brian McKitish's top 130 players are ranked for their fantasy value from this point forward in the 2012-13 NBA season. Previous rank is indicated in parentheses. "

1. Kevin Durant, OKC (1)
2. LeBron James, MIA (2)
3. Russell Westbrook, OKC (3)
4. James Harden, HOU (4)
5. Kyrie Irving, CLE (5)
6. Chris Paul, LAC (9)
7. Stephen Curry, GS (6)
8. Nicolas Batum, POR (7)
9. Kobe Bryant, LAL (8)
10. Carmelo Anthony, NY (10)
11. Serge Ibaka, OKC (11)
12. Paul George, IND (13)
13. Dwyane Wade, MIA (14)
14. Marc Gasol, MEM (12)
15. Jrue Holiday, PHI (15)
16. Josh Smith, ATL (18)
17. Brandon Jennings, MIL (17)
18. Brook Lopez, BKN (22)
19. LaMarcus Aldridge, POR (19)
20. David Lee, GS (20)
21. Rudy Gay, TOR (30)
22. Damian Lillard, POR (21)
23. Deron Williams, BKN (16)
24. Paul Pierce, BOS (28)
25. Al Jefferson, UTAH (24)
26. Greg Monroe, DET (25)
27. Ty Lawson, DEN (26)
28. Tony Parker, SA (36)
29. DeMarcus Cousins, SAC (23)
30. Blake Griffin, LAC (29)
31. John Wall, WSH (33)
32. Greivis Vasquez, NO (37)
33. Dirk Nowitzki, DAL (32)
34. Mike Conley, MEM (34)
35. Jeff Teague, ATL (59)
36. Anthony Davis, NO (31)
37. Ersan Ilyasova, MIL (40)
38. Kemba Walker, CHA (27)
39. Danilo Gallinari, DEN (50)
40. Zach Randolph, MEM (35)
41. Ryan Anderson, NO (38)
42. Al Horford, ATL (39)
43. J.R. Smith, NY (51)
44. Chris Bosh, MIA (42)
45. Joakim Noah, CHI (52)
46. Larry Sanders, MIL (44)
47. Kyle Lowry, TOR (45)
48. Klay Thompson, GS (47)
49. Kevin Garnett, BOS (62)
50. Ricky Rubio, MIN (75)
51. George Hill, IND (54)
52. Kenneth Faried, DEN (65)
53. Jameer Nelson, ORL (56)
54. Tim Duncan, SA (49)
55. Nikola Vucevic, ORL (78)
56. Jose Calderon, DET (89)
57. Steve Nash, LAL (57)
58. Wesley Matthews, POR (46)
59. Monta Ellis, MIL (43)
60. Goran Dragic, PHO (53)
61. Andre Iguodala, DEN (58)
62. Paul Millsap, UTAH (60)
63. O.J. Mayo, DAL (61)
64. Luol Deng, CHI (55)
65. Amare Stoudemire, NY (67)
66. Andrei Kirilenko, MIN (48)
67. Dwight Howard, LAL (41)
68. Nikola Pekovic, MIN (64)
69. Roy Hibbert, IND (66)
70. Tyreke Evans, SAC (70)
71. Jeremy Lin, HOU (73)
72. David West, IND (77)
73. Kevin Martin, OKC (71)
74. Tyson Chandler, NY (83)
75. Carlos Boozer, CHI (68)
76. Omer Asik, HOU (84)
77. Tristan Thompson, CLE (72)
78. Jamal Crawford, LAC (79)
79. Raymond Felton, NY (74)
80. Derrick Rose, CHI (112)
81. Joe Johnson, BKN (69)
82. Nene Hilario, WSH (86)
83. J.J. Redick, ORL (82)
84. J.J. Hickson, POR (85)
85. Amir Johnson, TOR (90)
86. Kyle Korver, ATL (94)
87. Kawhi Leonard, SA (95)
88. Evan Turner, PHI (76)
89. Jarrett Jack, GS (87)
90. Marcin Gortat, PHO (88)
91. Darren Collison, DAL (91)
92. Eric Gordon, NO (80)
93. Chandler Parsons, HOU (98)
94. Ramon Sessions, CHA (96)
95. Andrew Bogut, GS (100)
96. DeMar DeRozan, TOR (99)
97. Jerryd Bayless, MEM (118)
98. Tiago Splitter, SA (101)
99. Danny Granger, IND (102)
100. Manu Ginobili, SA (92)
101. Arron Afflalo, ORL (104)
102. Andrea Bargnani, TOR (115)
103. Earl Clark, LAL (NR)
104. Shawn Marion, DAL (127)
105. Isaiah Thomas, SAC (113)
106. Byron Mullens, CHA (NR)
107. Metta World Peace, LAL (97)
108. Emeka Okafor, WSH (103)
109. Jason Terry, BOS (110)
110. Michael Beasley, PHO (116)
111. Nate Robinson, CHI (121)
112. Kevin Love, MIN (117)
113. Taj Gibson, CHI (105)
114. Derrick Favors, UTAH (124)
115. Randy Foye, UTAH (129)
116. Brandon Knight, DET (106)
117. Robin Lopez, NO (NR)
118. Bradley Beal, WSH (NR)
119. Thaddeus Young, PHI (81)
120. Gerald Henderson, CHA (119)
121. Luis Scola, PHO (108)
122. Gerald Wallace, BKN (114)
123. Dion Waiters, CLE (125)
124. Patrick Patterson, HOU (NR)
125. Eric Bledsoe, LAC (120)
126. Vince Carter, DAL (128)
127. Daniel Green, SA (NR)
128. Samuel Dalembert, MIL (NR)
129. JaVale McGee, DEN (NR)
130. Andrew Bynum, PHI (126)

Post All-Star-Break Buy Candidates

Many of us remember Kyle Lowry's hot start, but almost all of the early-season optimism surrounding him faded after he found himself stuck in a timeshare with Jose Calderon when he returned from various injuries. That optimism returned briefly immediately following the Rudy Gay trade that sent Calderon to Detroit, but Lowry has failed to put up the same numbers that made him such a highly valued commodity early in the season. With 9.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.2 steals over his past 10 contests, Lowry's owners may be feeling a bit frustrated at the moment, which makes this a perfect buy-low opportunity in the market. His minutes have bumped up into the 33-34 per game range with Calderon out of town, and his production should follow suit in the very near future.

I've probably been a little too high on Anthony Davis for most of the season, but despite his recent struggles, I still think he's a terrific buy-low option with breakout potential after the All-Star break. Averaging 11.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.6 blocks in just 25.4 minutes over his past 10 games, Davis simply isn't getting enough minutes to maximize his full fantasy potential. But his efficiency and per-minute numbers are still off the charts, and with a 17-33 record, the New Orleans Hornets would be silly not to give him a big bump in playing time as the season winds down. Of course, I can't control how many minutes head coach Monty Williams gives to the rookie, but I can tell you that he would be a top-20 fantasy talent if he were able to secure 33-35 minutes per night.

The window to buy low on Ricky Rubio may have closed after he blew up for 13.6 points, 9.4 assists and 1.2 steals over his past five games, but he should still be mentioned here as a trade target as it appears that he is finally fully recovered from last season's knee injury. Rubio is far from a perfect fantasy player, but like Rajon Rondo before him, we will gladly deal with his imperfections to secure his dominant assists and steal numbers.

Speculative pickups or trades based on trade rumors can be risky, but Derrick Favors is just the type of high-upside player who could pay huge dividends if the Utah Jazz were to enter the trade market with any of their highly coveted big men. The nice thing about adding Favors is that he's already fairly useful in most fantasy formats with 9.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.4 blocks in just 24.0 minutes over his past five games. With fantastic per-minute numbers like that, Favors is sure to be a star if either Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap were to be traded.

I've heard a lot of questions recently about Paul George's value after Danny Granger's return, which makes me think there's a small window of opportunity to deal for George at a discounted price. There's no doubt that a healthy Granger would cut into George's production a little bit, but this is George's team now, and he should continue to be a top-15 fantasy player the rest of the way. David West is the player most likely to be impacted by Granger's return, and he becomes a nice sell-high candidate after posting 23.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.4 blocks over his past five games.

It wasn't all that long ago that Bradley Beal posted 15.1 points, 0.9 steals and 2.1 3-pointers in 32.9 minutes per game during January, and that's why it's surprising to see that he's owned in only 22.6 percent of ESPN.com leagues. Yes, I realize that he's been injured, but the 14-35 Washington Wizards are almost certainly going to let him loose alongside John Wall in the backcourt after the All-Star break.

Post All-Star-Break Sell Candidates

I mentioned this last week, but it's worth repeating that I'm extremely worried about Joakim Noah's plantar fasciitis injury. It's not just the fact that this is an injury that typically lingers (especially for big men); it's also because we've already seen this story play out with Noah in previous seasons. Take a look at his pre-/post-All-Star splits for both the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons. In both cases, he came out of the gates hot, suffered a midseason injury and finished poorly as he tried to grind it out through an injury. It should also be noted that a similar plantar fasciitis injury derailed his 2009-10 season. Noah managed to play through the pain on Friday to post 12 points, 11 boards and 3 steals, but admitted that his foot was bothering him after the game. His owners should use Friday night's success in trade negotiations to move Noah before the injury cuts into his fantasy value.

I'm as excited as the next person to see Derrick Rose back on the court, and his return will undoubtedly make the Chicago Bulls a dangerous playoff team in the Eastern Conference, but I'm afraid that he may not be the fantasy savior many of us are hoping for. Rose certainly has the talent to be the fantasy hoops version of Adrian Peterson, but it's more likely that he'll be eased back into action as the Bulls will want to ensure that he's 100 percent healthy for their playoff run. For now I have him ranked 80th overall, but let's be honest: There are a lot of different ways this could play out. He could be a top-15 or -20 player if he's fully recovered, or he could be waiver-wire material if he's on a minute limit and sitting out the second game of back-to-backs. I think what I'm trying to say is this: Rose is a fine pickup at this point in the season, but if you can find someone who's willing to give you top-50 value for his services, you should do it without hesitation.

I've been wrong about Tim Duncan almost all season, and maybe I'm being stubborn, but I'm sticking to my guns, especially now that he's dealing with a knee injury. Duncan has been fantasy's eighth-best player on our Player Rater when sorted by averages, but I've had him ranked considerably lower in the rankings, mostly because history tells me that Gregg Popovich will cut his minutes after the All-Star break. This should be particularly true given Duncan's recent knee injury. His owners should look to sell for a top-50 player following his return.

Brian McKitish is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com and is a two-time Fantasy Basketball Writer of the Year, as named by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

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