Fantasy Forecast: Trade Deadline Ramifications
The NBA season is all of 25 weeks, and the fantasy playoffs typically run from weeks 21 – 23. We are now heading into week 18, so it is as important now as ever to keep up with all the news and information that is out there. Let’s go over the trade deadline moves and see what fantasy adjustments need to take place due to them.
Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen were traded from the Sixers to the Pacers, with the Sixers getting Danny Granger. Turner loses basically all his fantasy value in this deal as he moves to the Pacers bench. I would cut him right now. Granger is someone I know well from my days with the Pacers. You can be sure that he is looking for a buyout as he goes from one of the NBA’s best teams, to one that was eliminated from the playoffs shortly after the league tipped off the season. If Granger stays though, he will have some decent fantasy value as their best scoring option.
Spencer Hawes was traded from the Sixers to the Cavaliers in exchange for Earl Clark and Henry Sims. Hawes is the only name here and he lost all fantasy value with this move. Right now he is backing up Tyler Zeller, and his minutes will be reduced even further when Anderson Varejao gets back from his latest injury. Clark was already waived and I had to look up Sims, which should tell you all you need to know there.
Steve Blake was traded from the Lakers to the Warriors in exchange for MarShon Brooks and Kent Bazemore. Blake was a solid waiver wire snag before the trade, but can be cut after it. He loses all his limited value with the Warriors. The Lakers are the Titanic, a sinking ship. Brooks and Bazemore are nothing more than buoys in the water.
Now that we know who has what role on each team, what we now have to focus on is the injury report.
I’ve been asked what to do about Kobe Bryant by several people, and here is my official position: cut him. The Lakers were in fire-sale mode at the deadline, and there is no reason for Bryant to take the floor this season other than ego. It was reported on Saturday that he will be re-evaluated in three (3) weeks after an exam on Friday showed he still had soreness and swelling in his knee. It is almost March, and he STILL has swelling and soreness in his knee.
Let’s just say that by miracle he does make it back this season. At what level is he playing at? How much rust is on that 35-year-old body? Will the Lakers risk him winning them games (thus lowering their draft position possibly) when they are clearly looking to the future? Sometimes it is better to cut the line than sink with the ship.
Lebron James missed Sunday’s game against the Kings to rest his broken nose. I know, it sounds like a bad joke. But, the move gives him a full week to recover as the Heat don’t play this week until Thursday against the Knicks. He will be fine in daily leagues.
Staying at home, Kevin Martin will see a hand specialist on Monday, at which point we will get a better idea about his return date. Wait for a return date before picking him back up. Ronny Turiaf is out indefinitely after an MRI revealed a right knee bone bruise. And finally, Nikola Pekovic is getting closer to a return to the court from what I hear. He’s been out since January 27th with Achilles and Ankle issues, but has been getting in some pre-game work and was a game-time decision on Saturday. Hold on to Pekovic in all formats.
LaMarcus Aldridge has been ordered by doctors to not run or jump for at least a week. He was diagnosed with a left groin strain last Tuesday, and with the Trail Blazers playing three games this week, those in daily draft leagues will want to consider him out until we know for sure he is playing. Those in weekly transaction leagues will have to sit him this week as we most likely won’t know anything until Tuesday or Wednesday.
Clippers SG J.J. Redick will between 3-5 weeks with a laundry list of injuries. Fantasy owners can cut him as it is obvious the Clippers are trying to get him as close to 100 percent for the NBA playoffs as they can.
The Pelicans have provided no update for Jrue Holiday, on any level, and he remains out indefinitely. If you are one of the 76 percent of people holding on to him on Yahoo.com, it is time to cut that line loose.
Brian Roberts – PG Pelicans: With Holiday out and no word on his return date, Roberts is a must-own player in most formats. Yes, he shot 2-of-13 from the field on Saturday and finished with a miserable line of 7 points, 9 assists, 2 steals and 3 turnovers. However, before that game he had scored in double-digits in seven straight games and averaged 4.3 assists and 1.6 steals a night over that span. Roberts isn’t going to be a savior at PG for any playoff team, but he can certainly fill in nicely as a back-up PG or Utility player to pad the points, assists, and steals statistics.
Marco Belinelli – SG Spurs: Belinelli is getting major minutes right now with Manu Ginobili working his way back from his latest injury, Tony Parker being rested for the playoffs, and Kawhi Leonard still out with a non-displaced fracture in his hand. Leonard should be back soon and that will eat into some of his value. But Ginobili is 36-years-old, and there’s no reason for the Spurs to wear his body down as we head into the final few weeks of the regular season. I am looking for Belinelli to continue to have solid value as long as the Spurs handle Parker and Ginobili minutes with kid gloves.
Kyle Singler – SG/SF Pistons: Ok, let’s get this out of the way first off. Yes, Singler’s FG percentage is low (41.9 percent over the past month). But, if you look at the last two weeks you will see that he is averaging 12.0 points, 2.0 3-pointers, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.7 steals a night, with just 0.7 turnovers. Singler is truly one of the best waiver wire guys out there at this point in the season; and for those still holding onto players like Bryant, Holiday, or got shafted at the trade deadline with guys I mentioned above, Singler isn’t a bad option really. He isn’t an 8 on the sexy meter, but don’t ignore a solid 5 as we get closer to the end of the fantasy season either!
Channing Frye – PF Suns: I truly don’t understand why Frye is owned in just 61 percent of Yahoo leagues. I know there are a fair amount of dead or abandoned teams out there, but 30-40 percent? Look at his averages over the past month: 44.6 FG percentage, 12.7 points, 2.4 3-pointers, 5.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.6 blocks and 0.5 steals per game. When looking at that as compared to the averages around the NBA, Frye ranks 59th overall during the past 30 days. That is late 4th round value in standard leagues (12-team) for a guy you can either get fairly cheap via a trade, or off the waiver wire for free in nearly 40 percent of Yahoo’s leagues!
Chris Kaman – C Lakers: This is probably the last week that Kaman will be worth owning as Pau Gasol is back now and the Lakers won’t outright tank the rest of the season. With that said, the Lakers have a 3-game schedule this week and Kaman is available in 49 percent of Yahoo leagues out there. Finding a replacement center for guys like Hawes or Jared Sullinger (below) is hard, so a guy like Kaman can’t be dismissed simply because he isn’t the starter. Even with Gasol back on Friday, Kaman still managed to put up 16 points and 8 rebounds. Keep an eye on his production, but he has value in most formats still.
Kemba Walker – PG Bobcats: Walker is walking on clouds when it comes to fantasy production this season (#41 ranked overall player on Yahoo). But, the Bobcats play just two games this week. And, those two games are against the Spurs and Thunder. In his one game against the Spurs this season he shot 36.8 percent from the field, but managed to finish with 18 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds. Against the Thunder, he shot 35.3 percent from the field, and finished with similar stats of 18 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds. While the points and assists are nice, the low FG percentage makes him somewhat easy to replace for those in daily cap leagues.
Dwayne Wade – SG Heat: D-Wade has only played in 38 of the Heat’s 54 games this season. Because of that his owners have struggled with not being able to cut him because of his talent, but not being able to trade him because he’s missed 30 percent of the games the Heat have played so far. On top of that, the Heat play just two (2) games in week 18, making him a guy worth selling high on in daily cap leagues after he put up24 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds and 3 steals last Friday night with Lebron out. Those in Yahoo or ESPN will just have to check before game-time to make sure he is in fact in the line-up.
Arron Afflalo – SG/SF Magic: Afflalo didn’t even travel with the team for Sunday’s game in Toronto, which is never a good thing. The Magic play four (4) games this week, and while he hasn’t been ruled out for any games as of yet, you have to wonder how much progress can be made with the ankle in just two days. With back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday, then back-to-back game again on Saturday and Sunday, playing Afflalo this week is a risky move for those in weekly leagues. Daily cap and Yahoo/ESPN leaguers will have to just keep on top of the injury report.
Markieff Morris – PF Suns: The website that Yahoo uses for their fantasy news and advice put out that [Markieff] Morris was worth owning in all formats based on his last four games. The problem with that sort of thinking is you are 1) chasing stats, and 2) not accounting for the return of Eric Bledsoe in a week or so. When Bledsoe returns, it will have an effect on the rotation as a whole. While Morris is not a bad option to add right now since the Suns play four (4) games this week, he is one of those stock market guys where you have to be ready to sell him when his value is no longer there. I wouldn’t add him unless you have one of those trade deadline casualties on your roster (Hawes, Blake, or Turner); even if you do, you need to have your finger on the drop trigger.
Kris Humphries – PF Celtics: On Sunday 1,396 people picked up Humphries with the news of Sullinger being out. The problem with Humphries is we’ve been down this road before with him and he just can’t be trusted on a game-to-game basis. The truth is you would have to be in deeper 16-team leagues for Humphries to have value on your team, and even with that you have to consider who you are cutting to make room since he goes right back to the bench when Sullinger is cleared to play. From my seat, the risk isn’t worth the limited reward he will give you.
Jared Sullinger – C Celtics: Sullinger suffered a mild concussion on Friday, and missed Saturday’s game. He is listed as doubtful for Monday’s game, and should be considered iffy for Wednesday’s game. With the Celtics playing a 3-game schedule this week, he could end up playing just one game, thus making him a weak fantasy option in even the deepest of leagues. I’d sit him down in weekly transaction leagues, and find other options in daily cap leagues.
James Morris hails from Rio Rancho, NM and has been playing fantasy sports for just over 15 years. Not only does he write the Timberwolves fantasy basketball section, but he crosses over the sports boundary and writes the Miami Dolphins and Cincinnati Bengals fantasy football sections. Just send him an email and he will reply back the same day with your answer. Or, find him on Twitter (Fantasyguy23) and Facebook to get all your NFL news before it hits the national media. For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com.