Right now, there is a window to go out and make your fantasy basketball team better. So which players are the ones to trade for before their fantasy value rises?
Here are André Snellings, Eric Moody, Eric Karabell, Jim McCormick and John Cregan with their favorite picks.
Anthony Edwards, SG/SF, Minnesota Timberwolves and LaMelo Ball, PG, Charlotte Hornets
I just did an analysis of the Timberwolves and their performance in wins and losses that suggests strongly that they need to make Edwards their clear primary option on offense for the team to maximize. Assuming they notice this same trend — and Edwards averaging 28, 10 and 9 in their current three-game winning streak without KAT may help make it clear to them — then the 21-year old Edwards could be in for a huge second half of the season and a great trade option.
Another that catches my eye is Ball. Before the season began, I projected him as a potential top-three fantasy producer this season, battling to break into the triumvirate of Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic at the top of the fantasy hoops landscape. Injuries derailed the first couple of months of the season, but in his first week back he’s already producing the type of scoring and 3-pointers that I expect will become his new normal. I think he still has clear, achievable upside in assists, rebounds and steals that, when coupled with his improved scoring, could vault his value back up into that top-5 while his current trade value is still lower than that. — Snellings
The young Rockets
The Rockets continue to struggle to win games, but they sure are exciting. The rookie Jabari Smith Jr. may be the lone Rockets starter playing better over the past few weeks, but SG Jalen Green and C Alperen Sengun clearly have another statistical gear in them as well. The Rockets lose because of defense, turnovers and youth, but Green, who has scored more than 30 points in a game five times this season, can obviously average 25 PPG as he matures. Sengun should average 18 PPG and 10 RPG. Smith is a bit all-or-nothing for fantasy, but he’s a teenager. Give this group time to flourish. — Karabell
Robert Williams III, PF/C, Boston Celtics and Fred VanVleet, PG, Toronto Raptors
Going after the Time Lord could pay dividends. The Celtics have regressed a bit lately, but remain one of the elite teams in the league. Their true ceiling in terms of contention includes dominant defensive play from Williams. Make some proactive offers to Williams’ investors while he’s still ramping up after a long absence due to knee surgery, as he’s looked great on tape and sports nearly identical rebounding and block percentages this season compared to last year’s breakout. This might require some patience, but Williams could be a league-winning force after the All-Star break.
Another name to target in trades is Fred VanVleet, who is finally waking up from an early-season slump to post difference-making backcourt production. Given the slow start, the price for FVV is likely deflated, while the sample of success is much larger. — McCormick
Trae Young, PG, Atlanta Hawks
Young is a player that comes to mind. He is shooting a career-low 41.2% from the field this season with per-game averages of 27.3 points and 10.0 assists. Further complicating matters, the Hawks are a below-average team offensively, ranking 22nd in points scored per 100 possessions. Considering Young’s preseason ADP, his statistical performance has been disappointing so far. Young has scored 40 or more fantasy points in three consecutive games, however, and his fantasy value can only rise from here. — Moody
Jaren Jackson Jr., PF/C, Memphis Grizzlies and Evan Mobley, PF/C, Cleveland Cavaliers
Jackson has flashed some serious top-30 upside since making his debut before Thanksgiving. His game-to-game production is still all over the map. But he has nowhere to go but up in terms of gaining some semblance of consistency. His role is increasing. His primary fantasy issue: finding a balance between his shot-blocking binges and staying out of foul trouble. It would be worth it for his overall in-season development to back off a little on the shot misdirection and focus more on playing within himself and staying on the court.
In other news, Mobley is way too talented to not figure out a way to produce to his top-40 potential…and peacefully co-exist alongside Jarrett Allen. Even if there isn’t a magical cure to this dynamic, at some point, the leading basketball minds in Cleveland have to tilt the touches more Mobley’s way; there’s just too much upside in Mobley’s favor to not up his usage. — Cregan