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Category Strategy: Trade Deadline Targets

James Anderson

James Anderson

James Anderson is a University of Minnesota graduate, with allegiances to the Packers, Brewers, Bucks (sigh) and Gophers (double sigh). He is an editor and scribe at Rotowire.com, primarily focused on basketball and baseball. In 2013 he was a FSWA finalist for Fantasy Basketball writer of the year.

Trade Deadline Targets

The NBA trade deadline is less than a week away, and there are a wide array of rumors on the internet about which players will be on the move, with a variety of landing spots for each player. This is all just talk obviously, and to try to guess which trades will and won't happen would be foolish. But from a fantasy perspective, we can still make moves that have limited downside, and could turn out to be heists if certain players do get traded. Here are a few scenarios to try to take advantage of before the Feb. 21 deadline:

It's widely assumed that the Hawks will move Josh Smith, as they don't intend on signing him to a max-contract after the season, and the team isn't a serious contender right now. If you trade for Al Horford in fantasy before Smith gets dealt, there's limited risk, and it could work out well in your favor. The Hawks would likely be looking to get a package of young players and/or draft picks back for Smith, neither of which will threaten to be as involved in the Hawks' offense as Smith currently is, which could open things up for Horford. With Smith averaging 15.8 shots per game, it would seem logical that Horford's 13.3 attempts per game would see a spike if Smith left town. If the Hawks surprise everyone and hold on to Smith, then Horford's value remains where it currently is.

The Utah Jazz seem to be involved in as many rumors as any team, simply because they have a couple of the most appealing assets and a log jam in their frontcourt. Paul Millsap is a name being bandied about in a lot of deals, and if he were to get dealt, that would boost Derrick Favors' value, as the Jazz are likely to bring back a point guard and certainly not a four or a five in any Millsap deal. Favors should come very cheap right now, so there's not much risk in dealing for him.

Speaking of Millsap, the Clippers have been rumored as a landing spot for him in a potential one-for-one deal with Eric Bledsoe going to Utah. That's not the only rumor surrounding the Clippers, but they all seem to share a key ingredient, and that's the exit of Bledsoe. It would be prudent to monitor that situation closely in shallow leagues, as Bledsoe being traded into a starting role would boost his value immensely, and it would also only help Chauncey Billups' value, as he would presumably be asked to start distributing when Chris Paul is not in the game.

CATEGORY STRATEGY

Each week, this article highlights players who are widely available in standard leagues that can help in specific roto categories. Remember, while each player highlighted can help in a specific category, there's no guarantee for production in other areas.

POINTS

Derrick Williams, PF, Timberwolves - Assuming you missed out on Byron Mullens and Nick Young, Williams is worth a speculative add after posting a huge line in the Timberwolves' last game before the All-Star break. He isn't a good option in shallow leagues yet because coach Rick Adelman hasn't been very consistent with Williams' minutes, but he's a high-upside option for owners looking to make a playoff push, as he's averaging 16 points per game over his last five games.

REBOUNDS

Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Hornets - Everyone knows the book on Reggie Evans by now, and he's still available in most leagues, as is Bismack Biyombo, whose major flaw is his poor shooting percentages. But Aminu has also been rebounding at a high clip (9.2 per game over his last five) and is available in more than 80 percent of Yahoo! leagues. There will be the occasional off night with him, but he can also fill every category other than three-pointers on some nights, so in mid-sized and deeper leagues, the good outweighs the bad.

ASSISTS

Andre Miller, PG, Nuggets - As I mentioned above, making a preemptive move on either Eric Bledsoe or Chauncey Billups, could work out in your favor if Bledsoe gets dealt, but if both of them are owned and you'd prefer to look to the waiver wire, Miller is still available in more than 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues, and he averaged more than seven dimes per game over the last two weeks. For those in deeper leagues, Will Bynum has somehow averaged five assists per game over his last five contests, including an eight-assist game in the Pistons' last game before the All-Star break. With Brandon Knight moving over to the two and Jose Calderon a capable scorer in his own right, there will be times when Bynum is in charge of distributing the ball, but he's strictly a deep-league option as he only sees around 20 minutes per game.

STEALS

Tony Allen, SG, Grizzlies - The key thing with Allen, is that he's seeing almost 30 minutes per game over his past five contests, which, in his case, will always translate into plenty of steals. He's averaging 1.8 per game over that span, and should continue to log a couple thefts per night as long as he's seeing plenty of minutes, and he's available 65 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

BLOCKS

Andre Drummond, C, Pistons - The rookie big man is dealing with an injured back right now, but if he was dropped in a deeper league, you need help with blocks, and can afford to stash him on your bench in the short term, it would be wise to scoop him up, as it's likely that he returns in time for the fantasy playoffs. If you need help right this minute, Biyombo is always an option, as he's available in 82 percent of leagues and has averaged two blocks per night over the past two weeks.

THREE-POINTERS

Shane Battier, SF, Heat - The Heat were rolling heading into the All-Star break, and Battier was a big part of that, averaging 3.2 treys per game while hitting at almost a 60 percent clip over the Heat's previous five games. Obviously he won't continue to make such a ridiculous percentage, but he's been getting great looks in the structure of the offense. He's as good an option as there is for three-pointers right now, and he's owned in less than 15 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

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