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The Give and Go: Real and Fantasy Deadlines

Kyle McKeown

Kyle McKeown is the Managing Editor of NBA Content for He hosts the Fantasy Basketball Podcast and writes about fantasy basketball. Kyle used to run an after school program and approaches his work as an editor with teaching in mind. He genuinely cares about helping others win their fantasy basketball leagues, which seems really dorky when it's written in the third person.

Shannon McKeown

Shannon McKeown is the VP of Advertising Sales and Basketball Editor for He's a two-time FSWA finalist for Fantasy Basketball writer of the year. He also covers the Pistons and Tigers for the site.

-----Original Message-----
From: "Kyle McKeown"
Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 1:52PM
To: "Shannon McKeown"
Subject: Give and Go

With the NBA's real trade deadline over and done with as of last Thursday, I started to focus on the fantasy trade deadline for all of my leagues.

It's hard to get a handle on what you need to do in each league. In one-year rotisserie leagues, it seems impossible to make trades because the rankings essentially tell you exactly what each team has trump in or is sorely lacking. That knowledge takes the mystery out of what should be done in a trade between two teams, which in many ways takes away a lot of the possibility of pulling a fast one on an unsuspecting owner. Also, when you have 82-game limits for each position, the only trades that make a lot of sense are trading two decent players for a great one. Your bench spots should be used for high-potential and injured guys with the hope that they blossom into a fantasy monster and become someone you can trade or play everyday.

Given that most the rotisserie leagues I play in are expert leagues, everyone understands these things and typically shy away from completing virtually any trades.

I feel my head-to-head leagues are much easier to make trades in because every player on your roster (especially in daily leagues) gets slotted into the active lineup when they play. This makes every player count for something, and the more savvy owners can make trades that seem poor on the surface but capitalize on things like matchups and games not played to enhance the value of players that may not be as valuable on a per-game basis.

So, with all of that in mind, I've been taking stock of my teams and trying to see if I can make trades or find underappreciated players on waivers with whom I can squeeze in and replace some of my injured players.

That's the one thing that boned me in some leagues this season. I drafted too many injured guys with the idea that I'd be able to make up ground in a dominant way once they were healthy. Based on the information available during my drafts, I don't think I made bad decisions in most cases, but hindsight says otherwise.

Ultimately, I think where I made the biggest mistake was not cutting bait on some bums (i.e. Andrew Bynum and Kevin Love) in certain leagues, but I also know that my pulls on value picks like Stephen Curry and Kevin Martin helped me a lot this season.

Where do you stand at the fantasy trade deadline? Are there any players you're targeting to rise in value as keepers next season, whom you could get on the cheap now?

Do you have any draft-day regrets, or were you a lot smarter than I was in October?

-----Original Message-----
From: "Shannon McKeown"
Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 2:36PM
To: "Kyle McKeown"
Subject: RE: Give and Go

I started taking stock in my leagues a few weeks ago. You usually have a firm grasp on where your team stands in each category after 40 games, so I started making my moves then.

The categories that always seem to give me the most trouble are field-goal percentage, free-throw percentage and turnovers. It was more of the same this year, so I found myself selling off players who have been absolute drains in the percentage categories (thanks, Andre Iguodala and Josh Smith) or turnover-prone youngsters like Brandon Knight or Jrue Holiday.

Iggy and Smoove both have plenty of value outside of their weak shooting percentages, which means I won't give either away for pennies on the dollar. As a result, I still own the pair in some leagues, and I need to move fast if I hope to climb up the roto rankings and finish in the money. The main problem I'm running into is many of the high-volume shooters (field-goal or free-throw attempts) are damn hard to obtain. Just look at the league leaders in free-throw attempts that shoot over 80 percent or higher from the charity stripe: James Harden, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, and Russell Westbrook. Good luck trading for one of those guys without giving up someone of equal value. The one attainable player who I have targeted in a swap involving Iggy is Tony Parker (53.6 FG%, 83.1 FT%), but I doubt I'd be able to land him in a straight-up swap.

I was able to move Knight, who is averaging 2.7 turnovers on the season, for Ray Allen straight up a couple of weeks ago. The deal isn't all that exciting on the surface, but Allen rarely turns the ball over, while providing stellar percentages and just as many three-pointers as Knight. Given my team needs, it was a win.

As far as keepers go, I was able to land Ersan Ilyasova ($5) and Kenneth Faried ($1) for well below their market values in our Staff Keeper League. I don't have a handful of specific young keepers queued up to acquire, instead trying to find values like Ilyasova and Faried. Two of the cheap guys in our Staff Keeper League I pursued without success where Enes Kanter and Alexey Shved. Neither owner was willing to give them up, which I think was the smart play since both of those players should see expanded roles next season.

You and Chris Liss decided to be sellers last minute in that league. Were there any specific players the two of you targeted?

My main draft-day regret was passing on proven veterans. Tim Duncan (5), Kobe Bryant (7), Tony Parker (16), Andrei Kirilenko (24) and Kevin Garnett (31) are still ranked like elite talents on a per-game basis. I avoided all of them like the plague on draft day, choosing to focus my attention on potential breakout players instead. I'll have to start drinking your and Dre's syrup next year.

The one trade from last week's deadline I wanted to touch on was Houston's fleecing of Sacramento. How do you trade the No. 5 overall pick for spare parts less than a year after picking him? I know Sacramento saves some money in the deal, but the Kings could have received a much better haul for Thomas Robinson if they shopped him around the league. Where do you stand on Robinson's fantasy value for the remainder of the season now that he's on the Rockets? I noticed you grabbed him in a couple of leagues. I didn't bother rushing to the waiver wire for the rookie. His low-post game doesn't really fit in that well with the Rockets fast-paced, three-point barrage. Both Patrick Patterson and Marcus Morris were big men who could stretch the floor, which blended in perfectly with what Houston was doing on offense. I think there will be some growing pains for Robinson on his new squad.

-----Original Message-----
From: "Kyle McKeown"
Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 3:14PM
To: "Shannon McKeown"
Subject: RE: Give and Go

It's funny that so many of our friends in our hometown league have a perception that they're at a disadvantage to us due to us working in the fantasy industry. While I think that's true in many respects, there's also a demand to play in so many leagues and stretch yourself so thin trying to master all of the different kinds of leagues that trying to manage 10-plus teams on a daily (or even weekly) basis can lead to an overwhelming amount of leg work in trying to work deals.

I've largely stood pat this season because it's been too cumbersome to just go through the process of fielding and submitting trades. It's hard to have the patience to go back and forth on things. That's the reason Chris and I sold off in the Staff Keeper League. I was too wrapped up day-to-day to look into all of the contract†hullabaloo until it was too late, and he saw an†opportunity†to improve our keepers and did it.

Beyond the mistake of taking too many players with injuries, I've realized I also need to limit the leagues I'm in next season and schedule time to review my place in leagues a little earlier in the season. That'd actually be a great examination to have. At which points in the season do you need to start trying to make up ground in standard leagues for each category?

Andre' postulated in one of his Hoops Lab articles that the percentages are the two most important things to get in rotisserie drafts because they're so hard to make up as the season wears on. The part of his argument that I agree with most was the fact that there are teams who cut bait and stop setting their lineups later in the season. You can gain ground on those teams in the counting stats (points, rebounds, etc.), but if they had dominant rankings in the percentages, it's much harder to catch up to someone who obtained a high standing and isn't rolling out new players in their active spots to add some volatility to their percentages.

Ilyasova and Faried are great at those prices. I tried to flip Chris Paul for someone before our deadline Monday, but a sea of possibilities had dried up by then. I was trying to get Damian Lillard ($20) and other young players who were on good contracts, but the best offer I received was Alexey Shved ($3), and I wasn't willing to pull the trigger on that deal. I figure we can offer Paul around in the offseason in case someone wants to take on his contract. Otherwise, we'll throw him back in the stew and probably be able to get him on a discount or for the same price. The other players I was targeting were Enes Kanter, Alec Burks, and Gordon Hayward.

I cashed in by grabbing a lot of veterans in auctions, but I wasn't willing to pay the price for Garnett and Duncan in most snake drafts. I felt their value was still too high there. It's weird how that works out, but I think a lot of that has to do with how much the pre-ranks influence drafts on every host site.

I want to live up to my low-brow reputation and say a slew of coarse things about general manager Geoff Petrie and the Kings' front office, but pointing to their record over the last several seasons is insult enough.

Their track record on getting value for their assets is vomitous. If memory serves me, I believe the key piece they received when trading Kevin Martin to Houston was Carl Landry. Um. Yeah. Now, they've followed that up by trading a player with great rebounding potential and the ability to grow into a very good offensive player for duplicative talent. Patrick Patterson and Jason Thompson are pretty much the same player. I actually like Patterson more than Thompson, but when all is said and done, the key note is that Robinson has the highest ceiling of any of the three. Patterson did OK as a back-to-basket player for the Rockets, and the fact that coach Kevin McHale is regarded as one of the best post players ever to play in the NBA makes me think this is a great situation for Robinson.

I thought they would push Robinson into the starting power forward slot from jump street, but they've opted to bring him along slowly and get him into lineups, while running out a small lineup with Carlos Delfino at power forward. I'll probably be proved wrong, but I'm holding onto Robinson through the next couple games to see if he excels and can force his way into a big role right away. If we don't get any word on him getting an increased role soon, I'll be cutting bait.

In fact, due to the recent growth of Maurice Harkless in Orlando, the announcement that Andre Drummond (back) is returning next week, and the return of Gordon Hayward (shoulder) from injury, I was forced to drop Robinson in some leagues already.

Have you jumped on the Harkless train in any leagues? I know you poached Drummond in the leagues we share when his return was announced yesterday. I'm still mad about that. I had just dropped him a couple days ago in one of the leagues.

-----Original Message-----
From: "Shannon McKeown"
Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 4:09PM
To: "Kyle McKeown"
Subject: RE: Give and Go

Iíve been barely bordering on the edge of making the playoffs in our hometown league, so those clowns have little to fear from me. While I usually perform well against our buddies, my team is horrible in that league this year. I donít have any attractive low-priced guys to move in a deal to improve, and most of my centerpieces are probably priced too high to garner much attention, either.

Even if the Kings decided that Robinson had a low NBA ceiling after evaluating him day-to-day over the past six months, it was still foolish to make that trade with Houston. As the No. 5 overall pick, Robinson still had tons of trade value. The Kings failure was not capitalizing on that value.

Now, the Rockets are loaded with a superstar player (James Harden); solid, affordable pieces (Jeremy Lin, Omir Asik, Chandler Parsons); an intriguing young talent (Robinson); and a ton of cap room next offseason. Donít be surprised if they lure a big name free agent like Dwight Howard or Josh Smith.

Iím all over Harkless. Heís been seeing 30-plus minutes per game since late January, so itís a bit surprising to me that fantasy owners havenít been paying more attention to him. Sure, there will be ups and downs for the rookie, but heís a talented player who can contribute in all categories but assists.

See you in the comments.

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