Fantasy Basketball adds and drops in wake of NBA trade deadline

Jae Crowder struggled in Cleveland but could find new life after being traded to Utah. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

The trade deadline provided no shortage of entertainment, as the Cavaliers essentially dispersed half their team across the league in a fairly unprecedented mid-season reboot. There were also some non-moves despite widespread trade rumors, most notably Tyreke Evans and Marcus Smart. Overall, I’d like to think it lived up to the hype.

Featured below are some players who I think lose and gain significant fantasy value as a result of trade. Per usual, I try to make sure everyone I cover is around, but mostly below, 50 percent owned. So players like Isaiah Thomas, Brook Lopez, Rodney Hood, etc. won’t be included here.

Note, with the All-Star break looming, Weeks 18 and 19 of the NBA season will be combined in matchups, so plan your roster moves accordingly. 


Derrick Rose, Free Agent (23 percent owned)

I was surprised to learn Rose was even 23 percent owned considering he’s been the 299th-ranked player this season, playing a shade over 19 minutes per game. He was traded to the Jazz and subsequently released Thursday, with his next move presumably signing with a playoff team. Considering he was already on a playoff team and far from relevant, I don’t imagine a new environment will help him at all — even if he reunites with Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota.

Tyler Johnson, Heat (38 percent owned)

Johnson has been a relatively fringe fantasy asset this season, ranking as the 144th player on the year. Dwyane Wade being traded back to Miami does not help his cause. Coach Erik Spoelstra will have tough choices to make with his guard rotation, which now features Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, Dwyane Wade, Josh Richardson and Wayne Ellington. To me, Johnson gets the short end of the stick here due to his overall performance and positional similarity to Wade. It’s hard for me to imagine a scenario where Johnson continues to garner 29.3 minutes per contest. 

Josh Jackson, Suns (52 percent owned)

I think the Suns trading for Elfrid Payton hurts Jackson’s value. Coach Jay Triano had recently started deploying Devin Booker at point guard, freeing up Jackson to play his natural shooting guard spot on a more consistent basis. As a result, Jackson’s fantasy value has vaulted, and he’s been the 89th-ranked player over the past seven days — a far-cry from his overall season ranking of 287. Now we’re back in the previous situation, which may not bode well for the rookie. Trying to trade Jackson to another owner in your league is probably the best move in season-long formats. If no one bites before the next round of waivers, I wouldn’t be afraid to cut and run.

Andrew Harrison, Grizzlies (26 percent owned)

Harrison has become the 47th-ranked fantasy player over the past seven days as the Grizzlies opted to sit Tyreke Evans while pursuing trades. They ended up striking out, meaning Evans will return to the court and presumably resume his regular role. As a result, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Harrison go back to somewhere around his season average of 22.5 minutes per game, which has him ranked outside the top 200. 


Larry Nance, Cavaliers (42 percent owned)

Nance’s role fluctuated frequently with the Lakers, but he still managed to be the 115th-ranked player on the season despite seeing less than 24 minutes per game. At least while Kevin Love (hand) remains sidelined, Nance should have an opportunity to see significant run in the frontcourt. Coach Ty Lue has already been hesitant to play Tristan Thompson big minutes, so Nance shouldn’t have any problems garnering around 20 minutes per game at center. While not an ideal power forward due to his subpar three-point shooting, Nance is enough of an athlete and all-around player on both ends of the floor to see run at that position, as well. Overall, I think his versatility will mesh well with LeBron and the new-look Cavs.

George Hill, Cavaliers (54 percent owned)

Despite his poor fantasy season (150th-ranked), many fantasy owners held onto Hill. But if you’re one of the 46 percent of leagues in which he’s available, I’d give him strong consideration. He’s averaged just 10.3 points, 2.8 assists, 2.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals and a combined 1.2 steals/blocks across 26.6 minutes per game this season. However, I’m of the opinion that his significant drop-off from last season was due in part by the odd “old guy on a rebuilding team” situation he was in with the Kings. With that in mind, it’s unclear how he’ll share playing time with Jordan Clarkson (and Rodney Hood, to some extent), so I wouldn’t drop a key member of my fantasy team for him.

De’Aaron Fox, Kings (55 percent owned)

Like Hill, most owners have continued to hold onto Fox despite some ups and downs, so I won’t belabor the point. With Hill being shipped off to Cleveland, there’s a clear path for Fox to be the true starting point guard for the rest of the seasons. In the 16 contests in which Fox has seen at least 30 minutes, he averages 15.2 points, 5.5 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals and 1.0 three per game.

D.J. Augustin, Magic (two percent owned)

The Magic traded away Elfrid Payton to the Suns for a second-round pick (yikes), so their point guard rotation now consists of D.J. Augustin and Shelvin Mack. Mack, himself, could make for a solid add in deeper formats, though he’s mostly benefited in games that Aaron Gordon (hip) has missed. Regardless, Augustin has produced well when he sees extended run, averaging 10.7 points, 4.1 assists, 2.3 rebounds, 1.6 threes and 1.1 steals in the 15 games when he’s played at least 24 minutes. 

Jae Crowder, Jazz (52 percent owned)

I don’t necessarily believe Crowder being shipped off to Utah will drastically move the needle on his season, but he’ll enter a better situation in terms of playing time. He appears to be the immediate backup to both Joe Ingles and Derrick Favors at both forward spots, which could allow him to see more than the 25.4 minutes per game he was averaging n Cleveland. If anything, a change of scenery could help Crowder salvage what’s been a wildly disappointing 2017-18 campaign. I wouldn’t be afraid to ignore him in standard leagues, but fantasy owners in deeper formats will probably want to kick the tires.

Emmanuel Mudiay (nine percent owned)

With Jarrett Jack, Frank Ntilikina and Trey Burke already in the fold, I’m not sure how much playing time will be available for Mudiay. However, I think there’s a fair chance it’s above the 17.8 minutes per game he saw in Denver this season, especially with Kristaps Porzingis (knee) going down for the year, making this somewhat of a lost campaign. Jack’s minutes could fall by the wayside as the team focuses on developing Ntilikina and Mudiay. All that said, I wouldn’t rush to add Mudiay in most standard formats, as he averages just 10.3 points, 3.4 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.0 three per game when seeing between 20 and 29 minutes.