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Courtside Seat: Sizing up the Fantasy deadline

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The Fantasy trade deadline is nearly upon us in many commissioner leagues, and some of the players being dealt are interesting. You can see the players who are being sold high or bought low as owners are making plans for a playoff run.

What we decided to do here is look at the CBSSports.com roster trends for the most traded players and break down some potential deals. You can view the whole list here, but we'll just take a look at the Top 10 guys being dealt.

It's no surprise that Jeremy Lin is the most traded player since Fantasy owners are trying to get the most for him while his value is high. Maybe he can continue to produce at a high level for the rest of the year, but it's a good idea to sell him now before Linsanity comes to an end.

Most-traded players

Jeremy Lin, PG, Knicks
Trades: 135
Recent CBSSports.com trades: for David Lee (head to head); for Joakim Noah (roto)
He is considered: A sell-high candidate
Fantasy owners are smart to trade Lin now because this amazing run he has been on could come to an end. If Baron Davis starts to play well and take away minutes from Lin then his value will decline. Now, he could continue to post amazing stats for the rest of the year, but that's a gamble any Lin owner is going to have to take. Still, it's never a bad idea to sell high on a player you added off the waiver wire.

Amar'e Stoudemire, PF, Knicks
Trades: 123
Recent CBSSports.com trades: for Stephen Curry (head to head); for Ryan Anderson (roto)
He is considered: A buy-low candidate
Stoudemire is not having a good year on and off the court when you factor in the recent death of his brother. But he should improve as the season goes on, and his scoring and rebounding should rise as the Knicks make a playoff push. It's easy to understand why Fantasy owners are disappointed in Stoudemire, but things will get better with his points (17.4) and rebounds (7.9). You just have to be patient and get ready for a big stretch run.

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Danny Granger, SF, Pacers
Trades: 104
Recent CBSSports.com trades: for Marcus Thornton (head to head); for Brook Lopez (roto)
He is considered: A buy-low candidate
Granger is having a down year in points (18.2) and rebounds (4.4), but he should be able to finish the season strong. He has scored at least 25 points twice in his past five games and is averaging 19.4 points over that span with eight 3-pointers. He might not be worth the same value as he had on Draft Day with a Round 3 selection, but Granger could be a nice addition for Fantasy owners heading into the playoffs.

Chris Bosh, PF, Heat
Trades: 101
Recent CBSSports.com trades: for Andre Iguodala (head to head); for Andrea Bargnani (roto)
He is considered: A buy-low candidate
The perception with Bosh is he's not a good Fantasy option any more since coming to the Heat, but he has been consistent with 18.4 points and 8.3 rebounds this season, which are identical to his stats from last year. He shoots 49 percent from the field and 82 percent from the foul line with 2.0 assists per game. If someone is willing to dump Bosh in your lap for the right price then should plan on adding him for a playoff push.

Ricky Rubio, PG, Timberwolves
Trades: 99
Recent CBSSports.com trades: for Carlos Boozer (head to head); for Serge Ibaka (roto)
He is considered: A sell-high candidate
Rubio has been better than expected this season, and his play has been a big reason why Minnesota is in playoff contention for the first time in the post-Kevin Garnett era. But his production has declined of late, and the rigors of the lockout-shortened season might be wearing on him. His stats have declined from January (12.0 points and 9.1 assists) to February (10.0 points and 7.7 assists), and he could be slowing down. Sell him now while you can.

Brandon Jennings, PG, Bucks
Trades: 95
Recent CBSSports.com trades: for Paul Millsap (head to head); for Kris Humphries (roto)
He is considered: A sell-high candidate
Jennings is another player who has watched his stats decline after a hot start. He's still capable of filling up a stat sheet, but his shooting percentage has been dreadful of late, including 37 percent from the field and 23 percent from the 3-point line in his past five games. He's still averaging 17.9 points, 5.4 assists and 3.4 rebounds for the season, and some owner might pay a hefty price for those stats now while overlooking what he's done of late.

Luis Scola, PF, Rockets
Trades: 95
Recent CBSSports.com trades: for Marcin Gortat (head to head); for Manu Ginobili (roto)
He is considered: A buy-low candidate
Scola has been a disappointment this season with his points (15.2) and rebounds (6.2) down significantly from last year. But he appears to be finding a groove of late, and he could be ready for a strong finish. In his past three games, Scola has three double-doubles, and he is averaging 17.6 points and 8.2 rebounds in his past five outings. He is also shooting 53 percent from the field and 71 percent from the foul line over that span, so hopefully he can remain hot.

Carmelo Anthony, SF, Knicks
Trades: 94
Recent CBSSports.com trades: for Tony Parker (head to head); for Jose Calderon (roto)
He is considered: A buy-low candidate
The Knicks are being traded a lot this season with Lin, Stoudemire and Anthony in the Top 10 most traded, but Anthony is someone to target. He should finish the season strong as long as he can stay healthy. This year, his production is down at 21.5 points and 5.8 rebounds, but he has played just 26 games. He appears to be 100 percent now, and he should produce at a high level for the Knicks and Fantasy owners to close the season.

Greg Monroe, PF, Pistons
Trades: 92
Recent CBSSports.com trades: for Al Jefferson (head to head); for Mike Conley (roto)
He is considered: A sell-high candidate
I'm not sure if you can call Monroe a sell-high candidate, but he's definitely not a buy-low guy with the way he's played of late. He is averaging 21.0 points, 12.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists in his past five games with four double-doubles over that span. Maybe Fantasy owners are concerned he will slow down, but Monroe looks like a beast. He should remain hot all year, and I wouldn't trade him if I owned him right now.

Rajon Rondo, PG, Celtics
Trades: 92
Recent CBSSports.com trades: for Marc Gasol (head to head); for LaMarcus Aldridge (roto)
He is considered: A sell-high candidate
If the Celtics do trade Rondo to the Lakers then his value will decline because he won't have the ball in his hands as much in Los Angeles because of Kobe Bryant. But if you think Rondo will remain with the Celtics then there's no reason to trade him. He is a triple-double threat, and he's not going to hurt you shooting 48 percent from the field. It would help if he improved his 61 percent from the foul line, but he makes up for that with 1.5 steals per game.

Each week we will take a look at a variety of topics around the NBA. We will look at guys to trade, trade for, add off the waiver wire and also answer some of your social media questions, among other things. It's our CBSSports.com potpourri look at Fantasy Basketball.

More roster trends

Here is a look at the 10 most dropped players on CBSSports.com:

Greivis Vasquez, PG, Hornets
Previous week ownership: 76 percent of leagues
Current week ownership: 69 percent of leagues

Marreese Speights, PF, Grizzlies
Previous week ownership: 64 percent of leagues
Current week ownership: 58 percent of leagues

Gordon Hayward, SF, Jazz
Previous week ownership: 47 percent of leagues
Current week ownership: 41 percent of leagues

Iman Shumpert, PG, Knicks
Previous week ownership: 44 percent of leagues
Current week ownership: 38 percent of leagues

Nick Young, PG, Wizards
Previous week ownership: 89 percent of leagues
Current week ownership: 84 percent of leagues

Stephen Jackson, SG, Bucks
Previous week ownership: 73 percent of leagues
Current week ownership: 68 percent of leagues

Ben Gordon, SG, Pistons
Previous week ownership: 49 percent of leagues
Current week ownership: 44 percent of leagues

Tiago Splitter, C, Spurs
Previous week ownership: 48 percent of leagues
Current week ownership: 43 percent of leagues

Markieff Morris, PF, Suns
Previous week ownership: 45 percent of leagues
Current week ownership: 40 percent of leagues

Marvin Williams, SF, Hawks
Previous week ownership: 40 percent of leagues
Current week ownership: 35 percent of leagues

I would definitely hold onto Jackson if you can. The Bucks have no reason to keep him past the NBA trade deadline March 15, and if he goes to the right situation – the Clippers make the most sense – then his Fantasy value will rise. I would also consider holding onto Vasquez since the Hornets will continue to give him minutes with Eric Gordon (knee) out even though Jarrett Jack is back. Young also retains value as a good source of points and 3-pointers, but he will continue to be inconsistent.

Free agent watch

Here are five guys I am looking at in my leagues:

Zaza Pachulia, C, Hawks
Owned: 52 percent of leagues

Grant Hill, SF, Suns
Owned: 40 percent of leagues

Josh Howard, SF, Jazz
Owned: 45 percent of leagues

Kenneth Faried, PF, Nuggets
Owned: 27 percent of leagues

Brendan Haywood, C, Mavericks
Owned: 25 percent of leagues

Fantasy owners need centers, and it's surprising that Pachulia and Haywood are available in so many leagues. Pachulia has done a solid job filling in for the injured Al Horford (pectoral). He has double digits in rebounds in four of his past seven games, including 29 rebounds in his past two outings. Haywood has 25 rebounds in his past three games and five blocks over that span. He also has 28 points in his past two games and can be considered a No. 2 center in deeper leagues. Howard has scored at least 12 points and grabbed at least six rebounds in his past four games and is taking advantage of Raja Bell (adductor) being out. He has proven to be a decent Fantasy option when healthy, and he is playing well of late. Hill is averaging 14.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists in his past five games, and it's a good idea to use him when he's hot given his inconsistent play all season. And Faried, who we mentioned here last week, continues to play well in place of Nene (calf). He has three double-doubles in his past six games.

Social media corner

@brett_frankel on Twitter wants to know: What are your thoughts on this trade? I'd give up Rondo and Scola for Russell Westbrook and Thaddeus Young.

Westbrook is the best player in the deal, but if you believe Rondo will stay with the Celtics then you should keep him, especially with the way Scola is playing.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyNews . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
Andray Blatche heading to China
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/20/2014) Free-agent center Andray Blatche has signed a one-year deal with the Xinjiang Guanghui Flying Tigers in China. Blatche's deal with pay him almost $2.5 million, and he'll be able to rejoin an NBA team in March, Yahoo! Sports reports.

Report: Kings add Ramon Sessions
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/20/2014) The Kings have agreed to a two-year, $4.2-million deal with free-agent guard Ramon Sessions , Yahoo! Sports reports.

The team is reportedly using its bi-annual exception provision to sign Sessions, who averaged 12.3 points, 4.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 83 games between two teams last season.


Omer Asik ready to clean up in return to starting role
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Last season was a rough one for Omer Asik, who had to deal with returning to a reserve role after really shining as a starter the previous year. He should be much happier with his role this season, as the Pelicans acquired him this offseason with the intention of installing him as the starting center.

The Pelicans should have a fearsome frontcourt with Asik starting next to Anthony Davis, and Davis' presence should free Asik up to do the kind of work he excels at. Asik isn't a great offensive player, but he can be a dominant offensive rebounder, and should have many chances to clean up the boards with teams keying in on Davis offensively. Among players who have logged at least 5,000 minutes in the NBA, Asik is 22nd all-time in offensive rebounding percentage.

Asik had trouble staying healthy last season, but that was the first time he had ever missed a regular-season game in his career, so we can probably write that off as a fluke. He averaged a double-double with 1.1 blocks per game in 30.0 minutes per game two years ago, and should be capable of similar production as he returns to a starting role.

Asik should be viewed as a starting Fantasy option this season, though he may not have the upside of some other younger centers at this point. 


Tobias Harris' Fantasy value a mystery at this point
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Perception is a funny thing. Just ask Magic forward Tobias Harris, who enjoyed by far the most productive season of his career in 2013-14 but was somehow viewed as a Fantasy disappointment.

Part of that stemmed from Harris' issues with availability, as he missed 20 games and got off to a slow start to the season as a result. It really took until January for Harris to find his stride, but he averaged 15.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game from Jan. 1 on, without missing a contest.

Harris was probably better than the general perception of him a year ago, but the power of expectations hurt him. And now he enters his fourth season as something of a career crossroads, and it is hard to say just how Fantasy owners should approach him this season.

The Magic added Channing Frye and Aaron Gordon to the roster this season, further confusing what was already one of the most crowded frontcourts in the league. Harris can play both forward spots, but he is probably best used as a small-ball power forward; the presence of Frye, one of the league's elite stretch-fours certainly complicates matters for Harris, then.

At just 22, Harris still has a world of potential ahead of him. However, he probably profiles best as a reserve Fantasy option heading into the season, given concerns about his role.   


Hype may be too high for Giannis Antetokounmpo
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) No matter what he accomplishes in his second NBA season, Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is likely to be a historical outlier, given his age. The question is, how much of a leap can the now-20-year-old take next season.

Only 15 players in NBA history have logged as many minutes in a single season as a teenager as Antetokounmpo's 1,897, so he is occupying fairly rarified air already. His age is a big part of why he is considered a big-time breakout prospect for Fantasy purposes, but he has a long way to go from a statistical standpoint.

Antetokounmpo was good for a 19-year-old rookie, but his season averages of 6.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game left a lot to be desired. It is easy to dream about a Antetokounmpo taking a big step forward, but that next step is never guaranteed -- for every Anthony Davis there is a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist whose development follows a slower, less linear path. 

Antetokounmpo was very good -- for a 19-year-old. However, Fantasy owners don't get extra points, rebounds or assists if the degree of difficulty is higher, so you are betting on Giannis taking a huge step forward at the age of 20. Antetokounmpo has become something of an internet darling, and his play in Summer League and the FIBA World Cup dominated much of the offseason discussion, which only helped build the hype to potentially unsustainable levels. 

He is a lottery ticket, for sure, but he is one that might not be worth the cost at this point. 


Improved jump shot all Jimmy Butler needs
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Bulls guard Jimmy Butler had the breakout season many expected from him a year ago, but there were still plenty of flaws apparent in his game as he finished his third NBA season. With a better team around him, Butler just might have enough help to vault him to stardom.

Butler's jump shot abandoned him last season, especially after a toe injury forced him to miss 11 games in November and December. He was shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from three-point range prior to the injury, but connected on just 39.3 percent of his shots overall and 27.1 percent from three-point range from that point on.

We can blame Butler's season-long shooting slump on the injury or his increased offensive role, but he should have neither excuse available for him this season. Butler should be healthy, and the Bulls added plenty of offensive firepower this offseason, in the form of Pau Gasol and Doug McDermott, not to mention a hopefully healthy Derrick Rose. Butler took 154 shots off the dribble last season, per Stats.NBA.com, and made just 30.7 percent of them. With a better team around him, Butler should get many more opportunities to shoot with his feet set.

Butler has the skill set to be a tremendously efficient offensive player, given how often he bullies his way to the free-throw line. Last season, Butler filled up the box score extremely well, but his poor shooting limited his Fantasy value somewhat. If a new role helps his efficiency, he could be one of the very best guards in the league in category-based formats. 


Lance Stephenson set for bigger role in new setting
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Though there were fits and starts, Lance Stephenson finally began to live up to his considerable promise last season. Now in a new home in Charlotte, will Stephenson take another step forward in 2014-15?

By the end of last season, the Pacers were a mess, and Stephenson caught plenty of the blame for that. Still, he might have been arguably the team's most consistent player throughout the season, averaging between 25.8 and 29.7 Fantasy points per game from before and after the All-Star break as well as the playoffs. For as much of a mess as that team was, Stephenson emerged as something of a rock, at least for Fantasy purposes.

The Hornets are actually built in a somewhat similar way to the Pacers, so there wont' be much of a stylistic shift for Stephenson to get used to. Per MySynergySports.com, 11.8 percent of the then-Bobcats' possessions ended in post-ups, actually down from the 13.2 percent mark the Pacers' posted. Stephenson struggled at times with his post-entry passing, though his off-target feeds might find their mark more often when being lobbed in to the soft hands of Al Jefferson, as opposed to Roy Hibbert.

The Hornets might lean even more heavily on Stephenson than the Pacers did, since Indiana liked to spread the ball around with their starting five. The Hornets, on the other hand, look to be extremely top-heavy, and Stephenson will get plenty of chances to be the second or third option. We have him projected for 29.1 Fantasy points per game, and consider Stephenson a borderline top-50 Fantasy option for this season.  


Move to Houston won't alter Trevor Ariza's trajectory
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Trevor Ariza parlayed a career-year into a lucrative free-agency contract with the Rockets this offseason -- stop me if you've heard this story before.

Ariza was largely a disappointment in his first stint with the Rockets, though it did lead him to the best per-game numbers of his career. Still, Ariza was obviously miscast as a primary offensive option the last time he was in Houston, and that won't be a problem this time around.

Ariza joins a Rockets team with two established stars, and will likely spend much of his time trying to fill the departed Chandler Parsons' role. That should suit him nicely, as Ariza has just enough of an off-the-bounce game to serve as the team's third ballhandler when the shot clock gets deep. Ariza attempted 11.1 field-goal attempts per game last season, and should see a boost given Parsons' role; he attempted 13.3 shots per game.

Ariza's improved three-point shot seems legitimate, as he is shooting 38.6 percent from long range over 738 attempts since 2012. However, he will no longer have John Wall feeding him for juicy corner 3-pointers; Wall to Ariza was the league's most productive corner-three combination last season. His shooting numbers may take a hit with his move.

Even acknowledging the loss of Wall's help, we know the Houston offense is set up to get every player the most efficient shots possible, so Ariza shouldn't see much of a dip in his efficiency. His ability to fill up the box score makes him a perfect No. 2 option at forward in category-based leagues, especially now that he is a high-volume shooter. 


Despite new role, don't write off Isaiah Thomas entirely
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Suns guard Isaiah Thomas might see one of the biggest dropoffs in his Fantasy value from last season to this, as he joins the crowded Suns' backcourt.

The Suns might have three All-Star caliber guards in the backcourt now, with Thomas likely to backup Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe this season. That should put a serious dent in Thomas' value; Thomas finished 13th in Fantasy scoring among guards a year ago, but is projected to finish just 43rd this season.

Still, Thomas is definitely someone you'll want to add to your team when drafting, and almost certainly before the rest of the No. 4-type guards he is grouped with. Thomas is likely to see his numbers fall off from the 20.3 points and 6.3 assists he averaged a year ago, at least at first. However, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him end up starting upwards of 25 games throughout the year, given Bledsoe's injury-proneness. Bledsoe has missed at least 25 games in two of the last three seasons for knee issues.

Thomas probably profiles as more of a bench option for Fantasy purposes next season, but you'll be targeting him much earlier than nearly any other reserve. His upside as a handcuff option for either Bledsoe or Dragic is sky-high, and will make him well worth your attention on Draft Day. 


Eric Gordon cleared for contact
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Pelicans guard Eric Gordon has been cleared to take part in full-contact offseason drills ahead of training camp, The Times-Picayune reports.

Gordon underwent season-ending knee surgery last April, but is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season. 


 
 
 
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