In anticipation of what is still expected to be a busy trade deadline, roster moves in CBSSports.com Fantasy leagues have slowed to a crawl. Fantasy owners are likely worried about making a decision on a player before Thursday's trade deadline, as a number of moves are still expected in what has been a surprisingly quiet trade season so far. And that impulse is understandable. Why give up on a player when his role could shift dramatically with a series of phone calls midway through the week.
Between the lingering uncertainty and the All-Star break keeping players from suffering any role-altering injuries, there was shockingly little player movement since last week. Only three players in the league were added in 10 percent or more of CBSSports.com Fantasy leagues this week, and only one was dropped in as many leagues. Fantasy owners are standing pat at least until they see how the trade market shapes up.
Timberwolves forward Derrick Williams was one of the three players who saw his ownership rate change significantly, as he was added in 14 percent of leagues since last week. He is also one player who is no stranger to trade talk, as he has been included in rumors ever since he was selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. He told reporters he wouldn't be surprised "either way" by a deadline-day trade.
A trade would almost certainly improve Williams' long-term value because he remains stuck behind Kevin Love once he is healthy, but Fantasy owners are likely targeting him more because of a recent hot streak than any speculation on his future. Williams entered the All-Star break on a role, averaging 16.0 points and 9.0 rebounds per game in the previous five games, despite shooting just 42.4 percent from the field.
Williams is still struggling with his efficiency, but we're finally starting to see stretches where he looks like the kind of talent that deserved to go towards the top of the draft. He has disappointed this season, but with Love still out likely until March, Williams has a few weeks left to continue his development unimpeded, regardless of whether the team opts to trade him.
Williams is likely reaching his do-or-die moment with Fantasy owners pretty soon. If he continues playing as well as he has in the last few games, there will be little reason to leave him on waivers. But, if this recent run proves to be a mirage, we might as well write him off for the rest of the season.
Most Added Guards
Chauncey Billups, Clippers Billups has played a high of just 22 minutes since returning from an injury, so you would think that Fantasy owners might not be clamoring to get him on their rosters. And yet, he closed out the unofficial first half of the season with a pair of huge performances, dropping 40 points combined over consecutive nights last week. That was more than enough to pique the interests of Fantasy owners. Fantasy owners expecting that regularly from him are going to be disappointed, as BIllups had put up 15 points combined in his previous two games. With the Clippers' depth and his age and recent injury history, Billups is almost certainly going to be limited to 20-25 minutes per game at most moving forward, so I still do not think he is worth grabbing in most formats. (39 percent owned; +18 percent)
Jason Terry, Celtics: I wrote on Terry as a possible starter for this week, so I have to suggest that you grab him off the waiver wires as well. Terry entered Tuesday's action averaging 13.0 points per game in nine games since Rajon Rondo went down with an injury, while playing 29.4 minutes per game despite continuing to come off the bench. The Celtics are playing some of their best offense of the season since Rondo went down, and Terry has been a big part of that. Boston is still trying to figure out whether they consider themselves playoff contenders heading into the trade deadline, and the possibility remains that Terry could find himself moved for the right offer. Depending on whether the team trades him, Terry's value could fluctuate, but he clearly looks to have hit his stride and is worth picking up.(56 percent owned; +7 percent)
Tony Allen, Grizzlies: Shockingly, Tony Allen has been scoring the ball a bit more recently, reaching double figures in three of the last four games. For a defense-first player who sometimes struggles completing the most basic offensive tasks, that is enough to qualify as an offensive eruption. Still, Allen had reached double figures in just one of his previous seven games, so we should not consider this much more than just a hot streak yet. Allen is averaging 29.8 minutes per game in February, and is not seeing much of an increase in his role in the aftermath of the Rudy Gay trade, so his outlook moving forward is the same as always. Don't expect Allen to become a fixture in your starting lineup if you are going out to pick him up. (22 percent owned; +5 percent)
Most Added Forwards
Jeff Green, Celtics: Green received an extensive write-up in this week's Start/Sit column due to his recent strong play, but Fantasy owners remain understandably tentative about picking him up. The Celtics appear to be gearing up for some big moves in the next few days, and there seems to be plenty of uncertainty about what Green's ultimate role might be. Green's role is likely to change with any trade deadline deals the Celtics make, but is he likely to see a smaller role the result of a trade? I find that to be an unlikely possibility, since Green's contract is widely considered to be an overpay, with three years remaining. The Celtics are invested in Green's future, and could lean heavily on him down the stretch if they decide to blow the team up. I think there is very little downside to going out and grabbing Green, if he is available. (58 percent owned; +10 percent)
Kawhi Leonard, Spurs: Leonard got hot heading into the All-Star break, which explains why his ownership jumped up a bit this week. He averaged 15.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game in six pre-All-Star-break February games, and certainly looks to be coming into his own. Most observers think the second-year wing is the Spurs' next star, and he certainly has looked like that over the last few weeks. However, the Spurs' current stars were dealing with a litany of injuries for much of his run, so Leonard may find fewer opportunities to succeed moving forward. Leonard has the ability to turn into a must-own Fantasy option eventually, but I think the near-term picture still leaves him short of that. The Spurs simply have too much depth for Leonard to keep that kind of production up. (82 percent owned; +6 percent)
Jason Thompson, Kings: In a slow week for player movement, sometimes I end up having to profile a player who simply is not worth the time. We know all about Jason Thompson already, and there is nothing new to report here. The Kings are unlikely to make a move at the deadline, and they have yet to really be linked to any possible deals. He had a strong run of games prior to the All-Star game, averaging 17.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in the last five games, however he was averaging just 5.6 points and 4.3 rebounds in the previous five games. Thompson is certainly capable of putting up stretches of strong play; that's why the Kings gave him a $30 million contract last offseason. He is well worth owning in the majority of Fantasy leagues, but that is more for his steady dependability than anything; Thompson has averaged at least 9.0 points per game in each of the last four months. Just don't expect big numbers from him consistently. (70 percent owned; +6 percent)
Most Added Centers
Samuel Dalembert, Bucks: By all indications, Milwaukee is doing absolutely everything they can to change that name next to Dalembert's name by Thursday's deadline. They acquired him this offseason with the intention of making him the starter at center, but Larry Sanders' breakout made it clear fairly early on that Dalembert was superfluous. He had some big performances with Sanders dealing with a back injury, but Sanders returned Tuesday and relegated Dalembert to the bench role we had grown accustomed to seeing him in. The best-case scenario for Dalembert's Fantasy value moving through the end of the season is obviously a trade, however the rumors of possible deals involving him have started to dry up a bit. Dalembert has greatly improved his offensive efficiency this season, and is averaging 7.4 points and 6.0 rebounds per game in just 17.3 minutes, so there is a useful Fantasy option here. However, if the Bucks do not make a move by Thursday, there will be little reason to hold on to Dalembert moving forward. (63 percent owned; +7 percent)
Jermaine O'Neal, Suns: O'Neal has been taking advantage of Marcin Gortat's continued underperformance, upping his playing time and production in recent weeks. He missed some time due to a heart issue at the end of January and beginning of February, but reached double figures in scoring in three of five games before the trade deadline. Fantasy owners who have dealt with Gortat's frustration know why O'Neal is starting to see a larger role, but you have to wonder how long this can last. A report surfaced Tuesday that teams have inquired about O'Neal's availability via trade, so Fantasy owners who have grabbed him should understand that O'Neal might lose his newfound role. At 34 years old, O'Neal's upside is so limited that he is just not worth targeting. (9 percent owned; +6 percent)