Week 18 is underway and players are still trending up and down following the trade deadline. Some teams have improved their depth while others are exceedingly thin at certain positions following buyouts or figuring out how to reconstruct their rotations. That's allowed some role players to raise their stock and other strong assets are moving in the opposite direction. There are plenty of reasons to move or acquire players ahead of the All-Star break, and we've identified some of the most beneficial choices.
Who should managers try to buy or sell ahead of Week 18? Here are five options to consider:
Three to buy
- Gordon Hayward: The Charlotte Hornets were sellers at the trade deadline and shipped out Jalen McDaniels and Mason Plumlee ahead of Week 18. Those moves arguably made Hayward the team's only viable small forward. While the swingman's having a down year, he's logged at least 30 minutes in five straight games after working his way back from a shoulder injury. Cody Martin's been banged up all season and Hayward's averaging 18.3 points with 5.7 assists per contest through three outings without McDaniels this season.
- Khris Middleton: The Milwaukee Bucks are being cautious with Middleton in 2023 after he was derailed by a few injuries, but they're slowly ramping up his playing time. He scored 22 points while cracking 25 minutes for the first time since December 13 his last time out and is averaging 18.8 points per game through four February outings. Middleton might continue sitting for the second leg of back-to-backs, but he could take a big step after the All-Star break.
- Collin Sexton: Sexton was a preseason sleeper for many following his move from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Utah Jazz. While he got off to a slow start, he's flourished since being promoted to a starting role following the departures of Mike Conley and Malik Beasley. Sexton's averaging 17.7 points, 5.1, and 2.4 assists through 17 starts with the Jazz on 30.7 minutes a night. He'll continue to provide plenty of scoring support as Jordan Clarkson's backcourt partner.
Two to sell
- D'Angelo Russell: Russell is barely a top-15 fantasy point guard this season and isn't in the best situation with the Los Angeles Lakers. The former Minnesota Timberwolves floor general will split ball-handling duties with the likes of Dennis Schroder and LeBron James. Russell Westbrook is the only top-15 fantasy point guard James has played with since his time alongside Kyrie Irving in the 2015-16 season. Russell doesn't have Irving's scoring upside or Westbrook's playmaking and rebounding upside.
- Christian Wood: Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic are clicking with the Dallas Mavericks, but Wood's fantasy outlook isn't great. The big man logged less than 20 minutes per contest over four outings since Irving's arrival and has been relegated to the bench. He's averaged 14.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.8 assists during that span. Wood's production per minute is impressive, but it's clear that the Mavericks don't appear to want him playing in the biggest moments moving forward.