For many fantasy managers, their team now has an identity, allowing them to explore ways to increase productivity. Of course, the waiver wire is typically the easiest way to go about this. Trading is more complex, requiring negotiation with another manager. If they're open to trades, how do you win the deal? Both managers can win a swap, given their respective team builds. However, offering a player outperforming their projected rank is a significant first step in emerging the victor.
Let's dive in.
Jaylen Brown, Celtics
Season Rank: 28
2-week Rank: 7
Brown has been incredible, compiling easily his best fantasy campaign. A perennial top-50 asset, he has increased his production across the board, including his efficiency, despite absorbing a larger role in terms of minutes played. Over the past two weeks, his numbers have seen an even bigger increase, averaging 30.1 points per game on 54 percent shooting from the floor, and 88 percent from the line.
While there is scope for this to be his best season to date, first-round or second-round production feels unsustainable. I imagine he finishes inside the top 40, although a lot of that hinges on his percentages. Should they take even a minor hit, he could find himself as a fourth or fifth-round player, as in previous years. Given his production is somewhat of an outlier, managers are unlikely to be able to trade him away for a top-20 player. However, a top-30 asset could be on the cards.
Anfernee Simons, Trail Blazers
Season Rank: 26
2-week Rank: 9
It's safe to say Simons has been as advertised and more this season, thriving in his new role as the permanent starter. While he has seamlessly stepped into a more prominent role, the absence of Damian Lillard has played a part in his recent success. Over the past two weeks, Simons is averaging 40.5 minutes per game, putting up 28.4 points, including a mouth-watering 5.0 triples.
With Lillard now back in the fold, Simons' production could decrease. As he doesn't offer a whole lot on the defensive end of the floor, his overall value is heavily reliant on his ability to put the ball in the basket. Conservatively pegging Simons at about 23.0 points per game, history would tell us he should be able to flirt with top-50 value the rest of the way. If you can unload him for a top-30 player, you would be wise to do so.
Jerami Grant, Trail Blazers
Season Rank: 47
2-week Rank: 21
Like his teammate Simons, Grant has benefitted from the absence of Damian Lillard. Despite moving to a team with more offensive options, Grant is currently averaging a career-high 23.0 points per game on an efficient 48 percent from the field. Unfortunately, he has not increased his defensive output as many had hoped coming into the season.
Grant could be tasked with shouldering a little more on the defensive end as Lillard returns, seeing his points production dwindle slightly. As a second-round player over the past two weeks, managers are well-placed to throw his name out there in trade talks. Over this stretch, he has put up over 30 points per game, which is unsustainable. Getting any top-50 player back in a trade would be a win.
D'Angelo Russell, Timberwolves
Season Rank: 87
2-week Rank: 28
A slow start to the season caused angst for many managers, with questions arising regarding Russell's fit alongside Anthony Edwards and the recently-acquired Rudy Gobert. While he was never considered a droppable player, trading him away was a move that was basically going to result in a loss. However, a recent injury to Karl-Anthony Towns has opened the door for a handful of players, including Russell, to take on a more sizeable role.
Over the past two weeks, Russell is putting up top-30 value, chalk and cheese when compared to his season rank of 87. Towns is slated to miss up to six weeks of action, affording Russell time to build off his recent performances. His assist numbers alone should keep him more than relevant. It is his scoring that can be the deciding category. Given the volatility, fellow managers are going to exercise caution if and when agreeing on a trade. Securing a top-60 player would be a long-term positive.
Collin Sexton, Jazz
Season Rank: 211
2-week Rank: 99
One of the more obvious sell-high candidates, Sexton has stepped into a much larger role over the past few weeks. An injury to Mike Conley opened the door for Sexton, who, prior to that, had been a huge disappointment. Coming into the season, many saw him as a potential sleeper, based on the assumption the Jazz would not be competitive, pumping all the minutes they could into Sexton. Fast forward six weeks, and that is obviously not the case. The Jazz have been arguably the most surprising team in the league, with the play of Conley vital to their success.
Since his injury, they have struggled to string wins together. If there is one thing we know Sexton can do, it's contribute to losing basketball. With Conley set to return in the very near future, Sexton could find himself back on the bench. If you can find a manager who is willing to part with a top-100 player, kudos to you.