The trade deadline came and went, and once again, chaos ensued. There were a number of player movements, including the likes of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Mason Plumlee (yes, I'm including Plumlee in this list. Hey, I'm on the bandwagon). However, as fantasy managers would know, the lesser moves often yield the biggest fantasy impact. Despite it having been only a handful of days, let's look at who benefitted most from being moved or others around them being moved.
Let's dive in.
Kelly Olynyk, Jazz
Olynyk has been a borderline top-100 player in standard formats all season, playing a vital role for the Jazz, who have surprised many with their standard of play. While his outlook was far from grim, the fact that Jarred Vanderbilt was moved to the Lakers cleared things up a bit. Since returning from an ankle injury, Olynyk has been slowly integrating himself back into the offense, sitting outside the top 150 over the past month. However, the past week has seen things improve, with Olynyk returning to his early-season form. Over that period, he has been able to deliver fifth-round value thanks to averages of 14.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 three-pointers, shooting 53.8 percent from the field and 100.0 percent from the line. After a fast start, the Jazz have plateaued of late. They are currently the 10th seed in the Western Conference, battling with the Trail Blazers and Thunder for a play-in spot. Their fortunes could directly impact what Olynyk can do down the stretch regarding whether they lean more on their youth. This could be said for many players, so using that as an excuse for not rostering someone is a little risky. There is no reason Olynyk can't be a top-80 player rest-of-season.
Josh Hart, Knicks
Despite a decent season with the Trail Blazers, it did feel as though Hart needed a change of scenery after hitting a wall over the past couple of months. In that time, he fell outside the top 100, thanks primarily to his refusal to score the basketball and a drop in defensive production. While Hart has only played two games for the Knicks, he is already viewed as a critical piece in their playoff charge. He has come off the bench in both games but has closed, providing the team with a ton of energy on both ends of the floor. Across those two games, he is averaging 19.0 points with 5.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.5 steals and 3.0 triples. Now, there are a couple of glaring outliers here: the scoring and the steals. However, much of what he does is based on defense, so there is no reason he can't average 1.5 steals moving forward. It feels like only a matter of time until he is inserted into the starting lineup, likely resulting in an uptick in playing time. After being dropped in many leagues only weeks ago, he is clearly a must-roster player.
Kenyon Martin Jr., Rockets
While the deadline didn't impact Martin's role too much in terms of minutes played, it did assure him of said role for the foreseeable future. Despite barely being a top-200 player this season, he is well inside the top 100 over the past month, thanks to averages of 14.9 points and 7.7 rebounds on 60.8 percent shooting from the floor. Seen as a potential trade piece himself coming into the season, he has been able to carve out a consistent role as a member of the starting unit. With Eric Gordon no longer on the roster, Martin's path to minutes is somewhat assured. There is also scope for his defensive numbers to increase, given he is currently averaging only 0.9 combined steals and blocks. During the 2020-21 season, he was above 1.5 combined per game, which is certainly within reach. His ceiling remains relatively limited, but as a guy playing upwards of 32 minutes on most nights, he could be a sneaky difference-maker down the stretch.
Matisse Thybulle, Trail Blazers
Of all the names on this list, Thybulle comes with the biggest risk based on this season and his career to date. Despite playing a meaningful role in Philadelphia, Thybulle has never been more than an elite source of steals and blocks. After ending inside the top 100 last season, he has fallen outside the top 250 during this campaign, and his playing time reduced to just 12.3 minutes per night. In his first outing for the Trail Blazers, Thybulle logged 27 minutes, the most he has played since mid-November. He put up season-high numbers in points, rebounds and three-pointers while accumulating four combined steals and blocks. The question is and will remain to be, will he play enough to have standard league value? Jerami Grant did not play in that game, meaning there is going to be some competition for minutes. However, Cam Reddish was in starting lineup, and let's be honest, that shouldn't continue to be the case. If Thybulle can play upwards of 25 minutes moving forward, he could be a real game-changer thanks to his defensive upside.
Mark Williams, Hornets
Arguably the hottest stash target leading up to the trade deadline, Williams has been tremendous in two of the three games since. Mason Plumlee was shipped to the Clippers, allowing Williams to play as the starting center for the remainder of the season. Based on what we have seen thus far, he will be given the opportunity to play at least 30 minutes per night. In the two games he has topped 30 minutes, he is averaging 13.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks while shooting over 60 percent from the floor. As a rookie big, there will surely be some ups and downs, not the least of which will be foul trouble. Even if he can average 28 minutes per night, the top 60 is not out of the question.