John Collins Hawks & Deandre Ayton Suns – The PED suspension bros still haven’t really taken off and now Collins is dealing with a back injury while Ayton is finally getting up to speed from his ankle problem. Collins has scored just 17, 16 and 10 points in each of his last three games, hitting double digits in rebounds in one of them, while Ayton hasn’t scored more than 16 points in his last four games, although he does have four straight double-doubles. The bottom line is I still think both of these guys are going to start putting up monster lines (instead of good ones) in the near future and their owners are likely a bit frustrated with what they’ve been doing thus far. I, for one, was expecting for both of them to come back on a mission and dominate, but that just hasn’t happened… yet.
Caris LeVert Nets – LeVert’s going to be a headache for his owners in the near future with the minutes limit after his return from thumb surgery, the days off and lack of back-to-backs, but Kyrie Irving doesn’t appear to be walking through that door any time soon, as he’s now contemplating shoulder surgery. Spencer Dinwiddie should continue to be the man for the Nets, but once LeVert is up and running at full speed, he’s going to also see a lot of time at point guard and could be primed for a monster finish. But he obviously comes with some risk after suffering a couple significant injuries in each of the last two seasons.
Daniel Gafford & Thaddeus Young Bulls – Wendell Carter Jr.’s sprained ankle on Monday looked pretty terrible and I’m thinking he might miss a month of action. Both Gafford and Young are going to see a boost if I’m right and I’ve already started picking Gafford up in a few leagues. He also suffered a sprained ankle on Monday but was able to play through it. Either way, both of these guys are probably going to be hot pickups soon. And while they don’t really qualify for this column, they’re timely and I wanted to give you a heads up. The other great thing about the Bulls is, including the current week we’re in, they go 4-4-4-4 for games played per week over the next month.
Kevin Love Cavaliers – You’ve probably seen his meltdown from the weekend and he’s not someone I’d want to be dealing with in fantasy right now. But the trade is coming and you’ll want to own him once he’s moved to his happy place, wherever that may be. It sounds like Love is playing on Tuesday night after a game off for rest, but his owners are likely sick of the headaches Love’s been producing in Cleveland, and he should be a lot more fun to own once a deal goes down.
Aaron Gordon Magic – Gordon looks healthy and had a nice double-double on Monday. And with Jonathan Isaac not coming back anytime soon from his knee injury, Gordon could really take off. He’s had a pretty rough season, but the stars have aligned for him and I’m thinking he’ll start making some shots and start putting up big numbers consistently, just like he did on Monday. And given how bad he’s been this season, his price tag shouldn’t be too high.
Editor's Note: Drafting is only half the battle. Dominate all season long with our Season Pass! Use our NEW Start/Sit Tool, Trade Analyzer, Weekly Tiers, Rest-of-Season Rankings, Projections and more on your way to a championship! Click here for more!
Troy Brown Jr. Wizards – He’s averaging 16 points, 9.3 boards, 1.0 steals and 1.3 3-pointers in his four January games and his ownership is still pretty low. In my opinion he should already be owned everywhere, so make sure he’s not available in your league. And if you want to trade for him, he’s not starting, nor putting up earth-shattering lines, so he should still come with a reasonable price tag. But I think he’s going to become widely known as a must-start, must-own player by the end of this month, if he’s not already.
Josh Hart Pelicans – Hart was awful in a start for Jrue Holiday on Monday and he’s been pretty disappointing over the entire season. But Holiday is banged up, Lonzo Ball can’t possibly keep playing at the high level he has been and the Pelicans still don’t look like a playoff team, even though they’re getting better. And yes, Zion Williamson appears to be on his way back, which could limit Hart some, but I’m not really on board with Zion being a fantasy savior this season. If you’re in a deeper league, Hart should get every opportunity going forward to turn his season around and my guess is he bounces back with a much better game in his next one, as well as a solid second half of the season. And if you’re sitting on Williamson waiting for him to return, I’d give him one or two games and then ship him for whatever you can get. I still don’t think we’re going to see enough from Zion this season to make him worth your time. He simply looks like a massive fantasy headache with a ton of upside.
Mitchell Robinson Knicks – Broken record, I know. He’s going to be turned loose in the second half and ball out. Trust me.
Christian Wood & Sekou Doumbouya Pistons – Blake Griffin is contemplating left knee surgery and I think it’s coming. These guys are on waivers in a lot of leagues and both of them should come with a pretty cheap price tag if they are owned in yours. Griffin’s not going to be with us (in fantasy) much longer, if at all, and both of these guys could blow up the second half of the season. Wood’s the primary target, but Doumbouya also carries a ton of intrigue heading into the second half.
Draymond Green Warriors – Wash, rinse, repeat. More missed games and headaches are coming and his recent numbers have been much better. If you own Green, I think you’re sitting on a ticking time bomb and the time to move him is now, while he’s still playing on most nights.
LaMarcus Aldridge Spurs – Aldridge is having a fine season for the Spurs and they’re somehow still the No. 8 seed in the West. But they’re being tracked hard by teams like the Grizzlies, Blazers, Timberwolves, Suns and Kings, while the Pelicans are trying to get back into the mix. If any of those teams get hot and the Spurs start to fall off, Gregg Popovich won’t hesitate to start giving the 34-year-old Aldridge frequent nights off. And his trade value should be pretty solid right now as he’s a Top 15 player in most ranking systems.
Buddy Hield Kings – His slump is long over and he’s scored at least 20 points in six straight games. He’s a streaky player and his next shooting slump is likely just around the corner. Additionally, the Kings aren’t looking to move Bogdan Bogdanovic and the team, along with Bogey, is going to get healthy again at some point this season. I don’t think there’s any need for a Hield owner to feel like they have to trade him, but his value should be sky high right now and his hot streak has to be nearing an end.
Lonzo Ball Pelicans – After never scoring 20 points in back-to-back games he’s now done it four games in a row. He’s averaging a ridiculous 23.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 4.3 3-pointers and just 1.8 turnovers over his last four games. There’s no way he continues to play at such a high level and I’m still worried about his ankles. He’s a first-round player over the last week, meaning his trade value shouldn’t be higher again this season than it is right now.
Markelle Fultz Magic – After predicting a breakout game from Fultz for most of the season, it finally happened on Monday night when he scored a career-high 25 points with five boards, four assists, two steals and two 3-pointers on 11-of-20 shooting. He had really been struggling offensively coming into Monday but got hot and played a great game. If you’ve been wanting to move or drop him this season, now is the time to capitalize on Monday’s big game.
T.J. Warren Pacers – Warren is hot and had a season-high 36 points on Monday to go along with five rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block on 15-of-24 shooting. He’s averaging 21 points and a bunch of goodies over his last nine games and while he’s capable of staying hot, Victor Oladipo is nearing a return, which should coincide with Warren cooling off. Like some of these other guys, his trade value looks like it’s at its peak right now.
Steven Adams Thunder – Adams went off on Monday with a season-high 24 points, 15 boards and two blocks in 35 minutes against Joel Embiid and is flourishing with Nerlens Noel hurt. He’s still a candidate to be traded and while he could end up being a starter if moved, he could also go to a team with an established center. He wasn’t all that fun to own earlier in the season and should cool off once Noel is back. All I’m saying is that if you’ve been wanting to unload Adams this season, now is the ideal time.
Isaiah Thomas Wizards – Thomas played 23 minutes and had 17 points, three assists and two 3-pointers in a revenge game against the Celtics on Monday and the Wizards season is imploding. Thomas is not only a huge injury risk, but his numbers have been shaky, at best, while Ish Smith and Jordan McRae have been making some real noise. Thomas is a huge shutdown candidate and a 17-point game against his former team could be your sign to package him in a deal to get you a more reliable player for the second half.
Marcus Morris Knicks – Morris went off for a career-high 38 points on Sunday with six triples, five boards, two steals and a block. He celebrated by missing Monday’s practice with a sore neck. He’ll likely play through it, but the Knicks know what he can do and my guess is they’ll want to see what the younger players can do over the second half. Morris has had an intriguing season and was awesome on Sunday, which should be your sign to move him while his value is at its peak.
Goran Dragic Heat – Dragic is healthy again and lit up the Blazers for a season-high 29 points, a season-high 13 assists and tied his career high with seven 3-pointers on Sunday. The Heat have Kendrick Nunn and Justise Winslow (back) to share minutes with Dragic at point guard and Sunday should go down as the highlight of his season. Jimmy Butler was also out for that game, so moving Dragic right now might be the ultimate sell-high move, even though he’s probably not likely to bring back a ton in return. But if I could trade him for a guy like Troy Brown, I’d do it.
Gorgui Dieng Wolves – Dieng has been awesome without Karl-Anthony Towns (knee) around for the last 10 games and had 22 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and four blocks on Sunday. If KAT continues to deal with his knee injury for the rest of the season, holding onto Dieng makes a ton of sense. But if KAT comes back and proves to be healthy, Dieng could quickly become a forgotten man. There are a lot of ‘ifs’ surrounding a trade involving Dieng, but my gut says that Kat is going to come back and pretty much ruin Dieng. And if it happens, owners will wish they would have taken advantage of the current opportunity they had to sell high on the big man. It’s an interesting risk vs. reward move and all depends on whether or not KAT can come back and stay healthy.
Derrick Rose Pistons – Rose is arguably playing as well as he ever has for the Pistons right now, but I still have trust issues. His knees are simply going to have to act up again, right? No, I’m not hoping that’s the case, but it would be shocking to see Rose still playing two months from now, especially with the Pistons not sniffing the playoffs. Rose has been a blast to own the last few weeks, but I’d much rather deal with him on a daily basis in DFS than think that I can rely on him down the stretch of the regular season. Strike up a trade while the iron is hot if you own Rose. The eventual return of Reggie Jackson (back) isn’t going to help, either, and Bruce Brown looks like he’s about to heat up again, as well.