• Everyone loves the NBA trade deadline. Notifications are on so we can react as fast as our fingers can type 280 characters, immediate reactions are far more entertaining than measured takes, and trade grades are thrown out with zero indication of what the other options were or what a front office was trying to accomplish.

    I love reacting to transactions and trying to dissect what a move means for each of the franchises and players involved. But part of being a successful dynasty GM is being proactive, not just reactive. Fantasy output can come in multiple ways, but one of the easiest and most immediate is a change in opportunity, which the trade deadline brings in excess. So here we are to break down a couple players you might want to target as a buy or sell before the February 10th deadline approaches.

    This is just a glimpse into the guys that should be inquired about, but it isn’t a to-do list. Managers still have to consider team direction, build, and league size. In this article we’re going to focus on players that are mainstays in 12-team leagues, though FantasyPass members will get some extra intel as we also have the headline buy and sell calls, as well as targets who are suited to deeper formats. If you have questions about whether your deal is right, or if there’s someone else you want feedback on, follow me on Twitter @rhett_bauer and ask away!

    BUY

    Ben Simmons (PHI): Let’s start spicy. This is an extremely interesting case, because this is a guy who might be easier to get *after* the trade deadline if he’s still on the Sixers. This is a value play for teams that aren’t in the running to win it all this year, so if there is a team that will make the playoffs that has Simmons on their roster, start those conversations now. People have (rightfully) been dumping all over Simmons this year, but it seems like it’s gotten to the point where some of them forget what he was producing on a nightly basis. He’s still a 25-year-old top-40 or so dynasty player, and it’s very rare that someone like that is made available at a potential discount.

    P.J. Washington (CHA): Washington seems like the odd man out when the Hornets are healthy, but he’s still putting up top-130 numbers in only 23.9 mpg. We’ve seen him produce at a top-80 clip when he gets 30 minutes, which could be very easily repeatable if he’s moved for an upgrade at center. (Honorable mention to Jalen McDaniels, who I think could be something in deep leagues if he weren’t also buried).

    Isaiah Jackson (IND): Part of the reason the Pacers want to move Turner is not just the awkward fit in the starting lineup, but also the players behind him. The Pacers have been gushing over Jackson all year, and there have been some flashes that show why on both ends of the floor. Fouling is keeping his minutes low, but that’s a consequence of the rawness that comes with just turning 20 years old and the exact situation we want to get ahead of. (This may also apply to Goga Bitadze, but what he’s been doing in drastically increased minutes is going to make him hard to pry away.)

    De’Anthony Melton (MEM): This is a guy who has been on this list for years, and will continue to be on this list until something happens. He’s produced at a top-130 level for the year in just 23 minutes a game, but the inconsistency of that production could lead to some impatience as teams head into the fantasy playoffs. Don’t be shy about acquiring a 23 year old who can easily be top-75 if given 30 minutes a night.

    Markelle Fultz (ORL): This will not be popular target, and there’s an easy path to disagreement here with the amount of guards the Magic have. But that’s why he’s on here, because Fultz was legitimately good before he was injured and the price may be low enough that it’s worth the flier even if he does come back to a timeshare. 23 years old, on his second contract, still with the shine of being the No. 1 overall pick, and on a team that looks like they’ll be getting at least one more very high draft pick? It may not be this year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Fultz on a different team before this contract is up.

    Sell

    Al Horford (BOS): Horford is a player whose dynasty stock has already been in decline. His age alone puts him in firm sell territory, though some strong play earlier in the year led to hopes of a late renaissance. If you were really proactive you would have sold when he was inside the top-40 for the first couple months of the season, but there may still be a market to sell to a contender needing to get over the hump.

    Jarred Vanderbilt (MIN): Let me be clear: this is not about doubting Vanderbilt as a player or doubting his role, because I was screaming at every team for not signing him this summer and believe in what he can do. This is about value, and seeing what he can fetch before the fantasy trade deadline. DO NOT just move him because he’s included on the list, but do move him if you can get a true top-75 or so dynasty player that’s maybe having a down year and isn’t so heavily reliant on a category or two to have value.

    Cole Anthony (ORL): Another Magic guard, but for different reasons. Anthony exploded out of the gate, soaking up all of the usage that came from a team missing so many ball handlers and producing some big lines to the tune of a top-50 player in the first two months of the season. But he’s only been a top-175 player in the last two months (20 games played), and that’s without adding Markelle Fultz or Jonathon Isaac’s minutes/usage to the mix. There is still a chance that someone out there hasn’t been paying close enough attention recently and will buy his top-80 9-cat ranking on the season.

    Tyrese Maxey (PHI): Another value play, not that I don’t believe in the player at all. I will say that if there is a Simmons move, it will be for a shot creator that will impact Maxey’s production in some way, so selling now might not be a bad idea if someone believes otherwise. He’s inside the top-70 on the year in his first year as a starter which is not something to take lightly, but we have to ask the same question that the Sixers front office does: what is the comfort level of handing Maxey the lead-guard responsibility on a true contender?

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