Week 18 Fantasy Basketball Notebook: NBA Trade Deadline Winners & Losers

The 2019 NBA trade deadline featured no shortage of action: Tobias Harris is a Philadelphia 76er, Marc Gasol is a Toronto Raptor, Nikola Mirotic is a Milwaukee Buck, Otto Porter Jr. is a Chicago Bull and Harrison Barnes is a Sacramento King.

Beyond those five, however, few other fantasy-relevant options switched teams at the deadline, as most of the other swaps involved lightly used reserves.

Rather than break down the fantasy impact of every trade, let’s take an expanded look at whose stock rose and fell in the wake of the deadline. Below that, you can find waiver-wire pickups for the week and updates on notable injury news.

Stock up

Dennis Smith Jr., PG, New York Knicks: Smith averaged 12.9 points, 4.3 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 28.4 minutes per contest in 32 games with the Dallas Mavericks this season. During four games thus far with the Knicks, he’s up to 19.3 points, 6.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals. His shooting efficiency has plummeted (40.9 percent), in part because he’s taking a higher volume of shots from 3-point range, but he’s a clear trade-deadline winner after a disappointing sophomore campaign in Dallas.

Jabari Parker, SF/PF, Washington Wizards: Freed from Chicago Bulls head coach Jim Boylen, Parker has a new lease on his fantasy life in Washington. He finished with seven points on 3-of-6 shooting, 11 rebounds, nine assists and three steals during his Wizards debut Friday. He followed that up with 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting, six assists, five rebounds, two blocks and a steal in 35 minutes against the Bulls on Saturday. With the Wizards having shipped out Porter and Markieff Morris, Parker should have the opportunity to play far more minutes than he had in Chicago.

Jonas Valanciunas, C, Memphis Grizzlies: Valanciunas missed Saturday’s win over the Pelicans because of issues with immigration paperwork, but he should be ready to roll Tuesday against the Spurs. Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said he plans on keeping Ivan Rabb in the starting lineup “for the time being,” per David Cobb of the Commercial Appeal, but that sounds subject to change. Either way, Valanciunas should have an easier time siphoning minutes from Rabb than he did from Serge Ibaka in Toronto, making him well worth an add where available.

Stock down

Feb 9, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Toronto Raptors center Marc Gasol (33) controls the ball against New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (26) during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Davis, PF, New Orleans Pelicans: The Pelicans’ decision not to trade Davis by the deadline is awful news for his fantasy owners. In fear of him suffering an injury, the Pels agreed not to play him in back-to-backs, and his minutes will “possibly be reduced,” according to ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst. Davis erupted for 32 points on 11-of-15 shooting, nine rebounds and three blocks in 25 minutes during his return to the floor Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, but owners shouldn’t expect him to post top-five value moving forward.

Tobias Harris, PF, Philadelphia 76ers: Harris was one of this year’s better draft-day steals, as he’s posting top-25 value after coming off the board during the middle of the fifth round on average. Now that he’s sharing touches with Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick, however, it’ll be difficult for him to continue putting up the career-best numbers he was with the Los Angeles Clippers. After his 22-point, six-rebound, six-assist performance against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, it’s worth shopping him around to see if you can sell high.

Marc Gasol, C, Toronto Raptors: Reading into a one-game sample size is dangerous, but Gasol’s seven-point, six-rebound night in his Raptors debut against the Knicks on Saturday is concerning nevertheless. Toronto head coach Nick Nurse has yet to reveal whether Gasol will continue coming off the bench or if the starting frontcourt will change on a matchup-by-matchup basis (as it did when Valanciuanas was there). Either way, Gasol is facing far more competition for minutes than he did in Memphis. Unless Serge Ibaka goes down with a long-term injury, Gasol may struggle to return top-50 value moving forward.   

Waiver-wire pickups

Feb 5, 2019; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Ivan Rabb (10) handles the ball against Minnesota Timberwolves forward Dario Saric (36) during the first half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Green, SF/PF, Washington Wizards (22.8% owned): In Green’s first game after the trade deadline, he put up 15 points on 4-of-7 shooting, eight rebounds, four assists, two triples and a block during only 26 minutes against the Cavaliers. Over his previous nine, he had 18.3 points on 49.1 percent shooting, 3.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.8 triples in 31.4 minutes per game. He left Saturday’s game against the Bulls after only nine minutes due to hip tightness, and Parker and Bobby Portis may cut into his minutes moving forward, but he’s worth a pickup to see how the Wizards’ post-deadline rotation shakes out.

Ivica Zubac, C, Los Angeles Clippers (12.0% owned): Zubac had been coming on as of late with the Lakers after a nondescript start to the season, but his arrival on the Clippers should help him post more consistent fantasy value. He immediately slid into the starting lineup Saturday, finishing with 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting, nine rebounds and three blocks in 23 minutes. Montrezl Harrell will still steal minutes as a small-ball center, but not having to compete with Tyson Chandler and JaVale McGee should do wonders for Zubac’s fantasy value moving forward.

Ivan Rabb, PF/C, Memphis Grizzlies (6.8% owned): Rabb has started three straight games for the Grizzlies in Gasol’s absence, putting up 14.7 points on 72.0 percent shooting (!), 9.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.0 blocks in 30.8 minutes. Since Bickerstaff plans to keep Rabb as a starter for now, the arrival of Valanciunas may not be a death knell to his fantasy value. It’s worth scooping him up to see how the Grizzlies allocate their minutes at the 5 with Gasol now in Toronto.

Cody Zeller, C, Charlotte Hornets (6.1% owned): Zeller returned from a 16-game absence on Feb. 5 and finished with six points on 1-of-2 shooting, 11 rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block in 23 minutes. The following night, he had nine points on 4-of-6 shooting, 13 rebounds, one assist and one steal in 25 minutes, and he moved back into Charlotte’s starting lineup Saturday, finishing with 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting, eight rebounds and four assists in 26 minutes. With the Hornets’ attempted deal for Marc Gasol having fallen through, Zeller should keep the starting center job so long as he stays healthy.

Nov 12, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New Orleans Pelicans guard-forward Kenrich Williams (34) takes a break during warm up before a game against the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Kenrich Williams, PF, New Orleans Pelicans (4.7% owned): Williams’ fantasy ownership is set to soar in the coming weeks, so pick him up now to get ahead of the curve. Over his past seven games (four starts), he’s put up 12.9 points on 48.6 percent shooting, 9.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.3 triples and 1.1 blocks in 34.6 minutes per game. With Mirotic now in Milwaukee and Davis’ minutes in flux, Williams should be a lock for a significant role moving forward, making him a must-own in leagues of all sizes. 

Previously mentioned:

Caris LeVert, SG/SF, Brooklyn Nets (44.5% owned)

Bobby Portis, PF, Washington Wizards (33.7% owned)

Terrence Ross, SG/SF, Orlando Magic (25.7% owned)

Malik Beasley, SG, Denver Nuggets (23.9% owned)

Jonathan Isaac, SF/PF, Orlando Magic (19.8% owned)

Notable injury news

Kyrie Irving, PG, Boston Celtics: Irving suffered a strained right knee during Saturday’s loss to the Clippers and is listed as day-to-day. With only two games left until the All-Star break, they may decide it’s prudent to shut him down and give him nearly two weeks of rest so he’s ready for the stretch run. Terry Rozier will be a strong short-term fill-in if Irving does miss any time.

Kevin Love, PF, Cleveland Cavaliers: Love made his return Friday from a toe injury after missing 50 games, finishing with four points on 1-of-5 shooting, one rebound and one assist in seven minutes. The Cavaliers intentionally limited his playing time Friday and held him out Saturday, so his short-term production figures to be highly variable. Once he’s back up to speed, he figures to eat into Larry Nance Jr.’s playing time, but Nance (riding a five-game double-double streak) should be safe for now.

Derrick White, PG, San Antonio Spurs: White has missed the Spurs’ past four games with plantar fasciitis in his right foot and isn’t expected to return until after the All-Star break, according to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. During the month of January, the second-year guard averaged 15.3 points on 59.7 percent shooting, 5.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.1 triples and 0.8 blocks, making him the 40th-ranked player over that span. If you’re coasting toward a playoff spot, he’s worth a pickup, as his ownership percentage has plunged to 19.6 percent in the wake of his recent absence. 

Mo Bamba, C, Orlando Magic: Bamba has been diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left leg and is expected to miss “significant time,” according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. That makes him droppable in 10- and 12-team leagues, as he wasn’t producing enough to merit being rostered with the fantasy playoffs rapidly approaching. Nikola Vucevic, Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon should continue seeing all the minutes they can handle in the frontcourt.

All ownership percentages via ESPN.comAll average draft position info via FantasyPros. All rankings via Basketball Monster are based on nine-category leagues and are current heading into Monday, Feb. 11.