It’s never, ever, too early to start looking ahead.
With the All-Star break almost behind us, the second half of the NBA season is set to kick off on Tuesday. For those of you in seasonal leagues, you may need to make a push for the playoffs. Looking at the schedule ahead is an underused strategy in fantasy land, but it can drastically improve your odds of bringing home the fantasy gold. So, try to take advantage of players with some rising value and then, at the last second…
Reggie Jackson, Oklahoma City Thunder
An obvious one here, as the return of Russell Westbrook will absolutely destroy the value of Jackson. Reports out of OKC hint at Westbrook returning to action on Thursday, so the time is now to deal Jackson while he’s at his highest point. He will still play plenty of minutes off the bench, especially as the Thunder ease Westbrook back into the lineup, but unless he goes down again, Jackson’s fantasy value will be little. Also, the Thunder have 27 games left after the ASB, which is the fewest among any team in basketball. So, if you are battling for a playoff spot, Jackson, in my eyes, is an absolute must sell at this point.
David Lee, Golden State Warriors
Lee started the season red hot, but injury has limited him to just three games this February, averaging just 14 points per game during that span. I’m not sold on the fact that Lee is seeing just 4.4 close touches per game this year, which is 34th in the league. I think we could be seeing a bit of regression from Lee during the second half of the season, but more importantly, his schedule is less than favorable. During the final three-week period of the NBA season, the Warriors play just nine games, which is fewer than any team in basketball. They have a week where they play just two games, which just so happens to be the opening week of most fantasy basketball playoffs. If you begin to lock up a playoff spot, I’d strongly consider dealing Lee in exchange for someone with equal value, but also more games on tap.
Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
He is no longer The Flash.
No, Wade’s new nickname is GTD, as in game-time decision. The guy seemingly is a game-time call every single night, providing a hassle for fantasy owners. If you submit your lineup with Wade in it for the week and he sits out a few games with a migraine or something, you are in trouble. I’d try to deal Wade and use his name value to get a younger guy who provides more upside, as well as safety. The Heat are likely going to lock up the number one or two seed in the East, allowing them to rest Wade a bit, or at least limit his minutes. At a shooting guard position where you’d want to target three-pointers, Wade is hitting an ugly 0.3 per game. I would be drastically trying to package Wade in a deal to acquire someone like Lance Stephenson or Victor Oladipo. Both provide peripherals like Wade, but both will likely play more the rest of the way.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.