Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, we pose a question to a rotating panel of ESPN fantasy basketball experts to gauge their thoughts on a hot topic. Today's contributors are ESPN Fantasy's Joe Kaiser and Kyle Soppe and ESPN NBA writer Ohm Youngmisuk.
The NBA All-Star break is right around the corner, and it often marks a point in the season when some players who had been hot cool off for the stretch run. Name a player fantasy owners should trade now for peak value, because you think his second-half production will wane.
Anthony's name holds more value than his production for fantasy purposes. Can he score? Of course, he can. However, in this era of versatility, you need more than that. Melo's aggression seems to be on the decline, as he is averaging a career-low 5.3 free throws per game and his usage rate inside of 8 feet is less than half of his career average. The trade rumors continue to swirl, with the Clippers and Cavaliers pegged as potential destinations, and while his efficiency could spike in either situation, I believe the dip in sheer volume would mitigate any fantasy gains should he exchange his Knicks jersey for a new one later this month.
Dealing Embiid isn't complicated. Simply put, he's too risky. He's battling a knee injury that has limited him to just one game over the last two-plus weeks and, considering that the Sixers really aren't in playoff contention, I wouldn't be shocked if the team continued to #TrustTheProcess and played it safe with the franchise cornerstone. Even if he were to return today, Philadelphia still has six back-to-backs left on the schedule, something that limits Embiid's overall impact on your counting stats. He has been phenomenal and is a very exciting player -- which is exactly why I think he will land you plus-value in a trade.
Joe Kaiser: Playing in all but four of New Orleans' 52 games so far this season, Anthony Davis has been one of the top players in fantasy hoops, averaging 27.9 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.4 blocks per game. Davis carries as much trade value as anyone not named James Harden or Russell Westbrook, but he also has never played in more than 68 games in any of his first four NBA seasons.
Given that the Pelicans (20-32) are out of the playoff picture in the Western Conference, the risk with Davis is that the team shuts him down the next time he gets hurt seriously enough to sideline him for a few weeks. Given his long history with injuries, I'd think long and hard about dealing Davis now if you can get a good haul.
Ohm Youngmisuk: A few names immediately come to my mind, like Chicago's Jimmy Butler and Washington Bradley Beal. Butler has a heel injury to go along with a tumultuous situation in Chicago. Beal is hot right now, but has always had a history of injuries.
The guy I fret about most is Embiid, who has been terrific despite the minutes restriction and his recent court absence. Moving forward, you figure his minutes restriction will stick, and he hasn't played this many games ever, so the Sixers have to be cautious. Ben Simmons could be back, which could make Embiid slightly better, given Simmons' unselfishness. That said, there are too many question marks heading into the second half.
If I'm in a non-dynasty league, I want somebody who will be playing every game and a ton of minutes when the fantasy playoff start -- and Embiid is a risk.