A trade can radically change a player's fantasy value. For instance, going into last season, James Harden was the reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year and a top-30 fantasy talent. One shocking trade later, the man and his man-beard land in Houston, and Harden transforms from fantasy star to fantasy stud. This season, he's a consensus top-five draft pick.
On the flip side, during the lockout-marred season of 2011-12, Ryan Anderson averaged 2.7 3-pointers a game alongside Dwight Howard with the Orlando Magic. That led all regulars by a solid margin. Second-best was Ray Allen, who put up 2.3 treys a game two years ago in what would be his final season with the Boston Celtics.
Looking at the raw numbers, you can't say that Anderson floundered after being dealt to the then-New Orleans Hornets. He still put up 2.6 3s a game last season. However, Anderson went from a starting role to coming off the bench, and when Anthony Davis was healthy, Anderson owners paid for those triples. As a reserve, he averaged a pedestrian 15.4 points while shooting just 41.5 percent. Had Davis not missed so much time in 2012-13, Anderson's production likely would have slipped further. In any event, owners are taking a more realistic view of him this season. After going as high as the late fourth round last season, Anderson will likely be available 10-15 picks later this year.
This article considers some players whose fantasy value could change, positively or negatively, as a result of offseason deals. It's not a complete list, nor is it meant to be. For further analysis and perspective, check out what was said at the time of the Howard signing and the Pierce-Garnett acquisition. A more general look at offseason moves is available here.
Paul Millsap, PF, Atlanta Hawks (No. 43 on the Player Rater for 2012-13): I said it here, and I'll expound upon it: Millsap is only two seasons removed from being a top-20 player in fantasy. Last season, while dealing with questions about his contract status and making room for Derrick Favors, Millsap played just 30 minutes a night. Figure on him seeing at least 33 minutes this season -- a 10 percent bump -- and apply that to his other numbers. That puts Millsap in the range of 16.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.4 steals a game. Millsap is a tremendous value in the middle rounds.
Jose Calderon, PG, Dallas Mavericks (No. 48 on the Player Rater for 2012-13): Injuries are always a concern with the veteran, but the Mavs insist that Calderon's recent left hamstring problem -- even though it kept him sidelined for two weeks of the preseason -- is a minor issue. As critical as point guard production is in fantasy, I think there's more value in later rounds than there has been in recent years, and Calderon, as someone you might land around pick 80, stands out in this regard. Throughout his career, Calderon has shown that, as a starter, he can deliver assists and 3s while making only a miniscule number of turnovers. Playing alongside Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis, he should -- if healthy -- thrive in Big D.
Eric Bledsoe, PG/SG, Phoenix Suns (No. 110 on the Player Rater for 2012-13): While you don't need me to tell you that Bledsoe becoming a starter will do wonders for his fantasy value, I'm going to tell you anyway. I'm just that excited about it. Actually, I'll limit myself to this point: For the steals potential alone, Bledsoe should be going much higher in drafts. Think about the steals leaders in the NBA last season -- Chris Paul, Mike Conley, Ellis, Kemba Walker, Harden and Paul George -- and then think about where they're getting drafted. I'm not trying to tell you that Bledsoe will be anywhere near as valuable as Paul or George. I'm just saying that players who are capable of 2.0 steals a game have unique fantasy value, and they don't generally fall too far on draft boards.
Josh Smith, SF/PF, Detroit Pistons (No. 55 on the Player Rater for 2012-13): In an interesting post, Dan Feldman of the PistonPowered blog argues that Smith taking more 3-pointers is a good thing for the Pistons. Of course, what may be good for the Pistons isn't necessarily good for fantasy owners. Against NBA competition, Smith has held his own from downtown thus far (5-for-14), but overall he's shooting just 42.9 percent this preseason (15-for-35). Shooting from the floor isn't the only issue with Smith. He was a gruesome 51.7 percent from the line in 2012-13 and has topped 63.0 percent just once in the past five seasons. What Smoove gives you in hustle categories he will surely take away in percentages.
O.J. Mayo, SG, Milwaukee Bucks (No. 33 on the Player Rater for 2012-13): I feel bad for Mayo. Prior to the break last season, he averaged 17.9 points, 4.3 assists, 2.0 3s and 1.3 steals a game. But he tanked over the final 30 games, averaging 10.9 points while shooting just 41.7 percent. It seems like Mayo wasn't really suited for the distributor role that was thrust upon him early on in Dallas. In that sense, maybe he benefits from his move to the Bucks. Looking at the roster, though, there doesn't seem to be a ton of scoring in Milwaukee. Mayo should get his points and 3s, but I'll expect he'll be closer to his 43.6 percent career shooting mark. From a fantasy standpoint, there's just nothing really special here.
Other Players of Intrigue
Monta Ellis, PG/SG, Dallas Mavericks (No. 21 on the Player Rater for 2012-13): I find it interesting that Rick Carlisle has gone to the lengths he has to make Ellis comfortable with the Mavs. But will anything really change for us? Ellis is a good player with a well-deserved rep for taking bad shots. Awesome as it would be for Ellis to shoot in the high 40s again, he's about to turn 28. As a player, he is what he is, and me thinking that Ellis could top his career 45.6 shooting percentage this season -- something he hasn't done since 2007-08 -- is likely a pipe dream.
Brandon Jennings, PG, Detroit Pistons (No. 25 on the Player Rater for 2012-13): As someone who once took an errant Novocaine needle to the tongue, I can commiserate with Jennings over his bad times in the dentist's chair. This is another player I want to buy, but even though he's four years younger than Ellis, it's probably too much to expect Jennings -- even with some intriguing talent around him -- to pass up a few jumpers. As much as I would love to see him hike that career 39.4 percent shooting even 3-4 percentage points, this seems like another well-established trend.
Andre Iguodala, SG/SF, Golden State Warriors (No. 63 on the Player Rater for 2012-13): I'm fascinated by this move, but I really don't see Iggy's value changing much. What I wonder is how his addition affects his teammates. Does Harrison Barnes, who's been injured this preseason, come off the bench? Do the Warriors play small lineups a significant amount of time? As a fan, I'm curious to see what happens in Oakland.