Fantasy Basketball Trade Index: Dont Forget About Josh Hart

A couple of months ago? I decided it was time. It was time to engineer a break from my beloved Washington Football Team.

And I don't mean for me. For me... it's too late. My brain is too overpopulated with 1982-92 memories. Too much Riggins-related dopamine.

But it's not too late to engineer a break for my son. To protect him from what post-Art-Monk WFT fandom has become.

I have a vision. As Krypton is imploding and Dak Prescott is raining down 56 on national television. As Jonathan Allen is taking a swing at Daron Payne while heroic, noble Ron Rivera confronts the abyss.

I can lovingly place my son in an escape pod, swaddle him in a Justin Herbert jersey, hand him my 45 of "San Diego Super Chargers," then jettison the pod in the direction of SoFi stadium.

As for me? I have my memories. One memory, in particular, has been bubbling up as of late. It applies to our current fantasy basketball condition.

So walk with me, fellow fantasy hoops enthusiasts. I promise this will all make sense...

It's January 1988. I have permission to skip school to attend our second Super Bowl parade to loudly cheer my childhood heroes who made the parade possible: Doug Williams, Art Monk, Gary Clark, Ricky Sanders, Charles Mann, Clint Didier, Don Warren and (our greatest living American) Darrell Green.

But also to pause in the bedlam...and quietly thank our already-forgotten scabs.

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Our Washington temp team went 3-0 during the 1987 strike. We made it through the strike without a single player crossing the picket line.

Other teams sank into confusion over playing vs. not playing. Our replacements? Our collection of castoffs? They secretly powered Washington's winning the NFC East. Most importantly, in their final game (ever), they embarrassed Tony Dorsett and Danny White on Monday Night Football.

It's 34 years later. I still remember the names.

I remember running back Lionel Vital going over 100 yards. Safety Tommy Haynes picking off Danny White to prevent a Cowboy touchdown. Some guy named Steve Martin sacking Danny White...and then sacking him again.

Most of all, I remember panicking when apex scab QB Ed "Keanu" Rubbert got knocked out on a borderline hit (because: Dallas). But then QB2 Tony Robinson -- on work release from prison -- came off the bench, hit 11-of-18 passes, and moved the chains just enough to preserve one of the biggest upsets in the history of sports.

The next week? All of the scabs were gone, replaced by who they replaced. But our temp team's 13-7 Week 5 win made that Super Bowl parade in Downtown DC a reality.

The ranks of the less-informed put an asterisk by that Super Bowl win. In reality? It was the most impressive of the Gibbs I Era.

Lombardi Trophy #2 testifies how our savvy General Manager Bobby Beathard had the tenacity and vision to turn a work stoppage into a competitive differentiator.

Now you can do the same.

34 years from now? When thinking back on your virtual 2022 hoops victory parade? I hope you'll remember some other forgotten names.

Names like Herbert Jones. Facundo Campazzo.

You'll remember how your fellow managers wallowed in all those little red "COVID"s on their roster. How they made excuses.

But not you.

You leveraged the mayhem. Like the legendary Bobby Beathard, you recognized the sudden influx of unknowns as a competitive opportunity.

Come 2058, you'll be proud you welcomed the challenge.

So let's make some memories-to-be. Let's talk about some of my favorite "Protocol Players."

To make this simpler to follow (something we could all use more of), I'm going to break this down into four categories of Protocol Player.

1. Bad team = Extended opportunities

R.J. Hampton, PG, Orlando Magic

The best place to start looking for your "Replacements": teams already out of playoff contention. Because if The Process teaches us anything, it's that rebuilding teams will offer fantasy opportunities to marginal rotation players, and that's not even factoring in COVID.

In our current situation? A solid protocol player on a lottery team can play themselves into a longterm fantasy-worthy role.

Orlando's backcourt houses considerable young fantasy upside: Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs...and don't forget Markelle Fultz. Plus Gary Harris is a historically solid fantasy 2-guard.

But don't sleep on Hampton. After four recent DNPs, Hampton reemerged with two 10-team-league-worthy lines. A combined 23 points, 9 assists, 4 steals, 2 blocks and 3 3s. Those aren't bad numbers to stream on a cold Tuesday night.

Hampton evinces a key Protocol Player trait: microwavability. The ability to shake off the rust, step in and heat up.

Hampton possesses another key Protocol Player trait: youth. 20-year-olds like Hampton don't require much "ramping up" into game condition after a few DNPs.

Others in this category: Wendell Carter Jr., David Nwaba, Frank Jackson

2. Live in the now: Temporary first-second options

Herbert Jones, SF, New Orleans Pelicans

No player screams "Live in the now" at fantasy managers with the stentorian blare of Jones. Yeah, yeah, yeah... Brandon Ingram is out. Josh Hart is out. They'll come back, and Jones will fall back to earth.

Don't overthink this. Don't get cute. And don't waste your time thinking about how you're gonna "sell high" on a Protocol Player.

Look. Your fellow managers may have their priorities out of whack. They may be spending time with family instead of tracking new 10-day contracts. But they aren't dumb. They aren't going to let you hoodwink your way into some sweetheart deal for a guy who scored 3 points in 21 minutes on Dec. 21.

I'm sorry. But you aren't going to get to trade Herb Jones for James Harden. So don't waste your bandwith trying to trick your fellow fantasy enthusiasts.

It's Matthew Berry's birthday. Lead with Roto Honor. And remember, protocol fantasy management requires clarity, simplicity...and most of all, humility.

This is a game. Make it easy. You grab the guy on the wire who just put up 26 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 3s. And you hang onto him until he stops doing that.

And if Jones is still doing that by your trade deadline? Then you probably won't want to deal him anyway. Because no one is gonna make you a Godfather offer for Herbert Jones.

Other players in category: Otto Porter Jr., Gary Payton II, Keldon Johnson

3. Sleeper realizing potential

Desmond Bane, SG/SF, Memphis Grizzlies

Bane isn't a Protocol Player in the truest sense. He's not unknown to savvy managers.

Bane is a fantasy sleeper flashing his preseason potential. A young player with upside getting extended minutes and touches amid a colossal pile of DNPs.

When it comes to identifying rising Protocol Players? Minutes are key. But usage is dinner. Give a Protocol Player a steady diet of touches, and said player will deliver.

Over the past two weeks, Bane has benefited from available minutes. But even more from being given the green light. From being permitted to dominate possession.

Over the past two weeks, Bane's Usage has peaked in the mid-20s. That's an All-Star level rate of possession. Since December 15th, Bane is averaging 21.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.4 blocks and 4.0 3s.

And Bane's hitting 51.9% of his 3s. And only turning the ball over 1.3 times a tilt. And shooting 100% at the free-throw line!


Desmond Bane makes a great defensive play for the steal

Desmond Bane makes a great defensive play for the steal

What does that mean? That Bane is more than a Sam Hinkie process-style producer. He's not making hay with sheer volume.

Bane is not Ed Rubbert from that Washington football team from 34 years ago. He is a future fantasy mainstay coming into his own. Using his extended opportunity to show he can flourish with volume and efficiency.

Will Bane maintain his minutes and Usage when De'Anthony Melton returns? No. Of course not. He won't. But Bane has established upside equal -- if not greater -- than fantasy fave Melton.

There. I said it.

I love Melton. But for all his multi-categorical goodness? In a points league, I'd rather have this version of Bane. I'd rather have this version of Bane in any format.

At first glance, Bane offers another classic, traditional fantasy "sell high" proposition. But we are not in a classic, traditional fantasy situation. We are in a historically disruptive fantasy situation. (Don't believe me? Go turn on the news for 10-20 seconds, then see if you've reconsidered.)

Right now, Desmond Bane is a top-20 player. In roto... I'd say top-15. When Melton comes back, Bane will slip. But how far? Top-40? Top-60?

No one knows. There are too many variables at play. We are all guessing Bane's eventual value playing alongside a healthy Melton.

Again, Bane is not a Protocol Player. He is a 23-year-old sleeper realizing real, lasting, longterm potential.

He's vacuuming short-term Usage. But Bane's been getting fantasy-worthy minutes all season. We aren't talking about some 10-day dude who's going back to the Big 3 next week.

And right now, Bane is offering the one thing managers can never refuse: points. Unlike Melton, Bane has more trade value because of the scoring.

So someone gets all glassy-eyed and makes an offer based on recent PPG? Give it a look? Sure. In times of fantasy trouble, managers cling to points per game out of sheer Pavlovian instinct.

But don't base your valuation of Bane off him losing touches to Melton. I have Bane in a league. I would take nothing less then third-round value. And third-round value in an established fantasy star player. Not Cam Reddish. Not someone with an inflated COVID role. I'm talking Devin Booker. Tobias Harris.

Think of it like this: would you rather roster Ja Morant or Desmond Bane over the next few games?

Other players in this group: Tyrese Haliburton, Cam Reddish, Derrick White, Cameron Johnson, Jaden McDaniels, Malik Monk, Jaylen Nowell

4. TBD

Facundo Campazzo, PG, Denver Nuggets

The bio doesn't exactly scream "bid your FAAB on this dude." 30-year-old NBA sophomore. 38.5 career FG%. 5'10".

For a snapshot of peak Campazzo production? I would refer you to his past-nine averages: 8.0 PPG, 5.9 APG, 1.7 SPG, 1.6 3PG, 0.9 BPG.

Most managers start to nod off after the 8.0 PPG. Let them.

We are wide awake. We see steady across-the-board production. And a 5-foot-10 point guard averaging nearly a block a game.

Does Campazzo offer any longterm value? Who knows? More than that... who cares? Right now? Campazzo is a top-50 player.

Do not "sell high." No one will offer you fair market value for players like Facundo Campazzo. Because no one -- no one -- knows the market value for Facundo Campazzo. It's like asking an oceanographer to tell you what's at the bottom of the Marianas Trench.

Other players in this group: Payton Pritchard, Yuta Watanabe, John Konchar, Jock Landale, Omer Yurtseven, Hamidou Diallo, Delon Wright, Gabe Vincent

Take the production where you can find it. Don't waste your time on a bunch of annoying trade ideas. Monitor the injury reports. Take what you see.

Then take a step back, and get a sense of who's rising and falling.

And always add and drop with ruthless, Belichickian intensity.

Source :

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