Happy New Year and welcome to our first offering in 2022. As we flip the calendar and leave the 2021 portion of the season in our rearview, there is a sense that January marks the beginning of something new in fantasy basketball. Is it the fact that the trade deadline becomes clearer in sight? Maybe. Is it the feeling that, there has been a significant sample size that GM’s feel compelled to make moves via the trade market? Perhaps. Gm’s are bored? Quite possibly. In all likelihood, we experience a combination of those things at the turn of the new year and, as a result, people look to shake things up with regard to roster construction as they have become convinced that whatever they have tried to this point simply is not effective enough.

As I’ve prefaced before, finding value deeper into the season becomes increasingly difficult as player trends and tendencies become more hardwired as they deviate closer to the mean. To quote the late charismatic NFL coach Dennis Green: “They are who we thought they were!” For the most part players will be whom they are from here on out barring an injury or roster change. Therefore, when a player who consistently produces at a certain level suddenly dips a significant amount over the course of three games or more, we take notice. Additionally, if that production dip seems to provide an opportunity for value in our favor through a trade, we take keen interest. Week after week, that is what we strive for.

Without further delay, let us get into this week’s feature player.

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Gary Trent Jr.

GTJ has been thriving in his first full season as a Toronto Raptor. To begin the season, Trent was one of the best shooting guards in the league with his value being vaulted by high threes and scoring to go along with an insanely high steals clip that was over three per game in the early part of the season. As expected, the steal rate has come down significantly as well as the three-point shooting, as those early returns were never going to be sustainable. Over the past week, GTJ has been the 208th ranked player behind per game averages of:

12 points, 2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.7 steals, zero blocks, 40% field goal and 100% from the line.

The 100% from the line is only on 0.7 attempts per game and therefore is not a major contributor to his value. On the season, GTJ is the 55th ranked player behind 16.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.3 blocks, 2.7 threes while shooting 42.2% and 85.2% from the field and line respectively. What you see in the discrepancy in ranking is the three-point shooting, points, and steals.

Three-point shooting and points are tethered together, as you make more threes you obviously will score more points. If GTJ increases his production from three by 0.5 per game, he can improve his points per game from 12 to 13.5.

I also believe that while he may not average 2.0 steals per game on the season, he could realistically average 1.5, which would again increase his value from the 208 he is currently at.

GTJ will not finish the season as the 55th ranked player in fantasy as his scorching hot start to the season would help to suggest. Instead, I see him as a top 75-85 player with a specialty in threes and steals. Maintaining a high steal rate can be finicky, and when a player’s value hinges heavily on steals it can make his value a bit of a mirage at times when the steals are flowing.

That being said, his value is low and the Raptors are back to full strength with everyone back and healthy. This means that GTJ will be competing for usage and therefore his current owner may become frustrated that he is not returning the October and November versions of GTJ. You however know that, GTJ moving forward will look different but will still be better than he has been and the opportunity to buy low is now before his current owner settles into the idea of this is what to expect from him with squad at full strength.

The Raptors need his court spacing, so his skillset is valued on this team and he is a part of their success as a bull nosed defender. Steals are difficult to find on the wire so float your offers out there and get some GTJ stock.

As always, hit me up in the comments if you agree, disagree, or simply have something to say.

Good Luck out there,

Peace.