Grand Theft Roto: Targeting two-for-one trades
A general rule for fantasy is to be on the "one-side" of any two-for-one trade. Usually in such a deal, the owner receiving one player walks away with the best player in the deal and an empty roster spot to nab the best player off the waiver wire. However, at this point in the season if you are struggling to move up the standings, I have always advised trying to be on the "two-side" of a two-for-one trade. If you are laboring in the middle of your standings, odds are you have a few players who could use the boot. By dealing the supposed best player in a two-for-one trade, you can get two roster-worthy additions and remove some dead weight from your team in the process.
Notice how I used the word "supposed" at the end of that paragraph? Well, to make a move with a two-for-one trade you are going to need to capitalize on name value. What I have for you is a list of trades I would consider involving star players that would allow you to pick up a suitable replacement and some help elsewhere.
Deal Marc Savard, C, Bruins for Nicklas Backstrom, C, Capitals and more: Savard has quietly become a name most fantasy owners trust. Notching back-to-back 90-point seasons will do that for a player's reputation. Savard, however, has also been a first-half performer both seasons he accomplished that feat. Backstrom, who is now committed to a line with Alexander Ovechkin, will easily match, perhaps even surpass, Savard's production for the rest of the season. The strength of both players lies in their set-up ability, so you really shouldn't lose anything by making this deal. You can probably also get a serviceable No. 4 defenseman thrown in with Backstrom thanks to Savard's reputation.
Deal Evgeni Malkin, C, Penguins for Peter Mueller, C, Coyotes and more: No player has been hotter than Malkin of late, but this pace won't continue when Sidney Crosby returns to the lineup in as little as 2 1/2 weeks (best case). Clearly, Malkin is a guy who steps up his game in the absence of other superstars. That makes it a good time to capitalize on the fact that Malkin is now being viewed as one of the most valuable fantasy assets going forward. I assure you that he won't be at the conclusion of the month. Mueller has stepped up his game to the point that he is almost as valuable as any other center going forward. I'll bet by trading Malkin for Mueller you can also get a No. 2 or 3 winger tossed in as compensation. That could be the extra production you need to make a quick move in the standings.
Deal Rick Nash, LW, Blue Jackets for Patrik Elias, LW, Devils and more: Nash is one of the most dynamic scorers in all of hockey and has a reputation to that very point. His goal of the year likely has him entrenched in many fantasy owners' minds as a terrific asset. Well guess what? He isn't all that and more. There are maybe 20 left wingers whom I'd rather have going forward; the Blue Jackets continue to remind us that they are still at least a year away from being a contender. Pascal Leclaire's hot streak was fun and the Blue Jackets are still a defensively balanced team, but the honeymoon is over. Patrik Elias has been falling out of favor with fantasy owners for, well, more than a year now. But he has been twice as productive as Nash the past month. The Devils' offense is waking up and Elias is their second-in-command. Make this swap and get a No. 2 defenseman as a throw-in from Nash's owner.
Deal Jarome Iginla, RW, Flames for Alexei Kovalev, RW, Canadiens and more: I wasn't confident about it, but I quietly got off the Flames' bandwagon a little more than a month ago and am I ever glad I did. Iginla has been borderline waiver-fodder since early January. Still, his name will command top dollar in any fantasy league. So I would bail out and grab Kovalev and an upgrade elsewhere. The Canadiens are built for power-play offense, and Kovalev is the main cog in their machine. Kovalev's owners are likely pretty attached, but dangle the ever-lovable Iginla in front of them, and I'll bet you can get a second player worthy of your lineup in the deal.
Deal Jaromir Jagr, RW, Rangers for Alexander Radulov, RW, Predators and more: I believed in the preseason. Oh yes, I believed big-time in Jagr having a renaissance season. It was a little more than a month before I changed my mind, however. Even though his tear in late December had me hoping, Jagr is completely dead to me now. Yet, there are still some fantasy owners who think he could somehow find his old form as an offensive powerhouse, and I'll bet you can cash him in for quite a bit. Radulov makes a great target, because it wasn't until he found chemistry with Jason Arnott and J.P. Dumont in mid-January that he became a bona fide superstar. He'll come close to doubling Jagr's performance from here on out and I'll bet you can get a throw-in with him in a trade.
Deal Wade Redden, D, Senators for Craig Rivet, D, Sharks and more: Beyond the fact that I can't see Redden finishing the season healthy, is the fact that some people still look at him and see a defenseman who approached a ridiculous 0.80 point-per-game pace two seasons ago. Redden hasn't played more than 65 games in a season since before the lockout. Rivet, on the other hand, remains the best offensive defenseman that the Sharks have (that isn't a defensive liability or in a monumental sophomore slump). Redden and Rivet both have one goal and six assists in the past 30 days and Rivet even edges Redden in PIMs and power-play points. I'll bet you can move Redden for Rivet and pickup another player who improves your reserves.
Deal Cristobal Huet, G, Canadiens for Jose Theodore, G, Avalanche and more: I'm all-in on Theodore now. After watching a game closely, his glove is as sharp as it was in his Hart Trophy days with Montreal. Theodore is among a group of goalies whom you can argue have been the second-best fantasy netminders in the past month (behind Ryan Miller) and that has been without Colorado's best offensive performers. Huet had a terrific run to start 2008, but he now has rookie phenom Carey Price breathing down his neck and stealing starts. Montreal knows Price is the future and he isn't in the big leagues to rest. I could see a 60/40 split of duties, which would be very detrimental to Huet's value. Swapping him for Theodore should give you a chance to get a low-tier No. 2 winger out of your partner as well.
Deal Jay Bouwmeester, D, Panthers for Johnny Oduya, D, Devils and more: Oduya has incredible moves and Bouwmeester will never live up to his expectations, especially with Cory Murphy back in the picture.
Deal Brian Campbell, D, Sabres for John-Michael Liles, D, Avalanche and more: Liles has been just as useful as Campbell of late, yet Campbell gets all the press. You should be able to get a great second player thrown in with this deal.
Deal Martin Brodeur, G, Devils for Dominik Hasek, G, Red Wings and more: I know it sounds crazy, but you may have noticed the Devils' new focus is on offense. Besides, Detroit has to start getting Hasek more than 50 percent of the work to get him ready for the playoffs.
Sean Allen is a fantasy baseball and hockey analyst for ESPN.com. You can Email him here.
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