Every Sunday Kevin Smith will preview the New York Knicks upcoming schedule from a fantasy perspective and take a quick look around the NBA. Kevin writes as Dime Magazine’s Fantasy Doctor. For more extensive fantasy basketball advice, click here.
KNICKS SCHEDULE ANALYSIS
Monday at Utah
Utah is a totally different team at home (23-8) than on the road (10-24). After surrendering 113 points to the Melo-less Knicks last week, expect them to clamp down defensively.
Wednesday vs. Orlando
The Magic are last in the league in opponent’s turnover per game, while the Knicks are ranked first in their own turnovers per game. Extra possessions are found gold, especially in the fantasy playoffs.
Friday at Toronto
No Knicks player has put up more than five assists in two games against Toronto so far this year. They also haven’t cracked 100 points in either of those games. Notice the correlation?
Saturday vs. Toronto
The Knicks swept the only home and home series they have played so far this year, handling the 76ers in the third and fourth games of the season.
STAT OF THE WEEK – 12
Kenyon Martin has 12 combined steals and blocks over the Knicks last five games. Together, Tyson Chandler and Iman Shumpert have 10 over that span.
DERON WILLIAMS, Brooklyn
Even before last week’s 42-point, 11-trey performance, Williams was picking up his game. A bum ankle was hampering his game throughout February, but over his last 11 games he’s putting up 23.6 points, 7.8 assists, 3.5 treys and 1.2 steals. Williams isn’t the bonafide fantasy stud that most drafted him to be, but with the Nets making a push to catch the Knicks for the Atlantic Division lead, expect his play to continue to trend upwards.
DWYANE WADE, Miami
Sure LeBron James is the best player on the planet, but Miami owes their recent success to the play of Wade. He has put up 20 points or more in his last 11 games, averaging 25.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 2.5 steals and 0.7 blocks over that span. As long as the Heat are rolling, Wade will continue to do the same, so ride him while he’s hot and healthy.
ANTHONY DAVIS, New Orleans
Since the Hornets are nowhere near the playoff race, you don’t hear much about Davis’s status, but the rookie has been taking great strides towards making his presence felt in the NBA. Over his last five games, the first overall pick is averaging 17.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 2.4 blocks, showing the necessary progress that every blockbuster pick needs to make. With New Orleans sure to give him plenty of run for the rest of the season, Davis is the type of player that can carry your team to a championship, so if your league doesn’t have a trade deadline, he makes for a target.
KENNETH FARIED, Denver
Faried has been one of the NBA’s most pleasant surprises this fantasy season, but a recent cold stretch has been tanking his value a bit. In the month of March, he’s putting up 9.9 points on 47 percent shooting, 9.9 rebounds, 0.4 steals and 1.3 blocks. Things could be worse, but when you consider his season averages consist of 55 percent shooting and 1.1 steals, the downward slide is a little concerning. Denver is playing tremendous of late and George Karl is going to stick with whatever’s working (hence the reason why JaVale McGee rides so much pine). These games are becoming increasingly important for fantasy purposes, so we’re forced to drop Faried in the rankings for now.
LUOL DENG, Chicago
Deng is one the league’s most underrated scorers, but he’s been ice cold of late. His points per game average has decreased by the month, bottoming out at 12.5 points per game in March. The return of Derrick Rose would go a long ways towards helping Deng, who is more of a shot maker than a shot creator. But with the way Chicago has been handling things, it’s hard to count on that happening. For now, all we can do is drop Deng in the rankings and hope that he snaps out of his current funk.
KYRIE IRVING, Cleveland
Irving is in contention for this season’s “most frustrating player to own” award. As much as he’s shown that he’s going to be one of the league’s best point guards for years to come, he’s shown just as much that injuries can easily derail it. Despite averaging 23.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists with 1.9 treys and 1.6 steals this year, I would be very weary about investing a first-round pick in him for next year’s draft.
PICKUPS OF THE WEEK
Pau Gasol (84 percent owned in Yahoo!, 67 percent in ESPN)
Gasol’s return couldn’t have come at a better time. As the fantasy playoffs crept closer and closer, his ownership plummeted, but with Coach D’Antoni announcing that his return could come either today or tomorrow, that ownership should spike right up to 100 percent. Dwight Howard hampers his fantasy potential, but Gasol can still be plenty helpful. In the three games prior to his injury, Gasol put up 20.0 points 8.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists with 0.6 steals and 1.7 blocks. He’s one of the league’s best passing big men and the D’Antoni system is the perfect fit for anyone with his basketball acumen. You should check your waiver wire for his availability before moving on to our next suggestion.
Update: Gasol suffered a setback in practice and is now considered day-to-day
Gerald Henderson (46 percent owned in Y!, 73 percent in ESPN)
Henderson has experienced plenty of highs and lows in his first four seasons in the NBA, but lately he has been playing some of his best ball. Over the Bobcats last five games Henderson is averaging 22.2 points 3.4 rebounds 3.2 assists 0.6 threes 1.0 steals and 0.6 blocks. He doesn’t hurt you in any categories, making him a great add, especially in rotisserie formats.
Rodney Stuckey (25 percent owned in Y!, 32 percent in ESPN)
Brandon Knight’s ankle injury opens up the door for lots of minutes down the stretch of the fantasy season. So far, he’s has been taking full advantage of the extra run, putting up 23.0 points 3.3 rebounds 2.3 assists 1.3 treys and 1.0 steals over his last three games. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Stuckey catch fire this year so we know the stats are legitimate. Unfortunately, Knight’s return will crush all the fantasy value that he has, but until his return comes, adding Stuckey is a cheap way to make up guard stats.