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
Tuesday at Boston
The tie breaker for the Atlantic Division may come down to New York (8-6 in division) and Brooklyn’s (9-4) division record, so look for the Knicks to bring it in all remaining division games.
Wednesday vs. Memphis
Marc Gasol is suffering from a slightly torn abdominal muscle, and if he doesn’t play the paint will be for the Knicks taking.
Friday vs. Charlotte
Charlotte allows the second most points per game in the league at 102.9.
Sunday vs. Boston
The Knicks averaged just 92.5 points per game in their fist two contests against Boston this year. Look for them to approach their season average of 99.0 by the end of the week.
STAT OF THE WEEK -10
Ten of the Knicks last 14 games come against playoff teams. This includes Boston twice, Miami, Oklahoma City, and Indiana.
RICKY RUBIO, Minnesota
Patience is key to fantasy basketball and those who waited for Rubio to get to full strength are being handsomely rewarded for the fantasy playoffs. Before leaving Monday’s game with a wrist injury, Rubio put up 18.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 8.8 assists and 1.8 steals in the four games prior. He avoided any major injury and should be fine for the rest of the season. In the month of March alone, Rubio is averaging 9.5 assists and 2.8 steals and had what should be his first of many career triple-doubles. Rubio is just gushing with Rajon Rondo-like fantasy potential so enjoy the breakout. It won’t be easy to get your fingers on him in next year’s drafts.
JOHN WALL, Washington
Wall has had a very similar fantasy season to our first riser, Ricky Rubio. After missing the Wizards first 33 games because of knee surgery, he’s finally hitting his stride in time for the fantasy playoffs. Over his last six games, Wall is averaging 23.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 8.8 assists and 2.2 steals. His scoring has picked up and he looks to finally have his explosiveness back. Wall’s speed is a terror in the open court and with his knee finally at 100 percent, he should be able to finish out the season strong.
JEREMY LIN, Houston
Continuing the point guard trend, Lin has also been on fire of late. Despite averaging only 13.2 points on the season, Lin put up 23.0 points over his team’s last three games. During that streak, he’s also averaging 6.0 assists, 2.3 treys and 1.3 steals. Houston is one of the most fantasy friendly teams in the league, so his current streak doesn’t come as a surprise. Look for Lin to keep up his recent string of high-level play as the Rockets continue to jockey for a playoff position.
JEFF GREEN, Boston
Most fans thought that the Celtics would be doomed once Rajon Rondo went down with an ACL injury, but Green has stepped up tremendously in his absence. He’s been especially hot of late, averaging 21.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.8 threes, 1.3 steals and 1.8 blocks over his last four games, including a 43-point effort in an almost successful attempt to take down Miami’s win streak. He’s always had the glorified one trey-one steal-one block per game fantasy potential and it’s good to see him finally fulfill it. Boston is relying on him heavily for offense so he should be able to keep up this torrid level of play.
PAUL MILLSAP, Utah
Millsap survived the trade deadline, but is now seeing a slight decrease in his playing time in order to get some of the younger guys on the floor. Over his last four games, Millsap is putting up just 12.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 0.5 blocks. His playing time, as well as his ability to stay healthy, has been rather inconsistent in March, where he has missed three games and played 20 minutes or less in two more. Until we see a healthy Millsap getting close to 30 minutes a night, we’re forced to drop him in our ranks.
TYSON CHANDLER, New York
There’s nothing worse than a horribly timed injury in fantasy, and Chandler’s day-to-day status has been frustrating owners for over a week. Many fake team owners were forced to keep him on their roster while they waited on his game statuses all of last week. Chandler leads the league in field goal percentage and offensive rebounds, but in order to win your fantasy playoff matchup, he may be a necessary roster casualty. Hold on to him if you can, but if you find yourself losing mid-week, cutting Chandler may be your only option. Because of his poorly timed injury (is there such thing as a well-timed injury?), Chandler is dropping in our ranks.
RYAN ANDERSON, New Orleans
Anderson’s fantasy value is predicated on his rare combination of tons of three balls while chipping in some blocks. Lately though, he has looked rather ordinary. Over his last four games, he’s averaging 15.5 points and 5.3 rebounds, but just 1.5 threes and no blocks. You could probably live with his lack to rebounding and shotblocking when he’s dominating threes, but his trey has been missing throughout the month of March, where he only has more than two in a game just once. For a player who averages 2.7 treys per game, 1.5 per game is not going to cut it. Still, a player with as natural of a stroke as Anderson won’t stay cold for long, so look for him to rebound, although not literally.
The return of Bradley Beal was supposed to spoil all of Webster’s fantasy value, but it didn’t take long for Beal to reinjure his ankle, thrusting Webster back into prominence. In the month of March, Webster is shooting 45 percent from the field and 86 percent from the line, while averaging 15.2 points 3.5 rebounds 2.9 treys and 0.5 steals. We’ll have to stay tuned to see if he is finally living up to his sixth overall selection in 2005, but Washington has already expressed interest in bringing him back for next season so even when Beal returns it seems apparent that Webster has earned an important role on the Wizards.
Just a few years ago Hawes was thought to have one of the highest fantasy ceilings of any young big man in the league. This year, it was thought he’d be stuck behind Andrew Bynum for most of the season, but once it was made official that Bynum would never join the team, Hawes began to turn it on. He’s having a heck of a month of March, averaging 13.6 points 9.3 rebounds 3.9 assists 2.1 blocks and even chipping in 0.4 threes. As long as he’s playing with confidence, Hawes will be a useful fantasy asset and deserves an add.
With Andrea Bagnani out for the rest of the year, Valanciunas is taking full advantage of the dependence being placed on such a young player. Over his last seven games the rookie is putting up 12.4 points on close to 70 percent shooting from the field 7.1 rebounds and 0.8 blocks. He’s getting more and more comfortable as a starter and is rock solid in the post. With Toronto considering shutting Rudy Gay down for the rest of the season, a lot more of the offensive onus could be placed on Valanciunas, so look for him to keep improving his game until the very last game.
We have mentioned Harkless before as a deeper league add, but his recent play is making him more and more deserving of ownership each day. Over his last four games he’s putting up 17.3 points 8.0 rebounds 1.5 treys 3.3 steals and 1.8 blocks. This is the time of year for rookies to get extended run and break out in fantasy, so if you’re not going to pick him up right away, at least keep tabs on what he’s doing. At his full potential he can average a trey, a steal, and a block per game, making him a rare find in fantasy circles.