Fantasy Basketball Roundup: Week of March 4th

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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 Cleveland

Cleveland turns the ball over 5th least amount of times per game in the league. If the Knicks continue to use their trap defense, look for tons of assists by the Cavs.

Wednesday at Detroit

Detroit ranks five spots ahead of the Knicks, in 12th for opponent’s three point percentage. The Knicks can’t afford to struggle from behind the line, so look for this game to be tighter than you would think.

Thursday vs. Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City averages 106.7 points per game while giving up only 97.2. That 9.5 point differential trumps the Knicks by 4.6 points per game, despite New York ranking just five spots behind them.

Saturday vs. Utah

The Knicks and Jazz have the same opponent’s field goal percentage (45.8%). Something has to give in this matchup.

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STAT OF THE WEEK – 6

The Knicks have 6 wins in 10 tries on the second nights of back-to-backs. With them completing two sets of back-to-backs this week (Monday at Cleveland and Thursday vs. OKC), it will be crucial for New York to close these series out in order to keep pace with Indiana.

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WHO’S HOT

STEPHEN CURRYGolden State
Steph Curry was going to be moved up in the rankings even before Wednesday night’s 54-point outburst, but after witnessing the show he put on at the Garden live, I’m willing to put him in the top 10. On the season, Curry is putting up 21.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 3.3 treys and 1.7 steals. He leads the league in treys and even though owners still cringe anytime his ankle is merely touched, he will probably be off the board super quick in next year’s drafts.

AL HORFORDAtlanta
A Josh Smith trade would have done wonders for Al Horford’s fantasy value, but despite Smoove’s presence, he is still one of the league’s hottest players. Over his last eight games, Horford is putting up 24.6 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 2.1 blocks. He has scored 20 points or more  in all eight of those games and has two blocks in all but one. While this hot stretch is probably a little fluky, Horford should still be considered a top 10 big man and has rock solid value. Still, I wouldn’t blame anyone for selling high if you can upgrade the Atlanta big man for a team need.

BRADLEY BEALWashington
Bradley Beal has been breaking out of his shell of late, giving us a glimpse into Washington’s bright future. Over his last six games, Beal is putting up 21.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.2 treys, 1.3 steals and 0.5 blocks. His biggest fantasy asset is his ability to get your team blocks from the shooting guard position, and Beal has been doing just that over his most recent hot stretch. A friend of mine and I always debate whether John Wall and Beal or Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters is the backcourt of the future for the NBA, and Beal has been making me look like a genius of late.

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WHO’S NOT

LaMARCUS ALDRIDGEPortland
LaMarcus Aldridge is one of the league’s most underrated players, but his fantasy play has left much to be desired of late. Over his last eight games, Aldridge is putting up 19.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.9 blocks. While his scoring has not faltered, the lack of rebounding and shotblocking is a concern. He hasn’t had double-digit rebounds over that stretch and only has blocks in three of his last nine games. Still, this stretch is probably just an aberration for this All-Star, so look for him to bounce back as he tries to carry Portland to the playoffs.

RAYMOND FELTONNew York
It feels like Raymond Felton’s play has become increasingly worse with each month. In the month of February, he put up just 12.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.0 treys and 1.5 steals. He can’t keep anyone in front of him on defense, and his biggest strength, dropping dimes from the two-guard, has been nonexistent. He is averaging just 3.6 assists over his last seven games, and if it weren’t for his consistency in the steals department, Felton would find himself dropping much further. The Knicks as a whole have been slumping, and with Felton not helping the situation, we’re forced to drop him in the rankings.

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PICKUPS

Marcus Thornton (83 percent owned in Yahoo!, 67 percent in ESPN)

It took almost the whole season, but finally Marcus Thornton seems to have found a legitimate groove. Even with an average draft position in the sixth round, many owners grew impatient with Thornton, meaning he’s available in way more leagues than he should be. Over his last three games he’s putting up 27.0 points with 3.7 boards and 4.0 treys. Thornton seems to have rediscovered his stroke and is finally being given the court time to prove it, making him this week’s top pickup.

Tobias Harris (30 percent owned in Y!, 35 percent in ESPN)

I thought Mo Harkless and Al Harrington would take over the scoring void left by J.J. Redick, but Tobias Harris has been beasting it out of nowhere. In his first four games for Orlando, Harris is averaging 20.0 points and 7.3 rebounds with 1.3 treys 1.0 steal and 1.0 block. No one knows if he will be able to keep this pace up, but Harris is still worth a look if he’s still around on your waiver wire.

Enes Kanter (Five percent owned in Y!, Two percent in ESPN)

No, Al Jefferson didn’t get traded, but an ankle injury opens up the door for Enes Kanter to excel this week. Jefferson sprained his ankle Wednesday night and has since been seen in a walking boot. In his absence, Kanter started and played 44 minutes Friday night, putting up 23 points with 22 rebounds and a block. Jefferson has not resumed so practice, so as long as he is being held out, Kanter will be able to produce

Trevor Ariza (44 percent owned in Y!, 15 percent in ESPN)

Trevor Ariza has been playing hot of late, and while we will probably never see him produce at the level that he did in L.A. or Houston, he can still help out your fake team. Over his last five games, Ariza is averaging 15.8 points 4.4 rebounds 3.4 assists 2.2 treys 1.8 steals and 0.2 blocks. He is a multi-categorical threat and if he proves he can keep up his recent play, deserves to be owned in many more leagues.

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