Fantasy Forecaster: Hawes is on a roll
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Rodney Stuckey is back, Antonio McDyess is back and Chris Kaman is back -- although "back" means something different with each of these players. Kaman is back from a long-term injury; Stuckey is back to the role he's comfortable with; and Dice is back to putting up big numbers, the way he did back in the day.
You might be surprised to find one or more of these players in free agency in your league. Or maybe your surprise is someone such as Spencer Hawes or Travis Outlaw. That's OK, too. The point is, there's help out there; and there's help here, with the Fantasy Forecaster, your weekly guide to NBA schedule analysis. Let's get to it.
Check the grid for Week 21 schedules of each NBA team. Teams with the most games in the upcoming week are listed first.
|Team||Mon. 3/16||Tue. 3/17||Wed. 3/18||Thu. 3/19||Fri. 3/20||Sat. 3/21||Sun. 3/22||Total games||Next week|
Detroit Pistons (@DAL, @HOU, LAC, MIA): Now that Stuckey is again a primary ball handler in light of Allen Iverson's injury/demotion, good things are happening. The second-year man is averaging 16.4 points, 6.2 assists and 1.3 steals on 48.3 percent shooting in his past seven games. Meanwhile, McDyess is back to his vintage 1998-2001 form -- at least on the boards. In 12 games in Detroit's starting lineup, Dice is going for 12.6 points and 11.2 rebounds. And amazingly, he's still available in more than 80 percent of ESPN.com leagues. Stuckey is a comparative bargain, too, with his 50-plus percent availability. With this schedule, McDyess probably has the slightly more positive outlook, but of course the Clippers offer something for everybody. L.A. opponents dish up the third-most assists and rack-up the third-most total rebounds.
Los Angeles Clippers (@GS, WAS, @DET, @TOR): Remember when the Clippers acquired Marcus Camby and people wondered how he and Kaman would coexist? Turns out it hasn't been an issue. Now that Kaman is finally back, Camby's availability is in question. Although they were both on the floor for the first time this season on March 10 against Cleveland, Camby has been experiencing migraines since his eardrum popped on a flight last month, and he might not be able to get back on a plane. So if you're wondering whether to take a flier on Kaman -- and he's available in more than 30 percent of leagues -- this gives you a bit more for the "yes" side of the ledger. Although he should collect some boards against the Warriors and Wizards, Pistons' and Raptors' opponents get the fifth- and ninth-fewest blocks. On the other hand, with Wizards' and Raptors' opponents tops in 3s, this is an awesome schedule for Eric Gordon, who, like Kaman, has 30-plus percent availability.
Sacramento Kings (@ATL, @CHA, @NY, PHI): You know who averages at least 15.0 points, 1.5 3s, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks? No one, although LeBron James is pretty close. So too, for that matter, is Francisco Garcia. OK, in Garcia's case it's only since the break, but the 27-year-old is putting up great numbers over his past 10 games: 15.2 points, 1.6 3s, 1.6 steals and 1.4 blocks on 52.9 percent shooting. At 33 percent availability, Garcia is still a fantasy find, although he's probably not the biggest find on the Kings. That's because Hawes remains available in almost 60 percent of leagues, even though he's averaging 19.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.0 3s in his past three. This schedule even gives Hawes hope of regaining his shot-blocking skill. Bobcats' opponents are second and Knicks' opponents eighth in rejections. Knicks' and Sixers' opponents average nearly seven treys a night, which should bode well for Garcia.
Some quick tips for owners in daily leagues. Recommendations -- start, sit or add -- are made for specific days of the coming week, based on the schedule.
Aaron Brooks, PG, Rockets (@NO, DET, MIN, @SA): Compared with most quality point guards, Brooks doesn't give you a lot of assists or steals, so his fantasy value will hinge on his accuracy. After shooting better than 45 percent in just two of his first eight starts since the Rafer Alston deal, Brooks has a modest four-game run in which he has shot 50 percent or better. He also is averaging 2.5 3s in that span. Brooks seems pretty reliable from distance no matter the opponent, but the concern with this schedule is that Spurs', Hornets' and Pistons' opponents are 21st, 23rd and 25th in shooting percentage.
Michael Finley, SG/SF, Spurs (@OKC, MIN, BOS, HOU): The veteran is averaging 2.2 3s since the break; that beats Ben Gordon, among others. Although you might not have realized that Finley has been that good from downtown, you undoubtedly know that 3s are about all you get from him for fantasy. Most leagues should have better options (try 88 percent available Rasual Butler, for starters), especially considering this schedule. Thunder, Timberwolves', Celtics' and Rockets' opponents are 17th, 19th, 23rd and 27th in 3s, respectively.
Travis Outlaw, SF/PF, Trail Blazers (@MEM, @IND, @CLE, @MIL): Outlaw has shot well of late, hitting at least half his field goal attempts in eight of 11 games. And in consecutive games versus the Lakers and Mavs, the 24-year-old was 7-of-10 from beyond the arc. This schedule definitely gives Outlaw, who's available in 85 percent of leagues, a chance to keep it going. Grizzlies' opponents shoot 47.2 percent, and Pacers' opponents are seventh in 3s. And the Bucks have allowed at least 110 points in seven of 12 games since the break.
Leon Powe, PF, Celtics (@CHI, MIA, @SA, @MEM): With Glen Davis (ankle) joining Kevin Garnett on the sideline, Powe got big minutes (43) and big numbers (23 points, 13 boards) in a start at Miami on March 11. Promising as that line is, Big Baby could return as soon as Sunday at Milwaukee, and KG might be back by the end of next week. On the other hand, the C's need everyone they can get. The Bucks game kicks off a five-games-in-seven-days stretch. So in leagues of at least 12 teams, Powe is a decent add. Chicago's opponents are sixth in total rebounds, and Bulls', Heat and Grizzlies' opponents are all on the plus side in rebound differential.
Thaddeus Young, SF, 76ers (@LAL, @PHO, @GS, @SAC): Young had a season-high 29 points versus Toronto on March 11, but he has improved steadily since the start of '09. Since the break, the 20-year-old is averaging 15.9 points and 1.7 steals. Although Young can't be counted on for 3s, you can't ignore the opportunities this schedule offers. Suns', Lakers' and Warriors' opponents are all in the top nine in treys. And for good measure, Suns', Kings' and Warriors' opponents are 1-2-5 in steals. Clearly, Young catches a break with this schedule. And you might catch a break by checking your free-agent list. Surprisingly enough, Young is available in more than 20 percent of leagues.
Neil Tardy is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.
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