Fantasy Basketball: Rookies Look To Put Their Mark on the Game

Brandon CroceAnalyst IJanuary 14, 2011

PHOENIX - DECEMBER 21:  J.J. Hickson #21 of the Cleveland Cavaliers puts up a shot over Channing Frye #8 of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on December 21, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Cavaliers defeated the Suns 109-91.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

As the NBA season moves closer to the trade deadline in February, it is important to pay attention to trade rumors, as they can have an impact how players perform down the stretch in your fantasy basketball lineup.

Owners of Carmelo Anthony should be hoping for a trade to the New York Knicks because he will be playing in Mike D’Antoni’s up tempo offense, as well as playing with Amare Stoudemire and Raymond Felton. He could be expected to increase his production on the Knicks but would probably see a drop off if he ended up on the Nets.

While the following players may not have as much of an impact as Melo, they could make for an intriguing target this week and beyond.

JJ Hickson, PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

Remember last season when the Cavs were looking to make a trade for another superstar to pair with LeBron James and couldn’t get anything done because they were unwilling to give up a young forward named JJ Hickson? Well it now looks like Hickson has a chance to show the player he is capable of being. Anderson Varejao went down this week with a torn tendon that will sideline him for the rest of the season, which opens a lot more minutes for Hickson.

He has taken advantage of this increased playing time. In his first game back in the starting lineup, he had 23 points, 17 rebounds and two steals. Over the last seven days he has averaged 15 points, 10 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. This coming week will be a good test for Hickson as the Cavs play on the road against the Jazz and Nuggets and back home against the Suns.

Hickson is definitely a must add if he is available on your league's waiver wire.

Greg Monroe, C, Detroit Pistons

Another guy who can expect to get more playing time due to injury is rookie center Greg Monroe. He got a chance Monday night to play almost the whole game, as Ben Wallace went down with an ankle injury in the early minutes. He went on to put up 10 points and 11 rebounds, which is not unfamiliar for Monroe, as he has put up a double double in the last four games, including 14 points and 11 rebounds against the Grizzles Wednesday night.

If the Pistons continue to have the season they are having, Monroe will see an increase in playing time even if Ben Wallace comes back healthy soon. Over the past week, he has averaged 13 points, 12 rebounds, 4.5 offensive rebounds and 2.5 steals per game. Monroe is another player who is a must add because he will continue to get better as he gets more experience and will be a guy who can be expected to threaten for a double-double regularly.

This coming week the Pistons have four games and Monroe is expected to be tested as they play Toronto, Sacramento, Dallas and Boston.

Landry Fields, SG, New York Knicks

Another rookie who is making noise in the NBA this season is Landry Fields. He was a second round pick in last year’s draft and many people did not expect him to contribute, let alone start. However, he has started from the first game this season and has continued to improve playing in Mike D’Antoni’s offense.  For the season, Fields is averaging 10.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.1 steals. However, over the last seven days he has put up 11.3 points, 8 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.7 steals per game.

Now the increased totals may not seem like a big difference, however it is showing that Fields is still developing and getting better. Similar to Shane Battier, Fields doesn’t dominate in one particular category, but contributes across the board. Anyone searching for fantasy basketball advice should attempt to target the rookie, as over the next week, the Knicks play Sacramento, Phoenix and Houston.

Francisco Garcia, SG, Sacramento Kings

The last player this week to consider adding is Francisco Garcia with the Sacramento Kings. He is a player who has trouble being consistent, but when he is hot, he is a great option, which he has been recently. Over the past week he is averaging 17.7 points on 50 percent shooting from the field, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. This is a huge increase over his season average of only 9.6 points per game. He also has seen an increase in playing time, getting over ten more minutes per game than his season average.

Now it is tough to say whether the increased point total is because of the increased playing time because he has been inconsistent throughout his career. Just keep in mind that the Kings’ best player, Tyreke Evans, has been sidelined of late as he continues to battle plantar fasciitis. So once Evans returns, Garcia's point total will most likely drop. The next week will be tough for the Kings as they go on a three game road trip to New York, Detroit, and Atlanta before playing Portland at home.