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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fantasy focus: Tracy McGrady and Andray Blatche

You won't be surprised to know Tracy McGrady -- three games into his Knicks tenure -- is suffering from a sore knee.

You might be surprised he hasn't sprained an ankle yet.

The notoriously brittle former superstar has been a popular player on the waiver wire in fantasy leagues. His ownership percent soared 30.6 percent this week to 58.2.

Most of the interest stems from a rousing New York debut Saturday, during which McGrady had 26 points on 10-for-17 shooting and added five assists and four rebounds.

A lot of us rushed to our league's homepage Saturday night or early Sunday in an effort to acquire T-Mac.

Five days later, we're already wondering why.

We knew he would soon complain of some type of soreness. We knew it would limit his effectiveness. But we made the leap anyway, hoping McGrady would somehow play like it was 2007.

In two games since scoring 26 on Saturday, McGrady has gotten progressively worse. He had 15 points on 5-of-14 shooting Monday, then said he banged knees during the game and wasn't sure he would play the following night. Tuesday, he had six points on 3-of-8 shooting in 27 minutes.

If you were among the half-full types who picked up McGrady, all is not lost.

He's not healthy enough to play 36 to 40 minutes a night, but the Knicks are so thin he will be forced to play at least 25. There will be nights he shows flashes, and there will be nights he is what he is -- a 30-year-old former All-Star dragging around a bad leg who hasn't shot better than 43.1 percent from the field since he was with the Magic in 2002-03.

How's that for a pick-me-up?

If you're in a deeper daily league, McGrady is a part-time starter at best. In smaller weekly leagues, he should remain on the waiver wire -- another reminder of the steady decline of an enigmatic player who rapidly broke down before the age of 30 as if he was an NFL running back.

-- You've got to see this Wizard: The trade deadline helped the Cavaliers' championship chances, the Rockets' future and further irritated NBA fans (outside of Cleveland) at the ridiculous possibility of a player being traded and returning to his original team five weeks later. It also helped any owner -- all 15 of you -- who actually held on to Wizards power forward Andray Blatche.

Blatche is now a must-start in any format after averaging 24.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.4 steals and one block in five games since the Wizards cleaned house. He is 51-for-88 from the field (58 percent) and 22-for-26 from the free-throw line (84.6 percent) in that span.

Earlier this season, Blatche was suspended by the Wizards for conduct detrimental to the team and openly criticized for his work ethic and attitude. Now he's playing like an All-Star, which makes about as much sense as expiring contracts being more coveted trade commodities than players who can actually, well, play.

Blatche's ESPN ownership percentage has jumped 39.4 percent to 51.3 this week. If he's somehow available in your league, you don't need me to tell you what to do.

And you shouldn't need me to tell you not to be shocked when Blatche's numbers go the way of McGrady.

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