Fratello’s Fantasy Pick: DeShawn Stevenson

10-year NBA vet DeShawn Stevenson found his rhythm last week and he be jammin! Stevenson (who ranks fourth in the league in 3-point FG percentage) hit three long balls in the first quarter of the Mavericks’ matchup against the Magic on Saturday night and finished with a season-high 24 points.

With Dirk Nowitzki missing his seventh consecutive game against Orlando due to a knee injury and Caron Butler sidelined for the remainder of the season, Stevenson has had to shoulder more responsibility in terms of minutes played and productivity.

In joining this Dallas group, Stevenson appears to have taken a more professional approach to the game. He’s focused on doing all the things necessary in order to help his team win, whether that be to defend and shut down his opponents or to sink a clutch 3-point shot. Stevenson has gained a reputation for being a hardnosed defender, and the Mavericks can use Stevenson’s veteran experience and toughness to help sustain them during this period of time when they are playing without Nowitzki and Butler.

DeShawn Stevenson should continue to start for the duration of the season. Over the last four games he has averaged 19 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists, and he is available in 80% of fantasy leagues. The Mavericks will hit the road for three away games this week.

Fratello’s Fantasy Pick: J.J. Redick

The Orlando Magic added four fresh faces to their roster just before the new year, but fifth-year guard J.J. Redick still remains a solid and steady fixture in their rotation.

Redick hardly played when he first entered the NBA, but wound up surprising a lot of people who questioned how much of a contributor he would be at the pro level. Though not the most physically gifted of players, Redick has relied on his high basketball IQ and strong work ethic to succeed, which can be traced back to the four years he spent at Duke playing under Coach K.

Since his sophomore season with the Magic, Redick has gradually adjusted his game and figured out how to fit into the league. He became more efficient during the minutes he was given, which eventually earned Stan Van Gundy’s trust and more court time. Redick has shown steady improvement while developing into a reliable role player for Orlando and was rewarded with a new contract this summer.

A lethal long-range gunner, Redick has flourished in the Magic’s shoot-first style of offense. And he’s also rounded out other parts of his game. Redick has a convincing pump fake and has become a threat to take it to the hole. Redick adds toughness to Orlando’s roster and he’s worked very hard to become a better defender, figuring out ways to guard quicker, more athletic players like Celtic Ray Allen.

Redick continues to be very productive for the Magic, improving in both minutes played and ppg this season. And his role could increase while Brandon Bass recovers from a left-knee injury he sustained against the Knicks on Thursday. Redick has averaged 29.3 minutes, 15.3 ppg, 2 rebounds and 1.7 assists over the past six games, and he is available in over 80% of fantasy leagues. The Orlando Magic entered 2011 on a five-game winning streak and will play four games this week beginning with a homecourt battle against the Golden State Warriors tonight.

Fratello’s Fantasy Picks: Earl Boykins and Keyon Dooling

Last year rookie sensation Brandon Jennings helped spark the Bucks to their most successful regular-season campaign since 2000-01.

Everyone expected Milwaukee to continue to rise up the ranks and emerge as one of the better teams in East this year. But the vast improvement of conference rivals New York and Chicago coupled with the recent loss of their starting point guard to a broken foot are making post-season contention a serious challenge.

In Jennings’ absence, veteran guards Keyon Dooling and Earl Boykins are stepping up to help Milwaukee stay in the playoff picture until Jennings returns to health.

Both players have been in the league for over a decade and have played for a number of teams, contributing successfully when called upon.

Combo guard Dooling started the past three games and averaged over 11 points and 5 assists last week, while Boykins contributed 22 points and 19 points off the bench to the Bucks’ big road wins over the Lakers and the Kings.

A team-oriented type of guy, Dooling has the ability to make 3-point shots, and he has been a hardnosed defender throughout his career.

Although he is the shortest player in the NBA, Boykins is extremely strong and keeps himself in great condition. He has always been a scorer, and when Boykins gets on a roll he’s dangerous.

The Bucks play three games this week beginning with tonight’s home game against the Hawks. Both Keyon Dooling and Earl Boykins are available in most leagues and will be playing starter minutes so take your pick.

Fratello’s Fantasy Pick: Nate Robinson

The Boston Celtics lead the Eastern Conference despite a slew of injuries that have threatened to derail them since the start of the season. Six Celts have missed over six-dozen games, with All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo being the latest casualty. It looks like Rondo will be sidelined for at least two weeks with a sprained left ankle, and backup guard Delonte West is out with a broken right wrist. So Nate Robinson has moved into the Celtics’ starting lineup and will get major minutes because they need him out on the floor to facilitate the offense.

A dynamic athlete, Nate Robinson not only led the Huskies to two straight NCAA basketball tournament appearances during his collegiate career, but he also played football at the University of Washington. Among the shortest players in the NBA, the three-time Slam Dunk Contest champ is a high flyer who can ignite his team’s offense off the bench and set the scoreboard on fire.

Boston acquired Robinson in a five-player trade with the Knicks last season. Though Nate logged a lot of time on the bench, he stayed positive and patiently waited for his opportunity to shine, which eventually arrived during Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Robinson put up 13 second-quarter points against the Magic while subbing for Rondo, giving Boston a boost that ultimately helped cement their victory and clinch the series. Robinson followed up with 12 points in 17 minutes to help the Celtics win Game 4 of the Finals at home.

Armed with a football player’s mentality, Robinson is confident, tough and fearless. The 5’9″ dynamo brings energy to the court and intensity on defense. Robinson is one of those guys who is capable of putting 30 points on the board on a given night because he’s an explosive scorer who can penetrate the defense and hit 3-point shots.

A supportive teammate, Robinson knows his role with the C’s and enjoys being part of a championship-caliber squad that wins. Usually his job is to spark the offense off the bench and score points, but now he must help run the offense so Allen, Pierce and Garnett can do their jobs. So far Robinson has been effective in his starting role: He delivered 14 points in Boston’s Rondo-less win over Atlanta and followed up with 18 points against the Pacers on Sunday to help stretch Boston’s win streak to 13. Though inconsistent, Robinson should boost your PPG if he earns a spot on your roster while Rondo recovers. Robinson is available in 70% of fantasy leagues and the Celtics play six games over the next two weeks.

Fratello’s Fantasy Pick: Nick Young

Now in his fourth year with the Wizards, shooting guard Nick Young has been anxious to earn more minutes so he can do what he does best: score.

As he’s matured, Young has worked increasingly hard to improve in all the areas that Head Coach Flip Saunders needs him to, and in return he’s been rewarded with more court time. Young is showing his appreciation for this opportunity with an impressive run of high-scoring displays, topped by a stellar performance against the Lakers last week. Young came off the bench and sank six threes in route to a season-high 30 points.

Young is great for Washington’s second unit because he can be explosive and put points on the board in a hurry. In the past Young’s shoot-first mentality frequently led him to opt for off-balance, low-percentage shots rather than passing to his teammates. But he appears to be making better decisions these days, and he’s getting better results. Young also gives the Wizards another guard who is capable of playing multiple positions. His ability to hold  his own at small forward gives his team some versatility and helps fantasy owners too.

Nick Young is averaging 12.8 points and 2.1 rebounds in 22 minutes per game. As he continues to sharpen his shot selections and all-around game, his numbers will go up. The Wiz play three games this week including a rematch with the Lakers at home on Tuesday, so look for Young to go big again.