You guys aren’t going to believe this. The Knicks took the “Next Dirk” in last week’s draft! 

By now, we’ve learned that it’s not that easy to be the Next Dirk. There have been 16 European lottery picks since 2002 and zero have made the All-Star game. So while Kristaps Porzingis is ticketed for heavy playing time as a rookie, he’s not a player worth targeting in fantasy drafts. These rookies are: 

Three towers
At this point in the rebuilding process, the Sixers are not in a place to draft for position. They could only take the best player available in Jalil Okafor – even if it meant that their core was three bigs. It’s still easy to project Okafor for 32-35 minutes per game immediately as there are 96 minutes available at the post spots and Joel Embiid’s status is unknown thanks to foot complications. Okafor is the most polished offensive post player we’ve seen in a long time and landed on a team that will run offense through him on nearly every possession. He’s the oddsmakers’ favorite for Rookie of the Year. 

Running in the mud
The Nuggets and Ty Lawson are heady for a messy divorce. The separation papers were filed when the team used the No. 7 overall pick on powerful 6-foot-5 PG Emmanuel Mudiay, a special athlete in the mold of Derrick Rose who will fit perfectly with the up-tempo style new coach Mike Malone wants to play. Mudiay will have free reign from Day 1 in Denver as the team has one of the league’s weakest rosters. Expect some flirtations with triple-doubles as he pushes for 35 minutes nightly. 

La La land
It was easy to see D’Angelo Russell’s natural NBA-caliber ability at Ohio State. As an 18-year-old freshman, he averaged 19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 2.7 treys and 1.6 steals per game. He’s below Okafor and Mudiay for fantasy because he’ll have to share usage with Kobe Bryant, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and possibly a big free agent. But he’s still going to put his roto-friendly game on display a ton and could explode if 36-year-old Kobe goes down with injury again. 

MLB Pickups of the Week

1. Rougned Odor, 2B, Rangers – Too many haven’t realized Odor is piping hot since his return from the minors.  

2. Cesar Hernandez, IF, Phillies – If a guy is capable of stealing six bases in four games, he doesn’t have to do much else.   

3. Darrell Cecillani, OF, Mets – Michael Cuddyer’s knee injury should mercifully get him out of the lineup. Cecillani is in for extended run. 

 NFL News

The rumor that the Broncos discussed trading Peyton Manning to the Texans is not that far-fetched. From Week 11 on last season, Peyton was a sub-average quarterback – and it wasn’t just because of a quad injury. If the Broncos could get a haul for a 39-year-old player, they should do it. New coach Gary Kubiak is going to reduce Peyton’s volume sharply this year anyway, installing a run-based attack around C.J. Anderson.