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So you’ve made it through the first week of fantasy basketball and came out the other side not only covered in mucus, but also likely one of two types of fantasy hoopsters: Either the type that wants to wait a few weeks to see what kind of lineup you drafted before making any changes, or the type that dropped three players 90 seconds after the draft was over. The waiters wonder why the droppers can’t just learn to draft better. The droppers wonder (usually out loud and on your leagues’ public bulletin boards) why no one else is snatching Travis Outlaw or Francisco Garcia. It’s either black or white, but if you’re thinking about my baby it doesn’t matter because, as is the case over at Razzball Baseball, the truth lies in the Grey gray. If you wait two weeks to tinker with your team you’re missing out on players that are eventually going to win someone else your league, but if your first three picks are the only remnants left from your draft, you’re not thinking rationally. Think of the first two weeks as neither a time to validate nor heal your team, but the first step in a 23-week process of making your team better than everyone else’s. Here are some guidelines to consider before adding and dropping during the early stages of the season:

1. Don’t pick up anyone on the strength of one game, and think twice before you do it on the strength of two. By the end of Day 2, all but one of the leagues I’m in saw Shannon Brown and his stupendous, tremendous, heart-stopping, earth-shocking 16/1/1 with four treys and four steals get snatched up by someone (not me) who thought they had just witnessed this generation’s less-5′oclock shadowy Vince Carter. Two days later he played only two-thirds of the minutes and posted an 8/1/1 line (no treys). Does this mean Brown should be dead to you? No. Does it mean you should wait until a guy makes a habit of producing? You bet your sweet Bippy. (Sweet Bippy may never forgive you for betting her away).

2. Always consider the player’s role in the context of his entire team. Minutes are the single most important quantitative statistic you can use to predict a player’s fantasy worthiness. And a way to predict mpg early is to evaluate their role on their team. Francisco Garcia was mentioned earlier in this post. Scroll up to refresh your memory. Then immediately go see a doctor about your memory that apparently needs to be refreshed every 70 seconds. He dropped a 22/3/4 line with an abundance of blocks and steals and threes and mirth and joy but people stayed away because he was filling in for Tyreke Evans. Then he posted a slightly less-impressive line of 18/3/2 with steals and blocks and an abundance of threes and ‘Reke now in the lineup and people rushed to grab him. While I’d hope no one dropped him for Evans, Garcia is a good pick up (despite his 4/4/0 line from Saturday) because he’s performing well on a team that is facing considerable flux on its roster. Right now, Evans is the only sure-starter on this squad. The Kings have no back-up PG and a revolving door of the underwhelming Donte Greene and the still-raw Omri Casspi both at the SF spot. This suggests that a hybrid SG/SF like Garcia will get a lot of burn playing backup SG to Evans, playing SG while Evans plays the point, or playing SF in smaller rotations. In this instance, Garcia has a potentially large role on this team, which means the minutes will be there. Players in Garcia’s situation, or Wilson Chandler‘s situation in New York, are good bets early if you stash them on your bench.

3. Look at the player’s history. If the player in question is a rookie, this becomes considerably more difficult. But if the player has been around the block a few times, and never posted the same high-quality line that he’s posting now, it’s a red flag that what you’re seeing is a bubble about to burst. Look at Daniel Gibson. Not only is he a bad pickup because Mo Williams is due back tomorrow, but Gibson’s averages have exceeded everything he’s ever done before. His per36 career averages are 12/3/2.5. So far this season he’s averaging a per36 of 18/3/7.5. Is it because LeBron is no longer a Cav? Maybe. Is it that he’s taking over many of Williams’ minutes? Perhaps. But remember, I’m looking at per36, not per game averages. Gibson averaged 12/3/2.5 every 36 minutes before this season and although massive statistical jumps like this aren’t impossible, you should bet that there are extenuating circumstances at play and those extenuating circumstances are going to balance our sooner or later.

4. Consider all the stats. Reggie Evans has 30 rebounds in two games. Thirty. And honestly, on that team in Toronto, I don’t see why they won’t just parade him out there for 82 games or why he can’t lead the league in boards. Fifteen a game. That’s a mighty total. Mighty enough that nearly 15 percent of fantasy owners added him to their roster. He offers a line of .200/.000/0/1/15/0.5/1/0.5 which is the fantasy basketball equivalent of a midget with size 22 shoes. Owning Evans is like bumping the rebounding averages of each player on your team by 1, but then removing one utility spot from your roster. Not your entire league. Just yours. Scouring the waiver wire in the early parts of the season, like being alone on Valentine’s Day, make you desperate and eager to overlook any number of glaring problems with the guy you’ve labeled a stud. A one-stat monster is just that – a monster.

5. Consider the defense. After three games, it’s possible that the surprise performers were the beneficiaries of weak opponents early on. In the case of Reggie Evans, he grabbed 16 boards off a Knicks team that is going to be in the bottom 10 in total team rebounds this season and followed up that performance with grabbing 14 off a depleted Cavaliers team that was without Anderson Varejao. Anyone want to bet Evans averages more than 11 rebounds in his next three games against the Kings, Jazz and Lakers?

  1. Cory says:
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    I’m weak in boards and blocks, and Biedrins is on the wire. I’m thinking about dropping JJ Hickson for Biedrins. Is this crazy? There was so much hype about Hickson going into the season, but 14/5 is not gonna help me win my league.

  2. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @Cory: I wouldn’t do it, but I’m not clear on your situation either. Biedrins is only grabbing two more boards a game than Hickson so far. If that’s worth giving up on J.J.’s upside, do it. But keep an eye out for Hickson to come into his own sooner rather than later this season.

  3. Cory says:
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    If Hickson will improve, then I’ll keep him. But I’m confident Biedrins will get back to his 10/10 form, now that he’s healthy and has a good rapport with Coach Keith. Anyway, thanks for the advice. Your sage wisdom is much more affordable and less cryptic than Miss Cleo, who told me to draft Iverson in the first round of ’08.

  4. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @Cory: Don’t knock it. I also get my advice from lesbian shamans. I just add a few puns and type ‘em up for the rest of y’all.

  5. ThE sHiT says:
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    @ Adam: Drop Taj for Fields or Anthony Randolph?

  6. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @ThE sHiT: Randolph if you can afford to be patient. Fields if you can’t.

  7. ThE sHiT says:
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    @Adam: Thanks for the fast response. I can be patient. What do you expect from Randolph this season? I know he has awesome potential, I’ve owned him the last years at some point.

  8. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @ThE sHiT: Expectations? Frustration. Heartburn. Awesomeness. Anger. Not necessarily in that order.

  9. ThE sHiT says:
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    @Adam: Lol. Do you expect him to be a fantasy producer anytime soon?

    BTW, I can tell you drafted Randolph in a few leagues…

  10. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @ThE sHiT: I think if he stays in New York he’ll have hot nights and really cold nights and the farther into the season he goes the fewer cold nights he’ll have. I can see him going nuts one night, then being awful three straight games in a row, which is going to completely frustrate owners early on.

  11. ThE sHiT says:
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    @Adam: Gotcha. I picked him up already. It’s a 16 team league so I should get at least a decent return on him since I dropped a late round pick for him. I’m kinda hoping he gets traded to a better playing situation so he can just play.

  12. ThE sHiT says:
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    @Adam: In a much shallower 8 team h2h league, who is better for my team, Dorell Wright or Batum? Im pretty well rounded with my team consisting of Westbrook, Rondo, Reke, Wall, S-Jax, both Gasols, Dwight Howard, and Troy Murphy.

  13. barker says:
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    pick up brendan wright joel anthony martell webster or james johnson
    for chuck hayes in a 18 team league or stand pat

    frontcourt horford z randolph okafor splitter haslem illyasova r evans marvin williams hayes

  14. Jay says:
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    Evans with 19 boards vs. Sacramento. I’ll take that bet if it’s still open. (I don’t have Evans — I have Bargnani and Amir and I wish I got even a third of Evans’ boards from Bargnani.)

  15. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @ThE sHiT: I like Batum more.

    @barker: Martell.

    @Jay: Yeah. I greatly underestimated Cousins’ inability to throw his weight around. Maybe Evans will only grab seven boards in the next two games and save me some face.

  16. John says:
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    This is my team in a 10 team 8 cat H2H league. Any general advice you can offer?
    PG Kidd
    SG J Rich
    SF Salmons
    PF Dirk
    C Amare
    G Mo Williams
    F Camby
    UTIL Felton, Hibbert, Harrington
    BENCH AK 47, Delfino, Batum

  17. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @John: None to speak of. This team looks good.

  18. John says:
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    I was going to try and package Mo Williams and Batum and maybe Delfino if I needed to to get someone. Think I can get a good player for them? Im aiming for someone like Conley or Chandler

  19. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @John: You’re probably giving up too much for Conley or Chandler if you package those three.

  20. John says:
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    I am not sold on Batum and think Mo’s value is gona take a hit this year with all the guards in the lineup

  21. John says:
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    Would you pick up Lou Williams after tonights performance? im strongly considering it. And if so who would you drop?

  22. John says:
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    Also forgot to ask what I should do about Andrew Bynum. He was dropped and is a free agent. Should I grab him?

  23. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @John: Yeah, Lou’s a “go” at this point. I’m not completely sold on him, but enough that most leagues should have a place for him. Of the three players you mentioned, Batum is your most probably drop. I dropped him in one league and it was hard to do. I really think he’s going to click at some point this season.

    Unless you really need Bynum’s upside, I’d skip him. He’s most likely going to be treated with kid gloves whenever he comes back.

  24. John says:
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    Heres the deal.
    I was told that if I could get someone John Wall, I would get Zach Randolph and Westbrook. The guy who has Wall also has Millsap who I would like to somehow grab. Here is my thought, tell me is this is stupid for me.

    I get: Westbrook, Randolph, and Millsap
    Team 2 gets: Wall
    Team 3 gets: Mo Williams and Amare

    I give: Mo and Amare (and Wall once I aquire him from Team 3)
    Team 2 gives: Westbrook and Randolph
    Team 3 gives: Wall and Millsap

  25. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @John: Team 2 will have the biggest problem giving up Westbrook and Randolph for Wall. Wall might be the best player in that deal, but not so much better that he cancels out two quality players.

  26. John says:
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    Who is getting the better end of this deal?
    Derrick Rose and Caron Butler for Jason Kidd and Amare

  27. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @John: Kidd and Amar’e. By far. Or byfar’e.

  28. John says:
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    I just drafted this team. What do you think?
    PG Evans
    SG Johnson
    SF Melo
    PF Lee
    C Yao
    G Felton
    F Millsap
    UTIL Aldridge, Miller, Chandler
    BENCH Z Bo, Wright, Delfino

  29. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @John: Gonna need blocks, gonna need assists. Can you package two of your bigs for a quality small?

  30. John says:
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    What kind of quality players you talking about? And who would you package? I wana get rid of Yao

  31. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @John: It’s hard to tell seeing as how I don’t know the ins and outs of your league, but something like a Millsap and Chandler for a Kidd or a Wall. Maybe Z-Bo for Collison? Something like that.

    You might be stuck with Yao.

  32. John says:
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    What would you need to know in order to make your best judgement or decision? The rosters of all the teams? Is that what your saying? Or is there possibly an easier way for me to describe the ins and outs of my league? And damn! I really don’t want Yao. Got stuck with him on autodraft.

  33. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @John: Nothing specific. I just meant that because I’m not in your league and because I don’t know any of the other teams or the owners, it’s hard for me to accurately project a possible trade.

    If you really want to get rid of Yao, you might be able to package him with someone, but the secret’s out on him. Most owners feel exactly as you do.

  34. John says:
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    Post #16 is my Team #1
    Post #28 is my Team #2
    Bledsoe is available in both of my leagues
    Lou Williams is available in my Team #1 League
    Afflalo is available in both leagues
    Tony Douglas is available in both leagues
    Belinelli is available in both leagues
    Reggie Williams is available in both leagues
    C.J. Miles is available in my Team #1 League
    Warrick is available in both leagues

    Should I look to pick up any of these guys? Who should I drop for each?

  35. John says:
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    Should I make an attempt to trade for Aaron Brooks?

  36. John says:
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    McGee was just dropped in my Team #1 League. Would you recommend picking him up?

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