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Slim and I dressed up in suits and bow ties, Slim gelled his beard, I flossed for the first time since 2011, and we went in and crashed the Yahoo Friends & Family League!  What fantasy basketball draft isn’t improved with an early Latrell Spreewell joke in the draft chat?

So with the updated Yahoo player ranks eerily mimicking a lot of our sleeper calls, Slim and I had to really pull A Beautiful Mind to get our draft strategy in order.  On top of drafting with some experts, league settings were a major factor in our strategy.  The league is a 12 team H2H, but instead of RCL/default week 21-23 playoff schedule, the Y! F&F is weeks 22-24.  Right away, all Cavaliers were absolutely off-limits.  Looking at Slim’s ridiculously awesome breakdown of playoff schedules, the Cavs have 3 games week 22, 2 in week 23, then week 24 is the final 10 days of the season.  I’m not even going to look at their schedule, since there’s a good chance the Cavs rest their starters for several games in that final 10 days.  The experts knew this too, as Kevin Love fell to 15th overall, with us passing on him with pick 14.

The other main settings differences were roster composition and the league is weekly with only 2 moves allowed a week.  The roster breakdown is PG, SG, SF, PF, C, UTIL, UTIL, UTIL, UTIL, UTIL, BN, BN, BN.  Slim and I unanimously agreed to go PG and C heavy, filling out SG/SF with ThrAGNOFs.  Limited moves also made us want to hoard PG since fewer will break out off the wire.  Here’s how team Razzball (will be co-managed by both of us) panned out:

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Happy draft lottery, Cleveland-ites!  Is having another 1st overall pick enough to lure LeBron back?!  I think chances of that are as good as Anthony Bennett turning out to be a good player…

And now to the fun stuff… Figuring out where to rank the volatile middle-tier guys.  As Paris Hilton once said, “Studs are studs!  Except for when they’re busts!”  Wow, awful.  Needed to get some shock value in here – that was my proverbial watermelon mallet.

After the top 20, things get pretty tricky this early in the offseason.  And until a good bit after the NBA Draft, 50 is as high as we’re gonna go.  The draft class is loaded, and several should proliferate into the top 100, with a few even top 50 guys in the right situation.  Then free agency, old guys retiring, all that hooblah.  But if you’re thinking ahead to some dynasties or formulating some early fantasy draft strategies, here’s my way too early Top 50 for the 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Season (spoiler alert: still no Jonas Valanciunas):

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So, the playoffs are looming, duh. If you made it this far, looking into the first playoff week, I applaud you. I’m a nervous fantasy owner,  as I’ve never had a Cobra-Kai caliber team, one that looks to absolutely dominate in the playoffs, and gets all the chicks.

So if you’re like me, (fact: the number of Clubber Lang ass kicking teams out there are very few, so don’t get cocky), most of you you need to take a close look at your line up, and try to remove the attachment factor, when assessing your current roster’s talent. The thing that makes most fantasy managers difficult to trade with, myself included, which is over-valuing your current talent. Who is dead weight, who’s a streamer, and who is blue chip? Before you start worrying your pretty head with all that talent evaluation, it is absolutely essential that you first read Slim’s super duper article on the strategy of availability. It puts players in perspective. Not that I would suggest dropping Chris Paul or the other Blue Chippers on the Clippers, just because they play 2 games week 1 of the playoffs; but in the case of CP3, for example, you may need to focus on guard-typical stats from your streamer, as opposed to big-typical stats week 1. Make sense? Good. Here are a few cats you might be able to use off the wire:

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Week 12 has wrapped up in our Razzball Elite league, with The Nature Boy continuing his reign of terror over us dynasty-ers.  Dynasters?  Dynastians?  Kardashians!  The Razzball brass have all clustered in the middle of the rankings, with the devastatingly injured Pete Nice squad slipping, Slim surging, and me settling.  Eh, best “s” word I could think of for staying in the same spot…  “Sabre!  It began with a bloody ‘s’!”  Recaps from owners are below as we head into week 13:

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RCL nation!  I’m stepping in for Dan this week, who is some sort of weather savant and knew to migrate south for a vacation while we get polar vortexed.   Dan could probably step in and be a weatherman anywhere right now.  The RCL season is halfway through, and the elite are getting separated from the should-be-ashamed.  Like my RCL 1 team!  A quick reminder of how we’re crowning the overall champ – it’ll be the league winner who had the best regular season record.  I know it’s not exactly the best metric for awarding the title belt, but I wanted it to be fun and have a lot of teams in it during the championship week.  And don’t forget the overall winner gets their team name shaved in my head!  Your Mom Says Hi… yeah that won’t go over too well…  You can track how your team is doing in our Master Standings and good luck to everyone in the second half of the season!

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I trust everyone has been a good boy or girl this year, and has sent their wish list to Santa already, right? I have it on good authority that jolly old St. Nick is a huge NBA fan, so naturally I suggest you ask for fantasy help. And I have a strategy: bear in mind, if you ask for too much, you get burned for being greedy, and you will get coal bricks under your tree (like Drummond at the free throw line, amirite?? Awful, sorry.). So, that in mind, I’m simply asking for dimes. I need help with assists in my 2 leagues, I took Kyrie in both leagues, and he is not exactly packing that stat line, I have Jameer, and he’s been on and off the court… well, whining to you guys won’t do anything about it. But whining to Santa will. It has to, as there is no quality points on my waiver. And with that let me bend your eyeballs to a few guys that might make excellent stocking stuffers:

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I’ve got a little story to tell you today.  I think I’ll call it a parable.  Here it goes…  A few days ago I was at the gas station and I was approached by a guy who claimed he couldn’t afford gas to get home.  If you have ever seen a meth addict in their 20’s it isn’t a pretty sight.  He was packing something into his cigarette and I didn’t stop to question what it was.  Was I a little disgusted, sure.  Would I be enabling him if I helped him with a couple of bucks for gas? Probably.  In the end I walked inside and payed $5 for him to have some gas.  He was incredibly grateful and I felt pretty good that I could help.  In the end sure I lost a couple of bucks but I was able to offer assistance and for me that was more important at that time.  This is how I see most fantasy teams.  Most managers see how many points a player is scoring and feel like they can’t be without it.  Meanwhile they regularly lose the assist category.  If we could all be a little less of a meth addict, I mean a points addict, and gain a few assists we usually find that we will win more categories, more frequently.

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Despite the two nationally telecast Opening Night games (with the Heat/Bulls starting at 8:00 PM EST), the season really started at 7:00 with the Magic against the Pacers.  Non-fantasy players probably didn’t know this game ever happened.  All the sudden in the second quarter, Andrew Nicholson just went off, going 8-9 in the first half with 18 points.  Next thing you know, ESPN Fantasy Basketball is down.  Why RCL is on Yahoo!  But despite the Magic losing the lead and the offense going stagnant early in the third, Nicholson only played another few minutes in the second half and got stuck at 18 points in 19 minutes, only taking one additional shot and going 8-10 on the night.  Womp womp.  I never thought too much of Nicholson and don’t think he’s a guy to go rush to the wire for (unlike ESPN fantasy players!), and don’t forget Tobias Harris sat out with the ailing ankle.  19 minutes sounds about right for Nicholson, and he’s obviously not going to be a 48 PPG scorer per 48.  But I hope the kid enjoyed the moment in the sun during that first half shooting spree.  You temporarily broke Fantasy!  He was like the Fantasy Basketball Kevin Ogletree.  Here’s what else went down last night in the NBA:

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After re-ranking the top 10top 20, and top 50, it’s easy to see there’s been big changes since last May.  Below are the Razzball Updated Rankings with the previous May rankings in parentheses before the adjusted rank:

(68) ↑ 51. Derrick Favors – Utah declining to bring back either Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap gives you a slight inclination on their thoughts on Favors, and they’re already talking contract extension with their emerging big as well.  I love his athleticism, and if I miss out on Serge Ibaka who I’m high on early, I’m gonna want to reach on Favors to win blocks. I think he’ll be a top-5 NBA swatter.

(51) 52. Kemba Walker – Kemba has been higher on virtually every rankings I’ve seen, and I’m just not top-50 high on him.  He had a really solid season last year, but the terrible FG% still worries me as I feel like he forces some offense.  The acquisition of Big Al is going to give the Bobcats/soon-to-be Hornets an actual scorer down, and I don’t think that translates into helping Kemba all that much.  I like Gerald Henderson a lot too to take a bigger scoring role.  The 2.0 steals a game last year was elite, but I see those going down along with the scoring, and a comparable 5.7:2.4 Ast:TO ratio.  All that spells a slightly down ranking for me.  Although to be fair, he’s played in every single Bobcats game in his career, so there’s that reliability that can’t be ignored.

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The Razzball Community, like a single barrel scotch, is bold and strong. And like a single barrel scotch in the bloodstream of a Las Vegas stripper, we like to spread our butt cheeks and then drive while intoxicated. Wait, what? Anyway, the Razz-comm (<- term that won’t catch on) enjoy nothing more than to match wits and skills with each other in the fantasy arena (there may be things we enjoy more, but we’ll leave that to the philosophers). The season has come to a close, those of you who weren’t sure if J.R. Smith was for real can finally put that question to rest, and our RCL winners have emerged, basking in the glow of victory. “I remember when I was alive, I lived for the taste of success! So says I, the ghost of Dolph Schayes!” Damn you, Dolph, you aren’t dead yet! “Mayhaps, but your career is!” Moving on…

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