Taken #1 overall in the 2008 draft by the Bulls, Derrick Rose came into the league with high expectations. And in the first three years of his career, it looked like he would not only meet those lofty expectations, but surpass them.

Rose led the Bulls to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2010 and then was voted the MVP in the 2010-11 season. That year, he averaged 25 ppg, 7.7 apg, 4.1 rpg, 1 spg, and 1.6 3PTFGM, while shooting 45% from the field and 85% from the line. Numbers that made him a first round draft pick in fantasy drafts. And on top of those stats, Rose was averaging 80 games played in his first three seasons.

After the shortened post-lockout 2011-12 season, Rose tore the ACL in his left knee in the first round of the playoffs against the 76ers. Since then, Rose has not been the same player, spending large chunks of the last two seasons on the sidelines with multiple knee injuries.

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Previous “Jump Ball” articles:

9/19 – Russell Westbrook v Damian Lillard

9/26 – Kawhi Leonard v Jimmy Butler

10/2 – Blake Griffin v Serge Ibaka

TALE OF THE TAPE

ANDREW WIGGINS GORDON HAYWARD
Minnesota Timberwolves Team Utah Jazz
SG, SF Position (Y! Eligibility) SG, SF
2014 Results
T-87th 9-Cat Rank (Total Value) T-29th
T-130th 9-Cat Rank (Per Game) T-36th
82 Games Played 76
36.2 Minutes Per Game 34.4
21.1 (T-101st) Usage Rate (Rank) 25.4 (T-32nd)
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Wooo, preseason is here!  We finally get to see players on the court, thennnn, pretty much immediately we have season-ending injuries…  Just let athletes take steroids again, eesh!  Tired of this nonsense!

In literally the second game of the preseason, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist slipped on just a routine perimeter dribble and dislocated his shoulder.  It looked like he might’ve slipped on some sweat, those are some slacking Magic ball boys!  Then after an MRI yesterday, it revealed a torn labrum (true story, it had a red underline underneath “labrum” which had me being sure I spelled it right, and the suggested fix was labium) and he’ll likely need season-ending surgery.  Yikes.  Tough shakes for the Hornets who just invested $52 mil over 4 years in the guy (THAT’S MORE THAN MONTA ELLIS!), and have nothing great to fill-in SF minutes.  Well, I guess technically SG minutes, as Nicolas Batum should slot back to SF as the Hornets hodgepodge their SG.  Jeremy Lin had a nice 17/2/7 debut in that first game on Saturday, but followed it up with 10/3/1 and 4 TO on Sunday.  Jeremy Lamb scored 16 in the debut and got the start Sunday, only to shoot 2-11 in 25 yawnstipating minutes.  P.J. Hairston also got a start Sunday as Batum got that game off, and shot 1-7 missing all 5 treys.  Then there’s also Marvin Williams, who has reportedly lost weight and was rumored to get SF minutes back in July, but he figures to be more of a Batum backup or a small stretch-4 like last year.  I really don’t like any of these guys, and none of them vault into the draftable range for me in 12ers.  I guess in deepers I’d grab Lin first, but meh.  The only actionable impact for me is MKG’s 15-16 death.  “This guy here is dead!”  “Well cross him off then!”  Here’s what else has happened through the first few nights of preseason as we prepare for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball season:

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Razzball Hoops’ ultimate draft day tool is here!  Well, actually whoever sniped Myles Turner before I could get him in my first RCL draft is the ultimate draft day tool!  Slim’s projections in a sortable spreadsheet is back, and a huge thanks to Slim for all of his statistical Nostradamus-ing and Rudy for all of the… um… Excel-lent sort-ing…  See what I did there?!  These guys should’ve been the stars of CBS’s Numb3rs!  I actually have no clue what that show was about, but if it was about fantasy basketball I’ll sure feel dumb…  Rudy helped us get all of Slim’s projections in the Official Top 200 back into interactive mode, and he’s probably ready for a month off from math with baseball wrapping up.  I can’t wait to see his charcoal drawings from his month away in Amish country!  Anyway, here’s Slim’s 15-16 projections to utilize on draft day, and be sure to put them to test in the 2015-16 Razzball Basketball Commenter Leagues.  Plenty of leagues open with October drafts, so sign up today!

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Previous “Jump Ball” articles:

9/19 – Russell Westbrook v Damian Lillard

9/26 – Kawhi Leonard v Jimmy Butler

TALE OF THE TAPE

BLAKE GRIFFIN SERGE IBAKA
Los Angeles Clippers Team Oklahoma City Thunder
PF, C Position (Y! Eligibility) PF, C
2014 Results
41st 9-Cat Rank (Total Value) 36th
28th 9-Cat Rank (Per Game) 18th
67 Games Played 64
35.2 Minutes Per Game 33.1
27.0 (16th) Usage Rate (Rank) 17.6 (T-194th)
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Auction drafts are chess, snake drafts are checkers!  Pretty sure Denzel in Training Day agrees!

Nothing beats a good auction draft.  Yes, they can be long, hard, and full of Kaman, but they also ensure you can get players you like as long as you’re willing to pony up the dough.  Luckily this year has more parity across the first round, and you can spread your bets accordingly.  Pre-Kevin Durant injury last year, it was back-to-back seasons of paying a ridiculous premium for the Slim Reaper since he was safe (ugh, I guess not really!) and so much better than the field.  Now there’s a case to be made for any of the big 3 as #1 overall, I’ve heard KD even enter the discussion that high, some like DeMarcus Cousins over some of the PG, some don’t like John Wall as a first-rounder, etc. etc. etc.  So while I do like the stars-and-scrubs philosophy, I don’t think I have to overpay too much unlike the past two seasons where I had KD in the high-$90s.  However, I will note there’s a steep dropoff for me outside the top-10.  And you’ll notice a bevy of guys at $1-$2.  I’ll go in hoping to get two elites, a few mids, and a lot of dollar guys where I see value.

A big luxury of auction drafts is it’s much easier to maintain a team strategy.  I don’t love punting in snakes, as guys that fit your build can be picked before you.  But in an auction, you can build more efficiently and accurately.  You can also punt positions – I would be all for getting two elite PG and having 3-4 $1-$2 high-upside bigs and hope I hit on one or two to flank some mid-range guys.

And one obligatory final note – I know I am high on Andrew Wiggins this year, so obviously if he hits $23 with only one team left bidding, don’t suddenly climb it with one bid from $23 to $39 willy-nilly!  These suggested auction values are a framework for my ranks, and the price I’d go if drafting with 11 other mes.  Ugh, horrifying, it’d be like having an auction draft in the “Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich!” scene!

Values are based on Yahoo standard line-ups (PG, SG, G, SF, PF, F, C, C, UTIL, UTIL, BN, BN, BN) and 12-team leagues (RCL size – and we need more leagues!  Commish one now!) with a $200 budget:

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The last two months of the NBA season can produce some extremely strange numbers. You don’t necessarily have to be a good basketball player to produce at the NBA level during these months. That doesn’t matter for winning fantasy leagues though. Numbers are NUMBERS:

2014/2015 NBA Season Final 2 Months Ranking 8-Cat:

Rudy Gobert (27)

Hassan Whiteside (63)

Jordan Clarkson (40)

Zach LaVine (85)

Nikola Mirotic (61)

What do all these players have in common?

-They were all undrafted or dropped to the wire in the majority of 12-team 8-cat roto leagues last year.

-They were all rookies or sophomores for the 2014-2015 season. (Whiteside excluded)

-They all provided top 100 per game value for the final two months of the 2014-2015 season.

Every year there are difference makers that arise throughout the final two months of the season. The correlation between winning teams and scooping up difference makers in the back end of the season cannot be underestimated. Below are some players I think may be able to break out in the final months of the season:

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Previous “Jump Ball” articles:

9/19 – Russell Westbrook v Damian Lillard

TALE OF THE TAPE

KAWHI LEONARD JIMMY BUTLER
San Antonio Spurs Team Chicago Bulls
SG, SF Position (Y! Eligibility) SG, SF
2014 Results
12th 9-Cat Rank (Total Value) 15th
6th 9-Cat Rank (Per Game) 8th
64 Games Played 65
31.8 Minutes Per Game 38.7
21.4 (T-93rd) Usage Rate (Rank) 20.6 (T-112th)
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Ah, the big boys. Remember when they used to say you should build your franchise around a center? I actually have no idea if they said that, Patrick Ewing and Hakeem the Dream were peaking before my time! But it did seem to be the focus of the NBA, as then it shifted to Shaq and his Kazaam-type activity. Now the big slow C is the way of the past, with fantasy’s best C a do-it-all wet dream of gorgeous fantasy-a-tude. I’m just making up words I’m so in love! The best microcosm of this shift has been the oft-commented Luminescent Lithuanian, who is so hard to rank if the Raptors keep their big fellah mired in a 26 MPG role. We want to stretch the ball more! Ugh, frickin’ rotations and less minutes going around! Matty’s Minutes Men article is just depressing, I want to see guys go 40+ again. I’m getting rambly – Monty Python get on with it! – here’s the top C for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball season:

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Bring the powah!  In one of the more shiftiest of positions in the NBA, we now embrace the stretch-4 as if small ball is the cure-all for everything in the NBA, and have thrown out the twin towers philosophy.  No more Monroe and Drummond and 800 pounds worth of NBA center clogging the paint!  The NBA is getting more versatile, and I think we’re seeing it more with all the ways a PF can help you in fantasy.  Dimes from LeBron, treys from like half of em, a lot of rainbow line threats…  It’s as variant as Johnny Depp’s characters in Tim Burton movies!  Oh wait, they’re all weird/bumbly/creepy, that’s completely wrong…  It’s as variant as nationalities in the NBA!  Love that FIBA had so many NBA players participating, so fun…  Anyway, the point is (if there ever was a point to this open), that PF can fit a lot of builds, and can band-aid some stats late, so it’s not a positional necessity.  I might have made up a completely new term there…  Here’s the top PF for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball season:

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