Choo Choo!

Watch out league, The Dieng Train is about to run ya over like you’re Magic defenders! Our season chugs along through Thanksgiving (although with our jeans barely fitting), heading into December with 3 guys flirting with Oscar Robinson for tripdub averages, Brow looking redonk, and a multitude of other breakouts and disappointments, but I don’t want the Dieng Train to slip under the radar! Like a German train station, Gorgui Dieng remains regular, consistent, and otherwise just mundane, bringing true multicat performance after performance from a big (minus treys). After a slow-ish start, the Dieng Train put together a nice weekend with a rainbow 11/7/2/3/4 against the Suns, then 15/6/2/1/2 in a tough-matchup-for-a-big against the Warriors. And even though I said “minus treys”, he actually hit a triple in each of them! Shot 11-22 overall, committed only 2 combined TO, and after hitting only 6 treys last year, maybe this is a part of his game we’ll start to see expand. Before you Dieng Train detractors type “BORING!” in the comments, I know his per-36 is a smidge down from last year. That said, he’s played 36+ minutes in 4 of the past 5 games, and it’s all due to that beautiful, cuddly, Tibby Tibs treatment. Run your starters to death! But well, when one of your starters is a effin’ train, you ride that rail! Here’s what else went down over Thanksgiving weekend in fantasy basketball:

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First off, Happy Thanksgiving Day to everyone!  Here’s a little Thanksgiving edition of The Numbers Game.  I promise to keep it short so as to not interfere with the eating and the shopping.

I’ll do a reverse this week and start off with the Victor Oladipo analysis and do the matchup by the numbers later on.

Last week, I covered the defensive aspect of Dipo’s season stats.  Let’s look at the offensive side so far this season–15 games in (as of writing, he will be playing his 16th game).

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NICK YOUNG HIT A GAME-WINNING THREE FOR THE LAKERS!!!!!

Yes, this Nick Young. The Shaqtin’ a Fool Hall of Famer hit the game-winning 3 for the Lakers. Granted, the play wasn’t designed for him, as he intercepted a pass intended for Lou Williams (13 points, 5 assists) to get the shot off. But he finished with 17 points (6-12 FG, 4-7 3pt), 2 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Heading into the game, he was leading the league in free throw percentage.

Under new head coach Luke Walton, Swaggy P has looked like a different player. While Walton may be the main reason, I think he’s playing better because he is no longer engaged to Iggy Azalea. Just like in her rap career, she was taking down everybody associated with her, forcing even T.I. to drop her from his label.

Whatever the reason, the Lakers are happy for the resurgence and fantasy owners should grab him for scoring, threes, and FT shooting because he’s ain’t no mediocre.

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In a matchup where they might’ve gone ahead and whipped em out to see who was bigger, this round went to Joel Embiid! The Sixers snapped the longest stretch of NBA games without back-to-back wins (108), by besting Hassan Whiteside and the Heat 101-94.

Look at Embiid flex those guns. So much man meat in the paint right there! Ok, I’m done with that, but it was awesome to see such prototypical, turn-back-the-clock big men face off against each other, with each being the current face of their respective franchise. Embiid had one of his best lines of the year, going 22/5/0/1/3 on 7-13 shooting, mainly highlighted by only one TO. He’s only had one game with 2 TO, and all the others 3+. On the flip side, Whiteside was a monster, going 32/13/0/0/2 on 13-19 shooting and hit 6 of his 8 FT. For the love of big man stats! Whiteside was 0-3 from the stripe in his previous game, so hopefully something has righted the ship there. Someone in the comments asked where Embiid might go in drafts next year, and I said 30-40 range. But at this rate, that might be too conservative! Let’s see him get through a full season first, and be sure none of that giant EMBIIIIIID gets hurt. I lied, I got one more in! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

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Could there be anyone else in the NBA that everyone can get behind and root for than Jrue Holiday?!  At this rate, he needs to run for prez in 2020!  And just to make him even more likable, he’s now wearing rec spec goggles.  Soooooooo dope!  It’s like he’s playing ball underwater!  When he hit this stepback, I’m pretty sure I heard him say “you miss me?!” on the game broadcast, but I have a feeling it was my mind playing tricks on me…

Jrue didn’t take any time to shake off the rust, going 21/2/7/1/1 on 8-14 shooting against the Blazers Friday night (including that sexy crossover), then 22/2/9/1/0 on 9-17 shooting against the Hornets on Saturday.  14:4 AST:TO to start it off, shot over 50% both games…  Just so awesome!  I know what I’m thankful for!  And just to make things EVEN MORE awesome, he rewarded Tim Frazier owners who remained patient, by showing they can co-exist.  Bi-partisan!  12/3/8 and 17/5/8 for Frazier in those two games, plus the Pelicans won both of them.  And they weren’t against cupcakes either, winning at home against the Blazers then the Hornets.  Pass the beignets, we got a party goin on!  As a Frazier owner in a couple RCLs, I’m going to hang strong until his numbers tell me otherwise.  Unfortunately, I’m not a Jrue owner anywhere though…  Depressing!  But I don’t even care, Jrue is a boss, and if he beats me in some fantasy matchups, I will tip my cap and be rooting for him anyway.  You’re my boy, Jrue!  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy hoops:

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Feb 23, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) and fans celebrate Harden's three point shot against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second half at Toyota Center. Rockets won 113 to 102. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY SportsThe Rockets put up 41 in the first quarter, with a lot of help from the beard. Harden finished the game with a 26/12/14/3/0 triple double, while only turning the ball over 4 times… That really isn’t that bad for the Rockets! A fair amount of blowouts last night, but the games were still quite enjoyable! Particularly, the matchup of KAT and EMBIIIIIID.

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With how the Poppycockers put together their “Super Team”, I admittedly had some worries that the bunch of Tom Cruise-divas they threw out there might make The Poison Goose a mere co-pilot.  But not with moxie like this!

Dude doing that at 7’3!!!!!  SEVEN THREE!!!  Monster game from Kristaps Porzingis last night, going a career-high 35/7/3/1/1 with 3 treys on 13-22 shooting.  He played 40 minutes, and put the Poppies on his back.  While I was a little apprehensive of his USG, I still think my rank of 23 ended up being ahead of the curve (I would confirm this, but FantasyPros is being a little ish and not making it easy to find draft day expert consensus!).  Alas, I was unable to get the Goose in any leagues, and I’m suffering some major poultry withdrawal.  Thankfully Thanksgiving is right around the corner!  He’s taken 15+ shots the past 7 games, attempting 2 more treys a game than last year, and the TO rate has gone from 1.7 his rookie year to 1.3.  His ridiculous 7’3 size makes him too tough for stretch-4s to cover him, and his ridiculous speed and ball-handling makes him too tough for centers.  He’s becoming a true matchup nightmare with the added iso moves, and is – I’m going there – a no question first-rounder next year.  Slim having him on his REL team has me depressingly reaching for the Grey Goose!  Here’s what else went down in fantasy hoops action last night:

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Coming off of Cleveland’s championship, LeBron James has led the Cavaliers to a 9-1 start. It looks like there hasn’t been a championship lay-off at all. James finished one rebound shy of a triple-double with 28 points, 14 assists, 9 rebounds. He’s off to an incredible start. He may be rested down the stretch, if the Cavs continue their winning ways, but for now enjoy the ride.

It was a short slate of games on Tuesday so let’s get right to it:

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As I try to do in my opens, I pull in some real-life news or experience to try and humanize the open. No one wants robot reporting! Just ask Mark Cuban. And that whole situation seems like such a cop out, “I’m going to ban reporters, and the reason why is that I want more human reporting!” Something else is going on there…

Anywho, for this open, I actually have relevant life experience! As previously mentioned regarding Derrick Favors, I too have suffered from IT Band Syndrome. It’s an inflammation of a thin band of nerves that connect from your hip bone on the outside of your leg, past your knee, and connected to your lower leg. Sometimes it can manifest itself in a mad sore hip, but usually it impacts the outside of your knee. When it flares up, it feels like a bone-on-bone “catching” on the outer part of your knee, like you have some horrific scar tissue from a torn meniscus (something I’ve also had). The real annoyance of the injury is you can feel awesome for a few days, then it flares up out of nowhere. You’re just walking normal, and all the sudden that “catch” makes your knee feel like you re-tore something. It’s pretty friggin’ frustrating.

So when I heard Favors was starting last night despite a flare up of knee soreness again on Saturday, I wasn’t the most surprised. I bet it felt great in warm-ups! Then at some point, I’m guessing he felt that same nerve irritation, and he ended up leaving early. I know his frustration. As a nerve thing, this isn’t really a consistent pain-tolerance thing, or a sprain to play through. It feels fine, then a sudden flare up makes your knee feel unstable. I didn’t watch any of this game, but he apparently didn’t look right, and went only 6/2/0/2/0 in 21 minutes. As I mentioned on the Pod, I nabbed some shares of Trey Lyles on Sunday given Favors’ knee issues and knowing this could be a long-term thing, getting rewarded with an 18/5/2/2/0 line with a trey. A trey from Trey! With leaving games early a persistent issue now, I wouldn’t be surprised if Favors gets treatment for a few weeks, and I would take the flier on Lyles where I could. It took me about two months of rehab and a session of dry needling to stimulate the nerves to finally shake my IT issues. Don’t watch if you don’t like needles! Here’s what else happened in fantasy hoops action last night:

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So I had some friends in over the weekend, and they straight up Uncle Bucked me.  I have no idea if I can use that as a verb, and I do mean the movie, they didn’t show up and immediately get cancelled like the recent TV series attempt.  Well, I haven’t really seen either, but I think the point gets across!  They went hard and seemed closer together than my lame, grandpa ass.  Can’t hang like I used to!

In a similar way, when I took over Razzball Hoops, I sometimes felt like the lame black sheep of the family.  Grey over there at baseball was clubbing like that scene from The Social Network, this song was playing, and was talking about how a million page views isn’t cool anymore.  A billion page views is!  Then football had Sky then Jay running a party boat like they were on Lake Minnetonka.  But hoops over here was the ginger outcast, living like Harry Potter under the steps.  Somehow and someway, we went to Hogwarts and became as cool as those other Wizards (although, not the awful 2-7 Washington ones…), and as fantasy hoops grew as the best global fantasy game, Razzball Hoops Nation came along with us for the ride.  Either that, or you keep reading just because you think to yourself, “this clown is such a disgrace, he wears a jersey that says “Smart” and he’s the biggest doofus around!”

Like initiation into the Razzball fraternal order, we have a huge announcement.  Huuuuuuge!  Huge Gina!   Razzball Basketball now has dedicated Player Pages!  Wooooooo, drop the confetti, we’re part of the big boys!  From here on out, you’ll see player names hyperlinked with our own internal player page system that imports several layers of stats: Per game stats, per 36, USG calculations, game logs, season stats, and contract information.  Player pages also link to recent Razzball posts when the player was last mentioned, and coming soon will include next 7 days and DFS projections.  We’re going to be looking into the future!  Slow clap to Rudy for his work putting these together, and working with yours truly to hopefully deliver an awesome new tool that will overtake the player pages you use for your leagues.  And let us know what you think!  If you have additional things you want, things you hate, we want to know!  Razzball Hoops is entirely based on our community and comments, so let us know if you like em!

To mark this triumphant new era for Razzball Hoops, I thought long and hard about who to hyperlink first.  I do have an unhealthy KCP addiction, and slicky Ricky is oh so spicy, but why not go with the hottest guy in 2016, DeMar DeRozan!  Time Magazine‘s sexiest man alive has nothing on DeMar!  And nothing on those sleek player pages either!  33/7/4/2/0 against the Poppycockers, giving him 32+ points in 8 of his first 9 games.  Invasion from Canada!  While he’s obviously more than Wigginsing it, he only has 3 games under 54% from the field, his steals are at a career-high, and he’s likely going to regress a smidge.  I’m certainly not giving him away, but if someone thinks his poutines AND gravy are completely legit, maybe you can get a little more value out of him than he’s worth.  But if he’s carrying your scoring, ride this wave!  Here’s what else went down in fantasy hoops action, now with players linked to their Razzball pages!  Woooooo!

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