Welcome back, Mr. Slim Reaper!  It’s a perfectly apt nickname too, because I own him in the JB vs. Slim RCL league and he’s going to be Slim’s reaper!  Even though I’m getting crushed this week so far…

After a decent enough start, Kevin Durant was still without the big eruption type game in his first three back, but last night dismantled the Bucks in an uber-efficient 23/9/7/1/1 game shooting 7-11 FG and 8-8 FT.  He’s worth 9 or 10 Bucks, at the least!  Was 1-5 from deep, so didn’t miss within the arc.  All of that in 29 minutes, as Beam-me-up Scotty Brooks benched the Thunder studs down the stretch of the double-digit win.  Even though this was against the young Bucks, the Thunder as a whole are coming together with Russell Westbrook having a fantastic 28/5/7 night with like, a million free throws made, and Serge Ibaka is back to his %-gold ways for 15/5/0/2/2 shooting 5-5 FG & 5-5 FT.  Durantula and Westy are going to command their first-round values in trades, but I bet you could still swindle Ibaka away at a buy-low price.  3+ blocks the past four games and 16-26 from the field his last three, and isn’t needing to force shots anymore.   Things are right in order for OKC to go on a mad run, so be counting your lucky stars if you got KD at a discount on draft day!  What we preached all preseason post-injury!  Here’s some other happenings from the NBA last night:

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After a  7-2 win in the Take on Jay(Wrong) league, it’s back to the top for Pop!  With a record of 40-13-1, Pops’s Team has retaken the #1 spot in the RCL leaderboard over micoolj79’s Team.  Thank the lord, Pops is so much easier to type!  The team of vets continue to impress, and the rest of RCL needs to fight harder to bring down that mess!  [my attempt at rapping, awful]

It’ll be a big week as we try to catch Pops’s and micoolj79’s Teams in the The 2014-15 RCL Master Standings table, and here’s how the action went down in week 6 across our 12 RCL Leagues:

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“Did you coach the Celtics to a win last night, B-Rad?!”  “No…  But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night!”

Since returning from his bad ankle sprain, Marcus Smart has had quite the timeline.  Returned last Wednesday and played five minutes, and Stevens said he didn’t look ready.  And when you’re not ready, you get demoted to the D-League.  And when you shoot 1-12 FG in that D-League game, you still get a promotion.  I want to work for that company!  Any time you get reprimanded, you just have to explain why you’re currently better than 1-12!  Then DNP Friday, and 8 minutes of nada Sunday.  So of course, everyone expected that he’d play 35 minutes and go 23/4/5/1/0 shooting 7-14 FG (4-8 3PTM, 5-5 FT) without a single TO last night.  And everyone expected Rajon Rondo, off a triple-double, to be benched in favor of Smart down the stretch and for both the overtimes.  Well, the Celtics did almost upset the Wiz at home!  Key word… almost.  And sure, Boston had a big 4th quarter with the subs to make it a game, but an L is an L!  Rondo owners collectively throw things at their computers – no one is safe from a Stevens line-up bamboozle.  Before you run out and grab Smart, consider that timeline this past week.  And don’t forget before last night he was shooting sub-30% FG and 21.4% from deep with only 1.1 dimes a game.  Given some of those were in low-minute spells, but it was still only 8 dimes in 114 minutes to 6 TO.  So don’t pull a Stevens and feel like the smartest one in the room by dropping, well virtually anyone in a 12 or 14 teamer for him, unless you plan to stash.  Rondo could still be moved, but I never bet on a trade.  It’s like betting on a successful hostage trade in an action movie.  They never work out!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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I kept telling you that was OK to pick up Rasual Butler while he was producing, but certain fantasy sites that sound like “drive-thru” and “he is Alex Len” insisted that he wouldn’t keep it going. He’s washed up, they said. There’s no minutes for him, they said.

Now that he’s averaged 28 mpg and 18.8 ppg over his last four, and shot 54 percent from downtown over that span, the sites that shall remain nameless (you probably use them every day) say oh yeah, maybe you better claim him off waivers. Same old over-the-top song-and-dance they’ve been doing all year.

(One post in the site that sounds like “Ragu” said Jerami Grant is “not very good at basketball,” even though he is in the NBA, and he is getting minutes every game. Nevermind that he can’t hit a shot from 4 feet out, he is athletic and gets stats for deep leaguers.)

My advice is to have fun playing fantasy. Don’t stress about it too much. Unless you have $100 invested in a league or a bad haircut wager on the line, which in that case go ahead and obsess over Rasual Butler. Otherwise, add and ride him while he’s hot.

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Well, the rapscallions at Martyball – IFBL continue to murder the league, with an 8-1 win against The Nature Boy to move into an even more commanding 1st place position.  Blessed with a team with all steady roles, the kicker is this run from Amar’e Stoudemire.  What in the…?!  But this might be Martyball’s last blaze of glory, relying on a lot of veterans.  What these deep dynasties are all about!  Managing success vs. youth, and for me to rant – which luckily some other REL guys did as well!  Here’s how the rest of week 6 went down in the REL:

RAZZBALL ELITE LEAGUE

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Totally off the wagon!  My sobriety is over.  On my bender this weekend, I ate a roasted chicken off the bone for dinner, lost my voice yelling trying to talk to Germans, tried to order steak at a carnival stand, and woke up the next day hating life.   Well, that was actually my time at Oktoberfest, but more or less the same thing!

We all know how much I love Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.  He’s probably my most talked about fantasy player since last season that hasn’t fully broken into 100%-owned fantasy relevance.  And of course, after a slow start and swearing him off – with me finally admitting to my KCP obsession – he turns it back around culminating in another fantastic line against OKC for 19/3/5/1/0 shooting 6-12 FG (1-5 3PTM 6-7 FT).  Did have 3 TO, but one was a very questionable charge on a nasty layup in transition.  I think Kevin Durant took it – MVP call!  In the finale last year, KCP went 30/6/0/2/1 on 11-19 shooting with 5 treys against OKC.  Slim – how many times have I brought up that game now?!  I worked Yahoo highlights on that one when my company did them last year, so harkening to the memories of that 30-burger is like reliving your ultimate drug trip.  “The trees were melting into the sky!”  So of course seeing him rip apart OKC once again has my teeth grinding more than a cokehead stranded in Antarctica.

KCP’s got steals in 9 of 10 games now, his TO rate is fantastic (3 was a season high yesterday – averaging 1.0 TO a game before last night), but I’m recently liking how much more he’s getting involved inside the perimeter.  Through the first 15 games, 47.4% of KCP’s shots were 3s, but through the last six, 35 of his 80 shots were treys taking it down to 43.8%.  And in that time his USG% (estimate of the percentage of team plays used by a player while he was on the floor) – something I don’t look at too, too often – jumped from 18% those first 15 games, to 20.3% not including yesterday.  I watched a lot of last night’s game, and he was more involved in the O than any other Pistons game I’ve seen all year – and due to my addiction, it’s been a lot.  While it was yet another loss, they still gave OKC a run for their money – given the Thunder studs are still shaking off some rust.  So I’m back to being a KCP addict!  Let’s hope this doesn’t start impacting my work and ruining my relationships…  I won’t go rehab again!  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball:

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I was off last week because of the holiday.  Hope you all had a safe and profitable Thanksgiving in DFS.  As you know I try to pass along some news if there is any and advice.  The best advice I can give to any new or veteran player in DFS is bankroll management.  Can’t stress enough how important it is.  50/50’s are the best way to build your bankroll.  It doesn’t matter if you finish 1st in these contests.  All you have to do is beat half the field to double your money.  Yeah GPP (Guaranteed Prize Pool) money is nice but it’s hard to cash in these contests consistently.  What I do for example is if I was going to play $100 for the night, $85 of that is going to be in 50/50’s.  Now if I am just starting out I’m probably playing all my money in 50/50’s to build that bankroll up.  Hope this advice is helpful.  Now let’s get on with some picks for a smallish 6 game slate on Saturday night.

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This was a very big week for the Thunder. They got both of their superstars back in a matter of days.

Russell Westbrook returned on Friday night, putting up 32 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists in only 24 minutes of clock. Now owners may be concerned with the lack of minutes, but know that Westbrook wasn’t on a minutes’ restriction. Instead, Westbrook, along with the rest of the starters, were pulled early since the Thunder were up 32 late in the game. They were playing the New York Knicks after all.

A few days later, Kevin Durant returned to score 27 points on Tuesday night. He showed little rust on the court, shooting 9-18 from twos, 3-8 from downtown, and 6-7 from the line. Durant didn’t do much else outside of the scoring, but those numbers will happen in due time. The important thing is that Westbrook and Durant are both back and healthy.

Westbrook and Durant immediately regain their statuses as two of the top ten fantasy producers. At the same time, their return also hurts the guys filling in for them. Reggie Jackson’s statistics will take a hit, as he won’t be needed as much as an offensive producer. In the two games since Westbrook returned, Jackson had his two lowest usage rates of the season and saw his field goal attempts decrease to 11 FGA per game (down from 17.9 without Durant and Westbrook). Now there is still value to be had with Jackson, since he’ll be getting around 30 minutes a night, but don’t expect the same numbers he was providing early in the season.

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Razzball Nation!

DraftKings is back, and while we don’t have a Razzball Only contest this week (bummer, I know…), we can still all get together and sing some campfire songs over a big contest in the several they run every night!  I wanted to keep it low key, albeit with a big payday, so join me why don’t ya in the NBA $50K Layup!  It’s $2 to play, and pays out a cool, hard $50-grand for the overall winner.  If somebody from Razzball Nation wins, I better get a heavy dose of Crown & Cokes!  I’ll be in there with my jbrazzball moniker, so you can track me as I finish middle of the pack, which has been my normal finish most of the time this year in daily… I’m coming for that payday this Friday though!  If not, I might Drunk Uncle rant after tonight… So click-ity click that link right there, draft your team today, and let’s get some skrilla for Razzball Nation!

Here’s 5 of my picks for tonight’s action:

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