REL Basketball1Only one regular season week left to go – one last week to jostle for the playoffs!  And oh man, do we have some sublime drama in the REL!  Am I using sublime right?!  I feel like it’s an adjective thrown around a little willy-nilly….  Anywho, #2 seed Scurry and #3 seed Yappers took on big losses last week, opening the door for a 4-way battle for that coveted 2nd bye week.  Although with the trade deadline last week, we saw some massive moves, mainly from High as Greg Kite solidifying their hold on the 6th playoff spot and going for a deep playoff run.  It’s going to be a great postseason, and I’m excited to see how the seeding will work out!

Here’s how week eighteen in the 2016-17 REL went down, and how we’re looking heading into week nineteen:

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Man, big weekends all around!  And only fitting one of the breakout weekends of the NBA would be someone from the Suns!  I was in Phoenix all weekend!  …sadly not to see the Suns, but I don’t think anyone was…  Grey and I were scouting some Spring Training, and us goofballs had a good ol’ desert time…  Speaking of goofballs, check out this jump ball for the Suns/Celtics game on Sunday night!

It’s all fun and games for the Celtics until the Suns actually beat ya!  And who better to drive home the dagger than who faced off in the short-man jump ball!

NBA getting taken over by shorties!  Grey might have a shot to make the NBA at this rate!  20/2/5/1/0 for Tyler Ulis with no TO on 8-12 shooting, following 8/1/8 then 14/4/7 lines the two games prior.  Of course Earl Watson would love this guy and start giving him minutes, the short guy love going all around!  23, 21, then 33 minutes in that big win yesterday.  While he’s certainly worth a look in 12ers, minutes would absolutely have to come at the expense of Eric Bledsoe or Devin Booker, and I don’t see the Suns being able to give Ulis a 30+ MPG role.  So that keeps him behind the Cojo’s of the world, and I’m not really fretting that I didn’t add him anywhere while I was in baseball scouting mode.  Although I will say the NBA definitely has it down with being an indoor sport, my feet got sunburnt to a crisp wearing my flip flops in Phoenix!  Stupid pale skin…  I’m not built for the desert, even in early March!  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

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How could you be so Dr. Evil? You’re bringing out of a side of that I don’t know. Maybe this was the beginning of the end for legit Kanye, when we started to see the side of him that we (he) didn’t know? Sorry Yeezy fans, but his last great album was Graduation. But maybe that’s what we all need to do…graduate. Onto better seasons. Onto changes perceptions. Onto the playoffs.

As we move into (or closer to) the playoff part of the season, strategies change. For your squad, perhaps you’ve sat middling in the standings when it comes to certain categories. What if you punted 3 cats for the sake of bolstering the other 6? In a head-to-head format that’s all you need (me personally, I’m not the biggest proponent of this move). Or, if it’s not a roster building strategy, perhaps what changes is just the way you assess the value of certain players. At this point in the season injuries, losses and trades have adjusted the mindset of so many teams that a few names seemingly so awful just a month ago may now be the key to your playoff push. Can you change your mind on them before the others in your league? Can you find their value in spite of their potential pitfalls?

When they have 5 games in a week where basically everyone else has 4…yep. (Pour one out for all the Russy owners. Worst possible timing for a short week. Good luck to ya!)

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The Warriors are now fighting to regain their composure after the massive injury to Kevin Durant.  Unfortunately, without him, this is a much weaker squad than last year.  This was quite obvious in their 87-94 loss to the mediocre Bulls squad on national TV.  Although, Matt Barnes did an admirable job of filling in KD with a massive 2/0/0/0/0 line…

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Oh no… It’s another one of THOSE podcasts!  Yes, I go solo again today – sorry everyone!  Had some scheduling stuff come up, but next Thursday or Friday we get our special edition Pod on location in Florida!  On today’s show, we recap the big injury news on Kevin Durant and Joel Embiid, I compare the fantasy stock of some big men with big upside that are playing more fringy lately, then I wrap up the show by previewing tonight’s games with our 30-point challenge picks and a Fantasy Movie League update (join us here!  password: rball!).

Download in iTunes

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Not a Shia LaBeouf, fan so I’ve never even heard about this movie ’til now.  Well, what a difference a week makes.  We were analyzing trade impacts last week.  This week, we’ll be looking at a few major injuries that has hit some top tier fantasy players.  Kyle Lowry, Kevin Durant, & Joel Embiid.  And due to Embiid being gone for the season, no more EmBIIIIID for him.

Let’s start with the easy ones.  Lowry and Embiid.

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Man, what a horrid week for injuries!  Highlighted by the worst injury of all: yesterday we got news that JB Gilpin – yes pickup basketball superstar – rolled his ankle in his after-work pickup game on someone else’s fat foot.  That’s right, I got a kankle!  Some rough swelling, probably out 1-2 weeks, go ahead and give me that INJ tag!  No joke, this is the second time in a row I’ve gotten a kankle before a big trip.  Now I’m gonna be gimpy walking around Spring Training games on my baseball trip starting this weekend!  Stupid kankles…

Anyway, some lower-tier basketball talents also got news of rough injuries, of course highlighted by Kevin Durant‘s MRI revealing a Grade 2 MCL strain and a tibial bone bruise.  Stupid Zaza Pachulia flying around willy-nilly!  He’s going to be “re-evaluated” in 4 weeks, so there’s no way he’s making an impact on your fantasy playoffs.  Mayyyyybe he plays in the last game or two, but I highly doubt it.  According to BB Monster, he was by far the best per-game player and total value player, so it’s an unbelievable loss.  But hey, he got you to your fantasy playoffs (hopefully) and anything can happen week-to-week in H2H leagues.  Injuries are the mother-flippin’ worst!  Here’s what else went down across the NBA last night, including one other major injury piece of news:

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With the season winding down, we’re going to stick to this shorter format.  Frankly, the waiver wire is fairly dry at the moment, and most players available are known quantities at this point.

  • Richaun Holmes – PF/C – 16% – He’s suddenly relevant after the trade of Nerlens Noel, and the injury to Joel Embiid.  Over the past 3 games, he’s racked up 10 blocks along with decent contributions in points, boards, and steals.  Definitely worth a grab while Embiid is out.
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The biggest news of the night comes from a guy who barely played at all. Less than 2 minutes into the game between Golden State and Washington, Warriors’ center Zaza Pachulia (12 points, 8 rebounds) fell into Kevin Durant’s left knee. KD walked away gingerly before heading to the bench and being whisked away into the locker room. Diagnosed with a hyperextended left knee, Durant did not return to the game.

Is this karma from the Basketball Gods for his comments about not wanting to come home to play for the Wizards? Kidding aside, this is terrible news to the Warriors, fans of the NBA, and fantasy owners. Hopefully KD’s injury isn’t long-term, but more will be known after examining the MRI results.

In the meantime, the Warriors wasted no time in reaching out to free agent Matt Barnes and are expected to sign him later this week. Released by the Kings after trading DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans, Barnes is excited to rejoin the Warriors, after playing for them from 2006-2008. I wouldn’t rush to add Barnes until more is known about KD’s injury, but Barnes has been useful for fantasy purposes before.

On happier notes, here are the other nightly notables:

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…comin’ for to carry me OUT of my fantasy playoffs!  Brutal news yesterday that Kyle Lowry has to undergo surgery on his right wrist – his shooting wrist – to remove some loose bodies.  Should’ve kept those bodies in a well, like Buffalo Bill!  “It puts the lotion on the skin!”  Without an IL spot, you’re cutting him in your redraft leagues, even with the prospect he gets a couple games in right before the playoffs.  The timeline is “hopeful to return in 4-5 weeks”, which would put us in early April.  Plus he’s a shooter, and gonna have a rusty wrist.  Hah, that sounds like a sex thing…  Moving on!

In his place, it’s time for the Cojo mojo!  11/1/6/3/0 then 14/1/6/1/0 over the weekend for Cory Joseph, with only 2 combined TO, showing what kind of sexy roto-asset he could be.  But thennnnn, struggled last night – as did the Raps as a while – to knock off the Poppycockers in a 1-point win, going 6/3/4/2/0 with 2 TO.  Still got 33:30 minutes, but he’s more in the fringy starting PG class (your Brogdon, McConnell, et ceteras) than in the most-own zone.  You could say he’s in the friendzone.  Although dudes don’t really have a friendzone, it’s only chicks that apply that logic.  The friendzone is a very sexist area!  After this dunk in the 2014 Western Conference Finals (back when he was on my REL team), Cojo could have his way with me any time he wanted!

Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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