Fantasy basketball gurus started drooling around the All-Star break: The Atlanta Hawks have a schedule that’s favorable to the fantasy basketball playoffs! Mark your calendars! Set the alarms on your smart phone device thingys!

That’s right, fantasy ballers in search of boards and blocks, this means guys like Pero Antic, Elton Brand, Mike Scott and Mike Muscala will have four games in each of the next two weeks! And they are probably sitting on your waiver wire right now! And that means … uh, hello? Where’d everyone go?

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Isn’t it nice when everything falls into place?  Like when you drive home from work and catch nothing but green lights all the way.  I’m not sure what you call that feeling.  I say I’m not sure, not because I can’t use a thesaurus, but because I don’t have those kinds of days anymore.  I’m sorry to sound all doom and gloom but at this time of year, when I’m dropping one of my favorite players from my fantasy team – one that I followed for every game – I can’t help but react negatively.  I know it’s not his fault, or the team, or even the ghost of David Stern.  What, he’s not dead?  If you say so.  Really there isn’t any fault at all, besides the ghost obviously, I just needed more games or I’m not going to win my semifinals match-up.  So if you are like me and you’re barely holding onto your last breath of hope in the semis here’s a handful of widely available players to get that last couple of points, or boards, or just whatever it’s going to take stay alive and play for the championship:

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Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there’ll be ThrAGNOF!  Full disclosure – I had to look up this song from that movie about a weird looking ginger chick and it’s about coming of age or something.  No, not Teeth!  Last night, an injury-ravaged, de-taloned Pelicans went out and shocked the Clippers.  Kevin Hart, apparently a big Clippers fan, got to travel with LA on a Ride Along I’m guessing.  When Jamal Crawford upchucked a three at the buzzer for the win, that arced so high it might’ve hit the Cowboys Stadium scoreboard, Hart started crying when it barely hit rim and got angrier than his little cameo in The 40-Year-Old Virgin.  Anyway – Anthony Morrow was a big factor in the upset win, going full-ThrAGNOF 27/5/0/0/1 with two treys.  Scoring is the name of his game!  Always a high-volume shooter, Morrow just has never stuck in a big role as he doesn’t do anything else.  Dude, if he was on a D’Antoni Lakers team, he might break the NBA!  With Brian Roberts with a bruised knee, Eric Gordon with an absence of knees, and Austin Rivers with the sniffies, the Pels were without three of their bigger remaining scorers.  Looking ahead to tomorrow, the Pelicans get a beignet of a matchup against the former New Orleans Jazz and all three could miss again.  So if you need some treys and a little scoring upside in the deeper leagues, it’s that time of year when the scrubs will come out tomorrow!  Here’s what else I saw last night in NBA action:

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Man, that title seems all sorts of wrong… But what is right is Nikola Vucevic returned to action last night For a solid 16/10 dub-dub in only 20 minutes.  Efficiency!  Shot 6-12, 4-4 from the stripe and added a few steals.  Very encouraging return for a guy people were dismissing since he had no timetable from the concussion.  Concussions can really jack ya up, but hopefully you stayed true on your course to the playoffs and have a dynamic top-20ish big man.  Of course the Magic now have lost value in other places, with Big Baby going 5/4/4 in 32 minutes, Arron Afflalo looking like the scrub I’ve said he was all year (still think his 20+ PPG is one of the most preposterous stats this year) and Tobias Harris temporarily moving to the bench.  Although T Dawg isn’t Walking Dead (going 9/11/3/1/1 in 37 minutes), he shot like a stiff going 2-8.  Afflalo is still a sell as soon as you can, Davis a drop, and hope you bought low on Vuc while there was a window open.    Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

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When the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl in 2009, it was a great example of how the Sports Karma Gods can sometimes rush in after tragedy strikes to lift a city up and help it rebuild.

But then that was it. No more, said the Sports Karma Gods. Because since 2009, Big Easy sports fans have endured the Sean Payton scandal, the Chris Paul trade, the Hornets changing their name to the Pelicans, the freaking horrible uniforms for this year’s NBA All-Star game and a rash of injuries not unlike the rash Candy Flanders gave me in my sophomore year of high school. Er, ah, moving on.

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Leandro Barbosa had a really good run in the 2000′s, captaining the Black Pearl, slashing to the basket with some great drives – just like the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise was all-around fun to watch in his prime.  After a decline in Leandro’s play, he was shipped to Toronto for some turkey named Hedo Turkoglu.  Barbosa averaged nearly 13 Pts a game north of the border in two seasons, but then he was constantly asea with stints with the Pacers and Celtics before tearing his ACL in February last year.  And man, did that injury make him look attractive to the Wizards, who traded for him in a salary move.  Never playing for the Wizards and not getting any deals in the offseason, Barbosa looked stranded on the Isla de Muerta.  But some rum runners and/or braiding human hair from his back to lash together sea turtles got him back to civilization and re-signed by his former Suns a week ago.  After three meh games, Barbosa broke out with a 21/3/2 game last night.  Commodore Barbosa!  Bootstraps’ bootstraps!  He stayed on the court just over 30 minutes, and was infinitely better scoring the ball than Gerald Green, who shot 2-16.  Labradoodle alert!  No need to Geoffrey Rush to the wire in 10-teamers or 12-teamers, unless you’ve got a banged up squad in 12-team and only need points.  He’s a little interesting in deeper leagues though.  Mainly because he’ll get minutes, get shots, and will breakout on cold Green nights.  Here’s what else I saw last night across the Caribbean:

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Ohhhh man, the mile run.  Nothing establishes popularity in middle school more than the mile run.  You have the athletes who can just jog but have to semi-try, the dorks who are OK at sports that do pretty well (me!), the cool kids that just walk, the unhealthy people who saunter, and then the coolest dudes who hide behind the scoreboard on the other side of the track as the teachers and smoke cigs.  True story!  But the real run to talk about this morning is C.J. Miles‘ run, who’s capped off three straight great games.  Hit a ridiculous 10 treys last night, for a 34/5/2/2 line shooting 11-18 and 10-14 from deep.  If only someone called it yesterday!  And proof to the theory of ThrAGNOF.  Got you 10 treys for just one spot start.  Great night for Miles and shows us yet again that if you need to stream guys, play anyone facing the Sixers.  As I mentioned yesterday, their D is league worst in points allowed by nearly 7 points more a game given up than the second-worst.  It’s a fast-paced team with bad D no matter how you slice it.  Unfortunately for Miles, the acquisition of Luol Deng is really going to hurt his minutes, making him a guy you’re probably not picking up in standard leagues or solid 12-teamers.  Just won’t have the minutes or upside.  But luckily he had one last game to show his range and should stay in the mix for deeper leaguers.  Here’s what else I saw last night in a big slate of games:

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If you’re like JB and myself, then you like your fantasy basketball to be Head-To-Head.  The ability to talk smack to a new opponent every week keeps the intensity high.  And unlike Roto or NCAA football, we get The Playoffs, where heroes are made and injures decimate championship aspirations.  A nasty little side effect however is a shortened regular season.  After this week we will have played 10 weeks.  Marking the halfway point of the regular season.  If you’re in the bottom 3rd of your league then sacrifices must be made.  Injured players may need to be traded at less than face value or flat out dropped.  Streaming takes priority over upside.  There is still plenty of time to make up ground and sneak into the playoffs but it’s safe to say something isn’t working.  If you’re in the middle 3rd then you should take a long hard look at who on your team is on the way up and who is on the way down.  We all had our favorite sleepers coming into the year, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was one of mine, Archie Goodwin was well liked around these parts too.  They weren’t giving enough so we had to move on to the next opportunity, c’est la vie, life goes on…  If your in the top 3rd of your league then you need to ensure you stay there.  You can be much more risky and shouldn’t pass up any high upside guy who is getting big minutes.

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Yea yea I know… Of all the “Knight” puns, that’s the best ya got?!  Man did Brandon Knight have a huge game last night, notching a career-high 36 points for a 36/9/3/0/1 line shooting 13-25 and 6-12 from deep.  As you all know, I was a huge Knight fan heading into the year, stuck with him, and think this is what he averages here on out.  Wiggity what?!  Haha, just kidding to see if you were paying attention.  I’ve always liked his ability to board, he’s probably the best pure scorer on that team, and can shoot treys and drive.  But I’m a little tired of the “but he doesn’t assist!” from the hate Mafia.  Who gives a flip man?!  Of course because he’s a PG, he gets dogged for bad Ast:TO, and listen I get it – 8 TOs last night bums hard – but if Ryan Anderson had that line last night, people would be sacrificing live chickens just to meet him.  Pedro Cerrano doesn’t like when his PG doesn’t dish!  “If Brandon Knight doesn’t average 8 dimes a game, I say forget you Jobu!  I do it myself!”  Knight will never be an elite fantasy PG, sure, but a very useful one, definitely.  He just has to navigate Larry Drew’s mood swings.  Get the coach some Midol!  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

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I hate you Larry Drew.  First you go and make your son Larry Drew II feel like he’s some sort of special talent and have him quit UNC, then you take over a Bucks team that all want to leave too.  Why do I have so much invested in the Bucks?!  I hate the Bucks!  In a game where the Spurs doubled Milwaukee’s points in the first quarter (32 to 16), then went up by 23 at halftime, then after 3 were up 38, Drew decided to kill fantasy teams by playing their F-team virtually the whole second half.  As in, a D-League team could beat those guys.  Brandon Knight got 18 minutes after an impressive game two nights ago.  John Henson got 21 after the huge breakout.  O.J. Mayo, yes that terrible, horrible, not gelling on this awful team O.J. Mayo led the starters with 22 minutes on a 3/0/0/0/0 line with a TO.  Ok, ok, so Drew let his scrubs play in the blowout, good to see Giannis Antetokounmpo get some development time at just over 33 minutes, but the icing on the cake was Drew gave Ersan Ilyasova, a guy that looks like a humanoid Turkey, 39 minutes?!  How is that developing young talent?!  Ersan goes out and shoots 3-16 for an 8/6/2 game.  The Bucks are the worst.  You’re holding Henson obviously and Knight I think you stick with, but I don’t want any of these other guys on a 12-teamer.  I know I like Khris Middleton, but he was part of the starting mess and I just dropped Mayo in some sort of RCL travesty I should probably take my name off of.  I still think Knight, Mayo, Middleton and Henson are locked in as starters for now, but man, I really hope they look good facing the even worse Bulls again on Friday.  Enough ranting from me!  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?