For richer for poorer, in SICKNESS and in health. Yeah, you gotta play through injuries, Josh Richardson! Part of the NBA grind! Attributing his shooting woes to a wrist injury (and hey, I’m not here saying he’s wrong or the wrist isn’t the issue!), J-Rich went into last night shooting an abyssal 26.4% from the field over the previous 5 games, and went so far as to saying he has a sharp pain in his wrist when he shoots right before last night. Well, apparently the Heat have some good painkillers, because ish wasn’t bothering him at all yesterday! Went for a career-best 22 points on 9-16 shooting (2-6 3PTM 2-2 FT) for 22/5/3/1/0 with no TO in 37 minutes.

Looks good to me! But yeah, BANK! Does that one still count…? Maybe more importantly though, kept gutting it out even after the Heat were getting slaughtered, unlike someeeeeeeeeeone (who we’ll get to below). I always liked J-Rich’s multi-cat ability, but argued with Slim about his FG/3PTM %s, not seeing a repeat of 45.2%/46.1% that we saw last year. Yeah, throw that out the window! But I don’t think he’s as bad as 38.6%/31%, and if the wrist thing was “that” bad, the lowly Heat would just shut him down. In one of his interviews on the ailing wrist, he did say “no excuses”; as I feel like I’ve seen a thousand times with lingering “smaller” injuries, it seems like the night is always darkest before the dawn when things turn around like this. I do wish we were seeing more steals (maybe the wrist is keeping him from playing more aggressive on D?) as his per-36 D-stats have fallen WAYYYY down from last year, but he’s on an awful team that is playing him big minutes, so I would be adding him again in 12ers. Let’s get the backed of our rosters J-Rich, bitch! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, Christmas Day is a great day for basketball fans. With the exception of the shortened 1998 lockout season, games have been played on Christmas Day every year since 1947 and often feature the best of the best. And this year was no exception.

We saw a rematch of the NBA Finals, a battle for Los Angeles, and a matchup of exciting young players between Minnesota and OKC.

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I was happily watching my beloved basketball, and enjoying, yet all the while feeling old. I reminisce about the good old days. The bulls were winning 72 games, shorts had just gotten longer, the only tattoos were on Dennis “the Worm” Rodman, and Centres were lumbering lumpy giant dudes like Bill Cartwright and Rasho Nesterovic, with undefined arms and soft hands, like a baby’s bottom. It was a simpler time. You could be a geek, and still dominate the NBA, a la John Stockton, who was a millionaire, and never stopped getting his mom to cut his hair, apparently. The league, while being dominated by the likes of freaks like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, still had room for geeks to make their mark. Heck, the biggest geek of them all, the illustrious Larry Bird, the one lumpy to rule them all, still played in 1992. Is there space for Geeks in today’s league, or is there only to be athletic freaks from now on? Let’s take a look at a few from each column, and see if they fit the description, hmmm?

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When we finally saw the ultimate joker Jason Kidd put John Henson back into the starting line-up a couple of weeks ago, there was some excitement, except we all foresaw a pretty low-minute role. Go-go Gadget, minutes limits! With Greg Monroe playing pretty much like we expect Moose to play, and Miles Plumlee signed on a $50 million deal (more than Monta Ellis!), it didn’t seem like Henson would get enough of a role to be fantasy-reliable. Then after a few starts, the Bucks go back to DNP-ing Henson and pissing away their best center. They [shocker!] lost that DNP-Henson game against the Raps (but admittedly played em close), and Kidd must’ve finally gotten a divine intervention, and realized he should stick with Mr. Muppet. And the rest, as they say, is history! Go-go Gadget, winning streak! The Bucks have gone 4-0 on 4 straight Henson starts (given two against the Mess, but whatever), and Muppet Man has gone 14.8/7.8/1.5/0.5/3.0 over that stretch in 25.2 minutes, shooting 55% from the field. That line got accentuated by 20/7/2/1/2 on Saturday night against the Mess, thanks to solid post play and some sick-ass Giannis diming!

But the real stand out for me is the 3.8-4.5 FT over these last 4 starts, good for 83.3%. He’s at 72.7% on the year, after being a mid-50ish% FT shooter over his career. The stroke looks pretty clean, and I think this could be fairly legit. Go-go Gadget, FT coaching! At multi-blocks in 5 straight and settling into a 25 MPG start, Henson is a must-add everywhere. Go-go Gadget, waiver gold! Hopefully you heeded our “spec add in 12ers” advice a week ago, and you got a must-own big! All we need now, is The Joker to keep from Kidd-ing around with the line-up! Here’s what else went down over the weekend in Fantasy Basketball action:

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Ahhhhh, DeMarcus Cousins. Build like a brick shithouse (did I get that phrase right?), puts up monster numbers, and the Kings franchise is terrible. We need a change of scenery! After years of speculation and “Lord give me strength” tweets, it looks like this year might finally be the year.

Boogie went nuts last night against the Wizards, going 36/20/4/2/1 (Goromotaro!), but the Kings still got another kick in the SAC in the OT loss. Cousins tried to put this team on his back! Scored the pivotal last two baskets to put it into extra time, but the Wizards are like the Borg. “Resistance is futile!”

Trekkie jokes! Despite the huge line and burning Marcin Gortat on drives, Boogie still did Boogie things, with 5 TO and 3-10 FT. I saw he almost got a technical foul by complaining to the rim! “Is that goal regulation size or WHAT?!” Even though he has 32+ points in the past 4, the D stats are down, and a looming trade would inevitably hurt his value. Actually, staying put would hurt too, as he’d be a major DNP candidate. One Boogie rumor is that he could be playing for last night’s enemy, and reuniting with Kentucky teammate John Wall. It would probably take Bradley Beal and some pieces, likely some picks thrown in there too, but the Wizards look like they need a shake-up, I think we can all agree there. Scotty Brooks can manage superstar personalities, and might be the best coach for Cousins. That said, the Wiz are 4-2 over the past 6, and might be ever-so-slightly turning it around.

With the trade rumor mill churning and the D stats down (giving Boogie a surprisingly-low 19th per-game valuation on BBmonster), I think now is the time to shop him around. You’re feeling great with your returns if you got him in the second round, so maybe a fantasy owner will want to take on Boogie’s temperamental stats more aggressively than an NBA GM. That is, if this hypothetical NBA GM isn’t a big fantasy player! Although if the GM plays in 8-cat, he’ll spend like crazzzzzzy to get Boogie! 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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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There are plenty of options to highlight this week, but everyone beware. Take caution. Put on your orange vests. The muuuuuuuuuuus is loooooooose!

Typically reserved for a football chant, every time the Hawks Mike Muscala hits a three, or even puts on those incredible ‘3’s Goggles‘, the Bucknell grad garners a deep cheers from the fans. Now, listen, I know more than most that the Atlanta fans aren’t the greatest in the world, but when you lose Al Horford and replace some of his minutes with Mike effing Muscala you gotta pull out all the energy you can! And then he goes and actually produces in his 20+ mpg. Unheard of!

13.7/5.0/3.0 on 61.5% shooting with nearly 2 3’s per game is essentially a poor man’s Horford. And that’s exactly what ol’ Mike has done the past week (don’t worry about those boards…that’s the Dwight Howard effect). I, mean, goodness…I wanna be like Mike. Maybe that’s just because I’m white, but for real, there’s a lot of value here.

And he’s not the only one…Here are the 7 Ahead for Week 5!

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Here’s the matchup grid updated prior to the 1030 ET time games last night.

matchupswk3v2

I don’t want to go in depth on this today as I’d like to spend some time talking about a specific player below.  The next in-depth discussion will be in a couple of weeks when we have a nice full month of data.  Just wanted to point out that GSW remains near the top of teams to target, albeit they seem to have tightened it up a bit on the rebounding category compared to last week.

Some names to target for the rest of the week:

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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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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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?