It’s been a bad couple weeks for big men. A lot of top producing forwards and centers seem to have been bitten by the injury bug around Thanksgiving.

Initially, DeMarcus Cousins was only considered day-to-day with viral meningitis. After missing his 8th straight game, coach Mike Malone was unsure when he would get his big man back. He’s been ruled out for the rest of the weekend, with his playing status in jeopardy for next week.

While Cousins has been out, Reggie Evans has grabbed almost every available rebound. Well not really, but he has had games of 13, 14, and 20 rebounds, while starting for Cousins. Jason Thompson has offered a more balanced increase in production (11 ppg, 10.2 rpg, and 2.4 apg in last 5 games), but the biggest beneficiary has been Rudy Gay.

With Cousins declared out for at least the weekend, now is the best time to sell high on Gay. He has a usage rate (total number of possessions per 48 minutes) of 30.2 when Cousins is out, but a 25.3 usage rate when Cousins is playing alongside him. As a result, Gay has increased his scoring, rebounds, and assists with Cousins off the floor. Try to trade him this weekend for a top 20/30 player, before Cousins gets back and steals touches away from him.

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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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Did everyone survive their holiday, hmm? I know not everyone who reads the Razzball basketball articles are from the US, but seeing as the NBA is based in the continental United States (save the Raptors, from my hometown of Toronto, Canada!), we will default to the US holiday schedule. Sorry Buddists, you get screwed. Again. But until Krishna can dunk a basketball, we’re going with Thanksgiving and Christmas, as it affects the game schedule, as well as our hearts. The reason I like Thanksgiving from a fantasy perspective, is that it indicates the first quarter of the fantasy season is done – we’ve just rounded the first post. Which is relevant, why? You should know where your squad’s deficiencies are by now, and, theoretically, the guys to target to address said needs. It’s a process, fella, so don’t freak out if you’re not on top, nor feel too smug if you sit upon the throne thus far. I have been waiting in the weeds with Kevin Durant, for example, so I hope to be rising in the ranks in my Razzball league (League Awesome, for those who are uninformed). Perhaps some of these following cats can help you in your climb:

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Some big games last night!  Easily the most fun Tuesday we’ve had on the young season.  Twas a… Ruby Tuesday?  There’s really no good Tuesday references… Have you ever thought about how much Tuesday sucks?  There’s nothing interesting at all about Tuesday!  Tuesday is just a lost day… Except let’s hope you were able to watch some hoops action, as this Tuesday was a big one!

And none bigger than LaMarcus Aldridge torching Denver, putting up 39 Pts on 16-30 shooting.  What’s hilarious about his 39/11/1/0/2 line is that one assist was a high-low pass to the awful Robin Lopez for the game-winning layup with one second left.  Surprised Lopez didn’t botch it!  When you have Sonic the Hedgehog as your haircut, it’s got to be distracting… L.A. with all that production with no TO and 7-9 FT is showing us why he’s boring, but reliable as a second-round fantasy producer.  It’s easy to miss the solid volume FT% and if he gets that 3-pointer dropping like the 0.5 he’s bringing this year – a new development for L.A. – it’s icing on the cake.  Mostly this whole open was just to highlight I’m up 3-0 on Slim in our 30-point challenge!  Even after his slimy Kevin Durant pick.  Slimy, I say!  I think Aldridge has moved into that top 13 or 14 overall, with double-digit boards in six straight bringing those rebounds closer to the 11.1 we saw last year.  If he can avoid any injuries, he’ll be a premiere day of the week, like Friday or something.  No one wants to be a dud like Tuesday, which more than suitably personifies Robin Lopez.  Henceforth, I will now call Tuesdays “Robin Lopez Day”.  Here’s some other happenings that went on across the NBA on Robin Lopez Day:

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Boy is the Kikkoman Juice (less sodium) flowing!

With Tony Wroten out with a knee injury (banged it against a barrel of turnovers), it’s given Brett Brown a bitch slap of sanity to run K.J. McDaniels like he deserves minutes.  Who else is there to even play, Eric Snow?!  McDaniels hadn’t played 30 minutes in a game this year, until surpassing that mark the past three games including a swashbuckler against the Spurs last night.  Getting rainbows that have golden arcs bigger than McDowell’s with a 10/9/2/3/2 line last night, after 21/13/1/1/2 & 18/6/1/0/1 in this latest minutes explosion the last three 76ers games losses.  While he’s playing better than I imagined, there’s still minutes for Wroten when he gets healthy, so I’m not ready to put all my Kookaburra eggs in my Kookaburra juice carton.  Worth owning in all leagues right now while getting the PT, but if he’s back down to 20 minutes when Wroten is healthy and T-Wrote plays his trademarked brickfest game (Wroten plays Tetris!), I’m fine moving on.  So for now, pour that sweet sweet kabob juice all over your line-up!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Kinda sounds like a porn name, doesn’t it?

After a day of giving thanks, fantasy owners got a huge boost while scarfing microwaved plates of Thanksgiving leftovers with Russell Westbrook healing up and putting on a historic comeback off the broken hand.  Is this guy’s bones made of Adamantium or what?!  Señor Westback seems to beat his timetable every injury the past few years, which I don’t know if it’s really a good or bad thing… Can heal fast, but is gettin’ hurt a lot!  Reckless Russell.  The made-for-TV Skinimax sequel to Wreck-It Ralph starring Russell Westback.  I’d watch that!  Although they’re apparently making a Wreck-It Ralph 2, which I hope embraces some Grand Theft Auto elements.  Would make sense to star Russell Westback!  Rated R, sorry kids…  It’s like confusing them with Death to Smoochy having a purple dinosaur.  Anyway, Westbrook absolutely torched the Knicks last Friday night in his return for 32/7/8 hitting 12-17 shots and notching three treys.  Twas the first 32 Pts 8 Ast game in 24 minutes or less in the shot-clock era.  It was like stealing the car, then running over the driver trying to sprint away for good measure.  Even though it’s “just” his hand, got a huge layoff from that game until facing the Pelicans tomorrow.  Plenty of time to catch up on his turkey leftovers, and refuel to give fantasy owners that first-round production for the bulk of the season ahead.  So drop the confetti, and welcome Westback!  But let’s hope it’s a little less Reckless, and we’ll take 25/5/5 every 24 minutes without any issues… Here’s what else went on around the league since we’ve been off from Thanksgiving:

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It feels like each time I have to submit the weekly injury report, someone big gets a last minute injury. The first week it was Victor Oladipo and his facial fracture. Last week, it was Russell Westbrook. Let’s hope that this week no one gets hurt after I hit submit.

Speaking of Russell Westbrook, he will be out 4+ weeks after surgery to repair his broken right hand. This is a huge blow to the Thunder who are already hurting with injuries. They are so desperate for a living, breathing player that they signed Ish Smith as part of their hardship exception. He is definitely not the Ish and should not be anywhere close to fantasy rosters.

Fortunately for the Thunder, and fantasy owners, Reggie Jackson is back from his ankle injury. He already has 36 points and 19 assists in just two games back. Jackson should continue to be a fantasy beast, but expect his field goal percentage to dip with the added pressure as the lead scorer.

Since Jackson is definitely already owned, Perry Jones is the next best Thunder option to pick up. Averaging 15 points and 4 rebounds, Jones should continue to see playing time, while knocking down threes. He’s day-to-day with a bruised knee, but shouldn’t be out for long.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So when I approached JB about returning to the Razzball fold, my first suggestion was to do something on wing players. As any veteran fantasy hoops junkie knows, the dudes with the SG/SF designation are superly dooperly useful. Most teams have multiple non-PG and non-PF slots, plus you have the UTIL slots. Old-timers have some fond memories of crazy Latrell Sprewell, a member of the Wing Hall of Fame, and conveniently forgetting how he choked P.J. Carlesimo so you didn’t feel bad about clicking him into your lineup.

Anyway, some other ideas were floated to JB, but he wouldn’t give up on the wings. I began to wonder if his obsession with the concept had anything to do with basketball.

It started with an email where JB confessed to being hungry for wings, then continued with mentions of wing sauce, wing hotness, wing bones, wing grease on hairy chests, wing-covered women’s underwear, and then finally an email in 200-point type that said “ME LIKE WINGS” with this image attached:

wingger

Finally, I got the memo, so here we are.

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Uh oh…  Brandon Knight had a good game…  JB’s gonna talk about his Brandon Knight infatuation all year now!  Great…

One of my big sleeper calls last year (which was, only, kindasorta right), I again came into this season with Knight well ahead of the consensus (six spots ahead of the next highest among 25 experts – the only one in green!).  And while his knight (womp womp) was still redonkulous, there was more to like than only the stat line.  Went 22/8/13/0/1 with 2 treys and 10-10 FT. But what’s to salivate over is he led the Bucks in minutes, clearly started the game as the PG, and both Kendall Marshall and Nate Wolters didn’t get off the bench.  Jerryd Bayless was the only backup PG to get off the pine for a measly 14 minutes.  I think a big hesitation for fantasy owners was if Knight was going to play more SG like he did down the stretch last year, having his dimes eaten away like Raymond Felton at a CiCis.  Certainly looks like that won’t be the case, and when I face opposing fantasy teams, Knight is going to be my Public Enemy #1.  Here’s what else went down in our first big slate of games for the 2014-15 season:

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We all know the story.  Cleveland fans burn things, then stage apology videos.  Yeah, let’s put the ashes from last night’s barbecue and put it on top of my LeBron James Cavs jersey and pick it up.  Sooooooooooo symbolic.  Somebody is already halfway through the 30 for 30 special… But I got an advanced look at LeBron’s first press event with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert:

LeBron Gets New Cavs Jersey

I love what Slim said in his reaction as a Heat fan.  “LeBron’s legacy will now be that of a journeyman.”  BURN!  Poor choice of the all caps scathing word, JB!  LeBron is still the alpha dog of the NBA, but he’s now numero tres in my ranking-os… Never was too good at Spanish.  I’m moving Anthony Davis up to 2 and joining Slim’s bandwagon.  Even though BronBron had talent around him in Miami, he never had a point guard.  Which I mean more literally than not since Mario Chalmers‘ assists look more like Billy Dee Williams’ Dancing with the Stars‘ scores than an NBA PG’s!  And now LeBron’s got family on his team!  I don’t mean the city of Cleveland, but Uncle Drew!  They should mish mash one of those videos with drunk uncle from SNL…  Anyway, Kyrie Irving is going to have some balls in his hands (cough), so LeBron will be performing less hernia tests.  Kyrie’s three-year arc has been declining FG% but steadily improving Ast/TO ratios and overall dimes.  More efficient with the ball, but not hitting the shots.  Maybe it’s because the Cavs had no other playmakers… Iso for Anderson Varejao!  Dion Waiters just blocked me on Twitter.  LeBron will be a huge ease on Kyrie’s defensive pressure, however stemming from that – if Kyrie is hot, he shootin’!  Both will have great final numbers, but a little inconsistent game-to-game.  LeBron should see his dimes go down a tick as well.  Here’s a look at the rest of the free agency movement and some key notes from Summer League:

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