For a while there, it looked like the makeshift Memphis Zombies might sneak by a crazy victory in Toronto over the Raps. But just like in World War Z, the Zeds tried to follow the humans north, but eventually froze up.

In his first start in the non-Mike Conley-era, Andrew Harrison was surprisingly capable with the added onus of driving the offense, going 21/2/4/3/0 on 7-12 FG (4-5 3PTM 3-4 FT) with only 2 TO in 35 minutes. Looked good in transition, hit contested, fadeaway treys… I didn’t expect this to get off to such a good start, and against the Raps no less!

It’s obviously only one game, and he’s not gonna shoot 80% from deep while filling in for Conley, but this was mad encouraging and you’re certainly grabbing him in most leagues off this showing. He has already proven he can handle big NBA minutes – albeit in a more complimentary role – so I think this can work as a PG 3 or 4 on your fantasy roster. On the flip side, Wade Baldwin played 24 minutes and went only 2/3/2/0/0 with 3 TO and 4 fouls, shooting 1-6 FG, bringing his sexy-efficient FG% back down to 31.5%. There might not be a Wade Baldwin V, with accuracy like that! Gus Ayonin’! Here’s what else went down last night in Fantasy Basketball action:

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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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Hello Razzballers!  Welcome to the inaugural edition of the “The Numbers Game”.  I know, plain vanilla title but hopefully there will be some interesting golden nuggets of actionable information each week for everyone.  And I promise to not make it sound as boring as Statistics class.

This weekly segment will dig a little deeper into some league, team and players stats WITHOUT (hopefully) having to use the words Standard Deviation, Z-Scores, and all those weird stat symbols.  Who needs those when we can all exchange friendly banter in the comments section, criticize coaches and go through the roller coaster ride we submit ourselves each NBA season in the comments section.

The season is young and therefore take all of these stats with a grain of salt.  Nothing like the lack of sample size to skew numbers as outliers can easily move the numbers.  There is also the subjective aspect of it–whether it be a coaching change (did I hear someone say Asshat?) or a major lineup change or even just a relatively higher number of back to back games so far.

So without further ado, let’s get down to the it. This is a grid provided by BBM to its readers.  You might want to open it up in another tab as you might want to look back at it while reading further below.

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Welcome back to RazzWired!  Week 1 is finally in the books, so it’s time to look at who you can grab off the wire!

Before we begin, lets get some housekeeping out of the way.  Throughout the season, this column will only be looking at players owned in less than 50% of leagues.  These recommendations are also tailored to the 9-cat RCL format.  That being said, let’s dive in!

First up, we have a repeat offender, from last year’s RazzWired series.  The one, the only, Matty B!

rudygay-matt-barnes-kings-twolves-oct29-2016-ap

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Finally, we’ve got some action to break down on the court! And what better venue than the Summer League, where raw NBA rooks and sophs go to strut their stuff and get fantasy basketballers needlessly excited. Remember all the Mario Hezonja hype last Summer League?! Hopefully I did pretty well to quash that! Wow, surprised I was right that “quash” was a word… I thought people were just saying squash too fast!

But one guy I definitely don’t want to squash/quash is second-year PG Cameron Payne. We were pretty big on this guy coming out of the draft last year, and he really surprised as a rookie overtaking D.J. Augustin as the backup to Russell Westbrook by going 14.6/4.4/5.6/1.9/0.3 in per-36 during 2015-16, with only 2.3 TO. He didn’t shoot particularly well (41%), but a lot of that was due to nearly 40% of his shots being treys. In his one start of 2015-16, he went 17/3/7 against the Spurs who shockingly weren’t resting anyone.

In the Orlando Summer League which wrapped a couple days ago, Payne led the league in scoring at 18.8 Pts a game, averaging 4 AST to only 2.5 TO. Not huge in the AST total, but that’s a ton of usage for a very few giveaways. The deep ball was still a little meh only going 4-14 from the perimeter, but he did have a 14-14 FT game in there. The Thunder squad (or quad, maybe?) went 4-0 in the games he played, and Payne looks primed for a bigger role with OKC.

With all the talk on Russell Westbrook being shopped (and even if he isn’t traded pre-season, a deadline deal would be very likely), a lot of focus has been on what newly acquired Victor Oladipo could do. No Westbrook and no other big-time creators would obviously be big for RainbOladipo. But lost in that noise is what it would mean for Cameron Payne. I think he’d all but certainly shift into the starting line-up (or at least near-starting minutes, if they still wanted to start Andre Roberson), and give a nice low-TO line with a handful of dimes and steals. The FG% might be lacking, but he would become a top-80ish asset in my mind. So while visions of sugarplums and rainbow lines for Oladipo might cloud your Christmas Eve dreams if Westy is traded, don’t forget about the huge opportunity it would give Major Payne. Here’s what else has caught my eye thus far during 2016’s Summer Ball:

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Congratulations to Dirk Nowitzki. He passed Shaquille O’Neal for number 6 on the all-time NBA scoring list.

While Kobe Bryant gains the headlines in his last season, Dirk and Tim Duncan have quietly shown how to adapt their game for the team’s sake, taking less money and adding more wins to their already impressive résumés.

At 37, Dirk isn’t the same fantasy monster that he used to be, but is still valuable. He’s scored 20+ points in three straight games and so far has posted better overall numbers than last season. His game is much different than Kobe’s, with much less wear and tear on his body, allowing him to remain relatively healthy later in his career. Personally, I don’t see any reason why Dirk has to tie the sneakers up anytime soon.

In addition to passing Shaqtus, Dirk hit the game winner in the Mavericks’ overtime win over the Nets. He finished with 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. Not bad for a 37-year-old.

Overtime basketball is free basketball and it usually means great stat lines for everyone involved:

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So after working overnights, it’s a big change working standard hours and doing Razzball in the wee-hours of the morning.  Instead of following sports all night, you wake up to them!  Which in some cases is nice; others, infuriating.  At least I don’t have to go to sleep mad!

On the annoying end, in fantasy football I’m going into a must-win game against an Aaron Rodgers owner.  Plus I recommended a friend play Kyle Rudolph over Richard Rodgers.  How annoying was that 70 yard hail mary?!?!?!  Ahhhhh!  Luckily I don’t care as much about fantasy football, since it’s 100% luck.  We don’t play that ish here at basketball, we at fantasy hoops play a game of skill!  And very few are as skilled as Kawhi Leonard, who went 27/8/3/2/1 to continue his dominant season.  On top of his normal multi-cat, he was mad hot hitting 9-13 from the field including a nuts 7-9 3PTM.  Instead of texting my buddy Kap all night about how giddy it made me, I wake up to just the one text of “Kawhi banged 7 threes!  How much of a boner did you get?”  The answer is, I constantly wake up during the night half mast!  Kawhi’s been a wet dream all season…  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After making history this weekend with arguably the best Halloween costume from an NBA player of all time, LeBron James made his way into the NBA record books becoming the youngest player to score 25,000 career points. Despite the record-breaking basket coming against the hapless Philadelphia 76ers, the feat nonetheless is one of the most impressive in recent memory. With all the scrutiny surrounding the potential decline of the Artist Formerly Known as King James, tonight’s performance was an instant reminder of how effectively he can impact the game not only on the hardwood, but the fantasy box score as well.

Registering 22 points, 11 assists, 9 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 blocks on 9-19 shooting, James had his most well-rounded performance of the season. Moving forward, James should begin to impact other areas of the box score (assists, rebounds, steals, and FG percentage) as the Cavs offense clicks.

As the Cavs begin to realize the full potential of their All-Pro floor spacer in Kevin Love, James ability to facilitate and control the pace of the game will open up his true fantasy potential. Pencil him in for at least 20 points, 8 boards, and 6 assists on .500+ shooting. All hail the King.

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Woooo, Jimmy Buckets is back!  And Tom Thibodeau does what Tom Thibodeau does…  Runs his guys to death.

After missing exactly 3 weeks with his elbow injury, Jimmy Butler returned last night and played a ridiculous 39-and-a-half minutes for 19/9/1/0/0.  Almost 40 minutes?!  And he shot 6-20!?  Sure he’s taken a ton of shots the past week to be sure the elbow is healthy, but the aggression in that 7-10 FT really solidifies he should be 100% the rest of the way.  That is, until Tibs plays him 63 minutes in a 3-OT game!  Sheesh, I gotta wonder if I’ll ever be huge on Bulls again…  Derrick Rose and all-a-dat, Joakim Noah goes through injury spells…  And Tibs refuses to run his starters on any sort of minutes limits.  I’m more posing the thought than really setting any personal beliefs in my fantasy bedrock, but Rose for sure I could never draft.  You can call that Fred Flintstone because it’ll make my Fantasy Bedrock!  I don’t think I’m using that lyric right…  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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You don’t mess with the Bojan!

We’re into week 2 of the standard H2H playoffs, moving into the semis, and the squads with bye weeks are hoping to avoid the layover letdown.  It’s like the NCAA Football championship thingy, the playoffs or bracket or 4-team finals or whatnot, who knows anymore?!  But they have to wait like 4 months from their final regular season game to the title!  That’s how long this week has seemed for my sitting around, lazy, bored bye week teams (speaking vicariously of course, I had zero!).  Luckily it’s now how you enter the playoffs but how you exit, and with only two weeks left, you gotta ride the hot ThrAGNOFs!  Bojan Bogdanovic fits the bill to a T (did I say that right?) with 12+ points in 4 straight and 17+ in 3 of 4.  Also has chipped in multi-treys in the past 3 and if treys or points are a need, it’s time to ThrAGNOF!  Why you don’t pay for these guys, as they literally grow on trees.  Seriously, Bogdanovic’s great uncle was Groot.  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?