Ah, the almost-studlies.  The “still can’t quite miss, but you can start reaching round.”  …Almost sounds like I said reach around…

This is where the sommeliers really can knock their drafts out of the park – it’s all about the pairings.  You don’t serve red wine with fish, you cro-magnon!  But what’s great about fantasy hoops as opposed to a pretentious French restaurant is there’s very few pairings that can go wrong.  I mean your first rounder is awesome and your second rounder awesome with it!  I know a lot of people like the FT punt builds, but really the only pairing I can’t see doing is going big-big.  There’s a ton of FT-punt bigs littered through the first 4-5 rounds, so I think you can still punt, but start with a LeBron James/Draymond Green pair, then PG/C in 3/4.  I’m sure Slim and I will work on more culinary pairings as we go through the ranks and do some mocks on the Podcast, as we attempt to put together the best fine dining experience…  I just wanna avoid the friggin’ snails!  Here’s the Top 20 for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season.

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Yikes, after the top 10 things become a hodgepodge of nitpickery!  I think I made that word up, but I’m not going to let my creativity wane during the offseason!

After putting out my Way Too Early Top 10 last week, I fought some procrastination and internal debates to get 11-20 down.  Fought some ranker’s block!  It’s like writer’s block, except I’m a lot less cool than Hank Moody in Californication.  Ranker’s block doesn’t score me the Hollywood A-listers!  But with a bottle of booze and in a plain black T, I truck forward thanks to the insistence of Runkle.  Here’s my Way Too Early Top 20 for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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Everyone put on their big boy, triple-double pants last night, that’s for sure!  Imagine the same pants Fat Albert would wear…  With extra room built in for his Prince Albert!

First there was Bootstraps Bootstraps (!!), Evan Turner raising fantasy-owners’ Jolly Rogers for his patented tripdub with nothing else.  13/11/12/0/0 on 6-17 FG with one trey.  But hey, a tripdub is a tripdub – and only 1 TO!  Then, just a few minutes later, Boogie was like,”Ello Poppet!”  Miss Turner was easily upstaged by DeMarcus Cousins, who had one of the best lines on the season.  Tripdub?  Check.  Goromotaro?  Check.  Rainbow line?  Check.  Double rainbow line?  Almost!  24/21/10/3/6, but did only hit 2-6 FT.  And Beard may have upstaged EVEN THAT himself in that game, but more later…  Then Russell Westbrook went into double-digits with his triple-doubles!  31/11/11 for his 10th tripdub, but took him a bajillion shots for 10-32 FG (2-11 3PTM 9-11 FT).  Man, just a great night of NBA basketball, and hopefully your championship teams reaped the rewards from this all-you-can eat stats buffet.  A few more nights like this, and we’ll forget all about the tanking and DNP-rest issues impacting the NBA!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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….And we’re back with our regularly scheduled programming!  If you missed it yesterday, our polls are open for the 2014-15 Razzies, our prestigious ceremony awarding the best of the best… of terribleness!  Larry Drew is like, “Finally!  Someone else has to put up with this ish!”

Speaking of putting up with ish, geez navigating all these DNPs is a near impossible chore for championship teams!  The finals of the H2H playoffs are often won and lost by waiver fodder, and if you’re in need of some ThrAGNOFfing, Anthony Tolliver is getting some run!  Sure most of his stats will make you exclaim with defiance, “please sir, I want s’more!”, but he’s at 3+ treys and 11+ Pts in 3 of the last 4.  Got a crazy dose of 40 minutes for 13/10/1/0/0 last night, hitting 4-9 FG (3-7 3PTM 2-2 FT).  And like your perfect little ThrAGNOF, he almost never turns it over, with only 2 TO in the past 6 games.  9-catters needing some treys should certainly take a look, and the Pistons have three games in four days – tonight, Friday and Saturday.  Threes ain’t got no face!  That phrase is so perfectly used here it has got me a little excited in my Dickens.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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H2H Playoffs are here!  But geez, the amount of DNPs for minor injuries and general soreness (General Soreness!) over the weekend was infuriating!  Unless they hit your oppo harder than you, then they were infatuating!  I certainly almost lost a playoff spot to the former…

I guess our main stop on the DNP bandwagon would be the Atlanta Hawks and that darned Coach Butthole.  I imagine we’ll be using that nickname for Budenholzer a ton down the stretch!  The Hawks sat Jeff Teague, DeMarre Carroll and Paul Millsap (who had a nasty 23/9/3/3/3 rainbow Friday) last night, then had Kyle Korver break his nose and have to leave early on top of it.  Korver was already set for a DNP tonight, so there’s that, and Al Horford owners will have to start the week with a DNP-rest.  What a shizz-show!  Which kinda sounds like Szechuan.  Which makes me hungry…  About as hungry as Dennis Schroder looks when he gets starts, ripping apart the Lakers in a 24/3/10 line hitting 7-16 FG (1-5 3PTM 9-11 FT).  Even if you’re not a Teague owner, I think it’s impossible to leave the German on the wire.  It would just improve The Lives of Others!  And Coach Butthole has learned from Pop himself to sit everyone any chance he gets, with that line of thinking infecting the entire league this weekend.  It already feels like the last week of the season, doesn’t it?!  Maybe the playoffs need to start in week 10…  Sheesh…  Here’s what else went down on DNP Weekend in fantasy basketball:

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The Charlotte Hornets welcomed back Kemba Walker to their lineup on Wednesday evening. In 16 minutes off the bench, Walker posted 6 points, 2 assists, and 1 block in 16 minutes. It wasn’t the game we expect out of Walker, but he was going to be limited to 9 minutes per half and Coach Steve Clifford stuck to his word. Don’t be surprised if Walker continues to be on a minutes’ restriction and come off the bench through the weekend. It will take Walker a few games to get back into game shape.

Mo Williams started Wednesday’s game and continued his strong play of late, putting up 20 points and 8 assists. With Walker back, Williams will inevitably lose playing time. However, Williams should still hold some value. He’ll be a fine play through the next couple games, while Walker is on a minutes’ restriction.

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The tennis balls are off the legs, the HurryCane back in the closet, the pre-game meal eaten at 5:00 AM at the early bird special – we’ve got Kemba Walker back!

After a month and a half off, Walker came off the bench last night for the Hornets, and looked like Louis C.K.’s nethers.  Rusty.  2-9 from the field for 6/1/2/0/1 with a TO in 16 minutes.  While there’s no need to be harsh – we expected some rust after knee surgery – but Mo Williams played pretty well with 8 dimes and Gerald Henderson shocked the world with a career-high 11 assists.  Ok, “shocked the world” may be a slight overstatement, I could say “it was so shocking it blew all his hair off!”  It’s certainly interesting he had a previous career-high 9 dimes just last Sunday, so now there’s two facilitators to battle with.  Makes me worried about Kemba’s assists upside, and he’s kinda looking like an Isaiah Canaan clone.  Wait, I said I didn’t need to be harsh!  That said, Kemba is healthy and has a lot more upside, so obviously worth owning everywhere.  I just wouldn’t be shocked (unlike Hendo’s dimebag!) if he’s towards the end of the line if you’re killing Pts/3s and need to stream a stat at the end of week one of the playoffs…  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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For one week this season, it feels like there are more stars returning from injury than ones getting hurt. However, that won’t console those who saw their players were added to the injury list. So we’ll start with the bad news first.

All-Star Jimmy Butler suffered an elbow sprain in Sunday’s game and will miss the next 3-6 weeks. Fortunately the injury will not require surgery, but that still puts him out for most, if not all of March.

Joining Derrick Rose and Butler on the sideline, Taj Gibson is out with another ankle injury. Out since suffering the injury in Friday’s game, he’s no longer wearing a walking boot. Gibson has a history of ankle injuries so the Bulls’ may want to be extra cautious with him, but Gibson should be considered day-to-day going forward.

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The all-star break has come and gone.  For DFS purposes it seemed like an eternity.  For me it was a nice break to step away and recharge batteries.  Thursday was the NBA trade deadline and we seen a ton of movement. 39 players were traded.  Now I’m not going to sit here and tell you who the winners and losers were cause I could care less.  I will tell you it opens up opportunity for a lot of players for DFS and also takes the value away from a few players.  When you are building your lineups make sure these players that were involved in a trade are playing for their new teams.  This process can take a few days because of the amount of trades at one time and the players have to pass physicals.  On Saturday we a small 5-game slate so let’s get on with it:

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Well, it finally happened. The New York Knicks shut down Carmelo Anthony for the season. The news isn’t surprising, especially after he went 6-20 in the All-Star Game on Sunday night. The East players tried their best to get Anthony the ball, but it was clear something was amiss with his jump shot.

On Thursday, Anthony had successful surgery to repair his patella tendon in his left knee. The initial recovery time is around 4-to-6 months, but more will be known about his timeline in the days after the surgery. He’s safe to drop in all redraft leagues.

As mentioned in previous injury posts, Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Langston Galloway become the primary beneficiaries on offense. Someone will have to take the shots that Anthony was accustomed to taking. When starting this season, Hardaway has averaged 14.6 ppg and 2.1 3PTM, while Galloway has averaged 11.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, and 3.0 apg. Readily available on the waiver wire (22% for Hardaway and 24% for Galloway in Yahoo leagues), these guys can become useful pickups for the playoff run.

Please, blog, may I have some more?