One of the reasons I prefer fantasy basketball to fantasy football is that in basketball it is much less likely to have your entire season derailed by an injury. That being said, opening night of the 2017-18 NBA season twisted my world view right along with Gordon Hayward’s ankle. Ouch!
It is when these things happen that I am reminded of two famous quotes: “Knowledge is power,” which I saw on a bumper sticker, and “Chaos is a ladder,” words spoken by the scheming Littlefinger in Season 1 of Game of Thrones. An injury can open the door for this year’s waiver wire MVP or at least offer a younger player an opportunity to get more minutes and become fantasy relevant. In order to take advantage you must not only act quickly, but you need to know which players will benefit the most, and that my friend is not easy.
So without further ado, here are the major injuries lingering around the NBA, some suggestions for which replacements to target, and whether you should stash, drop, or use an I.R. spot (if your league allows it):
After opening the season with a two-game appetizer, the NBA provided us with an 11-course meal on Wednesday. No low-carb dieting here, as fantasy manna was raining down from the heavens. All you can eat, baby! There were some impressive performances, as Hassan Whiteside went 26 and 22, DeMarcus Cousins went 28 and 10 with seven blocks, while teammate Anthony Davis went 33 and 18. On a side note, the Pelicans still managed to lose by 12. Trade alert already? Of all the performances, there was one that rose above the rest. Giannis Antetokoumpo went 37 and 13 with three dimes and three pilfers. The number one fantasy pick in many leagues, G showed why and looks poised to carry teams to the Promised Land. As Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, crossed the Red Sea, and climbed Mount Sinai to raise two tablets above his head, so shall G lead fantasy owners across the barren landscape and up the mountain so that they may lift the trophy and bring glory to those that had faith in him. So it was written by Missy Elliot 0:58….to Get Ur Freak On.
How did you read the title to this post? Was it, “Oh, What a Night!” or was it, “Oh, What a Night…” because we got both last night. The NBA was finally back after a crazy offseason and provided matchups that had us all salivating: Boston vs Cleveland and Houston vs Golden State. Hot diggidy! Unfortunately, the story of the night was the gruesome injury to Gordon Hayward. Last night was finally having great sex with the “crush.” Not having to do the walk of shame. Making it to the morning. Even going out to the local joint for breakast. Then…..the “crush” goes Exorcist and pukes all over your food, clothes, and the table….with some chunks causing collatoral damage to the innocent byeaters. Get well soon Hayward. Our thoughts are with you. Since this is a fantasy website, we have to get into the impact of injury. The Celtics started the game with Kyrie Irving at PG, Gordon Hayward at SG, Jaylen Brown at SF, Jayson Tatum at PF, and Al Horford at C. With Marcus Morris injured, I’d imagine that they continue to play small ball with Tatum at PF, Brown at SF, and Marcus Smart at SG. Terry Rozier would receive elevated minutes backing up both Kyrie and Smart.
Man, you guys don’t even know. There’s been a mob outside my house every night for the past two weeks carrying tiki torches and screaming, “We want the Top 200 with stats!” Or at least I think that’s what they were saying. Anyways, big shout out to Rudy who waved his magic wand and created the beautiful looking spreadsheet below. It even sorts. Here is Rudy in his lab:
The Houston Rockets made a ton of moves in the offseason. The one that best exemplifies this squad, though, was……..
Ha! The 80s. Anyways, the Rockets did re-sign a Bobby Brown to a $1.5 million contract. This Brown is a 33 year old point guard that played his college ball at Cal State Fullerton and actually played in 25 games last season. Now, he will make no impact from a basketball perspective. Maybe he’s a good dancer and can provide energy on the bench perhaps? Maybe he performs on the court during timeouts and halftime? It would be an efficient use of resources. Honestly, the only reason I mention Bobby at all is because I chuckled when I saw his name on the depth chart and immediately thought of the song above. It’s an apt song, if you don’t take the lyrics literally. EVERY. LITTLE. STEP. I grew up playing Kung Fu on the NES. Basically, you start on a floor, kick and punch a bunch of things, then climb a set of stairs….rinse and repeat until you get to the top. That’s how I view this Rockets team. They’ve made improvements and EVERY. LITTLE. STEP. will be spent towards one goal. How quickly they can figure out things and traverse the landscape will determine how high they can go.
There’s a famous song for people who have clear cases of either “no-first-name” or “no-last-name” disorder. You may know it. Let’s take Paul George for example. Paul George, Paul George… no last name, no last name… you can call him Paul, you can call him George… no last name, no last name. Well the lyrics are entirely true, because, in fact, he has no last name. For those who don’t know what the hell I’m spewing, it works really well to the tune of Frère Jacques. If you don’t know what that is, you had a deprived childhood and should let your parents know about it… in disgust. There have been some other star-studded players in the NBA with no last name. Chris Paul, Ray Allen, Bill Russell… oh did I forget Michael Jordan? There is something in the water with these surnames, it’s called basketball-jones, or Michael’s secret stuff.
There is one player’s name that I just can’t seem to figure out. Not God Shammgod, Fennis Dembo, or Pooh Richardson. Not Yinka Dare, Uwe Blab, or Fat Lever. (All of those are real names). I am talking about my next candidate for your Beyond the Glory viewing. Bogdan Bogdanovic. A name that sounds like a mix between your neighbor’s schnitzer-poodle and my grandmother’s bunyan medication. The thing is, Bogdan is a damn good basketball player and could be coming to a fantasy team near you, very soon. This name sounds familiar, you may be saying to yourself. Was this the name of the dish I ate at the local Turkish eatery last night? Is that the sound a horse makes while on it’s death bed? Is that the native tongue of Borat? All valid questions. It sounds familiar because there has already been a Bogdanovic in the NBA for some time. Bojan Bogdanovic broke into the league in 2014 with the Nets and now finds himself on the Pacers roster after a brief playoff run with the Wizards last year. He’s been a nice player, only useful for fantasy purposes when he goes on 3PM binges. But today we focus on his 25 year old brother, and recent signing of the Sacramento Kings.
One of my all-time favorite movies is Rounders. Matt Damon and Ed Norton talking all smooth and playing poker in cool-looking clubs with John Malkovich spouting repeatable lines in… sort of a Russian accent. Plus, there’s a great Counting Crows song during the credits that I’ve never been able to find anywhere. Anyway, Damon’s Mike McD is the relatively good boy, while Norton’s Worm is the slimier friend.
After Worm gets them beat up with all their cash stolen for having been caught cheating, the gloves come off in an overdue shouting match between the old friends.
Mike McDermott: What the F*** were you thinking?
Worm: I was trying to give us an edge… …I don’t think like that.
Mike McD: No, you don’t THINK!
Worm: No, I don’t think like YOU! You always think you can beat the game straight up. That’s not me. I told you, I’m always gonna look for that edge. Always.
As much as Mike is the better role model, if you’re picking from the two gambling addicts, in fantasy basketball you want to be like Worm. Even if you tried, you can’t cheat in most leagues, but you want to be the one thinking differently, finding your edge. Last week, I mentioned ways to make your league more engaging. From here on out, I’ll give you ways to get an edge in your league by using the numbers to your advantage. These next two weeks leading up to the season, we’ll talk drafting.
Let me start by saying this: do not go into a draft planning on building a punt FT (or punt anything for that matter) team. Never. Don’t. You aren’t being smarter than everybody else. You’re playing yourself. Unless you’re a late draft pick in a 36-team league, it’s probably not gonna work for you.
Also, never decide to build a punt FT team just because a punt FT guy falls a bit. I made this mistake last year and took Drummond in one of my leagues, after having Davis and Porzingis already on my roster. My thought process was, “I can definitely make some trades to make this work.” I did get Gobert, which helped, but throwing away a category to get better at stats your fantasy team already generates is, not only inefficient, it’s frustrating.
On top of this, do not draft guys when building a punt FT team just because they’re bad at free throws. I can not stress this enough. The point of drafting is to build a team that can win as many categories for you as possible, not to see how bad you can lose one. It’s comical how often people (myself included) try to see how bad they can get their FT percentage, thinking that they’re outplaying everyone else. You guys think this article is for you, it’s actually for me. I’m just trying to hold myself accountable when I’m drafting.
So when do you build a punt FT team? The simple answer is: when it helps you. What I’m hoping this article does is give you some scenarios when building a punt FT team makes sense. If you’re stubborn and are gonna go ahead and build one anyway, I’ll also give some advice on how to round out your team.
Wait, I forgot the most important piece of information you’ll see in this article. How the hell are there NBA players shooting less than 50% from the FT line? Seriously. I can’t wrap my head around it. That’s like an illiterate writer. That’s like a runner that can’t walk. That’s like the restaurant I used to work at who’s name was Burger’s etc. and stopped selling burgers. So many confused customers, just like there must be so many confused NBA fans.
This is the best time of the year. Baseball is going to get real soon, pigskins are being thrown around, it’s the eye of the WNBA season, and my rankings start flowing out. I also forgot that my kids go back to school soon. I love my kids and all, but they need to start getting edumacated again. You scoff at the WNBA mention? I admit, I was not a fan in the early days, but those ladies got skills. In addition, they play beautiful basketball and the offensive sets that they run are poetry.
Since August 1st happened to be on a Tuesday, I’ll release rankings every Tuesday from here on out. Can one be semi-OCD? That’s an oxymoron right? Maybe I’m just a moron. Anyways, I get a little particular about things, like it would’ve bothered me if I started this whole endeavor on Monday the 31st. I know. I know. I’ve got issues, but lucky for you, the subscription is free!
Ok, before I begin, shit happens. As a result, I’ll put out a Top 200 list in early October that will highlight any player movement that happens over the next few months.
A big shout-out to Slim, who provided projections and his thoughts and opinions on many players.
Hey everyone! This is Viz and I’m back with Son, the new man in charge of Razzball Basketball, to talk about NBA craziness. We start off by hitting all of the big free agent moves and trades. Chris Paul to Houston, Paul George to Oklahoma City, Jimmy Butler to Minnesota, Gordon Hayward to Boston, and Paul Millsap are the headliners but they’re far from the only moves discussed. We look at each player’s fit on their new team, the impact on their fantasy value and also the changes in value of the players on their old teams. After that, we discuss our favorite fantasy players from the 2017 NBA Draft, both in terms of 2017-18 redrafts and dynasty formats. All of that and more in the latest edition of The Razzball Basketball Podcast!
(The ad Son talks about is in the full post)