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(Photo: The Ringer)

I remember last summer hearing Zach Lowe of ESPN talk about Dion Waiters like he was the missing ingredient in making a delectable dish, like the blueberries needed in blueberry cobbler. Ok, not the blueberry, but making the baking powder? ‘Waiters Island’ was the term, and he was fully on board.

I thought he was crazy. And I love what Zach Lowe does.

Fast forward to the 2016-2017 season and Waiters was essentially an afterthought as he joined his new team in South Beach. I won’t say that he took his talents there, like the rest of the world has at some point, but let’s not forget that this guy was the 4th overall pick in the NBA Draft; dude can hoop. His ‘hero ball’ mentality and lack of interest in playing defense, you know, half of the entire game, makes him hard to watch sometimes, and is a large reason why he’s now on his third team in six years. That’s a rare feat for a #4 pick that’s averaging 12.9/2.6/2.5 for his career. We’re not talking Chris Paul here, but we’re also not talking Marcus Fizer. Yet he seems to be settling in nicely for the Miami Rileys.

And now he gets four games this week…but let’s be clear, with the way he’s playing he deserves more than just a streamer nod. This dude should be owned at a much higher rate than 34%. GO GET HIM!

Here are the 7 Ahead for Week 6!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In a matchup where they might’ve gone ahead and whipped em out to see who was bigger, this round went to Joel Embiid! The Sixers snapped the longest stretch of NBA games without back-to-back wins (108), by besting Hassan Whiteside and the Heat 101-94.

Look at Embiid flex those guns. So much man meat in the paint right there! Ok, I’m done with that, but it was awesome to see such prototypical, turn-back-the-clock big men face off against each other, with each being the current face of their respective franchise. Embiid had one of his best lines of the year, going 22/5/0/1/3 on 7-13 shooting, mainly highlighted by only one TO. He’s only had one game with 2 TO, and all the others 3+. On the flip side, Whiteside was a monster, going 32/13/0/0/2 on 13-19 shooting and hit 6 of his 8 FT. For the love of big man stats! Whiteside was 0-3 from the stripe in his previous game, so hopefully something has righted the ship there. Someone in the comments asked where Embiid might go in drafts next year, and I said 30-40 range. But at this rate, that might be too conservative! Let’s see him get through a full season first, and be sure none of that giant EMBIIIIIID gets hurt. I lied, I got one more in! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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?

Coming off of Cleveland’s championship, LeBron James has led the Cavaliers to a 9-1 start. It looks like there hasn’t been a championship lay-off at all. James finished one rebound shy of a triple-double with 28 points, 14 assists, 9 rebounds. He’s off to an incredible start. He may be rested down the stretch, if the Cavs continue their winning ways, but for now enjoy the ride.

It was a short slate of games on Tuesday so let’s get right to it:

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The fantasy basketball world is like, “bring out your dead!” “Free up those IL spots!” “Hope you have some scrubs to drop with everyone getting healthy again!”

With a shot of rum and locker room pyrotechnics, Jobu has unleashed his voodoo magic and Jesus Christ can now hit a curveball! Or I guess in this metaphor, hit a jump shot. Well, except if you’re Stephen Curry and you’re behind the 3 point line… Break up the Lakers!

It was a Sunday resurrection around the association, highlighted (well, for me) by Chandler Parsons getting back on the court yesterday afternoon. Way to take the spotlight off my Panthers, NBA scheduling! But good thing I focused on the Panthers, as Parsons was horrific, pulling a Jamal Murray and shooting 0-8 from the field. “Is that goal regulation size, or what?!” At least chipped in 3 boards and got a block, but didn’t finish the game with the starters in a close one, playing ~5 minute sets and only 22 minutes. After that rough anticipation of waiting, seeing such a dud out of the gate makes CP25 an ultimate buy low. I actually left him in my IL in a few RCLs, predicting a rough one outta the gate. Frustrated owners might think the knee is to blame, but he’s been practicing in full since before the season, so I think it’s just a little gametime rust. Just ask Jon Snow, when you get resurrected from the dead, you’re not 100% right out of the gate! Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

isojoe

Listen, as a Hawks fan I have a special place in my sports heart for Joe Johnson. It’s special because of this strange dichotomy I call reluctant gratitude. The Hawks sucked. Hard. For years. And gave up far too much to get him, but once Joe Johnson arrived in Atlanta back in the ’05-’06 season the Hawks became a legit playoff team, with Johnson ascending to perennial All-Star level. Yet that damn contract (only to be rivaled by Allan Houston from 2001 as potentially the worst of all-time) handcuffed Atlanta into the nothingness that is the perpetual second-round, upper-middle tier of the NBA. It was awful.

However, Brooklyn came along and washed our bored tears away when they gulped down his albatross contract to usher in the new era of Atlanta basketball (still perpetual upper-middle tier, though). But when you think about it, that’s just what Joe does: usher in the next chapter for a franchise. Well, that and play incredible (dribble) ball-stopping (dribble) isolation (dribble) basketball (five more dribbles, contested shot with 3 second left). It started in Phoenix as Mike D’Antoni and Steve Nash began their revolutionary 8-second offense, then shifted to Atlanta for the next seven years where he made six All-Star teams before becoming the epitome of the catastrophe that was the Brooklyn Nets post-prime project alongside Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. And now? Smack dab in the middle of the Rockies, Joe’s the biggest free agent signing the Utah Jazz have locked in for the past 10-15 years. At 35 years old he’s shooting 49% in 31mpg during their first five contests. Could it be that a new era is beginning in Utah with all of their young talent (and without Gordon Hayward as of yet)? They just crushed both the Spurs and then the Mavs, and I’m getting quite jazzed about the makeup of this team. Could they reach the playoffs for the first time in 5 years? Well, probably. Joe’s there now. It’s time for a new era.

And for this week…four games for the Jazz. Here’s the 7 Ahead for Week 3!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What an incredible NBA Opener for big men! Maybe the Sixers aren’t as crazy after all…? But the bigs across the league went absolute ham; they were big hams! It’s why in Supermarket Sweep the people would always go for the hams first. Why did they never go to the wine section?! Just nab the best ish there and start a party!

Myles and JV go for 30, Embiid has an epic debut, but it was Anthony Davis who takes home the best line of the openers thus far, going an absurd 50/16/5/7/4! I mean, it could literally be the best line of the season… Double rainbow, 7 steals?!, shot 17-34, and hit 16-17 FT. After taking a little flack keeping him #1 last year, Brow started the 15-16 season going 18/6/2/0/3 shooting 4-20 (420!) and 10-15 FT. Dude, apparently the Pelicans medical staff – in all of their immense glory and wisdom – should’ve taken a hammer to his ankle before last season! Hard to believe a mere 1.5 weeks ago his status for the opener was in question off a kankle, but we’re seeing the ups and downs of what it’ll be like to be a Brow owner. Especially the dread of seeing him play 41 minutes in a loss… I nabbed him in one league, and might try some preposterous sell highs. But the allure of lines like that are tough to ignore. We just all know we’re one horrific Pels medical staff decision away from this happening to him walking out of the training room. Here’s what else happened on our first major slate of NBA games of the 2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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Sorry for the delay in content here from yours truly, as I’m still without power due to downed power lines from Hurricane Matthew.  After all our silliness on the Pod, turns out I got it worse than Slim!  But at least we had no damage and no broken bones unlike Gordon Hayward.  Man this one sucks!  Apparently Rodney Hood decided to talk about it in Game of Thrones vicarious detail, revealing the bone popped through the skin.  Injuries in preseason make me want to gouge my eyes out like The Mountain vs. Viper!  He’s expected to miss 4-6 weeks, which will only claim about 2-3 weeks of the regular season.  I’m likely to move him down a few spots in my Top 200 Ranks, but nothing substantial.  I think Hayward’s fans already overrate him a little bit, but if you trust the Gordon’s fisherman, then you have a discount situation on your hands!  Just don’t go reaching too hard too fast, or else you might see part of your pinky bone sticking out…  In the meantime, vault Joe Johnson up your deep league boards.  I already thought he’d be pretty usable in his bench role leading the 2nd unit, and now he gets a few weeks with starting minutes.  Here’s some other news and notes around the NBA during this preseason:

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We did it! YES WE CAN!! Make rankings great again! Oh man, I’m ready for election season to be over… But I’m even more ready to have my top 200 out into the world!

So I don’t really have a sound philosophy for these final ranks… We do all of our rankings for 12-team, 9-cat H2H, since that’s how we play our Razzball Commenter Leagues. Shameless promo time! We need more RCL Players out there in Razzball Nation! Just follow that link and either start up or join an open league today! Anywho, in a 12-team RCL league (13 roster spots), you’re only drafting 156 players, so most of these ranks are guys you’re not drafting. Do I rank guys all as sleepers for your final pick? I’m not sure that really helps anyone. So the final ranks here are a blend of sleeper potential, and possible last-roster-spot-usability for a specific build. Is Arron Afflalo REALLY going to be your last pick? Meh, probably not, but maybe he has a hot month and it could be the first month! You never know… If you’re still catching up, check out all our ranks in the Top-10, Top-25, Top-50, Top-75, Top-100 & Top 150 which you can also find linked above in the 2016-17 Ranks menu. Here’s our final big rankings post, the Top 200 for the 2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Season:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Well, kids…we have officially entered the NBA silly season.

Coaches for teams locked into the post-season are only too happy to rest their starters, as evidenced Tuesday by LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka all receiving healthy DNPs.

Coaches for teams destined for the lottery are exercising extreme caution with future core players, as seen last night with the Nets’ Rondae Hollis-Jefferson & Thaddeus Young getting a precautionary rest day, and franchise center Brook Lopez sitting for the entire second half of a blowout loss.

Even teams not in action on Tuesday were making headlines by shutting down players or announcing their plans to rest star players periodically as the 2015-2016 season draws to a close. DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Rajon Rondo, Danilo Gallinari, Ryan Anderson, and Jrue Holiday have all been added to the “shutdown watch” list. (And in Jrue’s case, you can officially stick a fork in him. He’s done.)

Additionally, DeMarre Carroll suffered a setback in his recovery from knee surgery and won’t be of use to fantasy players until next year, Nikola Vucevic can’t get cleared to return from what was believed to be a mild groin strain, and the starting Philly frontcourt of Nerlens Noel & Jerami Grant is going to be treated with kids’ gloves due to knee injuries.

It’s bad, folks. It’s real, real bad.

Thankfully for fans of the NBA and fantasy owners grinding through the final days of their season, a select few professional basketball players did, in fact, decide to earn their pay checks last night. Let’s take a look at who shined brightest, who fell short of expectations, and who else made waves on a six-game Tuesday slate.

Please, blog, may I have some more?