If you’re like JB and myself, then you like your fantasy basketball to be Head-To-Head.  The ability to talk smack to a new opponent every week keeps the intensity high.  And unlike Roto or NCAA football, we get The Playoffs, where heroes are made and injures decimate championship aspirations.  A nasty little side effect however is a shortened regular season.  After this week we will have played 10 weeks.  Marking the halfway point of the regular season.  If you’re in the bottom 3rd of your league then sacrifices must be made.  Injured players may need to be traded at less than face value or flat out dropped.  Streaming takes priority over upside.  There is still plenty of time to make up ground and sneak into the playoffs but it’s safe to say something isn’t working.  If you’re in the middle 3rd then you should take a long hard look at who on your team is on the way up and who is on the way down.  We all had our favorite sleepers coming into the year, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was one of mine, Archie Goodwin was well liked around these parts too.  They weren’t giving enough so we had to move on to the next opportunity, c’est la vie, life goes on…  If your in the top 3rd of your league then you need to ensure you stay there.  You can be much more risky and shouldn’t pass up any high upside guy who is getting big minutes.

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Merry Christmas to all!  And to all a good night!  Well, except for the Hawks, who lost both DeMarre Carroll and Al Horford in last night’s double overtime win against the Cavs.  Carroll’s Christmas carol was about hoping his hand and/or thumb didn’t break, as he was in bad pain exiting the game.  Diagnosis came out that he has a sprained thumb, and while a non-break is a good news, remember Larry Sanders “just” had a sprained thumb and had to have surgery.  Just shatter the champagne bottle you got sprayed with and use it like a weapon like a normal bar fight, Sanders!  And to make matters worse, Horford then lost all his Christmas cheer when he hurt his shoulder later in the game and is set for an MRI.  It’s his right shoulder vs. a left pectoral tear that ended his year in 2012, but neither of these injuries look too good.  Big men waiting in the wings for the Hawks (womp womp) Elton BrandPero AnticGustavo Ayon, and Mike Scott would all stand to get increased roles, especially if both injuries turn out to be serious.  I’ve talked about Scott more than a few times as a guy to keep an eye on should there be injuries, and I think he has the most upside by far to emerge.  His per 36 of 18.7/7.7/2.0/0.6 with 1.3 treys while shooting 55% from the field gives him a glimmer of hope to be the fantasy contributor I thought he could be.  Here’s what else I spotted through the Holidays while opening all of my Brandon Knight basketball cards on Christmas morning:

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Merry Christmas Razzball Nation!  I hope everyone is looking forward to a great holiday.  What have you asked for for Christmas?  A ridiculous stroke of luck to get you a Fantasy Football championship tonight?  A Christmas Day where three of your guys have triple doubles?  Mine is hoping that no more injuries roll through the NBA, at least with questionable return dates.  Hey, at least Brook Lopez has a certain return date.  October 2014.  Huge loss (I was going to say break, but um, yea) for fantasy owners with a broken foot.  Here’s what I said in my ranks with him at 50, lower than most other places: “Love his game, had him top-20 in May.  Foot injury and big trade limits #s.”  That’s me quoting me!  Ok, ok, so I get a ton wrong and you can’t project injuries (which I didn’t really, gotta love vagueness!), but I avoided Lopez everywhere so I am not suffering a stocking full of coal like BroLo owners.  BroLo’s stocking is actually full of a swollen foot, but you get the idea.  Andray Blatche becomes a must-own with the boost in minutes, and was already at double-digits and 19:40 plus of playing time in 15 of 17 games before Friday night’s dud when BroLo got hurt.  I see him grabbing 7 to 8 boards with decent %s – along with his scoring – for a bottom end guy on rosters with a tad of upside.  Here’s what else/who else got hurt over the weekend:

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Man!  I was loving that game!  Through three contests (the inaugural one in the comments then when adopted into the piece), I didn’t get a single win!  For shame… At least now with Kobe Bryant missing 6 weeks, we’ll be brimming with excitement to relaunch the game!  I never ended up with Kobe anywhere, so I’m downplaying the real fantasy impact here… Kobe owners are asking should I hold or should I let go?  I think he is probably a hold in almost all leagues if you can, but man, these top-end injuries are killin’ out there!  Plus we have to remember it’s a fractured knee and a re-sewn up Achilles.  And he wasn’t setting the world on fire anyway.  Kobe is turning into Jeter from last year!  Bryant is a medical marvel though, he can jump over cars going 40 MPH and come back after bone spurs a game later.  So he’s worth the stash unless it’s a very shallow 10-teamer or smaller, or you’re just a triage of injuries.  Here’s what else went down last night across fantasy hoops:

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Yea yea I know… Of all the “Knight” puns, that’s the best ya got?!  Man did Brandon Knight have a huge game last night, notching a career-high 36 points for a 36/9/3/0/1 line shooting 13-25 and 6-12 from deep.  As you all know, I was a huge Knight fan heading into the year, stuck with him, and think this is what he averages here on out.  Wiggity what?!  Haha, just kidding to see if you were paying attention.  I’ve always liked his ability to board, he’s probably the best pure scorer on that team, and can shoot treys and drive.  But I’m a little tired of the “but he doesn’t assist!” from the hate Mafia.  Who gives a flip man?!  Of course because he’s a PG, he gets dogged for bad Ast:TO, and listen I get it – 8 TOs last night bums hard – but if Ryan Anderson had that line last night, people would be sacrificing live chickens just to meet him.  Pedro Cerrano doesn’t like when his PG doesn’t dish!  “If Brandon Knight doesn’t average 8 dimes a game, I say forget you Jobu!  I do it myself!”  Knight will never be an elite fantasy PG, sure, but a very useful one, definitely.  He just has to navigate Larry Drew’s mood swings.  Get the coach some Midol!  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

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As my good friends at Mr. Show previously theorized, 24 was thought to be the highest number.  “What about 30?!”  And then NBA scorers were pulling exactly what happens in that skit.  “What about 31?”  “What about 32?”  “I gotta ask, what about 33!”  Then Gilbert Arenas was like, “if people keep scoring like this, I’m gonna have to shoot em with Crittenton’s .45!”  It wasn’t necessarily that many guys going off, just a few you wouldn’t have guessed.  I’m trying to pick the most off the rails 30+ point night, so I think I’ll go with Alec Burks, who just looked awful in the two games before last night.  7-25 his past two outings, but goes 12-17 last night for career-highs in both points with 31 and dimes at 7.  Added three boards and four steals with two treys for good measure.  Burks has always looked like a good athlete out there, but never like a guy who could take over like that.  I think a good debate is Burks or Terrence Ross.  I’ll lean Ross, but very close, I just think Burks is too inconsistent.  Here’s what else went down last night in hoops:

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Pretty much anyone involved in the big Rudy Gay trade has gotten nothing but positive return except Greivis Vasquez.  Poor Vasquez… And easily the biggest winner right now is Isaiah Thomas just going off with the backcourt to himself, going 29/6/2 on Friday night and 19/2/8 last night.  With both PGs there in Shaq-ramento to start the year, it was like the first Terminator, then IT2 got flipped into the main good guy and it’s movie magic in the sequel.  Coach Mike Malone even came out and said Thomas is gonna lead the NBA in minutes.  Iron man!  Well I guess it would be hyperalloy combat chassis covered by living human tissue man… I wish Vasquez had never gone to Sacramento, because as I mentioned last week, I aggressively ranked Thomas early in the summer.  I love this kid.  He’s going to be extremely tough to go out and trade for right now, and I certainly would not be selling.  He’s got both Gay and DeMarcus Cousins to dish to, plus he’s a fantastic scorer.  I have all sorts of IT2 regret now since he’s not on any of my teams… Womp womp… Here’s what else went down over the weekend:

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I hate you Larry Drew.  First you go and make your son Larry Drew II feel like he’s some sort of special talent and have him quit UNC, then you take over a Bucks team that all want to leave too.  Why do I have so much invested in the Bucks?!  I hate the Bucks!  In a game where the Spurs doubled Milwaukee’s points in the first quarter (32 to 16), then went up by 23 at halftime, then after 3 were up 38, Drew decided to kill fantasy teams by playing their F-team virtually the whole second half.  As in, a D-League team could beat those guys.  Brandon Knight got 18 minutes after an impressive game two nights ago.  John Henson got 21 after the huge breakout.  O.J. Mayo, yes that terrible, horrible, not gelling on this awful team O.J. Mayo led the starters with 22 minutes on a 3/0/0/0/0 line with a TO.  Ok, ok, so Drew let his scrubs play in the blowout, good to see Giannis Antetokounmpo get some development time at just over 33 minutes, but the icing on the cake was Drew gave Ersan Ilyasova, a guy that looks like a humanoid Turkey, 39 minutes?!  How is that developing young talent?!  Ersan goes out and shoots 3-16 for an 8/6/2 game.  The Bucks are the worst.  You’re holding Henson obviously and Knight I think you stick with, but I don’t want any of these other guys on a 12-teamer.  I know I like Khris Middleton, but he was part of the starting mess and I just dropped Mayo in some sort of RCL travesty I should probably take my name off of.  I still think Knight, Mayo, Middleton and Henson are locked in as starters for now, but man, I really hope they look good facing the even worse Bulls again on Friday.  Enough ranting from me!  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

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I have never seen JB so shaken up as he was the other day.  Everything was completely normal when I walked in.  Jude Judy was on like normal.  His hands were covered in orange Cheetos residue like normal.  A slight hint of alcohol in the air did have me question whether I really wanted to stop by but I risked it anyway.  I didn’t get two feet in the door and the first thing he says is, “I can’t believe he’s dead.”  It was strange because I couldn’t tell what the emotion was.  He was definitely sad, angry too.  “How could they just… he’s dead.”  Oddly there was laughter in his voice.  He could tell I had no idea what he was talking about and he continued, “Bryan’s gone.”  I was saddened to hear the news but I had to stop him and tell him I didn’t know anyone named Bryan and NO I’m not going to shake your hand until you clean it off.  He explained to me about Family Guy and the dog dying and it all began to make sense.  Except for why he cared so much.  I watched the show enough to know there was a dog but until then I didn’t know the dog even had a name.  He could not accept this so he sat me down, muted the Judge, handed me the Cheetos, and began that days lesson in pop culture.

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Listen, I know a lot of drafts have gone down, but I think we’re still right in the sweet spot of the drafting season.  And while we’re in that sweet spot, why not start up an RCL Hoops league where we need more commishes!  I am putting an embargo on comments unless you start up a league!  Haha – kidding.  But what’s less funny is the curse of my love for Trey Burke, as he’s going to have surgery on his index finger.  “Don’t you point at me!”  “I can’t help it, it’s the cast!”  The original report of him missing 8-12 weeks had him a 100% no bueno in my book, but then he tweeted out (I guess using other fingers) that it should only be 4-6 weeks.  Apparently he’ll be in a splint three weeks and will be reevaluated.  As in – “my fingy still hurty!”  I’m moving Burke way down and taking it as a sign to completely cool off my love for him.  As in Arnold in the last bad Batman movie cool.  “Tonight’s forecast – a freeze is coming in!”  John Lucas III becomes the starting PG it appears in most games and probably needs to be owned in deeper leagues, but I wouldn’t drop someone that good for him. Lucas III didn’t crack the updated rankings because I don’t see season-long impact from him.  Alec Burks could start some games at the point as well, and remains ranked as I think he plays both guard positions and minutes all year.  That is despite a horrible 1-13 shooting performance last night…  The Jazz are also re-evaluating trading for the Bulls’ Marquis Teague in a possible trade.  Then there’s a rumor that free agent Jamaal Tinsley might also get signed.  Sounding more and more like the Jazz PG is going to be a black hole this season.  So I’m avoiding them all, but still holding Burke in 12+ team leagues (like my 1st RCL League) and hoping.  Here’s what else has been going down through the preseason, and a final rankings update:

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