The Bird is the word this week, gentle reader. I know that Thanksgiving themes are played out, but if you’ve ever read any of my previous articles, you will know that I can’t resist the low hanging fruit. My vertical won’t really allow for anything but the lower branches anyhow. So what are you thankful for good reader? Jrue HolidayKristaps Porzingus? Donald J Trump? Whatever it is that makes you thankful, we all remind ourselves that in fantasy there is a yin and then there is a yang. (Stat)Stuffers, and Turkeys, as the title suggests. So loosen your belt, Fantasy GM, pass the gravy, and let’s take a hearty serving of both on our plates:

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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:

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Ahhhhh, our epic Jusuf Nurkic vs. Nikola Jock Itch debates. 16-17 might become remembered as the year of the Nuggets big men Civil War. I wanna be on Iron Man’s side!

In a gutsy battle with the Craptors, the Nugs almost pulled out a great road win, putting together a huge 3rd quarter and getting a lead for most of the 4th. We the North still ended up notching the W, and so did Slim and the Nurk > Joke contingent! I still feel like I have to remind everyone that I ranked Nurk ahead of all experts, and was middle-of-the-pack-to-slightly-below-consensus on Jokic. But alas, I did think Slim was a little crazy saying he wanted Nurk over Joke outright, and after last night, it’s looking like it’s going to be a coin flip any given outing. The real head-scratcher is Nurkic lead the team with a preposterous 38 minutes. Lunacy! Ended up going 13/18/1/1/5 in a great line, but did struggle with the %s, shooting 5-14 FG and 3-7 FT. He’s just so big out there… Look at poor Pit-Pat trying to block him, what are you doing Pit-Pat?!

I think this matchup made sense, as Nurk is a good fit to D up The Luminescent Lithuanian, and with his size and D presence, can help out on the Lowry and DeRozan iso drives. Erstwhile, I thought Nikola Jokic looked pretty good, but only played 22 minutes, going 12/4/1/0/0. Shot 6-9, but 4 TO?! The Nugs only had 8 TO as a whole, so friggin’ Jock Itch had half their giveaways, plus had 4 fouls in that limited run. Just wasn’t his night.

So what to do with these guys? I think you gotta just deploy them as usual, and hope the coin flips your way any given game. As long as it doesn’t pull a Watchmen and land standing up. I think that was Watchmen, I know it was in the dumb movie Ed too, about Joey from Friends teaching a monkey to pitch. Hahahaha, how terrible. I just had to link the trailer, because I watched it for 30 seconds to be sure I was citing the right movie, and holy crap. This is the most fantastic 2 minutes of my life:

If that doesn’t make you laugh, nothing will! I’m all over the place this morning… To wrap that metaphor, I guess Kenneth Faried would be if the coin landed straight up, and at least he only saw 15 minutes. I wouldn’t be shocked at all if Nurk gets 22 minutes next time out, Jock Itch 35, and Jock Itch has the big game. Going to be frustrating game to game. But for last night, Slim gets to gloat! Here’s what else happened last night in fantasy basketball action:

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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:

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We’re officially at a crossroads! We push all the way to the triple-digits and protrude into the late rounds. That’s a weird word, protrude. Sounds like a scene title from the Anchorman DVD when Will Ferrell complains about the pleats… Hey, I’ve written 100 ranks now, don’t act like you’re not impressed!

Get ready to be impressed by links! Here’s my Top-10, Top-25, Top-50 & Top-75 if you’re still catching up. Ranks, ranks, ranks! And with us now getting to the top 100, I’m sure we’re going to start seeing a lot of comments about guys that fell off the horse. I just double-checked myself looking at Yahoo’s ranks for the first time, and they have someone top-40 that I didn’t even rank yet! Lunacy… Here’s the Top 100 for the 2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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Man, crazypants Thursday night!  I know what you’re all thinking…  “A live reaction to the madness would be better!”  Well, hopefully you downloaded and listened to our Draft Day Live Podcast!  If not, listen to it while reading this if you have a fluky-good, multi-tasking mind.  It’s tough for me to read while listening to a Podcast, it’s like that feeling when someone just starts shouting random numbers at you when you’re trying to count.  1-2-3-4-5 “17!” 6-7-8 “22!” 8… 8…  ugh, I lost my spot!  Assholes…

The first 9 picks went fairly unsurprisingly, although we did miss on virtually everything in our Mock Draft.  Pretty sure I beat Slim 2-1 overall (edit – ugghhhh Slim’s right he got Zizic, we tied, ahhhhh!)!  Then when the Bucks made their 10th pick…  All hell broke loose!  Dudes I joked around about as 2nd round sleepers getting picked in the lottery, Suns making baller trades, someone’s twitter getting hacked…  Oh wait, that was the NFL draft.  I guess it wasn’t quite THAT crazy!  Here’s my analysis for each rookie’s fantasy impact, along with my grade for each team’s pick in a real-life context and my guess at where each rookie will rank in my 2016-17 redraft rankings to come out this summer:

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The first round of the NBA Playoffs wrapped up on Sunday, with one awful Game 7 that I think everyone saw coming (I at least figured it was a blowout) and one fantastic Game 7 that seemed like a blowout early on, only to become a thriller.  Paul George isn’t elite!  Oh no, we’re STILL coming back to that one?!

While playoff hoops means very little to the fantasy discussion, there are some little nuggets (no, not Nate Robinson) that can help point us to some sneaky values in the subsequent season’s fantasy draft.  I’m thinking of Draymond Green in the 13-14 playoffs going 11.9/8.3/2.9/1.7/1.7 before his breakout, Otto Porter, etc.  But as we’ve progressed to a few games in the Second Round, there really ain’t that much going on anymore for fantasy purposes.  To be completely honest – and I know it might be sacrosanct – I don’t watch a ton of playoff hoops, especially early.  I’m not a fan of a team anymore, it’s not fantasy, and I admittedly get a little fatigued.  It’s a long season!  But ya know – overall – basketball is awesome!  And there were a few takeaways that I think could be applicable to 16-17.  Here’s a few interesting notes from NBA Playoffs so far:

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Getting through a fantasy basketball season can sometimes feel like everyone in the building is against you. Like you’re John McClane. Once you get into April, you finally have a bajillion options helping you, but your feet are bleeding and your shirt is burnt off! Perils of April basketball. If you’re in a H2H league and your championship stretches until game 82, it’s time to change your league settings! Maybe it’s just sour grapes since it’s looking like we’re gonna come up short in the Yahoo Friends & Family championship. Slim could blame me too, because he wanted to welcome Norman Powell to the Razzball party. Welcome to the party, Powell!

As with a lot of these April guys, Powell is putting up some surprising stats. But he’s been getting better and better when given the opportunity, with an absolutely crazy Friday night with the Raps regulars DNPed going 27/6/4/1/0, but on only 11 shots and 5 – FIVE! – field goals made. He hit 3 treys, and apparently bought all the refs dinner before the game, going 14-19 from the FT line. 19 free throws, after 0 trips to the stripe the two games before it. WTF, mate?! Then promptly left the party last night, playing only 21 minutes for 2/1/1/1/0 in a scrubby game as the starting SF, and you guessed it, yet again 0 FTA. What in the wide world of sports?!

I’ve seen a few comments asking about Powell’s keepability for 16-17, and I just don’t know. He’s 6’4 and definitely a SG (even though he was listed as a SF last night), so you’d imagine they’d have to push DeMar DeRozan to the 3. That wouldn’t be outlandish or anything, but remember we saw a couple huge flashes from Terrence Ross before he turned into a Holiday Armadillo. And I’m lazy and didn’t want to rewrite those last couple sentences – I totally forgot about DeMarre Carroll! He’s signed through 2018-19, so it’s really hard seeing much happen for Powell out of the gate next year. And even for the final two Raps games tomorrow and Wednesday, it’s hard to give him a starting nod unless we know the Raps are resting peeps. With Toronto still alive to sneak into the #1 spot, I don’t see that happening if the Cavs beat Atlanta tonight and lock the first seed. Here’s what else went down in fantasy hoops action over the weekend:

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Winter might not officially end for another couple of weeks, but Spring looks to have sprung for us up here in the northeast. Temperatures are climbing, the last of the snow has melted, the pretty girls are starting to peel away their heavy winter apparel, and the Toronto Raptors are reminding Canadian hoops fans why it’s never a good idea to buy into the idea that “maybe this will be our year.”

You’d think after nearly blowing a 15-point lead to the Blazers on Friday, and then actually blowing it against the visiting Rockets on Sunday, my Raps would take out some of their frustrations on the woefully bad Brooklyn Nets…yeah, not so much. Thanks to getting outscored 35-14 in the 2nd quarter, they were down 16 at half…to the Nets. The 18-45 Nets. That Toronto came back to win on the strength of 48 points from their All-Star backcourt of Kyle Lowry (23) & DeMar DeRozan (25) is besides the point. These extended periods of disinterested play against inferior competition are what have caused their early playoff exits each of the past couple years and Tuesday at the Air Canada Centre was just the most recent example of the team failing to learn from their past mistakes. If history is any indication, there’s going to be a lot more where that came from…

Whatever. I’m preemptively upset about it happening again and I don’t want to talk about it anymore, alright? Let’s just move past it.

For variety’s sake, we’ll change up the format again this week and break down Tuesday’s six pack game-by-game with a focus on the noteworthy fantasy performers who are helping and hurting owners as the playoffs fast approach.

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