We all know that injury is a part of professional sports. I would like to think that most fans don’t wish it on anyone, but when it does happen, and players are forced to miss games, nobody should feel sorry for the team that got got. It’s why there are 15 roster spots on a squad. And while it may suck to see a guy go down to injury, it creates opportunity. Opportunity for the next man to step up. So lets take a look at what the injury bug has done to the line ups lately, Hmmm?

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Ahhhhh, DeMarcus Cousins. Build like a brick shithouse (did I get that phrase right?), puts up monster numbers, and the Kings franchise is terrible. We need a change of scenery! After years of speculation and “Lord give me strength” tweets, it looks like this year might finally be the year.

Boogie went nuts last night against the Wizards, going 36/20/4/2/1 (Goromotaro!), but the Kings still got another kick in the SAC in the OT loss. Cousins tried to put this team on his back! Scored the pivotal last two baskets to put it into extra time, but the Wizards are like the Borg. “Resistance is futile!”

Trekkie jokes! Despite the huge line and burning Marcin Gortat on drives, Boogie still did Boogie things, with 5 TO and 3-10 FT. I saw he almost got a technical foul by complaining to the rim! “Is that goal regulation size or WHAT?!” Even though he has 32+ points in the past 4, the D stats are down, and a looming trade would inevitably hurt his value. Actually, staying put would hurt too, as he’d be a major DNP candidate. One Boogie rumor is that he could be playing for last night’s enemy, and reuniting with Kentucky teammate John Wall. It would probably take Bradley Beal and some pieces, likely some picks thrown in there too, but the Wizards look like they need a shake-up, I think we can all agree there. Scotty Brooks can manage superstar personalities, and might be the best coach for Cousins. That said, the Wiz are 4-2 over the past 6, and might be ever-so-slightly turning it around.

With the trade rumor mill churning and the D stats down (giving Boogie a surprisingly-low 19th per-game valuation on BBmonster), I think now is the time to shop him around. You’re feeling great with your returns if you got him in the second round, so maybe a fantasy owner will want to take on Boogie’s temperamental stats more aggressively than an NBA GM. That is, if this hypothetical NBA GM isn’t a big fantasy player! Although if the GM plays in 8-cat, he’ll spend like crazzzzzzy to get Boogie! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

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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!

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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:

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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:

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There are plenty of options to highlight this week, but everyone beware. Take caution. Put on your orange vests. The muuuuuuuuuuus is loooooooose!

Typically reserved for a football chant, every time the Hawks Mike Muscala hits a three, or even puts on those incredible ‘3’s Goggles‘, the Bucknell grad garners a deep cheers from the fans. Now, listen, I know more than most that the Atlanta fans aren’t the greatest in the world, but when you lose Al Horford and replace some of his minutes with Mike effing Muscala you gotta pull out all the energy you can! And then he goes and actually produces in his 20+ mpg. Unheard of!

13.7/5.0/3.0 on 61.5% shooting with nearly 2 3’s per game is essentially a poor man’s Horford. And that’s exactly what ol’ Mike has done the past week (don’t worry about those boards…that’s the Dwight Howard effect). I, mean, goodness…I wanna be like Mike. Maybe that’s just because I’m white, but for real, there’s a lot of value here.

And he’s not the only one…Here are the 7 Ahead for Week 5!

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Feb 23, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) and fans celebrate Harden's three point shot against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second half at Toyota Center. Rockets won 113 to 102. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY SportsThe Rockets put up 41 in the first quarter, with a lot of help from the beard. Harden finished the game with a 26/12/14/3/0 triple double, while only turning the ball over 4 times… That really isn’t that bad for the Rockets! A fair amount of blowouts last night, but the games were still quite enjoyable! Particularly, the matchup of KAT and EMBIIIIIID.

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As I try to do in my opens, I pull in some real-life news or experience to try and humanize the open. No one wants robot reporting! Just ask Mark Cuban. And that whole situation seems like such a cop out, “I’m going to ban reporters, and the reason why is that I want more human reporting!” Something else is going on there…

Anywho, for this open, I actually have relevant life experience! As previously mentioned regarding Derrick Favors, I too have suffered from IT Band Syndrome. It’s an inflammation of a thin band of nerves that connect from your hip bone on the outside of your leg, past your knee, and connected to your lower leg. Sometimes it can manifest itself in a mad sore hip, but usually it impacts the outside of your knee. When it flares up, it feels like a bone-on-bone “catching” on the outer part of your knee, like you have some horrific scar tissue from a torn meniscus (something I’ve also had). The real annoyance of the injury is you can feel awesome for a few days, then it flares up out of nowhere. You’re just walking normal, and all the sudden that “catch” makes your knee feel like you re-tore something. It’s pretty friggin’ frustrating.

So when I heard Favors was starting last night despite a flare up of knee soreness again on Saturday, I wasn’t the most surprised. I bet it felt great in warm-ups! Then at some point, I’m guessing he felt that same nerve irritation, and he ended up leaving early. I know his frustration. As a nerve thing, this isn’t really a consistent pain-tolerance thing, or a sprain to play through. It feels fine, then a sudden flare up makes your knee feel unstable. I didn’t watch any of this game, but he apparently didn’t look right, and went only 6/2/0/2/0 in 21 minutes. As I mentioned on the Pod, I nabbed some shares of Trey Lyles on Sunday given Favors’ knee issues and knowing this could be a long-term thing, getting rewarded with an 18/5/2/2/0 line with a trey. A trey from Trey! With leaving games early a persistent issue now, I wouldn’t be surprised if Favors gets treatment for a few weeks, and I would take the flier on Lyles where I could. It took me about two months of rehab and a session of dry needling to stimulate the nerves to finally shake my IT issues. Don’t watch if you don’t like needles! Here’s what else happened in fantasy hoops action last night:

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Last night marked the first return of Dwyane Wade to Miami.  Unfortunately, it was the second game of a back to back for Wade, and his shooting just wasn’t there.  He put up a solid line, and the Bulls won, so I doubt he’s complaining.  Those hoping for a vintage performance were severely disappointed though.   5-17 shooting just doesn’t cut it.  He threw in 7 boards, 4 assists, and a steal, along with the 13 points, so it wasn’t a complete waste though.

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As I steadily stood fast next to Stephen Curry as my #1 player, I was reminded of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog Friday night. With all that Lakers yellow and Curry missing all his treys, I was like “somehow that song Yellow, makes me want to pee! I think because when it’s over, it’s a big relief to me!”

This is why you don’t panic on shooters, even if they’re the most elite players in the land. Unlike your big man studs, they’re going to have more peaks and valleys. We didn’t really see much of that inconsistency last year, but we got about the most epic cold-then-hot consecutive games we’ve ever seen. After snapping his 3PTM streak at 157 games going 0-10 Friday, Curry comes out and BREAKS THE NBA RECORD FOR 3s LAST NIGHT! WTF IS THAT?!

46/5/5/2/0 on 16-26 shooting, including 13-17 from downtown. Crazy talk. Dudes in the 3-point contest don’t even shoot that well! And it’s almost kinda sad that the Warriors NEEDED that kind of output, only beating the lowly – now 0-7 – Pelicans by 10. Curry is suddenly at 47.7% from the field with 4.6 treys a game: my argument for him #1 – FG% mixed with league-best 3s. While the rest of his numbers are down a tiny bit, the last 3 games he’s at 7.7 AST and 2.0 STL. So those are coming around as well. I only had one RCL with a top-7 pick, thankfully in the Slim vs. JB League, where I was able to nab him #2 and I’m still thrilled about it. This game was a big relief to me too! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball:

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