You aren’t going to find too many elite fantasy basketball assets sitting on an NBA bench. You’re going to find them on a 50’ wide by 94’ long stretch of hardwood, running their shoes tread-bare.

Fantasy production or “numbers” – essentially the only thing you’re mining for as you prepare for your drafts – is what results from the beautiful union between talent and opportunity.

Talent with limited opportunity (think: Jonas Valanciunas) leaves you with little choice but to sit back and wonder what could have been. Conversely, all the opportunity in the world afforded to players short on talent (I’m looking at you, Courtney Lee) has you questioning why you’re tending to vines that bear no fruit.

Unfortunately, in the world of the National Basketball Association, opportunity is usually held to a finite number each night – and that number is 240. Two hundred and forty minutes is all a given team can distribute amongst its roster during a regulation game. (For our purposes here today we’ll refrain from delving into the impact of overtime/multi-overtime games adding to the pool of minutes, though it does obviously impact the calculus.)

With NBA coaches now regularly employing rotations of nine and 10 men, there are very few players (regardless of talent, youth and good health) who are asked to play more than 75% of a game. In point of fact, during the 2014/2015 NBA season a grand total of six players averaged over 36 minutes of court time. Go just one year farther back and that number jumps to 16. The 12-13 campaign? 22 such players eclipsed the 36 MPG mark and seven ran for over 38 minutes a night. And to really put things into perspective – less than a decade ago we saw nine players average 40 minutes, with the kicker being that none of them missed more than 10 games.

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Operation shutdown: when a team shuts down a star player in order to preserve them for the future. It’s a fear of every fantasy owner and that’s exactly what the Knicks are contemplating doing with Carmelo Anthony and his sore knee.

As a DC sports fan, I’m all too familiar with the shutdown. Different sport, different circumstances, but it’s the same idea.

As of now, Anthony refuses to be shut down. He’s said that his knee won’t get any worse by playing on it, but he’s already missed the last five games with the injury.

Having lost 14 games in a row, the Knicks have now surpassed the 76ers as the worst team in the league. It’s clear that the Knicks are in total rebuild mode. This week, the Knicks waived Samuel Dalembert and traded JR “I’ve Never Taken a Bad Shot” Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cavaliers in a salary cap dump.

Right now, Anthony is day-to-day without a timetable for his return. He says he wants to play next week in London, but we don’t know for sure.

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Yesterday afternoon was a frenzy!  A frenzy because no Mozzy!  About as crazy as I was last Saturday about Fozzy!  Go Panthers!

Our prayers have been answered with Timofey Mozgov getting shipped out to Cleveland for two first round picks.  Two first-rounders?!  For Healthcare.Mozgov?!  Well, they’re like controlled picks from Memphis in some sort of hooblah where all that matters is they’re not going to be very high.  Not as high as say, Afroman!  Or 16th!  That’s where Jusuf Nurkic went in the first round this Summer, originally picked by the Bulls then traded.  Good thing for Nurkic!  It originally seemed really muddied there in Denver at C, but JaVale McGee just can’t get healthy, and Mozgov couldn’t go 3 minutes before getting multiple fouls.  So out ya go TinaFey, and huge role ahead for Nurkic!  At least 35 minutes every night given how good he’s been!  Andddddddd, only 22 minutes for 8/4/3/1/2 last night.  Still respectable numbers though!  Given one of his made FGs was this.  To quote my favorite sound from 90s gaming, “Oopsie!”  Or whatever he really says…  Anyway, J.J. Hickson is still there to give us a headache, as he went 11/10/1/2/1 in 30 solid minutes.  Yikes.  I still love me some Nurkic, and to the patient man goes the spoils!  Something like that…  Kinda lost in all of this yesterday was Hickson’s deep league value shooting up.  He’s not a terrible player for some Pts/Reb relief in a very poor man’s Zach Randolph kinda way now that minutes should be coming.  While many owners are mad they didn’t scoop Nurkic up quick enough, shoot out some buy lows with who you would’ve dropped, and maybe last night’s dud is enough to sneak Jamba Jus into your Mini-mall.  That sounds so wrong…  Here’s what else went down on a busy night of NBA action:

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Some NBA GMs had a case of the Mondays, that’s for sure!  “Uhhhh, I’m not ready to be back at work, let’s do something nuts just to make it look like we’re working…”

In a blockbuster three-team trade, the New York Poppycockers salary dumped Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith to the Cavs.  More pressure on Blatt!  Now he has to win with Knicks Outkasts… “I like the way you move!”  The last NBA coach who said that to Smith was George Karl.  Shumpert is likely going to start at the 2 with Smith becoming a 6th man.  Both of them must have had a redonkulous party to be heading to a winner.  Don’t invite Plaxico or Felton!  Then there’s Dion Waiters to the Thunder.  Meh.  Not like most leagues were using Waiters anyway, but he takes a minor hit in deepers.  Reggie Jackson should still lead the second unit in shots, so I’m not that excited.  The Knicks picked up three guys – Captain Kirk (but not the Hinrich one), some European with a lot of hair, but then an interesting name in Lance Thomas.  I almost made a cracker joke, but we’re gonna gloss right over that and reminiscence in some games he had earlier in the year on a depleted Thunder front line – 12/8/2 (Nov 1), 14/5/1 (Nov 4), the fluky 7/13/6 (Nov 12).  And depleted is baked right into the Knicks funnel cake right now.  The Poppycockers might as well see what they have at some point, so in uber deep leagues if you need someone with any sort of upside, I’d be sure and star LT on your wire.  Here’s what else went down on a crazy Monday for fantasy basketball:

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Happy 2015 Razzball Nation!

I for one am elated the Holidays have wrapped up (big thanks again to Slim for his recap at the end of last week!), and ready to buckle down for the second half of the fantasy regular season in H2H.  My new year’s resolutions have been made – use Twitter more, swear a little less, work out a lot more…  But this gosh darn knee!  Eh, I’m pretty flippin’ flabby anyway…  Fiddlesticks!  Might as well shut it down…

And the talk for Carmelo Anthony‘s shutdown continually grow like a wave across the second level at Madison Square Garden.  Not like they have anything else to do…  Next new year’s resolution – less dot dot dots!  The 5-31 Knickerbockers (I’m calling them The Poppycockers the rest of the way) have been worse than even Spike Lee could have imagined after reading reviews of his Oldboy remake.  “Brooooooo – Liiiinnnnn!”  Some dude named Bondy (shakeny, not stirredy) from The New York Daily News reported Melo’s knee will need a minor surgery, so it’s not like Melo is just playing through general oldboy-ness.  He’s missed the last few after being awful for two straight to end December, so trading him off in fantasy leagues is redonk tough.  Last we checked in (mostly through comments), I’ve maintained I’m not giving him away, but it’s fairly close.  He’s about at the “leave on the curb” status rather than “driving him all the way to the dumpster.”  My best advice would be to find a need for your team, and go for a guy that hits that need without a huge overall rank – i.e. Trevor Ariza for some steals and treys.  Might not get Ariza these days, but yeah, something like that.  And I still think you gotta try and hold out until Melo plays a few in a row – he’s traveling with the team for the next two games so he’s likely to suit up at least once.  Here’s what else went on in fantasy basketball since we flipped the calendar:

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Hope everyone is having a happy holiday season. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, Christmas has always a great day for basketball fans. We got a great slate of games, including some pretty amazing performances from John Wall, Russell Westbrook, and Dwayne Wade. We even got to see the Knicks’ teammates come to Qunicy Acy’s aid for a fight with John Wall.

Unfortunately, a few stars were missing from the Christmas games. The Thunder beat the Spurs in San Antonio, despite having superstar Kevin Durant on the sideline. He missed his fourth game in a row due to an ankle sprain. Durant was quoted as saying, “I can’t play basketball. I can’t run. I can’t jump. I’m not just sitting out just because. If I could play I would play. But I can’t play.”

Based on his comments, owners should expect to see him out another week or so. The injury is not related to his surgically repaired foot, but is similar to an injury he had in 2009, when he missed nine games. While Perry Jones will replace KD in the starting lineup, Durant is impossible to replace in real life and in fantasy. Owners will have to just wait for his return.

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Replace “Heat” with “Jay Cutler” and that’s what I have on in the background…

So a rough couple of days for Miami fans as both Chris Bosh and Josh McRoberts suffered seemingly minor injuries over the weekend, with some really bleak news coming out on Monday.  McBob’s knee injury that came out of nowhere in last Wednesday’s shootaround was diagnosed as a torn meniscus and needs to go under the knife.  Yikes.  Probably out for the season, and right when he was turning it on.  Then to Bosh, who has reports swirling his bum calf might cost him a few weeks.  It’s murky waters for the Brontosaurus, but for the long-term, you’re just sitting and praying to the Fantasy God of Injury.  I mean, dude was already so busy over the weekend!  Bosh is still staying involved with practice on a limited basis, but then again we all know what happens when “we talkin’ bout practice.”  In the interim, Shawne Williams probably gets the biggest uptick in minutes.  But he was pretty low-ceiling in big minutes to start the year… He had a couple nice games early on, very blah though.  Justin Hamilton is looking at a big role as well, off 10/3/1/2/0 in 33 minutes last Sunday.  A low-yield big role…  A little bit lost in the shuffle is Da Birdman!  Chris Andersen returned for Sunday, playing 18 minutes for 2/3/1/0/1.  He’s not going to get a ton of run given his age, but should offer a little blocking upside in a slight uptick of minutes.  Really none of these guys move the needle for me much, as it’s just an Abyss out there on the front line, with no aliens to save you by raising the ocean floor on some platform thingy.  I’m still in Lovington with Robert Covington and want it in the booty for Rudy.  They’re way above any of these Heat fill-in schlubs.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops:

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I imagine even some Knicks fans were chanting that!

In what ended up being a nailbitier for the Cavs in MSG, Kyrie Irving was unstoppable shooting 12-18 FG (3-6 3PTM 10-11 FT).  Heat check!  Just don’t say that about LeBron when he’s hot… Uncle Drew making NY Blue!  Gave him 37 big ones for a 37/3/2/2/0 with LeBron James assuming the point-forward role racking up a diming with 12 assists.  Freaky Friday!  Well I guess it’s Freaky Thursday, but I like the idea of Kyrie Irving as an angsty teenager in kinda a goth phase…  But while he just “doesn’t connect” with Jamie Lee Curtis, he’s been one of fantasy’s biggest surprises this year.  As mentioned on the Pod yestderday by our guest Justin Phan, for Kyrie to be averaging MORE points a game from last year with the Cavs big three now amassed, it’s amazeballs.  Coming into last night’s game, Kyrie was 5th in per game value and 6th in total value according to the BB Monster metrics, and probably passes Damian Lillard for 5th in total value after this bigun.  While the assists have understandably fallen from 6.1 last year to under 5 thus far in 14-15, I don’t really think there’s anything unsustainable.  Maybe shooting over 48% and over 42% from deep fall a wee bit, but with Lebron and Kevin Love out there, I do see him having career-highs in both.  And the big kicker – TO were at 1.7 last night and will remain well under 2.0 a game even with 3 against the Knicks.  Plus that great FT volume… and baby you got a stew goin’!  I feel like I’ve revelled at every single one of Kyrie’s stats… So go get him if you can!  Drafted in the late 2nd/early 3rd in most drafts, if you can only spend 2nd round value to bring in Uncle Drew, it’ll make you party it up on Championship Sunday of your H2H final like Drunk Uncle!  Here’s what else went down in the three games last night:

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It’s Thanksgiving around the NBA, tomorrow, in case it slipped your mind. I’m told there would be stuffing, which represents the cure for scurvy given to the Pilgrims by the locals, on Plymouth Rock, or something to that effect.

Certainly, it is a joyous occasion, but it begs the question, why is there no Thanksgiving music? There are about 5000 Christmas songs being rammed down our throats right now, like we were fois gras geese, But nary a pilgrim/first nations crossover ditty! Anyone in the music industry, you’re welcome, the idea is my gift to you, run with it. What has become the primary celebratory routine is a plying of alcohol, followed by a gorging, followed by sporting event, followed by a retail sales the likes of which are only seen on this day all year! And we here at Razzball are no different.  We have deals you can’t afford to miss out on, everything must go, go, go! Take a gander at these beauts:

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If you’re a Harry Potter fan, then you’re in the wrong place.  Gave me a punny title!  All you’re good for, Rowling…  Some friends tried to get me into that noise and there’s like these whore-cruxes hidden around the world or some crap?!  Made no sense at all.  Get enough whore-cruxes in half the reality shows out there…

Through a few comments over the last couple weeks, I feel like I’ve had to fight for Donald Sloan as a guy to hold onto and not give up for a peanut shell and ABC gum.  The sell-high label still applies, but sometimes you gotta just ride the broom like a whore-crux!  No idea what that means.  Huge night from Sloan in a shocking win at Dallas going 10-14 FG (3-5 3PTM 6-9 FT) 29/2/5/1/0 all with only one turnover.  It’s been a little under the radar since he’s not a huge dimer, but has 2 TO or fewer in 9 straight games.  Somebody get Michael Carter-Williams some Sloan tape for the film room!  Despite a little bit of a struggle at the stripe last night, is well over 80% on freebies this year.  Really his only knocks are low steals and FG%, but if I’m getting mad at MCW (which is tough to do after last night!), all the sudden Sloan’s numbers are looking mighty tasty.  I still think whatever you get in a trade won’t be worth just riding Sloan another month, as George Hill‘s knee is rumored to keep him out until the latter part of December now.  And Sloan’s big play should have him above C.J. Watson, who is also lingering into December with trench foot.  Who knows, maybe the Pacers go crazy and start Hill and Sloan when Hill is back anyway, and play Stuckey as a 6th man.  Sloan’s been a big part of any success the Pacers have had, so he’ll certainly remain in the rotation.  I’ve written Sloan’s name enough for the open here, let’s start gushing over some more of JB’s favs who did well last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?