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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

My lead yesterday was about a weekend of injuries, and as much as I wanted to stay away from injuries in today’s open, there’s just way too many.  Like that pilot in the Return of the Jedi when they attack the new Death Star.  “There’s too many of them!”  Sorry in advance Jake VZ – but I think the lead is Bradley Beal reportedly aggravating his leg injury and at the time of this post in the wee hours of the morning, the Wizards fear a prolonged absence.  Beal hurt the same leg with a broken fibula last year that ended his season prematurely.  In both my longer blurb in my top 100 and in my top 200 I tried to say I was worried, and only ended up with him on my autodrafted team.  By now, news has hit his little news icon on Yahoo and ESPN, so it’s going to be a little tough to sell at full price or even a slight discount if you’re hitting the panic button.  I’m worried myself.  I’m running in with Jodie Foster and a weird, gothy, tween Kristen Stewart into my Panic Room.  More precise news should come out today, but if for some reason you were about to cut Martell Webster, hold the phone and keep my boy.  I have been told I have too many “boys”.  But I like Webster a lot!  And called him a must add a few weeks back.  Trevor Ariza is also back and starting tonight, and the mere fact they’re not easing him in off the bench has me thinking his hammy must be doing pretty well.  Both Ariza and Webster are looking at big minutes for a stretch, and John Wall will continue to have this big offensive upside he’s shown in the past two games.  Here’s what else went down in the wide world of fantasy hoops last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

All hail Trey Burke!  May all the inhabitants of the great Salt Lake City and all their respective wives rejoice!  And… the Jazz are still atrocious.  Poor Tyrone Corbin.  He’s got to fiddle with Burke, Alec Burks, John Lucas III and now Diante Garrett at the point.  Jerry Sloan got John Stockton.  Then Deron Williams.  It just ain’t fair!  In yet another Jazz loss moving them down to 1-12, Burke got 12 minutes even, going 11/1/1 with a steal and hitting a trey shooting 5-8.  Trey with the trey!  If only Deuce McAllister was an NBA player.   Deuce with the deuce!  Or if McAllister was a dunker, “Deuce with the upper decker!”  I had the unfortunate pleasure of doing highlights for my second Jazz game now, but it was cool to see Burke’s debut and I thought he looked pretty good.  His first NBA points were off a long rebound then coast-to-coast for a controlled, attacking floater.  Obviously he’s getting eased in and he’ll get more minutes – hippity-skippity to a few months back and I was bigger on Burke than anyone – but I’m not ready to go nuts and drop quality guys for him.  Of course it’s a case-by-case scenario, but I really wanted Burke to get tons of preseason work; instead he broke his finger and missed some really crucial development time.  For example, I think I’m still holding Patrick Beverley over him.  PBev is the Razzball “why can’t I quit you?!” fantasy asset.  Lucas III is obviously not a long-term solution, and while he’s in the mix, he didn’t look good last night but was the only guy that could hit any long balls.  Alec Burks looked awful, sure his line 8/1/1/1/2 is fine, shot 3-6 – fine – but racked up 4 TOs in 16 minutes.  Just looked bad.  Which brings me to Diante G, who I thought looked really good.  Garrett actually led the Jazz in PG minutes with 20, and racked up a 4/1/6 line with three steals and only 2 TOs (one late one was pretty bad, but the game was over) and played down the stretch.  Garrett was the only point who could create opportunities.  So it’s a little crowded with Burks’ potential wilting away and Garrett looking decent as a D-League gamble and could get run through the season.  I think Lucas III gets cut at some point and Burks plays strictly backup 2 minutes, but that’s just me.  It’s a mess.  Shocker, considering it’s the Jazz!  Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Well… Larry Sanders hasn’t had the best few weeks…  The Colonel held his injuries from the field surgeon just long enough to keep hope alive in his troops, but had to undergo the knife to repair his thumb and will be out 6 weeks.  Was it from a punch, the champagne bottle, or just getting too close in the delivery room?  No one will ever know.  Talk about easily the biggest fantasy bust this season thus far.  With no IR spot, drop this dude.  Zaza Pachulia is now a big pickup for anyone needing big man stats.  Za/Za is such a good Scrabble play!  Definitely a go-to for 60+ point moves on the triples.  If you have the cajones to challenge me in Words With Friends, hit me up (user ID: Jbronze).  But if I smell any Word Gen, I’ma publicly smite you!  Oh yeah, hoops, John Henson gets a big boost as well looking at consistent run.  But beware Henson’s terrible FT shooting and prepare thusly.  Speaking of thusly, herebe the NBA beings-all I saw last fortnight (wait, doesn’t that mean like 20 days ago?  Eh you know what I meant):

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As an ancient proverb goes – “I’d like to introduce you to an old friend and a new friend.”  Ok, so I made that up.  But it sounds good!

For an old friend I’ve mentioned a few times and pumped up in my last rankings update before the season started up, my boy Omri Casspi had another solid outing last night that probably was under the radar.  In 24 minutes, he went 7/8/5 with no turnovers, 2-4 from the field and 3-4 from the line.  He just looks awesome every time I see him play.  Did you know he was the first Israeli to play in the NBA?  He’s pretty much Chandler Parsons but with Chandler Parsons in his way.  After a ho-hum first two games, his past two have been fantastic – and this last one without hitting a three which is a big part of his game.  Not necessarily a must own in 12-teamers, but definitely worth a look, and needs to be grabbed in 14+.

Then my new friend - Gal Mekel on the Mavericks.  You’re like, “who the eff is Gal Mekel?  I thought this was NBA not WNBA!”  Mekel was signed to a three-year deal by the Mavs this offseason, and became the second Israeli to join the NBA.  Cut to Amar’e Stoudemire going, “Hey, I should count!”  With Shane Larkin dealing with an ankle injury, and no Devin Harris for a while, Mekel is getting full-on backup PG run and playing well doing it.  He got his 2nd 6 assist game last night going 9/4/6 and hitting a 3.  Sure some run was in junk time, but with the oft-injured Jose Calderon the only one ahead of him (hasn’t played in over 68 games since 2007), Mekel could find his way into starts.  Of course, now I’ve ruined my play on him in the REL League.  Let’s just hope no one in that league is reading!  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There comes a time in every man’s life when he must admit defeat.  Like when your girlfriend demands to know why you can’t just remember to put the toilet seat down.  You can try to explain to her that the house is haunted and you would never be so inconsiderate.  From experience I must say its not as convincing as it sounds in your head.  The only correct response is to hang your head in shame and say, “I’m sorry”.  Older bench players like Mo Williams and Nate Robinson are my toilet seats.  I can’t seem to put them down and I will undoubtedly hang my head in shame when I do finally drop them.  Why not skip that uncomfortable feeling all together?  Why not take an unknown player who may blossom into a fantasy star?  Here are a couple of bigs that I believe will outperform players like Omer Asik (63% owned), Samuel Dalembert (52% owned), and Luis Scola (42% owned).

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Man, what a huge night it was across the NBA with nearly every team in action.  It obviously all starts with the shocker Philly put on the Heat, and Michael Carter-Williams‘ unreal debut.  I was following with my co-workers during the game and tweeted that if he got a triple-double in his first NBA game, the universe would implode.  Thankfully MCW was a steal short and we’re all still here.  His final line of 6-10 (4-6 3PTM 6-8 FT) 22 Pts 7 Rebs 12 Asts and 9 Stls might actually win some owners their matchups this week on its own.  Just preposterous.  Most steals in NBA history in a player’s debut.  Ok before we all go nutso, remember the Heat played without Dwayne Wade (rest), don’t have a PG, and had all their hands weighed down with new championship rings.  So that’s not really an excuse, but so what?!  The shooting efficiency was fantastic (the biggest knock on him coming into the year), plus he had only one turnover (his second main knock).  “Nice knockers!”  Thanks Young Frankenstein!  MCW indeed moves up a fair bit in value in my eyes, but this is likely his best line on the year.  MCW was wildly inconsistent in college and I don’t expect much consistency on a terrible 76ers team (I know they just beat the Heat, but c’mon).  Look for John Wall to lock him up on Friday and cool the hype.  Despite inconsistencies, it goes without saying that MCW should be owned in all leagues now (78% Yahoo, 59.4% ESPN), so if for some reason he’s available in your league, you gotta get him.  I’m not expecting MCW to be an elite player, but will continue to contribute even in down games.  Here’s what else I saw across Fantasy Basketball last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Despite the two nationally telecast Opening Night games (with the Heat/Bulls starting at 8:00 PM EST), the season really started at 7:00 with the Magic against the Pacers.  Non-fantasy players probably didn’t know this game ever happened.  All the sudden in the second quarter, Andrew Nicholson just went off, going 8-9 in the first half with 18 points.  Next thing you know, ESPN Fantasy Basketball is down.  Why RCL is on Yahoo!  But despite the Magic losing the lead and the offense going stagnant early in the third, Nicholson only played another few minutes in the second half and got stuck at 18 points in 19 minutes, only taking one additional shot and going 8-10 on the night.  Womp womp.  I never thought too much of Nicholson and don’t think he’s a guy to go rush to the wire for (unlike ESPN fantasy players!), and don’t forget Tobias Harris sat out with the ailing ankle.  19 minutes sounds about right for Nicholson, and he’s obviously not going to be a 48 PPG scorer per 48.  But I hope the kid enjoyed the moment in the sun during that first half shooting spree.  You temporarily broke Fantasy!  He was like the Fantasy Basketball Kevin Ogletree.  Here’s what else went down last night in the NBA:

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After re-ranking the top 10top 20, and top 50, it’s easy to see there’s been big changes since last May.  Below are the Razzball Updated Rankings with the previous May rankings in parentheses before the adjusted rank:

(68) ↑ 51. Derrick Favors – Utah declining to bring back either Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap gives you a slight inclination on their thoughts on Favors, and they’re already talking contract extension with their emerging big as well.  I love his athleticism, and if I miss out on Serge Ibaka who I’m high on early, I’m gonna want to reach on Favors to win blocks. I think he’ll be a top-5 NBA swatter.

(51) 52. Kemba Walker – Kemba has been higher on virtually every rankings I’ve seen, and I’m just not top-50 high on him.  He had a really solid season last year, but the terrible FG% still worries me as I feel like he forces some offense.  The acquisition of Big Al is going to give the Bobcats/soon-to-be Hornets an actual scorer down, and I don’t think that translates into helping Kemba all that much.  I like Gerald Henderson a lot too to take a bigger scoring role.  The 2.0 steals a game last year was elite, but I see those going down along with the scoring, and a comparable 5.7:2.4 Ast:TO ratio.  All that spells a slightly down ranking for me.  Although to be fair, he’s played in every single Bobcats game in his career, so there’s that reliability that can’t be ignored.

Please, blog, may I have some more?