Uggghhhhhhh. I hate when the intro has to be about a bad injury, but alas, tis what tits with fantasy sports. After playing pretty well against the Pacers last night (21/4/0/2/1 in 28 minutes), Rudy Gay went down in the third quarter and had to be carried off the court, with tests indicating he tore his Achilles. He’s had issues with that Achilles in the past with a partial debridement, but it gave out at absolutely the worst time. Yeah, maybe he didn’t handle wanting to get out of Sacramento the most gracefully (who WOULD want to play there?!), but at least he showed up, ya dig?! Now he has to stick it out while rehabbing, this was going into a contract year… It just sucks. I’ve never been the “biggest” Gay fan, but I’ll be rooting for his rehab and hopefully he can be vintage Gay a few more years on a new squad.

In the meantime, it opens up a ton of wing minutes in SAC. Arron Afflalo of DNP-ville got 31 minutes last night, aided by Garrett Temple having to play backup PG because Ty Lawson is nursing a kankle. A R Ron! went for 11/1/1/0/1 in his usual snoozefest line, with Temple going 9/4/3/0/0 with a trey. Yikes. Matt Barnes might move back into the starting 5, but he’s hit-or-miss, depending on how drunk he is at the night club. Hey oh! 7/4/4 for Barnes in 20 minutes, and Ben McLemore only got 4 minutes this game. It’s a real trainwreck without Gay, and I don’t see any sort of clear answer on this team to fill in the void. So you’re likely looking elsewhere on the wire for Gay’s scoring, and hopefully you sold high after a red hot start through the first stretch of the season. Get well soon, Rudy! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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The Wizards have been playing much better as of late. Despite being down 18 points in the second quarter, the Wizards came back to win to push them over .500.

John Wall knocked down the game-winning jumper with 5 ticks left, to complete another fantastic performance with 26 points, 14 assists, and 6 rebounds.

Now that’s what Steve Buckhantz calls a dagger!

Wall was voted Eastern Conference Player of the Month for December and continues his strong play in the New Year. There hasn’t been a better player in the East over the last 6 weeks.

Now the Bulls were missing Jimmy Butler (illness) and Dwyane Wade (rest), but I don’t care. I’m going to take every opportunity to talk positively about my Wizards. They’ll disappoint me soon enough so let me enjoy my moment.

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You hate to see in sports when a guy gets hurt, then loses his starting spot once he’s back to action. Usually it’s for a youthful upside guy that takes off when given an expanded role, but don’t say that to Alex Smith… And it’s not like Matthew Dellavedova was some sort of entrenched starter either… Before we feel too bad for this guy, he just sold his life story into a movie. Crocodile Dundee 4 – Welcome to the NBA! The last one was written by someone in fantasy sports, gimme the green light, Hollywood! Delly returned from 5 games off with a bum hammy (due to all his storyline pitching to studios) to go 2/2/4/1/0 in 18 minutes off the bench. Taking the starting minutes like a bull by the horns (maybe I should’ve gone with “Buck” by the horns!), Malcolm Brogdon had a fire lit under him yesterday afternoon seeing the incumbent get back, posting a career-high 22 points on a 22/1/5/3/1 line with 2 treys.

Hitting his Js and taking it to the rack! Take that, Dundee! They actually overlapped a few minutes as well, and while I still don’t think Brogdon is going to keep ascending (and Delly was likely on a little bit of a leash), I kinda wish I got some Broggy shares. Alsoh, there was Disturbingly no Giannis Antetokounmpo who was down with the sickness, but someone needed to score a little more, and Malcolm stepped up! If he’s somehow still available in your 12ers (maybe he was cut for streaming with Delly coming back), I’d be sure and give him an add. But in 10ers it might get a little roster crunchy. Roster Crunchy – a new cereal from Patty General Mills! Here’s what else went down over a cold & snowy weekend of fantasy basketball action:

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Ho! Ho! Ho! Hark the herald, Jerry Stackhouse sings! The NBA has never been in fuller effect across the years than at the culmination of this week every year: CHRISTMAS! It’s unofficial start to the season (or the official start in the lockout-shortened 2011 season), and the first day since June owned by the NBA on the sports calendar. It’s been football, football, football for the past six months, but even the King Kong NFL takes a back seat to basketball on Christmas (only 2 NFL games in Week 16 are actually on Sunday, December 25). Make way, because winter is no longer just coming…it’s here! And with it comes all the basketball glory we can handle for the next 6 months.

From now on we’ll see teams jockeying for playoff position. You know, those coveted spots that only the few get to have in calling themselves the next up to be humiliated by the Cavs or Warriors. But seriously, this is where we start to see what teams really are. And it’s similar in other sports. Sure, you can start 5-0 Falcons in 2015, but you’re finishing 8-8. Or in baseball, everyone knows that the record before Labor Day is all just feeling it out. And in the NBA the Hawks may begin 9-2, but are they really that great? My optimistic homerism is hopeful, but their record now shows the answer is no. How about the Raptors? They started sluggish; they must have taken a step back this year. Well, um…nope. They’re a favorite to reach the Eastern Conference Finals again. See, Christmas brings out the best in us all, and acts as a litmus test for starting the year.

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When we finally saw the ultimate joker Jason Kidd put John Henson back into the starting line-up a couple of weeks ago, there was some excitement, except we all foresaw a pretty low-minute role. Go-go Gadget, minutes limits! With Greg Monroe playing pretty much like we expect Moose to play, and Miles Plumlee signed on a $50 million deal (more than Monta Ellis!), it didn’t seem like Henson would get enough of a role to be fantasy-reliable. Then after a few starts, the Bucks go back to DNP-ing Henson and pissing away their best center. They [shocker!] lost that DNP-Henson game against the Raps (but admittedly played em close), and Kidd must’ve finally gotten a divine intervention, and realized he should stick with Mr. Muppet. And the rest, as they say, is history! Go-go Gadget, winning streak! The Bucks have gone 4-0 on 4 straight Henson starts (given two against the Mess, but whatever), and Muppet Man has gone 14.8/7.8/1.5/0.5/3.0 over that stretch in 25.2 minutes, shooting 55% from the field. That line got accentuated by 20/7/2/1/2 on Saturday night against the Mess, thanks to solid post play and some sick-ass Giannis diming!

But the real stand out for me is the 3.8-4.5 FT over these last 4 starts, good for 83.3%. He’s at 72.7% on the year, after being a mid-50ish% FT shooter over his career. The stroke looks pretty clean, and I think this could be fairly legit. Go-go Gadget, FT coaching! At multi-blocks in 5 straight and settling into a 25 MPG start, Henson is a must-add everywhere. Go-go Gadget, waiver gold! Hopefully you heeded our “spec add in 12ers” advice a week ago, and you got a must-own big! All we need now, is The Joker to keep from Kidd-ing around with the line-up! Here’s what else went down over the weekend in Fantasy Basketball action:

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Hope everyone’s week is going well.  No grid this week and instead I want to focus on the opposing bench players.

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Let’s face it, in a standard league, most of the available players in the FA pool are unlikely to be starters.  For fantasy purposes, that doesn’t mean they can’t contribute to categories that your team need to defend or categories that your team can unexpectedly win.

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Sean Kilpatrick went H.A.M. on Tuesday, scoring 38 points (14-34 FG, 4-12 3PT) and grabbing 14 rebounds in the Nets double-overtime, come from behind victory over the Clippers. He turned it on late, scoring 31 of his 38 points in the 4th quarter and overtime. Kilpatrick probably won’t be this good ever again, but he still remains a wise pickup (53% availability).

Trevor Booker and Brook Lopez – The Nets’ big men also enjoyed the extra minutes in double OT as well. Booker had a nice overall line of 15 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals, while Lopez posted 27 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 threes, and 2 steals. Lopez’ 3-point shooting has really improved this season.

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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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Ah, the early weeks of the fantasy season, when a young man’s or woman’s fancy turns to love. Love of the game, love of that reach you made for Gordon Hayward in the draft when others were worried about his injury. Love of how good your picks look thus far, and how bad your opponents picks look. Because everyone has a chance at this stage, right? And that’s good for the game, no? Somewhere out there, somebody is giddy that they selected JJ Barea in the later rounds. Others are pleased that they nabbed a tasty morsel, or pleased their blue chip pick is performing as advertised. The scientific term is the honeymoon phase, and fella, you are smack-dab in the middle. At this time people often complain that it’s hard to make trades, so while I will make some trade recommendations, I will also comb the waiver for you, gentle reader, to try to polish the proverbial turd for you to grab. Let take a look at what is to be had:

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I imagine this a good representation of the frustration Westbrook feels inside… I am currently writing this article during halftime of the Thunder/Warriors game, and frankly I don’t think I have the heart to watch the second half.  OKC came out of the gate in a strong fashion, but a Jerami Grant posterization of KD led to a Slim Reaper onslaught that buried the Thunder.  More on that below…

It’s now time for my debut on the daily notes! I’m going to format it a bit differently, so feel free to give feedback on whether it’s better, worse, or if you don’t care at all.

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