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One of the reasons I prefer fantasy basketball to fantasy football is that in basketball it is much less likely to have your entire season derailed by an injury. That being said, opening night of the 2017-18 NBA season twisted my world view right along with Gordon Hayward’s ankle. Ouch!

It is when these things happen that I am reminded of two famous quotes: “Knowledge is power,” which I saw on a bumper sticker, and “Chaos is a ladder,” words spoken by the scheming Littlefinger in Season 1 of Game of Thrones. An injury can open the door for this year’s waiver wire MVP or at least offer a younger player an opportunity to get more minutes and become fantasy relevant. In order to take advantage you must not only act quickly, but you need to know which players will benefit the most, and that my friend is not easy.

So without further ado, here are the major injuries lingering around the NBA, some suggestions for which replacements to target, and whether you should stash, drop, or use an I.R. spot (if your league allows it):

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Hello everybody. I am TonyRP, one of the new fantasy writers at Razzball. I love fantasy and writing about this great game. For my first post, I am going to analyze one of my RCL teams. This team was drafted in the Straight Cash Homie 4 league. This league consists of some other Razzball writers and a host of other skilled players. Going forward, I will be recapping all the RCL leagues and keep you abreast of the hot and heavy action.

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UPDATED: 10/9/2017

Man, you guys don’t even know. There’s been a mob outside my house every night for the past two weeks carrying tiki torches and screaming, “We want the Top 200 with stats!” Or at least I think that’s what they were saying. Anyways, big shout out to Rudy who waved his magic wand and created the beautiful looking spreadsheet below. It even sorts. Here is Rudy in his lab:

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If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? A philosophical thought that has taken too much of our time, to be honest. We now live in an age filled with technology, so it’s all about sending the screen shot or providing video evidence. An event does not exist until a selfie is procured. We ain’t got time for the bullshit. Now, the time consuming question is “Photoshopped?” Anyways, the purpose of today’s post is to provide the predictions for the upcoming NBA season from your favorite Razzball writers. Who will be shamed? Who will be exalted? Regardless, we shall forever be etched into the annals of Razzball history….that is until I edit the post at the end of the season. Someone better screen shot this mofo!

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One of my all-time favorite movies is Rounders. Matt Damon and Ed Norton talking all smooth and playing poker in cool-looking clubs with John Malkovich spouting repeatable lines in… sort of a Russian accent. Plus, there’s a great Counting Crows song during the credits that I’ve never been able to find anywhere. Anyway, Damon’s Mike McD is the relatively good boy, while Norton’s Worm is the slimier friend.

After Worm gets them beat up with all their cash stolen for having been caught cheating, the gloves come off in an overdue shouting match between the old friends.

Mike McDermott: What the F*** were you thinking?

Worm: I was trying to give us an edge… …I don’t think like that.

Mike McD: No, you don’t THINK!

Worm: No, I don’t think like YOU! You always think you can beat the game straight up. That’s not me. I told you, I’m always gonna look for that edge. Always.

As much as Mike is the better role model, if you’re picking from the two gambling addicts, in fantasy basketball you want to be like Worm. Even if you tried, you can’t cheat in most leagues, but you want to be the one thinking differently, finding your edge. Last week, I mentioned ways to make your league more engaging. From here on out, I’ll give you ways to get an edge in your league by using the numbers to your advantage. These next two weeks leading up to the season, we’ll talk drafting.

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The text came in: “We doing the basketball league again this year?”

While fantasy basketball is greater even than sliced bread, it can get a bit stale… uh, like the much vaunted bread. It was October, many years ago, and my league of high school buddies, with a few buddies of buddies having replaced original buddies that had dropped out (you know how it goes), was feeling way less awesome than a fantasy basketball league should. The half that paid close attention rose to the top every year. It was time, yet again, to wonder if the auto-drafters that only made a handful of moves and never responded to trade proposals would sign up again so we could at least fill out the league… yawn.

This year’s unofficial season-opening text came in: “Zizic is tearin’ it up, even after the trade to Darussafaka. *You chumps are toast next year.”

*actual trash-talk was likely dirtier and more clever.

But this was in January. And we truly cared about Ante Zizic’s line in a Turkish league. This was much better.

How did we get there? How do you light a fire under your league-mates hot enough to send them on an adrenaline-fueled, non-literal, Jerian Grant-over-that-dude-from-G-Tech-ian trip to the rack?

Hi, my name is Tad, and I’m a new writer here. I’m a bball geek and a statistical nerd. My goal is to provide you with as many advantages as possible so that you can win your league(s) and love fantasy basketball more than ever, even if you don’t. I’m going to run the numbers for you and show you where you can get an edge in drafts, trades, and acquisitions. Let’s start with a relatively simple example. Using last year’s ESPN 8-Category Player Rater data, adjusted for a free throw punt team, you might only be mildly surprised to learn that LeBron James was the 2nd most valuable player on a per game basis. But, can you believe that, per game, Dwight Howard would have been more valuable to your team than Isaiah Thomas or Kyrie Irving? And, you probably could’ve gotten LeBron and Dwight for Isaiah at just about any point last season once Mr. Irrelevant took it to MVP-candidate levels. Hopefully, I’ll also inspire you to run some numbers of your own so that you can customize player values to your specific leagues and teams. But this week, as the season draws near, I first want to get you and your league more excited and invested than you’ve been in a while.

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It’s the end of an era for the Boston Celtics. It’s crazy to think that Isaiah Thomas had only been with the team for 2 1/2 years, but he became the heart of soul of those squads. I guess it all makes sense when you realize that IT is only 5′ 9″ 185 pounds and was Mr. Irrelevant in the 2011 NBA Draft. Always bringing the business, irrespective of the social construct of time and making us question the E=MC Squared equation because the energy does not seem to be interchangeable with his mass.

Got nothing but love for you IT. With that said, the NBA is a business. Here’s something for you to ponder. As I sit in this chair writing, it always pisses me off that there are salary caps in professional sports. Do we not live in a free, capitalistic meritocracy? Why is there a limit on the amount of money a player can make? Now, if I actually owned a NBA team….SALARY CAP!!! Why? Because it makes the most business sense. It’s a doggy dog world out there and cute, cuddly emotions are reserved for when you get home. The Celtics made a bunch of business decisions this offseason. As much as I love IT, it’s a move that was in the best interest of the team going forward.

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I can not wait for the Cleveland Lebrons to start the season. There is going to be so much pettiness, so much drama, so much F U-ness, and….so many wins. The Lebrons went 35-47 his rookie year. The next year they improved to 42-40. Those were the only years the Lebrons did not make the playoffs. Including those two years, the Lebrons went 349-225 (61% win percentage) with two 60+ win seasons and two 50 win seasons. Then, the Decision happened. The Cavaliers proceeded to go 97-215 (31% win percentage) with only one season above 30 wins. When Lebron returned, 161-85 (65% win percentage) with three seasons above 50 wins and the team’s first NBA Championship. I truly believe that this is Lebron’s last season in Cleveland. Remember this? I remember Lebron saying, “Even my wife was like, my momma and my wife was like, ‘I’m not with that.’ My mom was definitely like, ‘[expletive] that, we ain’t going back.“As I said on the pod, the only way Lebron returns to Cleveland is if Dan Gilbert sells him the team. As a result, he’s going balls to the wall this season. That Brooklyn pick? Lebron is going to use that to get someone. He’s pushing all the chips into the middle of the table to make one final last run. Even if management doesn’t sign off trading the pick, Lebron will morph into Kayser Soze….

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On Tuesday morning, President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge received an email. The sender was: [email protected] You don’t become the President of Basketball Operations for the Boston Celtics by being a dummy. Knowing that it was a scam of some sort, he asked his secretary to dial up the IT department so that they could help him reconfigure the spam folder settings. He saw the light for the IT department flash three times on his state-of-the-art phone before Jane, his secretary, intercommed over that Art was on the line. “Hey Art. This is Danny.” “What can I do for you, sir?” See, Art, I received this email from a Nigerian prince this morning and I was wondering if you could fix the problem so I won’t receive these spam emails anymore.” “Sir, did you try shutting the computer on and off?” Just at that moment, Jane intercommed over to say that Koby Altman, general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers, was on the line. “Hey Art. Hold on a sec.” “Hi Koby, what can I do for you?” “Well Danny, I have a problem. You see….” Koby kept talking and talking and talking, but what Danny didn’t know was that the hackers that Dan Gilbert hired over the Dark Web a week earlier figured out a way to hypnotize an individual via their computer screen. Not to get too technical, but it required a specific state-of-the-art phone that had two lines open at the exact time with an email displayed from a particular address emanating from the screen. Unbelievable you say? Then how else can you explain the trade that went down?!

Ok, I kid. Just wanted to have fun with things. Before I get too serious, though, why was the first thing to pop into my head when the trade was announced this song?

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Last week, I gave you my Top 10 for 2017 Fantasy Basketball. Today, I present to you the Top 15 after the Top 10. Since I’ve included the link for the Top 10, it’s technically the Top 25 but not really. Top 15 after Top 10 just doesn’t flow off the tongue properly, so I’ll just go with Top 25. Plus, it’s so cumbersome and annoying for me to write. Similar to if I had to spell out Giannis Antetokounmpo every time. Sure, I could just copy and paste it, but what if I had to copy and paste something else? What if I had to turn off my computer and re-copy and paste? I ain’t got time for that nonsense! Bing! Lightbulb suddenly appears over my head, which is good because my halo is now illuminated. From this day on, I shall call Giannis Antetokounmpo, G. I believe that gets G up to five nicknames now, right? That has to be the dopest nickname of all time. Hear me out. One-names were all the rage back in the day. Cher, Prince, Pele, etc…but then Prince took it to another level by eschewing letters altogether and just going with a symbol. But you know what? A symbol, while cool, is difficult to write. It’s also very difficult to utilize on the computer, although, it’s pretty amazing that people figured out a way to do it. Anyways, G is already on the keyboard. Yes, you do have to press Caps Lock or Shift to get it right, but…damn, you lazy!! Who else do you think of when I say G? When I say G, you say what? G. Anus. See?  No bueno. It’s a good thing no one ever reads intros. Well, at least I will know who didn’t read this intro when I get the inevitable, “What does G stand for?”

As always, big shout-out to Slim, who provided projections and insight.

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