The All-Star Break is here!  With skills competish, Mike & Mike in the evening, and everyone’s favorite – the Slam Dunk Contest.  It’s exactly what everyone needs during the grind of the regular season, even for us fans who are only nursing such injuries like Larry Drew-ophobia, general malaise, and fantasy bewilderment.  I have all of those symptoms!  Plus we all get four straight nights of not worrying about our fantasy rosters, nights off to spend with ladies (Valnetine’s Day just happens to be during the All-Star Break, who planned this?  Does Jared own the NBA?!), nights off to go out drinking without constantly checking box scores on the iPhone, and nights off to spend working on some Fantasy Baseball rankings…  Oh, and nights off to dig out our cars, sheesh this weather!  So with all that in mind enjoy the All-Star Break, get on twitter and have fun faux-titling the Dunk Contest throwdowns, and I’ll be back on Wednesday next week as we approach the fantasy playoffs.  Here’s what I saw last night in the few NBA games and a few injury updates:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So, the Feds are after you.  Your Ponzi scheme and billions of dollars are up for seizure.  Well, that, or your $20 league dues and your friends sending you obnoxious texts about how you’re not going to the playoffs.  So if you’re in H2H and in this shortened week, what is a Madoff to do?  How about putting in a quick grab of Chris Kaman, who has erected himself into surging fantasy relevance.  Too far JB!  A raging 25/14/4/1/3 line last night, taking a whopping team-high 24 shots.  That’s now three straight games of at least 17 Pts, 8 Rebs, 3 Asts and 2 Blks.  That’s the floor!  While tonight’s slate is pretty jam-packed, Thursday is a light one.  With the Lakers one of the few teams in action, Kaman could really make the difference this week for ya in Pts and Blks.  While he does have a shelf life whence Pau Gasol returns, if Gasol is indeed traded I think Kaman has played well enough to stick.  Of course you never know with Doh-toni, but Robert Sacre isn’t exactly a guy to be developed for a long-term future and they don’t have any other true 5s.  So don’t be afraid to stash some of your free cash in the Kaman islands.  While he is owned in 43% of Yahoo leagues already (a bit shocking to me it had hopped up that fast), there’s plenty of IRS-free banks left to stash him up.  Here’s what else I saw last night across fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You know, Raymond Felton broke his hand last year, and this is no joke, less than two weeks after Twinkies were officially discontinued.  I imagine him hearing the news after a Knicks loss, and punching the glass out at a NYC convenience store.  “How will I ever carboload before rolling onto the court!”  Then Twinkies, after being bought out and licensed, again appeared on store shelves in July 2013.  And ohhhh boy, was it an offseason to remember for Roly Poly Felton!  Even though he’s always looked like a big boy, concerns about his weight surfaced yet again, and this year his stats were down before a myriad of injuries took their toll.  This past groin injury, where Felton reportedly heard a “pop”, finally got him to listen to the advice of the trainers.  “When my little guy down there told me something was wrong, I finally listened.”  Knicks head athletic trainer Roger Hinds had to think on the fly, eventually settling on a 12-grain/cashew cream vegan Twinkie-substitute.  Instead of the 15-17 off-the-shelf Twinkies comprising the majority of Felton’s daily diet, he was down to 12-14 “healthy-makers” (as he called them) while rehabbing his groin injury.  “The first three or four were kinda funky, but then you get that urge for more-and-more just like the old ones.”  After losing 34 pounds in 72 hours, Felton was ready to rejoin the team in practice.  “I felt great out there, mobile, my arms stopped running into my love handles when I was drivin’ to the hoop.”  Another 42 pounds came off in the next week, and he was ready to play last night.  And man, did those 76 lost pounds come in handy!  13/5/14/1/0 against the Heat in a surprise win.  I caught up with him after the game: “No J.R. Smiff in the game helped me keep the rock and everything runnin’ through me.  He can untie e’rybody’s shoelaces all I care!”  Back to reality, I did watch this game, and the bulk of those assists came on dishes to Carmelo Anthony burying jumpers, so the assist total is obviously a big outlier.  But Felton did look good.  Made good moves, looked agile, and more importantly, made the Knicks look better while playing 39 minutes.  We can have fun all we want, but I think I was wrong to be a little dismissive on him returning.  I like him right now over D.J. Augustin and Kendall Marshall for example.  More staying power, and while the most injury prone of the bunch, I think helps you more in the long-haul.  Must-own in 12-teamers, depends on need and depth in 10ers.  Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you’re like JB and myself, then you like your fantasy basketball to be Head-To-Head.  The ability to talk smack to a new opponent every week keeps the intensity high.  And unlike Roto or NCAA football, we get The Playoffs, where heroes are made and injures decimate championship aspirations.  A nasty little side effect however is a shortened regular season.  After this week we will have played 10 weeks.  Marking the halfway point of the regular season.  If you’re in the bottom 3rd of your league then sacrifices must be made.  Injured players may need to be traded at less than face value or flat out dropped.  Streaming takes priority over upside.  There is still plenty of time to make up ground and sneak into the playoffs but it’s safe to say something isn’t working.  If you’re in the middle 3rd then you should take a long hard look at who on your team is on the way up and who is on the way down.  We all had our favorite sleepers coming into the year, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was one of mine, Archie Goodwin was well liked around these parts too.  They weren’t giving enough so we had to move on to the next opportunity, c’est la vie, life goes on…  If your in the top 3rd of your league then you need to ensure you stay there.  You can be much more risky and shouldn’t pass up any high upside guy who is getting big minutes.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I would like to get your opinion on something.  It’s been bothering JB and I to the point that we finally made a friendly wager on it.  By friendly I don’t mean without a consequence.  If somehow I’m wrong I have to finally teach JB how to play, I’m Blue, with a didgeridoo.  In public I laugh at him for liking that song but between you and me…  That’s my Jam!  There’s a reason he knows I can teach it to him.  But that’s not important cause he’s not going to win our bet.  When I win he’s going to finally teach me the one true Carolina secret.  I’m going to finally learn how much vinegar it takes to ruin otherwise perfect BBQ.  You would think if you just pour a bottle of vinegar in with the sauce you would be done.  Oh no, It’s far more complicated than that.  The trick is that perfect amount to lure them in just enough to try a bite because as the old southern adage goes, “The first time you taste Nort Carlina BBQ, will also be the second.”   I trust you can now see the urgency by which we need this settled.  It really is a simple question.  I’m surprised we’ve had such heated debates.  OK, so assuming Bigfoot is real.  Obviously that isn’t exactly a stretch of the imagination.  Would seeing him in the wild be enough to convince you to just give up your lifes work as a cryptozoologist?  I know right!  Wouldn’t it just further the drive to explore every fuzzy photoshopped picture that gets posted in a random message board?  I’ll let that sink in for sec, until you realize just how long you’ve actually spent thinking about it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Things were looking oh so good for the Colonel’s original recipe heading into the season.  I bought the whole bucket, the two sides and a giant big gulp of tea.  But Larry Sanders could very well be one of fantasy’s biggest disappointments in 2013-14, for reasons on and off the court.

Sanders signed a 4-year deal in the offseason worth a cool $44 million bucks (worth, about, a million buckets of chicken!), and the Bucks regime had big plans for their center.  GM John Hammond, while trying to keep his Jurassic Park island under control, said Sanders was the key to the team.  Hammond, you lost your keys!  Bucks are locked out… Then the season started with Sanders nearly fouling out in 12 minutes, and in three games hasn’t played more than 22 minutes, hit 2 FGs, or grabbed more than 4 boards.  I was on the buy low bandwagon faster than a short sell in Trading Places.  But after complaining about playing time, Sanders reportedly got into a bar fight Saturday night and effed up his thumb.  Stop giving him roids, Braun, we don’t need more roid rage in Milwaukee!  I wonder if he was getting hazed by Ersan Ilyasova like Richie Incognito.  “You must play better, now!” yells Ersan in a thick Turkish accident.  Hey, Ilyasova was a scratch last night too, Gus Ayonin’!  Anyway, Sanders is accused of breaking champagne bottles over peoples’ heads, and to top if off he then missed Monday’s game because his wife went into labor.  Sorry Larry Sanders Jr… I’m just sorry… Hopefully this version of The Larry Sanders Show ends anti-climatically with Sanders getting back on the court and giving fantasy owners something.  If you’ve got him, you have to be holding and hoping Sanders can settle down and have this blow over, before he’s looking back at his life and he’s Robert Swift.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So Russell Westbrook played yesterday… Ummm… What?

After hurting his knee in last year’s playoffs, then requiring a second surgery on October 1st, Westbrook was one of the biggest fantasy news stories early in preseason with an uncertain timetable.  Well that table has expired much earlier than anyone expected, and Westbrook was out there without a minutes restriction last night.  It’s like the first surgery was done in Hostel, then the next one at the X-Mansion.  Seriously, reports ranged from from early to mid-December as a target return date, but a little Adamantium in your bones goes a long way!  The good news is he’s back, but the bad (and frankly, not shocking) news is he was mighty rusty.  In nearly 33 minutes, Westbrook shot only 5-16 (0-2 3PTM 11-14 FT) for 21 points, with 4 Reb and 7 Ast and 4 TOs.  Besides shooting like Michael Chiklis, you’ll take that line any day.  Very encouraging to see Westbrook get to the line that frequently, and the minutes were indeed non-limited.  He looked pretty Westbrook-ish in highlights as well.  Even if Westbrook isn’t quite the player he was the past few seasons, all owners are looking at a steal for where they got him post-second surgery.  Here’s what else I saw over the weekend in fantasy hoops action:

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?