Flashy player.  Ridiculous opportunity.  Buzzy preseason.  A lot of times it ends up fizzling out, sometimes it works out OK, and one time it’s C.J. McCollum.

C.J. went absolutely bonkers in his 15-16 debut, hitting 14-22 from the field including 6-9 3PTM for 37/6/1/1/0 and no TO.  Video game numbers!  So he’s a shooter, and he does what NBA shooters do – keeps draining em when they hot!  But I think we need to take a step back and consider a few things:  Other than massive Pts and treys it was fairly empty.  This was against the Pelicans, who without Brow, might look worse than the Sixers; they look horrific.  And the third thing that no one seemed to mention while anointing McCollum the next big thing in combo guards this preseason – he’s got a pretty extensive injury history.  He’s at the pinnacle of a sell high for me.  Do I think he’ll be hot garbage all the sudden?  Of course not.  But do I think he scores 37 again this year?  I don’t.  Well, unless they faced the Pelicans every night…  I’d shop around in the 40-50 range of ADP and see if you can get lucky.  As with all fantasy takeaways off one game, it’s always good to keep from overreacting.  Compared to fantasy football, we’re at the same point as about 9 minutes into the first quarter of week 1.  Still a long way to go.  Here’s what else went down during the first full slate of fantasy basketball action:

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rcl-basketball-logoThe regular season approaches — fewer than three weeks before our lives finally have meaning again! My RCL had a draft last weekend, and I wanted to share the results with all of you wonderful readers as a fascinating case study and (perhaps) cautionary tale! This was an excellent draft– I think all managers were drafting live, making some ballsy and brilliant picks. I’ve included a grade and a few words on each of their teams after my pick-by-pick blow-by-blow. Off we go!

[editor’s note – we still have leagues open to join the RCL fun, plus we need more leagues!  Hop over to the RCL sign-ups and start a league today!]

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Yeah. It goes like this right here. It’s the return of the writings of Slim! That reminds of an Outkast song, and that song reminds me of 1998. If you don’t remember it was the year we learned there was yet another way to be disgusted by a cigar. That near, far, wherever you are you probably found yourself at some point rooting for the most unlikeliest of protagonists, Billy Zane. And of course it was the year the ‘Blue Screen of Death‘ truly became a meme, long before anyone knew what a meme was.

Gangstaaaaa… It’s the return… turn…

In the NBA draft that year there were 3 guys drafted that are still playing and should one day be in the Hall of Fame. I’ll give you a hint, the top 3 draft picks were Michael Olowokandi, Mike Bibby, and Raef LaFrentz, and if you were playing fantasy basketball back then you might have gone all-in on one of them. Give up? They are Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, and Paul Pierce. Pick number 5, 9, and 10 respectively. That’s not to say great players aren’t drafted 1st, but the only thing guaranteed when you are first overall is a whole boat load of money. Something about the use of the word ‘only’ there doesn’t quite feel right.

Return… Ganstuhuhuh… It’s the re…

It seems so easy to see when you’re talking time traveling, something mind unraveling. Get Down. It’s a whole lot harder to do here and now using some funky combination of math, logic, illogical fandom, a random number generator, and of course the occasional dart throw. For some reason though, after about an hour on 350 (or about 176c) it develops a creamy caramel colored crust. Once it cools, just cut it up and consume. So here’s you’re 1st taste. Slim’s, I can’t believe I’m writing this in 3rd person, RCL playoff schedule post.

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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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rcl-basketball-logoThe NBA fantasy draft season is upon us! With plenty of terrible early projections going on, early drafts are always fun.  This is basically going to be a recap of my first RCL draft of the season, with a little of bit of sleeper info thrown in for good measure.  I really love the team I got in this league, even though I was sniped on a few picks.  Just FYI I’ll be setting up another RCL league in about a week or so – to draft in October – so I hope some more of you guys join me!  By then Yahoo’s rankings should be much closer to the ballpark of reason… At any rate, let’s dive in!

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Hey Razzball nation! We’re getting towards the end of the sleeper stream, so I hope you’ve enjoyed so far!  There probably will only be one more sleeper article from me after this one, so look out for that next week.  My first RCL league draft is coming up on Saturday, so I figured I would just help everyone out and post some of the obvious early ranking screw-ups in Yahoo’s NBA projections.  With no prep you can get screwed over by these ranking problems, but with a little knowledge you can abuse their rankings harder than DeAndre Jordan posterizing Brandon Knight!  At any rate, lets dive in!

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Ah, the almost-studlies.  The “still can’t quite miss, but you can start reaching round.”  …Almost sounds like I said reach around…

This is where the sommeliers really can knock their drafts out of the park – it’s all about the pairings.  You don’t serve red wine with fish, you cro-magnon!  But what’s great about fantasy hoops as opposed to a pretentious French restaurant is there’s very few pairings that can go wrong.  I mean your first rounder is awesome and your second rounder awesome with it!  I know a lot of people like the FT punt builds, but really the only pairing I can’t see doing is going big-big.  There’s a ton of FT-punt bigs littered through the first 4-5 rounds, so I think you can still punt, but start with a LeBron James/Draymond Green pair, then PG/C in 3/4.  I’m sure Slim and I will work on more culinary pairings as we go through the ranks and do some mocks on the Podcast, as we attempt to put together the best fine dining experience…  I just wanna avoid the friggin’ snails!  Here’s the Top 20 for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season.

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Yikes, after the top 10 things become a hodgepodge of nitpickery!  I think I made that word up, but I’m not going to let my creativity wane during the offseason!

After putting out my Way Too Early Top 10 last week, I fought some procrastination and internal debates to get 11-20 down.  Fought some ranker’s block!  It’s like writer’s block, except I’m a lot less cool than Hank Moody in Californication.  Ranker’s block doesn’t score me the Hollywood A-listers!  But with a bottle of booze and in a plain black T, I truck forward thanks to the insistence of Runkle.  Here’s my Way Too Early Top 20 for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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How did the Celtics make the playoffs?!  I mean, I know it’s the East, but sheesh Brad Stevens can grind my gears!  I feel like slamming him in my Peter Griffin voice!

And sinking the game-winner for the Quahog Celtics was Jae Crowder, the unlikely hero in only 21 minutes off the bench.  9/4/0/2/0 last night, and if only style points helped your fantasy line!  Hah, look at Tyler Hansbrough put his hands on his head…  Wasn’t bad defense though!  Boston Clam Crowder just going ham…  Can you have ham in clam chowdah?  I somehow doubt it…  This game as a whole was pretty boring for fantasy, with no one scoring over 16 Pts.  And Stevens said he’s going to run the C’s like a bad chowder – thin – tonight in the season finale with the #7 seed locked up.  So adios Celtics muchachos!  Unlike my hummin’ fantasy baseball pitching staffs – it’s time to move away from the Greene.  Here’s what else happened last night in fantasy basketball action:

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Fresh off surviving the 2014-15 Razzies with his nomination for worst coach, Brad Stevens only kinda-sorta did something right last night…  Yo Brad, how about you have Marcus Smart take some other shots than 3s (1-5 FG with 1-4 3PTM last night)?!

But despite the Celtics’ horrific mismanaging of Smart, Stevens did run Isaiah Thomas a whopping one-more-minute than Smart, and IT2/3 went nuts for 34/3/6 on 10-17 FG (4-8 3PTM 10-11 FT).  In a 10-point win, you don’t run IT2/3 over 30 minutes with a +35?!  Only got to 29:47 last night, but you’ll take it when he’s at at least 23 Pts, 2 treys and 4 3PTM the past three games.  Those are the floors!  Other than the %s (he is shooting a ton more though), IT2/3 has really improved since changing into green, and I think that slow start in Phoenix might make him a value next year.  IT2/3, the Hoppin’ Leprechaun!  That might have to be his full official Razzball nickname…  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?