The Bird is the word this week, gentle reader. I know that Thanksgiving themes are played out, but if you’ve ever read any of my previous articles, you will know that I can’t resist the low hanging fruit. My vertical won’t really allow for anything but the lower branches anyhow. So what are you thankful for good reader? Jrue HolidayKristaps Porzingus? Donald J Trump? Whatever it is that makes you thankful, we all remind ourselves that in fantasy there is a yin and then there is a yang. (Stat)Stuffers, and Turkeys, as the title suggests. So loosen your belt, Fantasy GM, pass the gravy, and let’s take a hearty serving of both on our plates:

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Could there be anyone else in the NBA that everyone can get behind and root for than Jrue Holiday?!  At this rate, he needs to run for prez in 2020!  And just to make him even more likable, he’s now wearing rec spec goggles.  Soooooooo dope!  It’s like he’s playing ball underwater!  When he hit this stepback, I’m pretty sure I heard him say “you miss me?!” on the game broadcast, but I have a feeling it was my mind playing tricks on me…

Jrue didn’t take any time to shake off the rust, going 21/2/7/1/1 on 8-14 shooting against the Blazers Friday night (including that sexy crossover), then 22/2/9/1/0 on 9-17 shooting against the Hornets on Saturday.  14:4 AST:TO to start it off, shot over 50% both games…  Just so awesome!  I know what I’m thankful for!  And just to make things EVEN MORE awesome, he rewarded Tim Frazier owners who remained patient, by showing they can co-exist.  Bi-partisan!  12/3/8 and 17/5/8 for Frazier in those two games, plus the Pelicans won both of them.  And they weren’t against cupcakes either, winning at home against the Blazers then the Hornets.  Pass the beignets, we got a party goin on!  As a Frazier owner in a couple RCLs, I’m going to hang strong until his numbers tell me otherwise.  Unfortunately, I’m not a Jrue owner anywhere though…  Depressing!  But I don’t even care, Jrue is a boss, and if he beats me in some fantasy matchups, I will tip my cap and be rooting for him anyway.  You’re my boy, Jrue!  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy hoops:

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There are plenty of options to highlight this week, but everyone beware. Take caution. Put on your orange vests. The muuuuuuuuuuus is loooooooose!

Typically reserved for a football chant, every time the Hawks Mike Muscala hits a three, or even puts on those incredible ‘3’s Goggles‘, the Bucknell grad garners a deep cheers from the fans. Now, listen, I know more than most that the Atlanta fans aren’t the greatest in the world, but when you lose Al Horford and replace some of his minutes with Mike effing Muscala you gotta pull out all the energy you can! And then he goes and actually produces in his 20+ mpg. Unheard of!

13.7/5.0/3.0 on 61.5% shooting with nearly 2 3’s per game is essentially a poor man’s Horford. And that’s exactly what ol’ Mike has done the past week (don’t worry about those boards…that’s the Dwight Howard effect). I, mean, goodness…I wanna be like Mike. Maybe that’s just because I’m white, but for real, there’s a lot of value here.

And he’s not the only one…Here are the 7 Ahead for Week 5!

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With how the Poppycockers put together their “Super Team”, I admittedly had some worries that the bunch of Tom Cruise-divas they threw out there might make The Poison Goose a mere co-pilot.  But not with moxie like this!

Dude doing that at 7’3!!!!!  SEVEN THREE!!!  Monster game from Kristaps Porzingis last night, going a career-high 35/7/3/1/1 with 3 treys on 13-22 shooting.  He played 40 minutes, and put the Poppies on his back.  While I was a little apprehensive of his USG, I still think my rank of 23 ended up being ahead of the curve (I would confirm this, but FantasyPros is being a little ish and not making it easy to find draft day expert consensus!).  Alas, I was unable to get the Goose in any leagues, and I’m suffering some major poultry withdrawal.  Thankfully Thanksgiving is right around the corner!  He’s taken 15+ shots the past 7 games, attempting 2 more treys a game than last year, and the TO rate has gone from 1.7 his rookie year to 1.3.  His ridiculous 7’3 size makes him too tough for stretch-4s to cover him, and his ridiculous speed and ball-handling makes him too tough for centers.  He’s becoming a true matchup nightmare with the added iso moves, and is – I’m going there – a no question first-rounder next year.  Slim having him on his REL team has me depressingly reaching for the Grey Goose!  Here’s what else went down in fantasy hoops action last night:

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As I try to do in my opens, I pull in some real-life news or experience to try and humanize the open. No one wants robot reporting! Just ask Mark Cuban. And that whole situation seems like such a cop out, “I’m going to ban reporters, and the reason why is that I want more human reporting!” Something else is going on there…

Anywho, for this open, I actually have relevant life experience! As previously mentioned regarding Derrick Favors, I too have suffered from IT Band Syndrome. It’s an inflammation of a thin band of nerves that connect from your hip bone on the outside of your leg, past your knee, and connected to your lower leg. Sometimes it can manifest itself in a mad sore hip, but usually it impacts the outside of your knee. When it flares up, it feels like a bone-on-bone “catching” on the outer part of your knee, like you have some horrific scar tissue from a torn meniscus (something I’ve also had). The real annoyance of the injury is you can feel awesome for a few days, then it flares up out of nowhere. You’re just walking normal, and all the sudden that “catch” makes your knee feel like you re-tore something. It’s pretty friggin’ frustrating.

So when I heard Favors was starting last night despite a flare up of knee soreness again on Saturday, I wasn’t the most surprised. I bet it felt great in warm-ups! Then at some point, I’m guessing he felt that same nerve irritation, and he ended up leaving early. I know his frustration. As a nerve thing, this isn’t really a consistent pain-tolerance thing, or a sprain to play through. It feels fine, then a sudden flare up makes your knee feel unstable. I didn’t watch any of this game, but he apparently didn’t look right, and went only 6/2/0/2/0 in 21 minutes. As I mentioned on the Pod, I nabbed some shares of Trey Lyles on Sunday given Favors’ knee issues and knowing this could be a long-term thing, getting rewarded with an 18/5/2/2/0 line with a trey. A trey from Trey! With leaving games early a persistent issue now, I wouldn’t be surprised if Favors gets treatment for a few weeks, and I would take the flier on Lyles where I could. It took me about two months of rehab and a session of dry needling to stimulate the nerves to finally shake my IT issues. Don’t watch if you don’t like needles! Here’s what else happened in fantasy hoops action last night:

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All eyes were on the NBA on Tuesday night. Just messing. I’m sure most people were following along to see who would come out on top in the Presidential race. In the end, Donald Trump won.

Whatever your political affiliations, it’ll be different with the Donald in office. Barack Obama is a huge sports fan and loves basketball. It’ll probably be a while until we see another President filling out a bracket during March Madness, playing a game of H-O-R-S-E with Clark Kellogg, or clowning the Warriors when they were in town to celebrate their championship.

If nothing else, let’s be happy it’s over. It’s been a long and drawn out process. Now we can focus on things that really matter…like recapping Tuesday night’s games:

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As I steadily stood fast next to Stephen Curry as my #1 player, I was reminded of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog Friday night. With all that Lakers yellow and Curry missing all his treys, I was like “somehow that song Yellow, makes me want to pee! I think because when it’s over, it’s a big relief to me!”

This is why you don’t panic on shooters, even if they’re the most elite players in the land. Unlike your big man studs, they’re going to have more peaks and valleys. We didn’t really see much of that inconsistency last year, but we got about the most epic cold-then-hot consecutive games we’ve ever seen. After snapping his 3PTM streak at 157 games going 0-10 Friday, Curry comes out and BREAKS THE NBA RECORD FOR 3s LAST NIGHT! WTF IS THAT?!

46/5/5/2/0 on 16-26 shooting, including 13-17 from downtown. Crazy talk. Dudes in the 3-point contest don’t even shoot that well! And it’s almost kinda sad that the Warriors NEEDED that kind of output, only beating the lowly – now 0-7 – Pelicans by 10. Curry is suddenly at 47.7% from the field with 4.6 treys a game: my argument for him #1 – FG% mixed with league-best 3s. While the rest of his numbers are down a tiny bit, the last 3 games he’s at 7.7 AST and 2.0 STL. So those are coming around as well. I only had one RCL with a top-7 pick, thankfully in the Slim vs. JB League, where I was able to nab him #2 and I’m still thrilled about it. This game was a big relief to me too! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball:

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Man, what a World Series!  The Cubs win Game 7 – in extra innings no less – to end their century plus drought and have their fans become insufferable, like the Red Sox.  Ugh.  But congrats to the Cubs, and now we can solely focus on basketball!!!  …until the football playoffs take over 45 minutes of every hour of Sportscenter…

Anywho, if it’s not my Brewers in the World Series, I could care less, and I was paying more attention to hoops last night anyway.  Very depressing night, but I wanted to start positive!  After singing his praises on the Pod Tuesday morning, T.J. Warren had a little bit of a down game on Halloween night, but bounced right back to lead the Suns to their first W in OT.  11-22 FG, love dat FG%, 5-5 FT, ditto, 27/7/0/2/1 with no TO.  Dem fighting numbers!  That gives him a 22.4/6.2/0.8/1.8/0.4 line on the season, shooting 50.6% from the field on 17.8 shots, 86.4% from the stripe in 4.4 FTA, and averaging only 1.0 TO.  This is turning into a fantasy MVP!  Of course, of course, of course it’s early, but Devin Booker was back after sitting one game, both Eric Bledsoe (hit the game winner) and Brandon Knight got their run, and I don’t really see any reason this can’t sustain.  The Pts probably come down a tad, but he doesn’t shoot 3s so the FG% should be huge, and he doesn’t really facilitate much which will keep his TO mad low.  On the Pod I compared him to DeRozan – with maybe even better FG% – and look at these floaters in traffic that are DeRozan-esque:

I’m very actively trying to correct the great injustice – with all my TJ love, I don’t own him on any teams.  Hopefully owners think this is a flash in the pan or a sell-high moment.  I don’t.  So be like Warren, take a trip to Dr. James Andrews, and get yourself a nice year-long TJ!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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In what became a weekly manifesto for fantasy basketball, our cap’n, my cap’n, JB Gilpin, decided to hand over the reins to his precious afterthoughts from last season. No, literally. This series was the actual afterthoughts to his daily thoughts that happened every weekend. Well, JB…after thought no more, because this is all I got!

When JB asked me to take over the 7 Ahead, I was most likely still drunk on the booze of an incredible 2015-2016 NBA Regular Season and Playoffs, not thinking about what it actually meant. The more my withdrawals kicked in and I couldn’t wait for the start of the new season to finally effing get here, though, the more I realized how great this article is. If you’ve read me on the football or baseball sides of all things Razz, you may have read my definition of wisdom before. If so, you’re welcome…here it is again: Wisdom is looking to the past to know what’s going to happen in the future before it happens. It’s telling the future. It’s planning on what could happen. It’s everything that is the essence of the 7 Ahead.

Each weekend we’ll be looking forward towards the fantasy basketball horizon of the next seven days. For those of you in weekly leagues, this series may be especially helpful, as I’ll highlight the teams with the most beneficial schedule for your matchups, and which particular players from hose teams may be available for your streaming pleasures. Also, we’ll discuss the game slate for each day over the next seven days, and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be asking some questions and want your responses. This is a dialogue, kids. No monologues here. Those stayed in the past with JB’s novellas that he called this series. And by the way, what in the balls is a ‘bottom dollar’? Does Dame Dolla own a lot of those? Anywho…here’s the first installment of the 2016-2017 7 Ahead.

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What an incredible NBA Opener for big men! Maybe the Sixers aren’t as crazy after all…? But the bigs across the league went absolute ham; they were big hams! It’s why in Supermarket Sweep the people would always go for the hams first. Why did they never go to the wine section?! Just nab the best ish there and start a party!

Myles and JV go for 30, Embiid has an epic debut, but it was Anthony Davis who takes home the best line of the openers thus far, going an absurd 50/16/5/7/4! I mean, it could literally be the best line of the season… Double rainbow, 7 steals?!, shot 17-34, and hit 16-17 FT. After taking a little flack keeping him #1 last year, Brow started the 15-16 season going 18/6/2/0/3 shooting 4-20 (420!) and 10-15 FT. Dude, apparently the Pelicans medical staff – in all of their immense glory and wisdom – should’ve taken a hammer to his ankle before last season! Hard to believe a mere 1.5 weeks ago his status for the opener was in question off a kankle, but we’re seeing the ups and downs of what it’ll be like to be a Brow owner. Especially the dread of seeing him play 41 minutes in a loss… I nabbed him in one league, and might try some preposterous sell highs. But the allure of lines like that are tough to ignore. We just all know we’re one horrific Pels medical staff decision away from this happening to him walking out of the training room. Here’s what else happened on our first major slate of NBA games of the 2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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