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:
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.
Let me start by saying this: do not go into a draft planning on building a punt FT (or punt anything for that matter) team. Never. Don’t. You aren’t being smarter than everybody else. You’re playing yourself. Unless you’re a late draft pick in a 36-team league, it’s probably not gonna work for you.
Also, never decide to build a punt FT team just because a punt FT guy falls a bit. I made this mistake last year and took Drummond in one of my leagues, after having Davis and Porzingis already on my roster. My thought process was, “I can definitely make some trades to make this work.” I did get Gobert, which helped, but throwing away a category to get better at stats your fantasy team already generates is, not only inefficient, it’s frustrating.
On top of this, do not draft guys when building a punt FT team just because they’re bad at free throws. I can not stress this enough. The point of drafting is to build a team that can win as many categories for you as possible, not to see how bad you can lose one. It’s comical how often people (myself included) try to see how bad they can get their FT percentage, thinking that they’re outplaying everyone else. You guys think this article is for you, it’s actually for me. I’m just trying to hold myself accountable when I’m drafting.
So when do you build a punt FT team? The simple answer is: when it helps you. What I’m hoping this article does is give you some scenarios when building a punt FT team makes sense. If you’re stubborn and are gonna go ahead and build one anyway, I’ll also give some advice on how to round out your team.
Wait, I forgot the most important piece of information you’ll see in this article. How the hell are there NBA players shooting less than 50% from the FT line? Seriously. I can’t wrap my head around it. That’s like an illiterate writer. That’s like a runner that can’t walk. That’s like the restaurant I used to work at who’s name was Burger’s etc. and stopped selling burgers. So many confused customers, just like there must be so many confused NBA fans.
The Toronto Raptors are #good. They won 51 games last season and 56 games the prior year. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are bonafide stars. Yet….they seem to always get overlooked. Or is it just me? Maybe it’s because they are based in Canada. Maybe it’s because they have a #WeTheNorth slogan. Probably both. Regardless, one of their stars missed over a month of action and their identity changed mid-season, but they still were able to finish tied for second in the Eastern Conference and make it to the Eastern Conference Finals.
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.
Playoff basketball – yes spelled “basketball” – is underway, got some great games to kick it off, including from our boy PBev! While I’m coming around and trying to watch more playoff hoops (baseball is still fresh and new, sue me!), I’m still more excited for the hopes and dreams of 2017-18 fantasy titles.
In case you’re still catching up, here’s my Way Too Early Top 10 ranks, which hopefully mostly hold up (they mostly come out at night…) for the 2017-18 season. Of course my boldest call of Rudy #10 gets greeted by a first quarter knee injury in game 1 of the playoffs, hooray! C’mon Rudy, just stay healthy, no one in fantasy cares how you play in the playoffs! Hah! So let’s all hope none of these guys in my 11-25 get injuries their next postseason game… Here’s my Way Too Early Top 25 for the 2017-18 Fantasy Basketball Season:
As I begin to write this recap, the Portland – Poppycock game has yet to begin, but frankly, NBA basketball was quite bad tonight/tomorrow… The March Madness games were fantastic, but most of the NBA teams have either locked up their spots, or cashed it in for the season. Given that, I’ll point out that DeMar DeRozan had 40 tonight, but the game wasn’t particularly great, and the Raptors won 101-84. That being said, let’s dive into the mediocre slate:
The Bulls came into Toronto having beat the Raptors in 11 straight games. It took overtime, but the Raptors snapped the losing streak behind DeMar DeRozan’s 42 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds. Double D shot 17-38 and helped erase a 16-point deficit in the 4th quarter to secure the win.
DeRozan battled all game against Jimmy Butler, who also went off for 37/10/6. Despite these two all-stars’ phenomenal performances, the game was overshadowed by the fight between Serge Ibaka (16 and 6) and Robin Lopez (12 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 blocks):
Usually Lopez only fights mascots, but took exception to Ibaka’s shove in the back. Fortunately the guys were separated rather quickly, but the league will obviously review the fight and make a decision later on whether either player will be suspended any games. Personally, I’d expect both guys to miss at least one game, but hopefully it’s just a fine and they return for their teams’ next game.
I hate Daylight Savings Time. I mean, I’m really not a fan. However, my love for this archaic nuance of our calendar shifted during seasons of my life. Growing up through college and early married years? Loved Fall Back and loathed Spring Forward. Now? Well, my three little kids that run on a body clock and not a real one don’t care that you just gained an hour. Wake the eff up and play with me! Don’t worry…I say that to my wife sometimes in the mornings, just with less aggressive language. It’s much more enticing. And you don’t care.
So, my point is…now that Spring Forward is here the responsible professional in me is still loathing losing an hour of sleep. But the parent in me…haha, oh the parent. They sleep an extra hour now?!? Done. Give me this thing all day long. I look forward to ‘losing an hour.’
And now that I’m ~200 words in to something that no one cares about, let’s just call that a test to see if you’re with me. Many have dropped out to this point, and only the truly great still remain. It’s officially playoff time in fantasy basketball (at least for the RCL’s), so we trim the fat and only discuss that which matters. As a result, this week is a little thinner in depth. So, let’s Spring Forward not just into a warmer season (and baseball!), but into the playoffs!
How could you be so Dr. Evil? You’re bringing out of a side of that I don’t know. Maybe this was the beginning of the end for legit Kanye, when we started to see the side of him that we (he) didn’t know? Sorry Yeezy fans, but his last great album was Graduation. But maybe that’s what we all need to do…graduate. Onto better seasons. Onto changes perceptions. Onto the playoffs.
As we move into (or closer to) the playoff part of the season, strategies change. For your squad, perhaps you’ve sat middling in the standings when it comes to certain categories. What if you punted 3 cats for the sake of bolstering the other 6? In a head-to-head format that’s all you need (me personally, I’m not the biggest proponent of this move). Or, if it’s not a roster building strategy, perhaps what changes is just the way you assess the value of certain players. At this point in the season injuries, losses and trades have adjusted the mindset of so many teams that a few names seemingly so awful just a month ago may now be the key to your playoff push. Can you change your mind on them before the others in your league? Can you find their value in spite of their potential pitfalls?
When they have 5 games in a week where basically everyone else has 4…yep. (Pour one out for all the Russy owners. Worst possible timing for a short week. Good luck to ya!)