Happy 2017, Razzball Nation!

After immense pressure from the DA’s office to flip on Tommy DeVito and Paulie Cicero, [redacted] needed protection to secure his testimony in putting those good fellas away. It didn’t start on the best foot either, as the WitSec guys asked [redacted] if he had any distinguishing marks and he lied about his tattoos… But the man formerly known as [redacted] changed his name to the very inconspicuous James Johnson, and moved his family to Miami. After being a humbling under-the-radar role player, Johnson was supposed to continue as merely a minutes-filler, amongst an uninteresting mix of PF to get through the tough void of losing Chris Bosh. He’s supposed to just shy away from dunk attempts and stand around on offense…

Well, way to ruin that, Johnson! We can’t protect you no more! An absolute monster weekend from Johnson, going 22/3/6/2/2 against the Celtics on Friday night with 4 treys, then followed it up with 20/7/3/1/1 against the Pistons. After a rough stretch of FT last week, he made 6-7 in these games too. With the added onus on O (no Goran Dragic or Justise Winslow OR Hassan Whiteside last night), he is turning it over a little too much (8 total in these two games), but with all the injuries and a void in playmaking on the Heat right now, Johnson is as erect as ever. He’s playing SF, PF, and even some C right now, so while we shouldn’t expect the 34 minutes like he got against the Pistons, he should be pretty solidified in his 25ish MPG role even when everyone is healthy. He’s gotta be a must-own in all leagues while this hot, as he has brazenly blown his cover. Hopefully no one recognizes him as [redacted]! Here’s what else went down over New Year’s weekend in fantasy basketball action:

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It’s Uncle Drew’s world and we’re just living in it! Kyrie Irving remains on fire after his big outing on Christmas. 32 points and 12 assists on only 17 shots. That kind of efficiency will keep the Cavs ahead of the pack, when it comes to championship odds. The Cavaliers managed to edge the Celtics 124 – 118 on the first game of the TNT double header. Lebron James also had a big line with 23/8/11/1/3, while Kevin Love put up 30 and 15 boards as well. The big 3 clearly are meshing well, and Cleveland is certainly the team to beat.

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For richer for poorer, in SICKNESS and in health. Yeah, you gotta play through injuries, Josh Richardson! Part of the NBA grind! Attributing his shooting woes to a wrist injury (and hey, I’m not here saying he’s wrong or the wrist isn’t the issue!), J-Rich went into last night shooting an abyssal 26.4% from the field over the previous 5 games, and went so far as to saying he has a sharp pain in his wrist when he shoots right before last night. Well, apparently the Heat have some good painkillers, because ish wasn’t bothering him at all yesterday! Went for a career-best 22 points on 9-16 shooting (2-6 3PTM 2-2 FT) for 22/5/3/1/0 with no TO in 37 minutes.

Looks good to me! But yeah, BANK! Does that one still count…? Maybe more importantly though, kept gutting it out even after the Heat were getting slaughtered, unlike someeeeeeeeeeone (who we’ll get to below). I always liked J-Rich’s multi-cat ability, but argued with Slim about his FG/3PTM %s, not seeing a repeat of 45.2%/46.1% that we saw last year. Yeah, throw that out the window! But I don’t think he’s as bad as 38.6%/31%, and if the wrist thing was “that” bad, the lowly Heat would just shut him down. In one of his interviews on the ailing wrist, he did say “no excuses”; as I feel like I’ve seen a thousand times with lingering “smaller” injuries, it seems like the night is always darkest before the dawn when things turn around like this. I do wish we were seeing more steals (maybe the wrist is keeping him from playing more aggressive on D?) as his per-36 D-stats have fallen WAYYYY down from last year, but he’s on an awful team that is playing him big minutes, so I would be adding him again in 12ers. Let’s get the backed of our rosters J-Rich, bitch! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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…and by that, I mean they finally got Chandler Parsons into his stockings and ready to friggin’ play an NBA game again! And stockings is very apt, have you seen his leggings these days?! Looks like an elf! Well, of course you haven’t seen him “these days”, he’s barely played at all! Stupid knees… I tried Googling an image of “Chandler Parsons legs”, but that just got my safe search in all sorts of trouble… Knees; who needs em?! At least he’s not as bad an investment as Ian Mahinmi is looking to be on the Wizards… Awwww, boo, too soon! I’m a little frustrated with knee injuries these days, OK?!

After barely playing 100 total minutes through his first 6 games due to offseason knee operations, Parsons got back on the court last night after over another month off due to a knee bruise to the other knee. My silver lining was always that it gave the surgically repaired knee another stretch to recover, so hopefully after another round of easing-in, we can finally see if he’s going to be that fantasy stalwart I expected on this Grizzlies team. Of course, it doesn’t help his “easing-in” timetable that the Grizzlies are somehow 19-12 despite all their injuries, but ya know! Got 15 minutes off the bench for a paltry 2/2/2/0/0 line, but this was always going to take a minute. So hike up your stockings, activate him off your IL, and if he’s somehow available add him immediately, because 2017 is a new year and right around the corner. Either way, I’ll still find myself Googling Parsons all the time! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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Peter here, back from a work trip in Jamaica. JB was right when I needed to escape the cold of the Wizards losing season. Maybe they will bring back JaVale McGee and Javaris Crittenton!?!? One can only hope.

Fortunately, the Wizards were off on Tuesday so that meant I got to watch actually good teams, including an overtime game in Phoenix. Here’s your Tuesday recap:

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Man, hell of a weekend!  Injuries, DNPs, I got a credit card hacked, went to a wedding, saw the sorry Panthers beat Jay’s sorrier Chargers… Out of control out there!  Thankfully we’re nearing Christmas, time to see some family, gets some time off work, and hopefully get our fantasy teams healthy…  But noooooooooooooo!  The fantasy gods gave us a bah humbug last night, with Nerlens Noel finally debuting off knee surgery, only to go down with a kankle.  He was looking pretty good too, especially with a little dunk on his first basket!

The hair on the other hand…  I dunno…  Shot 3-5 FG, hit his 2 FT, for 8 points and a steal in his first 10 minutes of the season.  Sucks it ended prematurely with another injury, and especially on the Sixers, who are treating everyone with kid’s gloves and have too many centers anyway.  Also sucks we don’t have any idea what his role will be, as Joel Embiid sat this one out to further maintain his EMBIIIIIID minutes.  As long as it’s under 4 hours, we’re good!  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in Fantasy Basketball action:

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Apr 5, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz guard Shelvin Mack (8) dribbles the ball during the first quarter against the San Antonio Spurs at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Nothing of huge note happened tonight, so I figured the return of Shelvin Mack to relevance would make a decent headline.  Surprisingly, the Jazz made it a game against the Warriors with Gordon Hayward, George Hill, Rodney Hood, and Derrick Favors all out of the lineup.  Mack definitely did his part, and put up a solid 19 points in 36 minutes.  If he would lay off some of the treys (1-8 from deep), he could even be an efficient scorer.

At any rate, let’s see what happened last night!  Oh, the TNT double header was moved to 7 and 9:30 pm EST, so I’m thrilled about that.  No idea why that happened – maybe someone in the comments can enlighten me on that one…

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If you love your ThrAGNOFs (who doesn’t love their 3PT shooters when they get mad hot!), then last night was a Monday for you! I imagine ThrAGNOF-lovers were like Al Pacino watching the NBA last night:

Even the ultimate ThrAGNOF (well he’s must-own, so like, ThrAGNOF on steroids) Klay Thompson fit the bill! Went nuts against the Pacers for a career-high 60 points in only 29 minutes. C’mon Kerr, let him go all 48 and chase Wilt! It was the most points scored in under 30 minutes in NBA history, and a much better movie than 30 Minutes or Less. Shot 21-33 for a 60/2/1/0/0 line with 8 treys. Doesn’t get ultimate ThrAGNOF any better than that!

Yay Klay, yay Klay! Steph has a new calling after his NBA career – Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. How did that not distract him?! Great game from Klay, and this what you get from him. Scoring outbursts, and not a whole lot else. So be happy you’re likely winning Pts and 3s this week, especially if you own some of the other big ThrAGNOF games last night! Here’s who else was notable in Fantasy Basketball on Monday Funday:

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Twas a star studded evening

And all through the league

Not a player was stirring…

Because it was time to play defense and nobody #%*%#%@ wanted to!

Yeah, I’m looking at you Cavs, Rockets, Warriors, and J.R. Smith.

Anyway…. Outside of that cheesiness, it was a fairly interesting Thursday evening, but many of the games were just irksome.  It’s ironic that the Utah/Miami game deserved to be on TNT over the Cavs and Clippers.  I don’t think anyone would’ve guessed an LA blowout win after that 70 point dud in Indy, but that’s pro sports for ya!  At any rate, let’s get into it!  At this point, I’m not sure if I’ll cover the whole Rockets – Warriors game, but I can already tell you that the winner scored over 120, and it was a race to see who could jack up more 3s.  It’s entertaining, but it isn’t basketball, in my humble opinion.

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(Photo: The Ringer)

I remember last summer hearing Zach Lowe of ESPN talk about Dion Waiters like he was the missing ingredient in making a delectable dish, like the blueberries needed in blueberry cobbler. Ok, not the blueberry, but making the baking powder? ‘Waiters Island’ was the term, and he was fully on board.

I thought he was crazy. And I love what Zach Lowe does.

Fast forward to the 2016-2017 season and Waiters was essentially an afterthought as he joined his new team in South Beach. I won’t say that he took his talents there, like the rest of the world has at some point, but let’s not forget that this guy was the 4th overall pick in the NBA Draft; dude can hoop. His ‘hero ball’ mentality and lack of interest in playing defense, you know, half of the entire game, makes him hard to watch sometimes, and is a large reason why he’s now on his third team in six years. That’s a rare feat for a #4 pick that’s averaging 12.9/2.6/2.5 for his career. We’re not talking Chris Paul here, but we’re also not talking Marcus Fizer. Yet he seems to be settling in nicely for the Miami Rileys.

And now he gets four games this week…but let’s be clear, with the way he’s playing he deserves more than just a streamer nod. This dude should be owned at a much higher rate than 34%. GO GET HIM!

Here are the 7 Ahead for Week 6!

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