After opening the season with a two-game appetizer, the NBA provided us with an 11-course meal on Wednesday. No low-carb dieting here, as fantasy manna was raining down from the heavens. All you can eat, baby! There were some impressive performances, as Hassan Whiteside went 26 and 22, DeMarcus Cousins went 28 and 10 with seven blocks, while teammate Anthony Davis went 33 and 18. On a side note, the Pelicans still managed to lose by 12. Trade alert already? Of all the performances, there was one that rose above the rest. Giannis Antetokoumpo went 37 and 13 with three dimes and three pilfers. The number one fantasy pick in many leagues, G showed why and looks poised to carry teams to the Promised Land. As Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, crossed the Red Sea, and climbed Mount Sinai to raise two tablets above his head, so shall G lead fantasy owners across the barren landscape and up the mountain so that they may lift the trophy and bring glory to those that had faith in him. So it was written by Missy Elliot 0:58….to Get Ur Freak On.

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UPDATED: 10/9/2017

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:

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There are a ton of elite point guards that will be taken in the first three rounds of your draft. From Russell Westbrook to Mike Conley, there are not enough guys to go around for everybody. Okay, maybe there are, but nobody in any league I’ve ever been in was into sharing. There are even elite wings that will get you point-guard-like assists. This is mainly Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James, but can even apply to guys like Kevin Durant and Jimmy Butler.

But what happens if you’re picking in round 3 and you haven’t gotten an elite assist getter yet?

Do you panic? No.

Do you reach? Not for a point guard, but maybe for your beer (unless it’s Bud Light– if it’s Bud Light you throw that shit in the trash and re-evaluate.)

This is where you can adopt the “punt assist” strategy. This punt strategy often gets overlooked by more common punting strategies such as punting free throws, but it’s very helpful if the assist dominoes don’t fall in your favour the first few rounds. Here are some guys to target if you decide to go down the punt assist route, and how your team should shape up by the end of the draft.

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Two or three times a month, I take my kids to the local yogurt shop. It’s crazy the flavors they have these days: black forest cake, caramel macadamia, cinnamon coconut, guava grapefruit sorbet, etc. Man, when I was a kid, there was no fancy shmancy yogurt. We had ice cream. Flavors? Vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. The classics. Now, any store you go into, there will always be vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry flavors placed among the almond midnight mochas, cookies & creams, and alphonso mango tarts. Why? Although not sexy and often overlooked, they get the job done and still taste damn good. That’s how I feel about the Memphis Grizzlies. They play a boring, methodical style of basketball and don’t have star power, although Mike Conley and Marc Gasol are really good players. With that said, all they’ve done is make the playoffs for seven consecutive years.

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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.

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Before I begin, head on over to the football side and play and/or host some RCLs by clicking here. I’ve got my league up, so come get it. I have no doubt that you are a degenerate so I’m just trying to help a brother or sister out. Also, check out Jay’s rankings. Not because he’s a swell guy, but because he was the third-most accurate ranker according to FantasyPros.

Ok, now back to hoops. If you missed it, here are the links for the Top 10 and Top 25. I’ll keep the intro to this piece short and sweet because there’s a ton of players to get through.

As always, big shout-out to Slim, who provided projections and insight.

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It’s been a while since the East has boasted a better division than the West, but even when you spot a lowly East team a big lead on a West team, nothing is safe!  Russell Westbrook just went insane (I would too if the Magic were beating my playoff bound team!) in the OKC comeback charge, turning around a 21-point deficit during the second half on his way to a 57/13/11/3/0 line.  He shot 21-40 from the field with 6 treys, just willing OKC to the W after this dramatic 3 to get it into OT.

Good thing Nikola Vucevic can’t hit his FT!  Westbrook took the missed freebie board, and no Magic was gonna stop him…  Take that, Voldemort!  It’s come to pass as just the norm, but at 31.8/10.6/10.4, it looks like Westbrook is going to easily average the tripdub, something I really didn’t think we’d ever see again.  Hopefully you built your team around his deficiencies fairly well, because man he’s tough to beat if you can slaughter the right cats.  Westy is your besty!  What an unbelievable season,  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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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:

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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.

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Rusell Westbrook continued his dominating ways against the Raptors, and the Thunder steamrolled them tonight.  123-102 was the final score, and the Thunder outscored the Raps by 17 in the third quarter. OKC has moved into 6th place in the west, and there’s a decent possibility that they could lock up home court, since they’re only 3.5 games back of the 4th seeded Jazz squad.  At any rate, let’s get back to Westy.  He finished with 24/10/16/1/0, and oh yeah, he only had 2 TOs.  Plus, he hit 4-8 from deep! Did I mention that he did it in only 28 minutes?  Oklahoma City had 7 players in double digits, and they seem primed for a solid playoff push.

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