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One of the reasons I prefer fantasy basketball to fantasy football is that in basketball it is much less likely to have your entire season derailed by an injury. That being said, opening night of the 2017-18 NBA season twisted my world view right along with Gordon Hayward’s ankle. Ouch!

It is when these things happen that I am reminded of two famous quotes: “Knowledge is power,” which I saw on a bumper sticker, and “Chaos is a ladder,” words spoken by the scheming Littlefinger in Season 1 of Game of Thrones. An injury can open the door for this year’s waiver wire MVP or at least offer a younger player an opportunity to get more minutes and become fantasy relevant. In order to take advantage you must not only act quickly, but you need to know which players will benefit the most, and that my friend is not easy.

So without further ado, here are the major injuries lingering around the NBA, some suggestions for which replacements to target, and whether you should stash, drop, or use an I.R. spot (if your league allows it):

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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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Marcin Gortat tops my players to avoid list for 2017/18

It’s feeling fresh outside, winter is fast coming, and so is the basketball season. Just 80 hours away from tip off, at time of writing, and boy has it become an exciting time in my sporting life (well viewing anyways) with my Astros 2-0 in the ALCS and the imminent start of the hoops season. Oh, did I mention that I have a nice 16-day autumn break holiday starting too?

I am sure you guys, Razzball Nation, are just as anxious for the start of the season and, in preperations for your final drafts, I thought I would share my list of players I won’t be buying any shares of due to their ADP. So let’s get jiggy with it and get the ball rolling with my Do-Not-Draft list.

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Change is a part of life. Smoking is no longer allowed on airplanes. As an ex-smoker that took multiple trips to Asia, it boggles my mind that we were allowed to puff in the back of the airplane. GOOD CHANGE. Turning the channel when watching a game due to boredom, then missing the play that blows up Twitter. BAD CHANGE. The Texas Blind Salamander. A creature that had its eyes reduced to two black spots over time. WHEN SITUATION FORCES CHANGE. Before I continue, the Texas Blind Salamander truly fascinates me. It had eyes. So, a male and female salamander fell into a cave together one day millions of years ago? They obviously had sex and made baby salamanders. I gotta imagine that they all tried to find their way back up, but just continued having sex and figuring out ways to survive. Over time, evolution just said, F it. No need for those things anymore. Welcome to your New World Order. I salute you Texas Blind Salamander. Why am I talking about change in Pacers preview? Well, for starters, the state voted for Obama back in 2008. CHANGE. Then, eight years later, the state went back to its Republican roots and backed Trump. CHANGE. Alright, let me back off the politics before I get told to “go back to my country,” even though I was born here. Before the 2016 season, Larry Bird replaced Frank Vogel with Nate McMillan at head coach. After the season, Larry Bird stepped down. Then, Paul George, their best player was traded. Lot of change went down for the Pacers last season.

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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.

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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:

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In a battle for real life playoff implications, Hassan Whiteside tipped in Goran Dragic’s missed putback to give the Heat a 97-96 win:

It was just the tip, but sometimes that’s all you need, as the Heat went up a game on the Bulls and 2.5 games ahead of the Pistons for the final playoff spot in the east. Whiteside finished with 17 points and 9 rebounds, while Dragic added 28/4/4 on 9-16 shooting.

Oddly enough, it was the Heat’s first game-winning buzzer-beater since 2013, when a little known player by the name of LeBron James beat the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

With the playoffs in full swing, every game matters, so here are the rest of your nightly notables:

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So this is going to be the lamest open ever, but I sustained a blogging injury!  Wife wanted me to make this crockpot chicken marsala recipe, which as you guessed, calls for marsala wine.  She buys this cheap bottle at the grocery store, and it’s such a shitty product, the lid of the bottle won’t separate from that little connector part at the bottom.  Obviously I’m a straight MacGyver with these things, so my first thought is to get a small kitchen knife to try and pry the main part of the bottle top off.  I even said to myself, “this is probably going to end badly…”  And aha!  The knife shoots into my finger and I bleed everywhere like a moron.  But the good news is a pair of pliers finally got the job done!  Little bitch, you bottle of chicken marsala wine, you…

And you probably felt the same way as me hovering over a cheap bottle of wine with a knife if you started Nikola Mirotic last night.  “I think I’ve made a huge mistake!”  However, with Robin Lopez suspended and Cristiano Felicio out with a sore back-io, the Bulls were down a few on their front line (mainly calling for Bobby Portis to play C), so Miro was sure to get some run even if he was playing like a zero (no Gilbert Arenas – 0 is the number of guns you should have in your locker!).  But eureka!

28/5/2/3/1 for Miro last night, on 12-15 shooting with 4 treys.  I also wanna mention that Googling “Youtube Mirotic” had me find some sort of Kpop album, which has me think a future nickname or Podcast sounder has to come from this…  Anyway, the top 7 in the Bulls rotation actually looked really, really good despite no Wade and no big men, while Tom Petty croons about the Pistons…  Free fallin’!  Miro has been one of the most inconsistent players in fantasy this year, so with Rolo due back Friday, I still wouldn’t go too nuts to add Miro.  Tomorrow against the Sixers still might be worth the upside ThrAGNOF stream though, even if it feels as risky as jabbing plastic with a kitchen knife…  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball:

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It was the night of the triple-double. Perennial MVP candidates, Russell Westbrook and LeBron James, each notched a triple-double to lead their teams to victory.

Westbrook added 25 points, 19 assists, and 12 rebounds for his third straight triple-double, all of which are Thunder victories. It was Westbrook’s 33rd triple-double of the season, who remains just 8 shy of tying Oscar Robertson’s NBA record of 41 in a season.

For LeBron, he needed just 28 minutes to post 16/11/12 against the Pistons, a team he seems to dominate since his unforgettable 48-point performance in the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals. He wouldn’t be denied and knocked over anything in his path, including teammate Kyrie Irving:

The Cavs were in a bit of a slump, losing 4 of 5, heading into their matchup with the Pistons. With the Cavs just 2.5 games up on the Celtics, hopefully James will finish the year on a tear. It was James’ 10th triple-double of the season and third in the last four games.

Now onto the rest of the nightly notables:

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JB be California dreamin’!  Sorry for the later notes today, as I wrap up my West Coast trip and head for sunny Florida tomorrow.  I’m so discombobulated with my jet lag and California culture, I thought the Jamal version of Crawford got traded to the Pelicans or something!  But nooooooo, Jordan Crawford is back in the NBA ladies and germs!

In a game where the Pelicans were unsurprisingly stagnated by the Jazz D, Jordan of the Crawfords kept it close with a bench spark, going 19/1/3/2/0 with 3 treys on 8-15 shooting.  All that in 20 minutes too!  Did the Pelicans expect the ridiculous offensive prowess of E’Twuan Moore and Solomon Hill would provide some bench wing scoring?!  It isn’t shocking that a 28-year-old Crawford was slaying the D-League with nearly 24 points a game, and isn’t surprising to see him be a good bench scorer on the right squad.  Maybe you give him a look in the Michael Beasley/Derrick Williams sort of way as a deep league scorer, but this is likely one of his best lines on the season.  Not like he can gel with the twin tower USG-whores  in the starting 5 – he’s gonna be the bench scorer like we’ve always seen from Jamal Crawford.  Wait, I mean Jordan Crawford!  Ahhhhhhhhhh!  Here’s what else went down last night in NBA action:

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