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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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FIVE… DAYS. The NBA “offseason” has kept us almost constantly entertained with a loaded draft, free agency rumors, the best summer league ever, and multiple superstar trades. But, it’s time for some real, official action. And by that, I mean actual stats that count in our fantasy leagues, of course. This season, more than any other, I’m just a huge fan of the entire NBA and my fantasy teams. You see, I’m a longtime Bulls fan. And while I’m an optimist that’s been quite obsessed with the Sixers rebuild and their amazing potential, the Bulls have messed up their tank job in half a dozen ways prior to even getting it off the ground. So, I’m really itching for some Lonzo outlets, CP3-to-Capela lobs, and an unexpected six-steal game from my most recent free agent acquisition. Let’s get going already with this new crop of talent!

Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

Last week, I talked about ways to find advantages by removing certain stats your team doesn’t need for various reasons and shuffling up player values so you have a better idea of who’s actually the most helpful for your team during drafts. That’ll be a theme as the season goes on, because it really leads us to trades that can help us a ton, while helping the other team enough that they pull the trigger. But we’ve got another weekend of drafting to go, so I’ve compiled a list of a few more places to take advantage of what I see as market inequities. If you’ve already drafted, maybe this can spark some trade proposal ideas, too.

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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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Hey basketball nerds. My name is Ringer, one of the new writers for Razzball basketball. I’m very excited to start writing about fantasy basketball. Not like, lose your virginity excited, but definitely more excited than D’Angelo Russell was after getting shipped off to Brooklyn. 

http://gph.is/2pOQ8Kd

Probably about as excited as any team not named Golden State is going into the NBA season, since I think that anybody taking six games from them in the playoffs would be considered an achievement.

I’ve been a huge basketball fan for as long as I can remember and got introduced to fantasy basketball four or five seasons ago. All you need to know about my first year in fantasy basketball was that I drafted Carmelo Anthony with my first pick. Because he got buckets. I lost that league. Needless to say I’ve learned a lot since then.

One of my favourite things about fantasy basketball is the countless draft strategies that people have. There are so many different ways to build a league-winning team. You got the punt FT teams, the punt turnover teams, the guy that doesn’t seem to draft anybody but point guards or big men, and of course, the auto draft team. That team is as likely to win your league as the New York Knicks are to winning the NBA championship because, as you guys know, Yahoo fantasy basketball always has a bunch of guys ranked way above or below where they should be. If they didn’t, why else would you be here? Hopefully, this article will help make sure that your team is at least better than the guy that drafts Joe Ingles before the end of the fifth round.

*Note that these are only guidelines. Grab that player you love if he falls to you. Don’t reach if you don’t have to. Also, these guidelines are for 12 team head-to-head standard leagues, as a lot of things change in bigger leagues or leagues with different settings.

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Since 1988, the year that Charlotte was blessed with a NBA presence, the team has had 32 first-round picks in the draft. There have been some good ones: Larry Johnson, Alozo Mourning, Baron Davis, Kemba Walker, and Kobe Bryant. Ouch. That last one must hurt for Charlotte fans. There have been some horrible ones: Adam Morrison. Is this where a mic drop is appropriate? Anyways, out of all the 32 first-rounders that the Hornets/Bobcats have selected over the years, Cody Zeller may be in the top-tier for most valuable. What what? Zeller missed 20 games last season. In those games, the Hornets went 3-17. In terms of ORtg difference, Kemba was +10.1. Zeller? +10.4. Nicolas Batum was the next closest with a +3.7. Ladies and gentlemen, your Charlotte Hornets.

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No, it’s not the title of some campy 1970’s Sci-Fi movie – Zubac really IS the savior of the world!

I don’t need to keep tooting my own horn – if I was a dog I would – but Ivica Zubac continues to impress, and I’m happy to have the big fellah leading the charge in my RCL playoff efforts!  Getting his second consecutive start, the Zubes tore up the Nuggets for a career-high 25 points on a 25/11/1/0/1 line.  Now, now, I know Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets in general have putrid interior defense, but I don’t care!

Post move O face!  Look at how smooth he is!  Well, despite the fact Jokic has no interest in playing defense, I concede that haha…  Zubac is going to promote World Peace (not the Metta kind though!), figure out how everyone is going to get water, and we’ll be building statues of him by the 2050s.  He shot 12-15 from the field, but weirdly only 1-4 FT as that is a little bit of an issue lately, despite profiling as more of an 80% FT shooter…  So don’t let that bugga-ya-boo, I think that’ll improve.  Just let our future defeater of invading aliens and our inventor of light-speed travel take you to the promised land.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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I was incredibly lazy with the title today, but honestly, no performances stuck out to me last night. Westbrook and Harden did their thing, but they basically hit their averages.  The Cavaliers were completely gassed heading into OKC.  The Mavs beat the Jazz in OT, but come on, Dallas isn’t exactly relevant at the moment… The wunderkind Yogi Ferrell, didn’t exactly make a huge splash this game either.  Overall, it was a pretty chill night in the association.  That being said, let’s have some notes!

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C.J. McCollum, last year’s Most Improved Player, continues his ascension as one of the best shooting guards in the game. In a battle for the 8th playoff spot in the west between the Trail Blazers and Mavericks, McCollum dropped 32 points (13-21 FG), none bigger than his runner with 0.9 seconds left that sealed a Blazers’ win:

Ultimately the game winner, it came right after Dirk Nowitzki hit a clutch three to put the Mavericks up 113-112 with 3.9 seconds to go. Nowitzki turned back the clock in the game to post 25 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, and 4 threes, but it wasn’t enough as McCollum put the nail in the coffin.

The 4th year guard is having a career year, but has been shooting even better lately. In the last 5 games, he’s knocked down 13-28 from deep and shot 55.8% from the field overall.

Having such an efficient backcourt mate has taken some of the pressure off of Damian Lillard (29 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and 5 threes), who is having his best shooting season of his career as well.

Unfortunately, both guys will need to continue to step up, if the Blazers have a chance at the playoffs, as guard Evan Turner broke his right hand in the third quarter of the game. No timetable has been announced, but he should miss at least a couple weeks. The injury should open up opportunities for Allen Crabbe (4 points) and Maurice Harkless (8 points, 7 rebounds).

It was a short slate of games on Tuesday, as only 3 games were played. JB made sure to make it known to me that he had to recap 11 games on Monday. Boy, did I get lucky this week! Here are the rest of the nightly notables:

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Down at halftime and without fellow All-Star DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry took over in the 2nd half, carrying the Raptors to an overtime victory against the Pelicans. He hit a big time step back jumper with just 4.3 seconds to play to secure the win. Lowry finished with 33 points, 10 assists, 4 rebounds, and a season-high 6 threes.

After returning to the court on Sunday, DeRozan experienced swelling in his ankle, forcing him to sit Tuesday’s game. He’s already been ruled out for Wednesday’s game, giving Lowry another chance at monster scoring numbers.

Known for pouring it on in stretches, it was his 3rd straight 30+ point game, the longest streak of his career. Had he scored 1 more point last Wednesday, he’d have a streak of 5 games. You’re already starting Lowry regardless, but the loss of DeRozan really ups Lowry’s value.

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Ya know, playing a typical “bad” team can help cure all ills, but then there’s playing a New York team that goes full Poppycock… To kick off MLK day, the Knicks continued their epic collapse, by being forced to start doofy Ron Baker and Mind Games Koozie Mints. I’m kinda guessing at that second guy, I don’t know why Razzball isn’t linking to his name though! It’s about right! Baker got 22 minutes of 12/3/1/2/0 and was OK, and I guess Mindaugas Kuzminskas was OK too for 14/5/2/2/0 in 38 minutes, and well, the Hawks only beat this make-shift roster by 1, so there’s that! But the big thing to watch in this game (for me) was Dennis Schroder, who is off two horrid games where he got out-minutesed by Malcolm Delaney. Fortunately Das German broke out of his funk, and went 28/3/3 on a mad hot 13-16 shooting with a trey.

The trey being the game winner! Still got 2 TO and no D stats, but hey, at least he kept another split-PG situation from developing. Already have seen to much of that in the NBA! It was an action-packed, holiday-filled day of basketball last night, so let’s daily notes it up!

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