We’re almost there! It’s almost the time of dunks, crappy exhibition games, and most importantly – the time of getting injured players back. Last night only had 2 games on the schedule, so it’s going to be a short wrap up today! In the first game, the Wizards had a solid win over the Pacers, with a final score of 111-98. The Pacers just didn’t manage any big performances. The second game was a lot more interesting, as Jimmy Butler won it with clutch free throws after a very questionable foul call on Marcus Smart. 104-103 Bulls win.

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It’s almost baseball season, so let’s start pulling in the puns! I just wanted to be sure everyone knew that I was going for that use-case of the title, not what you’d find in urban dictionary… Who comes up with that stuff?!

Huge weekend from Sam Dekker, getting 28 minutes off the bench on Friday night when Ryan Anderson exited after only 9 minutes (Illness – tried to play through The Plague that is running rampant in the NBA, but it claimed another victim. Somebody really needs to do something about the flu and stomach issues that make the NBA seem germier than going on a cruise.), going 17/7/2/0/1 with a trey in 28 minutes. Then in his first career start Saturday night – at the Grizzlies who are supposed to be a defensive team – Dekker blew up like an upper decker for 30/4/0/2/0 on 12-19 FG with 6-11 treys.

Somebody get a hand in his face! Got 35 minutes, and didn’t commit a single TO in either of these games. Roto-efficiency! Dekker’s been playing decently – albeit a little under-the-radar – in his bench minutes this season, but he’s a good rebounder who hits treys and can pepper in stocks. All the while maintaining a low TO rate. Kinda seems Otto Porter-ish to me! Although Dekker is only 28-49 at the FT line for some reason, good for 57.1%. While Ryno is “only” out sick right now, all his injuries does make him an endangered species… Everyone is out for Ryan Anderson’s ivory! Everyone wants a nice white dude shooter on their team… Now the Rockets have two! So if Ryno’s back flares up again, or if he has any injury really, Dekker would be a must-own. I might even nab him for the short-term, if you have any streaming spots you can dedicate to a little run – because speaking of a little run, doctors told Rynio he might be dealing with this stomach bug for 1-2 weeks. Somebody get this guy some pepto bismol and keep him away from my toilet tanks! Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

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The Knickerbockers continue to stink it up, with a heartbreaking loss to Wizards.  Melo put up an incredible 25 points in the second quarter, but only managed to finish the game with 34.  The Knicks made a valiant comeback effort at the end, but the hustle and determination of John Wall stymied their efforts.  This game was quite depressing because it really hammered the point home that Melo is not who he used to be.  Sure, the flashes of brilliance are there, but a younger Anthony would’ve pushed 50 points without a problem.  On that somber note, let’s get into the rest of the evening!

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Uggghhhhhhh. I hate when the intro has to be about a bad injury, but alas, tis what tits with fantasy sports. After playing pretty well against the Pacers last night (21/4/0/2/1 in 28 minutes), Rudy Gay went down in the third quarter and had to be carried off the court, with tests indicating he tore his Achilles. He’s had issues with that Achilles in the past with a partial debridement, but it gave out at absolutely the worst time. Yeah, maybe he didn’t handle wanting to get out of Sacramento the most gracefully (who WOULD want to play there?!), but at least he showed up, ya dig?! Now he has to stick it out while rehabbing, this was going into a contract year… It just sucks. I’ve never been the “biggest” Gay fan, but I’ll be rooting for his rehab and hopefully he can be vintage Gay a few more years on a new squad.

In the meantime, it opens up a ton of wing minutes in SAC. Arron Afflalo of DNP-ville got 31 minutes last night, aided by Garrett Temple having to play backup PG because Ty Lawson is nursing a kankle. A R Ron! went for 11/1/1/0/1 in his usual snoozefest line, with Temple going 9/4/3/0/0 with a trey. Yikes. Matt Barnes might move back into the starting 5, but he’s hit-or-miss, depending on how drunk he is at the night club. Hey oh! 7/4/4 for Barnes in 20 minutes, and Ben McLemore only got 4 minutes this game. It’s a real trainwreck without Gay, and I don’t see any sort of clear answer on this team to fill in the void. So you’re likely looking elsewhere on the wire for Gay’s scoring, and hopefully you sold high after a red hot start through the first stretch of the season. Get well soon, Rudy! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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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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So my lead on Tuesday morning about Derrick Rose disappearing on his team (Gone Girl 2 – Gone Rose!) I thought would be a pretty bad low point for the Poppycockers. But I dunno, I think they may have hit it last night! Rose was surprisingly vintage Rose – considering all the rumors he wanted a buy out or the Knicks should suspend him for a while – for 25/2/4/1/0 on 11-16 shooting. That said, he was -21 in a 1-point loss, while the bench kept the Knicks in it. In the end though, the Poppycockers just didn’t have an answer for this new, upstart PG who is taking his offensive game in the league by storm! And of course I’m talking about T.J. McConnell!

Melo, you just got skeeted on! “What is that in your hair?! Is that hair gel?!” “No, Melo, it’s Dapper Dan!” Yup, hit the buzzer-beater to beat the Knicks 98-97, for NY’s 9th loss of their last 10. To quote the immortal Friends like I love to do, “There’s rock bottom, then 50-feet of crap, then” the Knicks! But hat’s off (because it would mess up the gel) to T.J. running away with the Sixers PG job, playing a team-high 34 minutes of 8/6/7/2/0 on 4-6 shooting with 2 TO. Pretty solid, efficient line. On the flip side, Sergio Rodriguez is turning into melted White Chocolate, going 14 minutes of 2/1/4/0/0 on 1-7 shooting with 3 TO. The two could still flip flop, but T.J. has always been a Brett Brown guy, and this was a pretty big moment. Dapper D should probably be owned in all 12ers, although if you have AST locked down, I’m not sure what else you’ll be happy with. 2 steals in 4 straight is nice I guess, but no 3s, low scoring, bad FG%… Wait, why do I hate on this guy but love Ricky Rubio?! I guess it’s all in the spiciness, baby! Here’s what else went down in fantasy hoops action last night:

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Robert Covington came onto the fantasy radar last year due to his ability to add threes, steals, and blocks in bunches. He started this season slowly, but has been picking it up lately. That continued on Tuesday with 13 points (4-14 FG), 10 rebounds, 4 steals, and 1 block. But no shot was bigger than his buzzer beater:

His offensive production may remain inconsistent, but his nightly contributions in steals, blocks, and rebounds have made him a viable fantasy contributor in all leagues. Now is a perfect time to buy low, before it’s too late.

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So I’m not a basketball historian, and I’m still a young pup. I barely remember the Bulls glory years – I was in elementary school when they won titles 4-6 (yikes, aging the crap outta myself), but I do vividly remember the Byron Russell push-off and I cherished my Michael Jordan cards. I still have a bunch of em! This one is still in a nice case and one of my favorites… Anyway, when I saw Jimmy Butler go off for 52/12/6/3/1 last night, I was about to make all sorts of tongue-and-cheek MJ parallels…

Got the same reverse layup and everything! But then it dawned on me… Butler is more like Scottie Pippen if there was no Jordan. Pippen’s best season was 93-94, unsurprisingly the year without MJ, and went 22.0/8.7/5.6/2.9/0.8 on 49% shooting with 0.9 treys. So far this year, J Buckets is 25.3/6.8/4.4/1.7/0.3 on 46% shooting with 1.1 treys. While Pippen was obviously one of the best defensive players of his generation, Butler is a much better FT shooter and gets to the line more. But the rest is really close, and I thought kinda interesting food for thought. So the answer for the Bulls is simple – find a Michael Jordan for Buckets to play next to! I’m a problem-solver – if only every team’s issue in the NBA was this easy! Hah! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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Well, I do keep my eyes open all the time, and if you’ve been reading my thoughts on Jeremy Lin the past few weeks, you’ve heard me repeatedly say that I’m worried about lingering/long-term injury with this bad hammy strain earlier in the season. The deathblow – for me – was when after coming back from the hammy, Lin suffered back issues, which I mentioned I had seen time and time again in baseball as a lingering effect from not having your upper leg base. And here we go again with another hammy strain last night, again to the left hammy, the same hamstring he pulled in early November (emo band alert!). On a VERY friendly 3-year deal in today’s market at only $38 million (thanks Razzball player pages!), I see no reason the Mess wouldn’t just shut him down another extended period of time with the injury to the same hammy, so hopefully you sold in these past couple weeks when you could. In his stead, look for Sean Kilpatrick to play some PG again, which actually hurts his value in my eyes. He wasn’t thriving the same way as his SG run, as he’s not a great facilitator and it jacked up his TO rate. For deeper leagues, it puts Isaiah Whitehead back on the radar, although he will hurt your FG% and TO in some games (9/2/3/1/1 last night, but with 4 TO in 16 minutes). Thankfully Whitehead was able to come back at exactly the right time after a few games off due to foot soreness. And that’s not even mentioning Randy Foye and his “epic” 3/1/2 line last night, with his only FG being this one:

Hah, your final shot goes to a guy who was 0-1 in 21 minutes up until that touch. Yeesh, this team is certainly really close to the creamy nougat center of Dante’s Inferno, on maybe the 2nd or 1st Ring of Fire… Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops 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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