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:
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.
Let me start by saying this: do not go into a draft planning on building a punt FT (or punt anything for that matter) team. Never. Don’t. You aren’t being smarter than everybody else. You’re playing yourself. Unless you’re a late draft pick in a 36-team league, it’s probably not gonna work for you.
Also, never decide to build a punt FT team just because a punt FT guy falls a bit. I made this mistake last year and took Drummond in one of my leagues, after having Davis and Porzingis already on my roster. My thought process was, “I can definitely make some trades to make this work.” I did get Gobert, which helped, but throwing away a category to get better at stats your fantasy team already generates is, not only inefficient, it’s frustrating.
On top of this, do not draft guys when building a punt FT team just because they’re bad at free throws. I can not stress this enough. The point of drafting is to build a team that can win as many categories for you as possible, not to see how bad you can lose one. It’s comical how often people (myself included) try to see how bad they can get their FT percentage, thinking that they’re outplaying everyone else. You guys think this article is for you, it’s actually for me. I’m just trying to hold myself accountable when I’m drafting.
So when do you build a punt FT team? The simple answer is: when it helps you. What I’m hoping this article does is give you some scenarios when building a punt FT team makes sense. If you’re stubborn and are gonna go ahead and build one anyway, I’ll also give some advice on how to round out your team.
Wait, I forgot the most important piece of information you’ll see in this article. How the hell are there NBA players shooting less than 50% from the FT line? Seriously. I can’t wrap my head around it. That’s like an illiterate writer. That’s like a runner that can’t walk. That’s like the restaurant I used to work at who’s name was Burger’s etc. and stopped selling burgers. So many confused customers, just like there must be so many confused NBA fans.
Whew. 100 down. 100 to go. It’s been a helluva ride, but we almost there. This is where things get really interesting, as it’s a group where some starters still reside, but is mostly populated with bench players. Do you go with a specialist or someone that contributes across the board? Decisions decisions.
Yes! I’m freaking pumped now. Go do your thing right now! I’m going to finish this post then run like Forrest Gump.
Final week for most leagues. It’s that one time of the fantasy season when it doesn’t matter who you’d drop (unless it’s a keeper/dynasty), ‘coz if you’re still managing your team, then it must be playing for something.
In my opinion, the moves available this week is very limited unless one of your top guys encounter an injury or team setup is where you have 2+ guys playing for the teams not playing on Friday and/or Sunday. This is because there are 11 games that will be played on those days. So really if you haven’t streamed on Thurs, you really probably want to load up for Saturday’s slate especially if the players’ last game for the week is Friday or Saturday (MIN, LAC, DET, ORL, POR, SAC).
So for today, I’ll only focus on Saturday’s games. Tad anti climactic being the final edition of this series for this fantasy season.
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.
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:
Fantasy playoff time is just a mere few days away. Whether it’s playing for that final playoff spot, playoff positioning or just like me in one of my leagues—playing spoiler, the next few days could end up being very pivotal. I will not show the opponent ranking grid for this article as it hasn’t really changed much for the last few weeks. If you’ve been reading the posts here, it’s basically a big fantasy opportunity to face teams like the LAL and BKN. If you’re looking for PG stats, ATL, DEN and CHA are teams to target. PHO, PHI and ORL are the teams to face if you’re looking for big man stats although you’d have to be specific as to which big man stat you’re looking for for each of those teams’ opponent.
The biggest news of the night comes from a guy who barely played at all. Less than 2 minutes into the game between Golden State and Washington, Warriors’ center Zaza Pachulia (12 points, 8 rebounds) fell into Kevin Durant’s left knee. KD walked away gingerly before heading to the bench and being whisked away into the locker room. Diagnosed with a hyperextended left knee, Durant did not return to the game.
Is this karma from the Basketball Gods for his comments about not wanting to come home to play for the Wizards? Kidding aside, this is terrible news to the Warriors, fans of the NBA, and fantasy owners. Hopefully KD’s injury isn’t long-term, but more will be known after examining the MRI results.
In the meantime, the Warriors wasted no time in reaching out to free agent Matt Barnes and are expected to sign him later this week. Released by the Kings after trading DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans, Barnes is excited to rejoin the Warriors, after playing for them from 2006-2008. I wouldn’t rush to add Barnes until more is known about KD’s injury, but Barnes has been useful for fantasy purposes before.
On happier notes, here are the other nightly notables: