Ahhhh, it’s finally that time when drafts are becoming more and more meaningful and abundant, we’ve got the REL Auction draft on Thursday, and two RCL leagues drafting this weekend which still have spots open!  Don’t forget the grand prize in RCL of Razzball gear and a permanent imprint of your team name shaved in my head.  I mean, where else can you win a fan league and brand the resident editor?  I’m not really looking forward to the looks I’m going to get (doesn’t help I’m 6’7 and people be lookin’ anyway!), especially if a team like Your Mom wins.  Ugh.

So in order to hopefully restore my honor, my second RCL team was drafted last Thursday, and I gotta say, while I’m lukewarm to my team, you RCL leaguemates were brutal.  Here’s how the draft went down (full draft results):

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Continuing on with updated rankings after the top 10 and top 20, below rounds out my to 50.  Previous rankings are in parentheses next to these updated ranks, with up and down designations only for guys hopping up or down significant spots.  Have fun grilling these!

(22) 21. Nicolas Batum – A lot of commenters have wondered why he’s not in the top-20, and as I said in my previous 20-50 rankings, the declining FG% (45.1% to 42.3%) and 3PT% (39.1% to 37.2%) from 2011-12 to 12-13 gives me pause.  Despite playing over 8 more minutes a game in 11-12 to 12-13, his scoring average only went up 0.4 Pts a game and he only averaged 12 a game after the All-Star Break with his wrist injury.  He’s said the wrist is completely healed, and despite not needing surgery I would be worried with Batum as my second-rounder as the wrist could plague him again.  He’ll still be a multi-cat workhorse, but I see no way he chucks up 6.1 3′s a night with new acquisitions Mo Williams and C.J. McCollum also manning the perimeter.  Yeah their PT may not overlap too consistently, but I just don’t see the three point output mimicking last year.

(23) 22. LaMarcus Aldridge – Another big fantasy asset I’m slightly down on, the Blazers could very easily have another rough first half and look to trade their franchise big.  The rumors have been swirling for quite some time, and there’s virtually no destination where I think he would be a better fantasy player than in Portland.

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Welcome to my second round.  The second round is on me!  That way I can buy all cheaper/low-shelf swill and not look like a cheapskate [underutilized word].  Seriously, try that next time you’re out.  Well, to be honest it only really works on the 8th or 9th round.  “What is in this snake juice?!” “It’s basically rat poison!”  “Baba Booey!”

So these guys are all still elite talents, just have those lingering question marks that would have me passing on them.  I know you’re all gonna yell at Paul George being a second rounder for me, I have comment ESP!  Here’s how I see the remainder of the top 20 with off-season adjustments (previous ranks from my Off-Season Rankings are in parentheses before this re-rank):

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The period of free agency continues to shape the fantasy basketball-scape with fresh meat on terrible teams and players signing with contenders to be relegated to bench duty.  With baseball in full swing and the NFL getting half of the ESPN air time no matter what time of year it is, a lot of NBA moves have been made under the radar.  Look for every division to get a team-by-team breakdown and some early fantasy thoughts on the new faces in new places:

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So these guys aren’t in the top ten.  They automatically hate me and I automatically hate them… Well not really of course, but I want to tease out the drama!

After the first 6 picks, ending with Chris Paul for me, it’s becomes a mess of upside players and seasoned vets all tossed around like Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton in Twister.  Then that tornado finished the job last year, ripping off Hunt’s clothes for The Sessions.

Without further ado, here are the guys I’d be ripping my clothes off for to round out my top 20:

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If you’ve gotten started with fantasy baseball, you know it’s been yet another season of horrendous closing across the MLB.  I bet Kobe Bryant could close effectively in the MLB.

Just think about it.  He has such a will to win that it made Shaq hate him, he’s got consistent mechanics, never gets hurt and would be a tall presence on the mound.  OK, so I have no idea if he can throw a fastball, but right now I’d take him in my Brewers bullpen that looks more like a joke than Joaquin Phoenix’s career as a rapper.

Kobe just went bonkers against the Hornets in the fourth quarter, scoring 23 of his 30 in the last 12 minutes.  He just couldn’t miss, hitting a couple threes, jumpers in people’s faces, and was diming when there was openings.  With the Jazz losing, the Lakers might actually get the 8th seed.  Huzzah!  Kobe has been tremendous since the whole ankle injury soap opera, not missing a beat with a bone spur in his foot actually playing more minutes to keep it loose.  He’s not only closing games for the Lakers, he’s closing the season for fantasy owners.

Here’s what else happened yesterday:

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What’s a good playoff intro? Should I do the completely played out Jim Mora thing? “Playofffs? Playoffs? You’re talking about playoffs?” Yea, let’s not do that. Let’s just get to the information you crave in the same fashion Beluga whales do fresh Salmon. My chicken and I have a long day tomorrow of watching Game Of Thrones episodes so I’m gonna cut it short. Here’s what happened this weekend in fantasy basketball:

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I bet you haven’t heard and I’m breaking the news… The Heat lost last night!  27 games in a row, down the drain.  One of the most impressive streaks we’ve seen in American sports is over.  However, instead of linking highlights to the game, I think this sketch from one of the best sketch comedy shows Mr. Show encapsulates what happened last night.  David Cross is the Bulls and Bob Odenkirk is the Heat.

Fantasy-wise, the Heat big three had their usual games and Luol Deng was the Bulls top performer with 28 Pts and 4 3PTM.  It was one of the most-hyped, most-talked about regular season NBA games in recent memory, so apologies this isn’t a fantasy-heavy open.  That’s what the rest is for!

Here’s what else went down across a heavy slate of NBA action (yes, there were other games!):

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Shaun Livingston had another nice game Friday night with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals in 38 minutes. If you’re waiting for Kyrie Irving to return and save your team, you’re just as sad and depressing as every other Cavs fan and you may be disappointed. Don’t wait till its too late, any player is better than an injured player in the playoffs because injured players don’t play! Fact! Meanwhile, Shaun Livingston is just 12% owned and averaging 12.5 points, 6 assists and 3.5 rebounds in two games starting since Irving went down. He also chipped in 4 steals and a block in that span. Livingston is not a huge scorer, but he could provide decent value in some other categories and will get plenty of burn in the Cleveland back court if you are looking for a player to help down the stretch.

Here’s what else happened in fantasy basketball Friday night:

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I wonder what the public opinion really is on Anonymous, the computer hacking collective… I like them, they expose top-level greed – a mix between Russell Crowe in Robin Hood and in The Insider.  OK so he wasn’t a hacker in The Insider, but did the same type thing Anonymous does.  Anonymous hacked Bank of America last month and found they were using worthless Social Media searches to profile activists and their salary information was on a server in Tel Aviv.  Say what?  I thought it was Bank of ‘Murica not Bank of Israel!  Well the Orlando Magic knew they needed some hacking to try and beat the Lakers with Dwight Howard returning to Orlando last night.  With the crowd booing Howard from the moment he stepped on the floor, the Magic tried some psychological warfare, fouling Dwight every opportunity and giving him 39 free throw attempts.  Thirty-nine!  I don’t think I’ve taken that many free throws ever.  Now imagine 15,000 fans yelling at you every time.  Dwight made 25 of em, capping a 39-16 and 3 block night in his return to O-Town.  One of the best returns to a former team in NBA history, but the Magic just plain handed him 25 of those points.  The Magic are terrible (minus Tobias Harris – read below) and the Lakers, while a soap opera, I think make the playoffs.  A good career move for Dwight.  Just hope he doesn’t store his salary on a server in Tel Aviv.

Here’s what else went down last night across the NBA:

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