Happy New Year’s Eve, Razzball Nation!

May your champagne be stocked, your last night of horrific eating before a New Year’s resolution be gorged, and your lists of things to reflect on be lengthy.  Number one on my list right now is my groin is healthy!  Rough, rough injury for the Charlotte Hornets and fantasy owners’ front lines with Al Jefferson out at least the next month with an adductor strain.  Not that you need it, but Dr. JB is linking a little pic here [FAMILY FRIENDLY!].  Enough groin talk already!

When I heard Big Al was out for a month, I made the same face as Bill Walton’s Basketball-Reference picture…  Lots of shock waves across the Hornets, with Bismack Biyombo likely starting at the 5.  I don’t think he plays 30 minutes a night, but the boards-n-blocks upside puts him into the Rudy Gobert conversation.  Like Gobert, Biyombo won’t be winning a game of knokout anytime soon…  Shooting 44% from the FT line this season, and under 50% in his career.  A big winner here is Marvin Williams, who should be owned in 14ers and worth a bookmark for shallower.  Off 8/14/3/3/0 Monday night, the Hornets are going to move Cody Zeller into a lot of C minutes as the Hornets have no real front-line depth.  Williams hit a couple of treys in that game as well, and as with all Hornets, is in line for a few more shots with Big Al’s 16.3 FGA distributed to the masses.  For deep leaguers, don’t forget about Noah Vonleh who was sent to the D-League recently for a little seasoning.  He’s expected to be called back up momentarily, and as you’d assume with a team losing their best player, the Hornets are likely to fall even further in the Eastern standings.  Vonleh might get some experiential run as the season presses on to develop the 9th overall pick in this year’s loaded draft.  Here’s what else went down last night across the NBA:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I hope everyone in Razzball Nation had a fantastic Christmas!  Hopefully Santa brought you many-a-counting-stats presents and stuffed your stocking with the same vigor as John Henson.

So I’m not too big into that Facebook thing, but a lot of the fam seemed to mention their “Year in Review” and the weird shizz it pulled in over the Holidays.  Mine was two pictures other people put up and tagged me in, with a message reading “you have no life!”  But if the magical minions put together a Razzball Year in Review, it would be peppered with more #OccupyDraymondGreen than you could throw a stick at!  It’s hard to believe that the #OccupyDraymondGreen movement started on February 13th this year, and he was at 0% owned only a few games before the name was bequeathed.  The #Occupy culture became a viral movement here at Razzball, with only us alternative lifestyle hipsters ranking him top-100 coming into the season.  Boo-yah!  Season made right there, screw any of that Victor Oladipo nonsense…  While I had little-to-no concern David Lee would sap anything from the #Occupiers, Draymond Green had a coincidental teeny-tiny lull before some unreal rainbows on Christmas and last Saturday, going 10/10/3/2/2 on JC’s Bday and the biggie 4/8/6/6/3 against the Wolves in 32 scrappy minutes.  Late entry to that comment!  As we head into 2015, be sure to reflect on the highs-and-lows and whenever possible – #OccupyDraymondGreen!  Here’s what else Santa has brought to us fantasy owners since Christmas:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The biggest injury news of the week definitely belongs to Jabari Parker. Initially diagnosed as a strained knee, Parker underwent more tests and it was discovered that he tore his ACL. As a result, Parker will miss the rest of his rookie season.

This is a tough blow to the Bucks. At 14-13, they are currently in the 6th spot in the East and are in the hunt for a playoff berth. That says more about the pitiful East, than it does about the Bucks.

As my roommates can attest, I may not be able to pronounce his name, but I know Giannis Antetokounmpo is good. He’s athletic and long enough to play multiple positions and should continue to make strides this season. Khris Middleton isn’t as versatile as the Greek Freak, but can still provide fantasy owners with value. He put up 17 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals off the bench in Wednesday’s game, before putting up a dud (only 1/2/1) in Thursday’s game.

Brandon Knight, OJ Mayo, Jared Dudley, and even Ersan Ilyasova will also see added looks on offense as well. Ilyasova won’t return from his facial fracture and concussion until at least next week, but is a player to watch. He was playing well prior to his injury and could be a sleeper pickup if he can return to the 13 ppg, 7 rpg, and 1 three per game from a few seasons ago.

Jason Kidd will probably mix and match with his lineups and these guys may be inconsistent night in and night out, but they are guys to watch as their production and minutes rise.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Replace “Heat” with “Jay Cutler” and that’s what I have on in the background…

So a rough couple of days for Miami fans as both Chris Bosh and Josh McRoberts suffered seemingly minor injuries over the weekend, with some really bleak news coming out on Monday.  McBob’s knee injury that came out of nowhere in last Wednesday’s shootaround was diagnosed as a torn meniscus and needs to go under the knife.  Yikes.  Probably out for the season, and right when he was turning it on.  Then to Bosh, who has reports swirling his bum calf might cost him a few weeks.  It’s murky waters for the Brontosaurus, but for the long-term, you’re just sitting and praying to the Fantasy God of Injury.  I mean, dude was already so busy over the weekend!  Bosh is still staying involved with practice on a limited basis, but then again we all know what happens when “we talkin’ bout practice.”  In the interim, Shawne Williams probably gets the biggest uptick in minutes.  But he was pretty low-ceiling in big minutes to start the year… He had a couple nice games early on, very blah though.  Justin Hamilton is looking at a big role as well, off 10/3/1/2/0 in 33 minutes last Sunday.  A low-yield big role…  A little bit lost in the shuffle is Da Birdman!  Chris Andersen returned for Sunday, playing 18 minutes for 2/3/1/0/1.  He’s not going to get a ton of run given his age, but should offer a little blocking upside in a slight uptick of minutes.  Really none of these guys move the needle for me much, as it’s just an Abyss out there on the front line, with no aliens to save you by raising the ocean floor on some platform thingy.  I’m still in Lovington with Robert Covington and want it in the booty for Rudy.  They’re way above any of these Heat fill-in schlubs.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I imagine even some Knicks fans were chanting that!

In what ended up being a nailbitier for the Cavs in MSG, Kyrie Irving was unstoppable shooting 12-18 FG (3-6 3PTM 10-11 FT).  Heat check!  Just don’t say that about LeBron when he’s hot… Uncle Drew making NY Blue!  Gave him 37 big ones for a 37/3/2/2/0 with LeBron James assuming the point-forward role racking up a diming with 12 assists.  Freaky Friday!  Well I guess it’s Freaky Thursday, but I like the idea of Kyrie Irving as an angsty teenager in kinda a goth phase…  But while he just “doesn’t connect” with Jamie Lee Curtis, he’s been one of fantasy’s biggest surprises this year.  As mentioned on the Pod yestderday by our guest Justin Phan, for Kyrie to be averaging MORE points a game from last year with the Cavs big three now amassed, it’s amazeballs.  Coming into last night’s game, Kyrie was 5th in per game value and 6th in total value according to the BB Monster metrics, and probably passes Damian Lillard for 5th in total value after this bigun.  While the assists have understandably fallen from 6.1 last year to under 5 thus far in 14-15, I don’t really think there’s anything unsustainable.  Maybe shooting over 48% and over 42% from deep fall a wee bit, but with Lebron and Kevin Love out there, I do see him having career-highs in both.  And the big kicker – TO were at 1.7 last night and will remain well under 2.0 a game even with 3 against the Knicks.  Plus that great FT volume… and baby you got a stew goin’!  I feel like I’ve revelled at every single one of Kyrie’s stats… So go get him if you can!  Drafted in the late 2nd/early 3rd in most drafts, if you can only spend 2nd round value to bring in Uncle Drew, it’ll make you party it up on Championship Sunday of your H2H final like Drunk Uncle!  Here’s what else went down in the three games last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

… especially since the Sixers are probably going to stay with that one in the win column for a good while!

One… The number of restarts to the Sixers game…  What, was Tim Donaghy reffing and have odds on the Wolves scoring first?!  Seriously, the Sixers couldn’t win a game without controversy?!  Then again there was that Bucks game, sheesh (more below).

One… The number of TOs Michael Carter-Williams will never have in a game… Only one game under three TO this year, but hey, everything else is pretty sexy out there!  Near tripdub last night in the Sixers W for 20/9/9 and three steals.  Finally putting the W in MCW!  Shot 9-20 from the field, but when he’s at the FT line it still gives him delirium triggers like a recovering alcoholic!  It’s actually “delirium tremens”, but man I love that old Coheed song!  2-7 from the stripe last night with the whopping 6 giveaways, and it’s what you bargain for as an MCW owner.  It’s almost like he sold his soul to the efficiency gods just to put up sexy triple-double stats.  Maybe when Tony Wroten comes back, he can just be MCW’s TO-surrogate.  “Tony, just turn it over a few times, and it’ll get em out of my system.”  I feel like trading away/for MCW has been the most frequently asked comment… I was huge on him heading into the year, and even though his FT/TO drain hurt him in the metrics, I think if you can build around that – even in 9-cat – he’s probably worth more than most owners think.  While those 9-cat metrics that rate everything equally are how they should work, remember it’s a team game and strengths/weaknesses play off each other.  All you really want is one!  One more win than the other team in the fantasy championship.  Of course in Roto, you can’t handle those ones!  So I would be selling in those formats.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Some big games last night!  Easily the most fun Tuesday we’ve had on the young season.  Twas a… Ruby Tuesday?  There’s really no good Tuesday references… Have you ever thought about how much Tuesday sucks?  There’s nothing interesting at all about Tuesday!  Tuesday is just a lost day… Except let’s hope you were able to watch some hoops action, as this Tuesday was a big one!

And none bigger than LaMarcus Aldridge torching Denver, putting up 39 Pts on 16-30 shooting.  What’s hilarious about his 39/11/1/0/2 line is that one assist was a high-low pass to the awful Robin Lopez for the game-winning layup with one second left.  Surprised Lopez didn’t botch it!  When you have Sonic the Hedgehog as your haircut, it’s got to be distracting… L.A. with all that production with no TO and 7-9 FT is showing us why he’s boring, but reliable as a second-round fantasy producer.  It’s easy to miss the solid volume FT% and if he gets that 3-pointer dropping like the 0.5 he’s bringing this year – a new development for L.A. – it’s icing on the cake.  Mostly this whole open was just to highlight I’m up 3-0 on Slim in our 30-point challenge!  Even after his slimy Kevin Durant pick.  Slimy, I say!  I think Aldridge has moved into that top 13 or 14 overall, with double-digit boards in six straight bringing those rebounds closer to the 11.1 we saw last year.  If he can avoid any injuries, he’ll be a premiere day of the week, like Friday or something.  No one wants to be a dud like Tuesday, which more than suitably personifies Robin Lopez.  Henceforth, I will now call Tuesdays “Robin Lopez Day”.  Here’s some other happenings that went on across the NBA on Robin Lopez Day:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

A popular sleeper on draft day (well, made more popular by us!), Markieff Morris had been driving fantasy owners crazier than Joaquin Phoenix in The Master.

Through the first 10 games, Markieff had numbers eerily identical to what he did last year despite four more MPG.  His engine is on hybrid!  But for as atrocious as his previous 4 games were, broke out in a big way against the Celtics for 30/7/5/4/0 hitting 14-21 shots including a trey.  And only 1 TO!  Career-high scoring for Kieff, after four games in a row under 12 and three of those scoring single-digits.  “I found the beef, it’s Jeff Green‘s terrible D!”  While my Kieff teams are loaded with swagger after this big Monday, there is something slightly concerning with his stats.  Only 1-1 FT last night, and now is under half as many FT makes a game compared to last year, in nearly 5 more minutes a game (playing 39 bumped up his minutes finally!).  In 13-14, Kieff-er Sutherland was at 3.2-4.0 at the charity stripe, but is suddenly more like Donald Sutherland and not attacking the cup.  Less driving means fewer OREB (down from last year sinking his REB per-36), and his dimes have fallen a smidge as well.  None of these stats are major, but it seems he’s not creating and the Suns G-rotation is handling all the rock.  Another week of big stats with weak FT numbers and low-ish dimes – on top of Hornacek’s tendency to roll the hot hand, even the starters – and I’d actually sell high.  The steals and handful of blocks are nice, but not loving the lack of aggression and new role as more a spot-shooter, which could make him benchable to Horny a lot of games if he’s cold, something we’ve already seen a little of with the waffley minutes.  Where’s the beef?!  Let’s hope not in the waffles, but ya never know, that could be good!  Fried chicken n waffles is out of this world.  Here’s what else happened on an unusually busy Monday night of action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We start this week’s injury report with some good news. The 76ers welcomed back Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel to the court on Thursday night. MCW immediately contributed, posting a 19/8/5 line off the bench. It was good to see him play 30 minutes in his first game back, and I expect to see him starting soon.

Nerlens Noel came off the bench as well, after missing two games with a sprained ankle. Although the 76ers were glad to have them back, it really didn’t matter. The Mavericks destroyed the 76ers 123-70. The Mavericks scored more points in the first half (73) than the 76ers scored in the entire game!

Now for the bad news: Derrick Rose is hurt again. Rose left Thursday’s game with a hamstring injury late in the 4th quarter. His status for Saturday’s game is up in the air as we await more information. In the games he’s played, Rose looks like his old self. The problem is that he hasn’t played that many games. He’s missed four games already with a pair of sprained ankles. Even if the hamstring injury isn’t serious, expect to see him miss some games here and there. The Bulls are more concerned about Rose’s long term health and having him ready to go for the playoffs.

When Rose doesn’t dress, look for Aaron Brooks to provide value. He’s shown in the past that he can still produce when given the minutes. Brooks has averaged 16 ppg, 6 apg, and 2.75 spg in the four games that Rose has been out. The minutes won’t be consistent, but Brooks will have upside for starters’ minutes off the bench and is a great start in daily salary cap leagues whenever Rose is ailing.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

No Nicolas Batum, no problem!

The Blazers went nuts in the first half last night, putting up 84 on the hapless Nuggets through 24 minutes.  Indiana won last night at Miami scoring 81!  All your usual suspects had some good games, but who was the Keyser Soze?  The greatest trick bench players have ever pulled was convincing the fantasy basketball world they don’t matter!  But Chris Kaman is off yet another brilliant game, putting up 16/7/2/1/2 on 6-8 shooting (4-5 FT), and needs to be owned in virtually all leagues.  Was a little in junk time?  Sure.  Is he better than Robin Lopez?  Who isn’t?!  Will he start any time soon?  Well, no, but dude has grabbed at least 5 boards in every game and averaging over a block and a half a night.  The minutes are going to be there all year, as several NBA teams needing a starting big man have got to be mad they didn’t float Kaman a little offerewski.  And he’s a must add for RoLo fantasy owners, as while he had a good game last night scoring 19, zero blocks, only 5 boards, and most importantly only 21 minutes.  Blowout induced, yes, but topped 30 minutes only twice this year after averaging 32 a game last year.  He’s down 4 MPG from 2013-14 as Terry Stotts is utilizing the Blazers’ vastly improved bench, but thus far RoLo’s numbers are nearly identical from last year, and I don’t see that continuing with such lower PT.  So sell RoLo high!  And when other owners try to figure out why, tell em because you got high.  Here’s what else went down in fantasy action last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?