Well… Larry Sanders hasn’t had the best few weeks…  The Colonel held his injuries from the field surgeon just long enough to keep hope alive in his troops, but had to undergo the knife to repair his thumb and will be out 6 weeks.  Was it from a punch, the champagne bottle, or just getting too close in the delivery room?  No one will ever know.  Talk about easily the biggest fantasy bust this season thus far.  With no IR spot, drop this dude.  Zaza Pachulia is now a big pickup for anyone needing big man stats.  Za/Za is such a good Scrabble play!  Definitely a go-to for 60+ point moves on the triples.  If you have the cajones to challenge me in Words With Friends, hit me up (user ID: Jbronze).  But if I smell any Word Gen, I’ma publicly smite you!  Oh yeah, hoops, John Henson gets a big boost as well looking at consistent run.  But beware Henson’s terrible FT shooting and prepare thusly.  Speaking of thusly, herebe the NBA beings-all I saw last fortnight (wait, doesn’t that mean like 20 days ago?  Eh you know what I meant):

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As an ancient proverb goes – “I’d like to introduce you to an old friend and a new friend.”  Ok, so I made that up.  But it sounds good!

For an old friend I’ve mentioned a few times and pumped up in my last rankings update before the season started up, my boy Omri Casspi had another solid outing last night that probably was under the radar.  In 24 minutes, he went 7/8/5 with no turnovers, 2-4 from the field and 3-4 from the line.  He just looks awesome every time I see him play.  Did you know he was the first Israeli to play in the NBA?  He’s pretty much Chandler Parsons but with Chandler Parsons in his way.  After a ho-hum first two games, his past two have been fantastic – and this last one without hitting a three which is a big part of his game.  Not necessarily a must own in 12-teamers, but definitely worth a look, and needs to be grabbed in 14+.

Then my new friend – Gal Mekel on the Mavericks.  You’re like, “who the eff is Gal Mekel?  I thought this was NBA not WNBA!”  Mekel was signed to a three-year deal by the Mavs this offseason, and became the second Israeli to join the NBA.  Cut to Amar’e Stoudemire going, “Hey, I should count!”  With Shane Larkin dealing with an ankle injury, and no Devin Harris for a while, Mekel is getting full-on backup PG run and playing well doing it.  He got his 2nd 6 assist game last night going 9/4/6 and hitting a 3.  Sure some run was in junk time, but with the oft-injured Jose Calderon the only one ahead of him (hasn’t played in over 68 games since 2007), Mekel could find his way into starts.  Of course, now I’ve ruined my play on him in the REL League.  Let’s just hope no one in that league is reading!  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

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Man, what a huge night it was across the NBA with nearly every team in action.  It obviously all starts with the shocker Philly put on the Heat, and Michael Carter-Williams‘ unreal debut.  I was following with my co-workers during the game and tweeted that if he got a triple-double in his first NBA game, the universe would implode.  Thankfully MCW was a steal short and we’re all still here.  His final line of 6-10 (4-6 3PTM 6-8 FT) 22 Pts 7 Rebs 12 Asts and 9 Stls might actually win some owners their matchups this week on its own.  Just preposterous.  Most steals in NBA history in a player’s debut.  Ok before we all go nutso, remember the Heat played without Dwayne Wade (rest), don’t have a PG, and had all their hands weighed down with new championship rings.  So that’s not really an excuse, but so what?!  The shooting efficiency was fantastic (the biggest knock on him coming into the year), plus he had only one turnover (his second main knock).  “Nice knockers!”  Thanks Young Frankenstein!  MCW indeed moves up a fair bit in value in my eyes, but this is likely his best line on the year.  MCW was wildly inconsistent in college and I don’t expect much consistency on a terrible 76ers team (I know they just beat the Heat, but c’mon).  Look for John Wall to lock him up on Friday and cool the hype.  Despite inconsistencies, it goes without saying that MCW should be owned in all leagues now (78% Yahoo, 59.4% ESPN), so if for some reason he’s available in your league, you gotta get him.  I’m not expecting MCW to be an elite player, but will continue to contribute even in down games.  Here’s what else I saw across Fantasy Basketball last night:

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A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…  Is that too cliché?  Yeah it is, but there’s a point.  You knew where it came from as soon as you read it.  You can hear the soundtrack playing in your head.  Well, now that I said it you can hear it.  There’s even a chance you might remember the first time you saw it.  That’s what drafting LeBron James feels like.  It’s a smell in the air, a taste in the back of your throat that tells you there’s something familiar here.  The nurturing feeling of resting against LeBron’s bosom.  Ahh…  Hold me LeBron.  That’s not what this series is going to be about.  This here is akin to trying to remember the first time you saw Spaceballs.  Sure it’s a classic, but we both know you weren’t in the right state of mind to remember the first time you watched any Mel Brooks movie.  Am I right or am I right?  I can hear your silence loud and clear.

Let’s all now jump into our Delorean, Phone Booth, Hot Tub or whatever your time machine of choice is and travel back to last October.  There was something with very large fantasy implications happening in Houston.  It was not the trade for James Harden.  I’m talking about the position battle at SF between Carlos Delfino and Chandler Parsons.  If you would have chosen wisely then you would have gotten the closest thing I can imagine to the fantasy holy grail.  A top 50 player at the low low cost of a free agent pick up, even in the deepest of leagues.  This will be my gift to you.  No, not this overpriced knockoff but the next best thing.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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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Razzball Nation!  You’ve been clamoring for some updated rankings, and here they come!  I’m going to release them slowly, teasing them out, just like how we did the offseason rankings 5 months ago.  These top guys haven’t changed too much, but the rankings will expand to the top 200, culminating in an easy-to-use and frequently updated cheat sheet you can use during all your drafts as they commence in the next few months.  Fantasy NBA is coming and we’re ready to win you titles (or titties – depending on your league’s prize pool).  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 fun 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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You know what?  I still blame whatever broadcast I was watching while logging Yahoo fantasy highlights for calling Jonas Valanciunas Latvian and not Lithuanian as the cause for me to make the same mistake.  Sure I should’ve fact checked!  But who does that anymore?  Cough, cough, Kansas City Royals graphics truck, cough. Then again, maybe I heard wrong and I have no idea which game it was and who’s broadcast it was, so I need proof.  Who needs proof anymore either?  I pretty much don’t know or have anything…

Well now that I have undersold my intelligence, let me try to get you to buy on the Luminescent Lithuanian before anyone else in your draft can nab him:

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Sleepers.  How you win your leagues.  I love sleepers; it’s my favorite part of any fantasy forecasting where you identify the diamonds in the rough.  A big reason I love sleepers is they are the guys that can end up on a lot of your teams at a draft day value discounted where you know you can beat your draft to them.

So that takes me to DeMar DeRozan, a guy I wasn’t going to write my first sleeper post on at first, but amidst my ranking at 67 in my Way Too Early Rankings, I decided to dig deeper and try to convince Razzballers why they should spend a higher price on DeRozan than other rankings would suggest:

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As we continue to navigate through the NBA Playoffs, it’s been a fun challenge to rank for the 2013-2014 season.  There’s still free agency.  There’s still a draft.  Hey, at least we know there will be a season unlike 2011!

If you missed it, my top 10 then top 20 came out last week.  Hey, it’s early, you might say “way too early” (see what I did there, it’s in the title!) so these rankings are subject to change.  And I want no accusations of flip-flopping!  It’s not my fault if all the sudden Dwight Howard goes to the Bobcats and becomes a first-rounder!  OK, so that is as likely as Rony Seikaly… returning.  You gotta stop on the word that rhymes Jean-Ralphio!  Man I’m liking that show.  Also, random side note, Googling Rony Seikaly to spell his name correctly broke Google.  I searched it and it would freeze, despite everything else working.  Weird.

As I battle my ADHD to get into the rankings, let’s just dive into it:

Please, blog, may I have some more?