It’s been a bad couple weeks for big men. A lot of top producing forwards and centers seem to have been bitten by the injury bug around Thanksgiving.

Initially, DeMarcus Cousins was only considered day-to-day with viral meningitis. After missing his 8th straight game, coach Mike Malone was unsure when he would get his big man back. He’s been ruled out for the rest of the weekend, with his playing status in jeopardy for next week.

While Cousins has been out, Reggie Evans has grabbed almost every available rebound. Well not really, but he has had games of 13, 14, and 20 rebounds, while starting for Cousins. Jason Thompson has offered a more balanced increase in production (11 ppg, 10.2 rpg, and 2.4 apg in last 5 games), but the biggest beneficiary has been Rudy Gay.

With Cousins declared out for at least the weekend, now is the best time to sell high on Gay. He has a usage rate (total number of possessions per 48 minutes) of 30.2 when Cousins is out, but a 25.3 usage rate when Cousins is playing alongside him. As a result, Gay has increased his scoring, rebounds, and assists with Cousins off the floor. Try to trade him this weekend for a top 20/30 player, before Cousins gets back and steals touches away from him.

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I’ve got the ring in the cake.  The scoreboard operator has got it cued up for the 2nd quarter under-8 timeout.  The plane with some really carcinogenic toxins is ready to pollute the atmosphere in a “Will U Marry Me?” loopy smokestream.

An unsung contributor this year, DeMarre Carroll racked up another under-the-radar line last night for 14 Pts, 11 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 3PTM, and a partridge in a pear tree!  No TO, and other than blocks really hits all the Silver Bells and whistles.  Hitting a career best 1.6 treys a game, it’s a Christmas miracle his FG% is at 46%.  The dimes don’t do much either, but there’s no reason not to to Sleigh Ride him while he’s hitting most of the cats this hard.  Even a Silent Night or two won’t scare me away, and at only 61% ownership in Yahoo, I feel like there’s still a lot of leagues where he could bring Joy to the World.  So sing a holiday carol for DeMarre, and even though nothing is too sexy, I felt like I needed Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (full disclosure, I had to look up a list of Christmas songs for this bit, I’m such a Grinch).  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball:

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This was a very big week for the Thunder. They got both of their superstars back in a matter of days.

Russell Westbrook returned on Friday night, putting up 32 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists in only 24 minutes of clock. Now owners may be concerned with the lack of minutes, but know that Westbrook wasn’t on a minutes’ restriction. Instead, Westbrook, along with the rest of the starters, were pulled early since the Thunder were up 32 late in the game. They were playing the New York Knicks after all.

A few days later, Kevin Durant returned to score 27 points on Tuesday night. He showed little rust on the court, shooting 9-18 from twos, 3-8 from downtown, and 6-7 from the line. Durant didn’t do much else outside of the scoring, but those numbers will happen in due time. The important thing is that Westbrook and Durant are both back and healthy.

Westbrook and Durant immediately regain their statuses as two of the top ten fantasy producers. At the same time, their return also hurts the guys filling in for them. Reggie Jackson’s statistics will take a hit, as he won’t be needed as much as an offensive producer. In the two games since Westbrook returned, Jackson had his two lowest usage rates of the season and saw his field goal attempts decrease to 11 FGA per game (down from 17.9 without Durant and Westbrook). Now there is still value to be had with Jackson, since he’ll be getting around 30 minutes a night, but don’t expect the same numbers he was providing early in the season.

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… 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:

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Young players Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo returned to their respective teams last week, after missing the first few weeks due to injury. This week, the Washington Wizards welcomed back shooting guard Bradley Beal. He came off the bench to a standing ovation (or rather, the 25 fans in attendance stood up and cheered), but impressed in his first game of the season. In 26 minutes, Beal scored 20 points, with 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 3PTM. It was only one game, but expect Beal to put up similar lines all season. He averaged 17.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, and 3.3 apg last season and I expect those numbers to rise slightly this year.

Now that Beal is back, owners should move on from Garrett Temple and Otto Porter. Garrett Temple started off hot, but has since cooled off and will go back to being a reserve and defensive replacement. In Wednesday’s game against the Mavericks, Temple threw a 3-pointer off the side of the basket and then air balled another three on the same possession! Porter is more offensively gifted than Temple and will have a good game off the bench here and there, but look elsewhere for more consistent production.

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#OccupyDraymondGreen baby!

Occupying so hard!  He’s like the Russia to the Nets Crimea!  The person whizzing in the bathroom on the plane while you wait in the aisle!

Owning the Nets front line (I can’t really say “owning Kevin Garnett as KG prematurely a-bench-iated for only 13 minutes since well, DrayDray overmatched him!), Draymond Green was magnificent for 17/8/7/1/2 shooting 7-14 (3-8 3PTM).  Near rainbow and three treys?!  But you gotta love the 33 minutes of burn with only a singular TO.  #OccupyEfficiency!  After a little bit of a rocky start, Green was money in bigger minutes from Nov. 5-9 but had 13 TO.  Wasn’t flashy against the Spurs on Tuesday, but had 5 dimes to only 1 TO and then had the monster last night.  There have some comments wondering how many minutes DrayDray is gonna play play when David Lee finally gets his new hamstring, but Steve Kerr has pretty much made Green the heart-surrounded face of his trapper keeper.  Quotes like ” I don’t know what my philosophy is… We’re 4-0 with DG,” and “We’re 4-0 and Draymond’s starting, he’s playing well, so I’ll keep starting him,” and “Yeah, I’d leave my wife for that!”  Maybe I made up the last one, but you get the gist!  Sure the minutes might go down from the 33 he’s at, but I don’t think by much.  #BuyIfYouStillCan!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops:

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Ay dios mio!

Friday was a cryday for me.  Then Saturday was a sadderday.  Muy triste!  Ricky Rubio severely sprained his ankle in the second quarter against the Magic Friday night, effectively crushing several of my teams and ruining my DraftKings squad!  Seems like every year there’s several bad ankle sprains with players rolling their foot on their own, get these guys better footwear!  Rubio’s gonna miss at least a month, with a widely circulated update it “could” be 7-8 weeks.  All I want for Christmas is Rubio back on the court!  I’m holding in virtually all leagues, as he was finally banking on the high expectations I’ve set for him with my high ranks the past two years.  Because we all know the Razzball Ranks are bulletin board material for NBA locker rooms…

Everything seemed to point towards a massive workload for Mo Williams, who through the first four games (with Rubio in there full time as the starter), Mo was averaging 21.4 minutes and 3 dimes per.  But surprisingly, Flip Saunders went sushi on us with the raw Zach Lavine getting the start and going 5/6/4 in 26 minutes (only 2 TO) while Mo’s 2/4/5 in 22 minutes (3 TO) doesn’t inspire any sort of confidence Williams will get more rock.  Add into the stew the Wolves were actually in that game against the Heat until the end, and it’s a stew I don’t think I want any part of anymore.  I mean, who puts sushi in a mother f stew?!  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

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This NBA DFS season has been kind of a roller coaster ride.  The ownership of players is higher than normal.  Seems like everyone is on the same value players night after night.  If your high priced players you spend on don’t tank and reach value then you’re going to do well.  So be smart and don’t take too many risky players.  Also with the NFL, NHL and College Football going on too, be smart with your bankroll.

On Saturday we have a 7 game slate:

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Man, both NBA games last night were atrocious…  Even if the Rockets McDonald’s unis were effing awesome, love those 90s reds and yellows!

Gregg Popovich sat Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan (on top of Marco Belinelli and Tiago Splitter injured) that’s sure to get Adam Silver pitching a tent in his NBA-fines PJs.  With no Duncan or Splitter, the Spurs had to play Aron Baynes and Boris Diaw at C.  Wow.  And against an inconsistent-at-best post player in Dwight Howard!  But Dwight destroyed his “defenders” and looked like a 17 year old high school kid with college aspirations playing against middle schoolers.  Like watching Taco Fall play against other high school JV teams.  Man, Taco makes a basketball look like a grapefruit!

There’s really only one explanation to last night’s travesty – Pop owns Dwight on his fantasy team.  And well, let’s guess Kevin McHale drafted Tim Duncan and was against Pop this week.  Pop DOES NOT like to lose in fantasy basketball.  I’d imagine when he talks to his fantasy opponents it goes something like this.  “What’s more powerful than me winning every year?  Hope.  That I’d ever let anyone else win!”  Dwight for 32/16/0/1/2 shooting 12-18 from the field.  It was pretty bad out there, matchup wise.  He did his Dwight thing missing FT but ended up fine hitting 8-13.  I’m very steadfast in my anti-Dwight ways, so if you have Howard and have thought about trading, this is the game to be off of to do it.  Here’s what else went down in a light slate of Thursday action:

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You might as well set up a Civil War style triage on the Thunder bench, because somebody has the team set of Thunder voodoo dolls and isn’t wasting any time!  Adding to this virtually unprecedented injury wave to hit an NBA team through only week one of the season, Perry Jones knocked knees for the second game in a row; this time in a ton of pain and had to exit.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so check out the Thunder depth chart on Rotoworld, where the red S means sidelined:

Oklahoma City Thunder Depth Chart

Oklahoma City Red S-es!  And while a “knee contusion” usually wouldn’t worry me too much, George Hill had the same deal and he’s going to be out until late-November is sounds…

On the plus side, Serge Ibaka is absolutely en fuego out there.  25/11/2/0/1 and forced to take contested jumpers the whole night, but hit 11-14 including three treys.  And played 46 minutes out of desperation!  The blocks will come, so if you got Serge late round 1 (like we had him) or round 2, you’ve got something of your own surging in your pants.

On the negative side, Reggie Jackson is playing with some ill-advised reckless abandon.  I mean, give the kid some props for playing through numerous injuries last night, but he ended up with his butt on the hardwood more often then Paris Hilton.  Had a fantastic slash of 13/4/14 but hurt his wrist limiting him to 4-14 FG (0-6 3PTM).  Plus the ankle still looks gimpy.  I know the upside is immense the next month, but I might try to sell RJax high after watching this game.  It was like watching Denard Robinson at Michigan.  I’m not a huge college football fan, but my dad went there and I watch parts of most games, and Shoelace is still the most dynamic player I’ve ever seen in Maize & Blue.  But he seemed to leave early almost every game, getting battered and beaten up.

The Thunder need to do everything and anything to get healthy, with three straight off days until Friday.  My recommendations include – every player eating a live octopus chasing it with raw eggs, hiring the Wolverine (Jackman, not Denard) for some mutant healing blood, and calling Mrs. Cleo to figure out which guy will be hurt on Friday and benching him.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy action:

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