Hope everyone’s week is going well.  No grid this week and instead I want to focus on the opposing bench players.

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Let’s face it, in a standard league, most of the available players in the FA pool are unlikely to be starters.  For fantasy purposes, that doesn’t mean they can’t contribute to categories that your team need to defend or categories that your team can unexpectedly win.

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For a while there, it looked like the makeshift Memphis Zombies might sneak by a crazy victory in Toronto over the Raps. But just like in World War Z, the Zeds tried to follow the humans north, but eventually froze up.

In his first start in the non-Mike Conley-era, Andrew Harrison was surprisingly capable with the added onus of driving the offense, going 21/2/4/3/0 on 7-12 FG (4-5 3PTM 3-4 FT) with only 2 TO in 35 minutes. Looked good in transition, hit contested, fadeaway treys… I didn’t expect this to get off to such a good start, and against the Raps no less!

It’s obviously only one game, and he’s not gonna shoot 80% from deep while filling in for Conley, but this was mad encouraging and you’re certainly grabbing him in most leagues off this showing. He has already proven he can handle big NBA minutes – albeit in a more complimentary role – so I think this can work as a PG 3 or 4 on your fantasy roster. On the flip side, Wade Baldwin played 24 minutes and went only 2/3/2/0/0 with 3 TO and 4 fouls, shooting 1-6 FG, bringing his sexy-efficient FG% back down to 31.5%. There might not be a Wade Baldwin V, with accuracy like that! Gus Ayonin’! Here’s what else went down last night in Fantasy Basketball action:

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I hope all of you enjoyed your fair share of Turkey and fixings this past Thanksgiving! The shortened week always messes me up. Or is it the L-Tryptophan? For this of you who don’t know, or have never seen that Seinfeld episode, Tryptophan is an amino acid released in proteins (especially present in Turkey), that will induce lethargy and/or sleep. After this weekend, perhaps we should take a look at which Fantasy Basketball players overindulged this week, and who has been flying right:

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In a matchup where they might’ve gone ahead and whipped em out to see who was bigger, this round went to Joel Embiid! The Sixers snapped the longest stretch of NBA games without back-to-back wins (108), by besting Hassan Whiteside and the Heat 101-94.

Look at Embiid flex those guns. So much man meat in the paint right there! Ok, I’m done with that, but it was awesome to see such prototypical, turn-back-the-clock big men face off against each other, with each being the current face of their respective franchise. Embiid had one of his best lines of the year, going 22/5/0/1/3 on 7-13 shooting, mainly highlighted by only one TO. He’s only had one game with 2 TO, and all the others 3+. On the flip side, Whiteside was a monster, going 32/13/0/0/2 on 13-19 shooting and hit 6 of his 8 FT. For the love of big man stats! Whiteside was 0-3 from the stripe in his previous game, so hopefully something has righted the ship there. Someone in the comments asked where Embiid might go in drafts next year, and I said 30-40 range. But at this rate, that might be too conservative! Let’s see him get through a full season first, and be sure none of that giant EMBIIIIIID gets hurt. I lied, I got one more in! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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There are plenty of options to highlight this week, but everyone beware. Take caution. Put on your orange vests. The muuuuuuuuuuus is loooooooose!

Typically reserved for a football chant, every time the Hawks Mike Muscala hits a three, or even puts on those incredible ‘3’s Goggles‘, the Bucknell grad garners a deep cheers from the fans. Now, listen, I know more than most that the Atlanta fans aren’t the greatest in the world, but when you lose Al Horford and replace some of his minutes with Mike effing Muscala you gotta pull out all the energy you can! And then he goes and actually produces in his 20+ mpg. Unheard of!

13.7/5.0/3.0 on 61.5% shooting with nearly 2 3’s per game is essentially a poor man’s Horford. And that’s exactly what ol’ Mike has done the past week (don’t worry about those boards…that’s the Dwight Howard effect). I, mean, goodness…I wanna be like Mike. Maybe that’s just because I’m white, but for real, there’s a lot of value here.

And he’s not the only one…Here are the 7 Ahead for Week 5!

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Here’s the matchup grid updated prior to the 1030 ET time games last night.

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I don’t want to go in depth on this today as I’d like to spend some time talking about a specific player below.  The next in-depth discussion will be in a couple of weeks when we have a nice full month of data.  Just wanted to point out that GSW remains near the top of teams to target, albeit they seem to have tightened it up a bit on the rebounding category compared to last week.

Some names to target for the rest of the week:

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Wazzup Razzballers?? Today’s poster child is a RazzWired favorite from this year and last! Somehow he just isn’t sexy enough to be owned or drafted in the majority of leagues. With 13 treys in the last four games, over a steal in each, and over 19 points per game! Throw in a few boards and you have a very good thragnof option with some upside.

Top Adds:

What’s up Razzballers?!? I’m back and will be handling the daily recaps from Tuesday night this season. We had a total of 9 games so let’s get to it!

Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, and LeBron James – Whenever the Rockets are in town, you know that fantasy stat lines are going to be great for both teams, with the increased pace of play. The Cavaliers were the beneficiaries of the Rockets’ matchup and all the main guys delivered. Kevin Love posted 24 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block; Irving scored 32 points with 4 threes; and James nearly messed around and got another triple double, finishing with 19/13/8. They played almost as well as their costumes from James’ yearly Halloween party. Don’t forget the shoutouts to the Warriors!

J.R. Smith – Smith knocked down 5-11 from downtown to finish with 15/3/2. Iman Shumpert (8 points, 2 steals, and 2 threes) seems to after suffering a concussion from opening night, but the steals just aren’t enough to help fantasy owners, except for the deepest of leagues.

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Toronto Raptors Kyle Lowry reacts after a turnover in the second half against the Brooklyn Nets in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at Barclays Center in New York City on April 27, 2014. The Raptors defeated the Nets 87-79 and tied the series at 2-2. UPI/John Angelillo

Draft season is now truly upon us with all sites having listed their official rankings for the fanatics, but how accurate those rankings are will well and truly depend on the structure of your league. One of the many attractions to the fantasy sport of basketball is the many different strategies that can play out, and of course the variety of settings and types of leagues that can be afforded to those that take the time to be commissioner of one of our favorite past times.

One of the big minefields that I spend scrupulous hours changing my ranks is trying to balance the variety of categories. The biggest minefield for me is turnovers.

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It’s late-round magic time! And by late-round Magic, I’m not talking about Stephen Zimmerman! Who? Exactly…

As we hit the trip-digs in picks, it’s time to go all-out for your guys. In standard leagues, you’re hoping to maybe hit a home run on one of your final 3-4 picks, and the others flame out immediately. Why? Because you want to know for sure who you need to hold on to and have quick cuts for the first wave of wire gold. Maybe I’m overly pessimistic, maybe you’re hoping for 2 to work, but all we really want to know is “answers”. I still do my ranks as best as I can to signify “seasonal-value”, but I might get a little crazier with risk than stick with the status quo come draft day and the clock winding down.

If you’re catching up, check out all our ranks in the Top-10, Top-25, Top-50, Top-75 & Top-100. Now it’s time to get into the fun sleeper land. Here’s the Top 150 for the 2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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