So we’re out of the top-50, it’s time to start playing it riskier!  Although, there’s still some pretty boring vets in this range, but it’s mainly because they have to go somewhere…  Kinda like those stupid sheep tiles in Catan.  Man, I hate that game…  It’s glorified dice without the money, and replace swagger with my nerd friend saying “mad sheep-game!” every time his hotel gets some sheep cards…  Worst game ever.

Anyway, it’s cliche to say “you can win your leagues with strong mid-round breakouts”, so I’ll just say “it certainly helps getting your mid-round picks right than getting busts!”  Oh man, if that’s not award winning analysis, I don’t know what is…  Here’s the Top 75 for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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The NBA really is Jordan Belfort.  The Wolf of Fantasy Sports!  It’s tantric and never slows down, from the Finals ending less than two weeks before the draft, free agency hitting a week later and we’re already starting summer ball.  And the NBA will soon revel in the excess that is the 16-17 salary cap boost with a TV deal that put Seinfeld reruns to shame.  I need my ludes to get me through!

Even the Spurs couldn’t avoid the world of excess and massive free agency signings, bringing in LaMarcus Aldridge for a cool $80 million.  Loosening up the purse strings!  My first thought was, “dammit, Kawhi is never gonna be the guy!”  Then again, he got over $90 mil with his extension, so there’s that!  But Kawhi Leonard sometimes struggles with the mid-range and long-distance shooting, so L.A. should help Kawhi by opening up some lanes and keeping him in his game.  This is going to be a crazy offense, with Tim Duncan moving to center and likely being his solid old self.  Which leaves us with what to expect from Aldridge…  And, me no likey for fantasy.  After being really durable early in his career, he’s had a few bumps and bruises (I know, I know, playing through a torn thumb tendon gets mad props) and the Spurs – as we all know – love to limit the minutes.  I also don’t think he quite gets to 20 shots a game like we’ve seen the past few years.  I had him 20 in my way too early rankings, but the move drops him a few spots at the least.  L.A. in S.A. is not OK!  Here’s what else has gone on through the first few days of free agency and rookie ball:

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For one week this season, it feels like there are more stars returning from injury than ones getting hurt. However, that won’t console those who saw their players were added to the injury list. So we’ll start with the bad news first.

All-Star Jimmy Butler suffered an elbow sprain in Sunday’s game and will miss the next 3-6 weeks. Fortunately the injury will not require surgery, but that still puts him out for most, if not all of March.

Joining Derrick Rose and Butler on the sideline, Taj Gibson is out with another ankle injury. Out since suffering the injury in Friday’s game, he’s no longer wearing a walking boot. Gibson has a history of ankle injuries so the Bulls’ may want to be extra cautious with him, but Gibson should be considered day-to-day going forward.

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Well, one outta three of the letters in MCW is in efficient…  That makes sense seeing as he usually shoots 33%!

In his debut for the Bucks, Michael Carter-Williams looked solid against his former Sixers for 7/0/8/2/0 in only 17 and a half minutes.  All with only one TO!  Shot 3-5 from the field, did split his two FT, but a mad efficient game in his new colors.  Off the toe sprain, I’m not surprised his minutes were kept in check as the Bucks unsurprisingly took it to the Sixers.  Full tank!  Yesterday on the Podcast, Slim said even a great game wouldn’t have him change his MCW valuation too much, and he’s the logical one.  But I’m antsy and loved what I saw!  I don’t think he’s suddenly the top-50 guy I thought he’d be, but I think he’ll keep the %s in check with that decent MIL supporting cast, and he won’t make you want to kill yourself.  And if that isn’t a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is…. Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball:

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“Hey JB G.”

I feel like I’ve played this song and dance all year.  “I love KCP!”  “KCP is dead to me!”  “He’s a usable ThrAGNOF!”  “He’s worse than month-old stroganoff!”  And on and on and on like a never clean addict.  “Why can’t I quit you?!”

In what was a great game until the 4th quarter, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had maybe one of his best games as a pro.  It didn’t show up in any glaring numbers on the stat sheet, but this new backcourt with Reggie Jackson is mad fun.  KCP for 21/2/1/2/0 hitting 7-13 FG (5-7 3PTM) including two ridiculous threes in transition.  Both would’ve been near-cringeworthy if he missed them!  Lead the break in unfavorable numbers (more or less was just KCP vs. 2 or 3 defenders) and pulled up leaning forward burying them both.  Then in back-to-back plays, knocked the ball of LeBron James‘ leg for a TO then drew a charge, both in transition where LeBron is his best.  Just the overall confidence and swagger was there that I haven’t always seen.  Then again, I am always biased due to the addiction!  I was brushing my teeth with my finger and hopping around like a madman this whole game…  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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Well, it finally happened. The New York Knicks shut down Carmelo Anthony for the season. The news isn’t surprising, especially after he went 6-20 in the All-Star Game on Sunday night. The East players tried their best to get Anthony the ball, but it was clear something was amiss with his jump shot.

On Thursday, Anthony had successful surgery to repair his patella tendon in his left knee. The initial recovery time is around 4-to-6 months, but more will be known about his timeline in the days after the surgery. He’s safe to drop in all redraft leagues.

As mentioned in previous injury posts, Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Langston Galloway become the primary beneficiaries on offense. Someone will have to take the shots that Anthony was accustomed to taking. When starting this season, Hardaway has averaged 14.6 ppg and 2.1 3PTM, while Galloway has averaged 11.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, and 3.0 apg. Readily available on the waiver wire (22% for Hardaway and 24% for Galloway in Yahoo leagues), these guys can become useful pickups for the playoff run.

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The All-Star weekend begins on Friday, giving most of the league some time off before the final stretch of the season. After the break, there are only four weeks left in the regular season for standard leagues. That’s not a lot of time to wait for guys to return from injuries. Owners will have to make hard decisions on whether to keep their injured stars or let them loose. More should be known after the All-Star break about the severity of many of these recent injuries, so hold on until then.

Blake Griffin underwent surgery on Monday to remove a staph infection in his right elbow. Prior to surgery, Griffin was expected to miss anywhere from 2-to-6 weeks. Griffin will be reevaluated in three weeks, which should help clarify when owners can expect to have Griffin back. Since Griffin is a top talent and there isn’t much clarity on his timeline, owners should hold onto Griffin for the time being.

With Griffin out, DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Hawes become the biggest benefactors. Jordan has put up back-to-back 20/20 games and looks like he’ll grab every rebound that Griffin used to get.

While Jordan is universally owned, Hawes becomes a top waiver wire pickup. In the three games that Griffin has missed, Hawes has averaged 11.0 ppg and 1.7 rpg. The numbers have been underwhelming so far, but Hawes has shown that he can fill up the box score when given starters’ minutes in the past. Last year as a starter, he averaged 13.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.2 bpg, and 1.6 3PTM. He probably won’t approach those numbers, but I expect Hawes to be useful for owners for as long as Griffin is out.

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I’m not what you would profile as a “PC”, “everyone gets a trophy” type. I’m not a raging “right winger” either, but the “politically correct” epidemic is taking over, and I’m not going to stand for it any longer. Besides, I much prefer “sitting down”. But the “all star” “process” has gotten a little too “concerned” with “inclusiveness”. I believe that you can feel my sarcasm at this point, so to further the snarky quotations would just be douchey of me. And speaking of douchey, the NBA has changed the all star weekend to the point where it’s too silly. I propose the following rule changes be reverted to their original order:

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It’s always nice to see the deep league guys you love turn into Mr. Planters and go nuts!

After 22 minutes, many of which trying to play through it, Jimmy Butler finally waved the white flag and checked out with a shoulder injury.  He first hurt it last Sunday, and that black tape stuff (that I still don’t completely understand how it works) didn’t keep Buckets’ shoulder together.  Maybe the black tape is more a statement.  Like, “Yeah brah, I got a jacked up shoulder but I’m still gonna go ham!”  Either way, it opened up some huge run for Tony Snell, playing 41 minutes.  And they were 41 heat check minutes!  Made his first 6 from the field including 4 treys, ending up with a career-high 24 points in a 9-11 FG (4-6 3PTM 2-2 FT) 24/2/2/1/0 line with no TO.  Snell going full Mr. Planters!  Even with Mike Dunleavy returning after nearly a month-and-a-half off, you can’t suppress the sense of Snell!  I keed of course, this is an anomaly type of game, but Butler could easily get tomorrow night off against the Cavs to rest that shoulder through the ASB making Snell a very interesting end-of-the-short-week streamer (only the one game Thursday night).  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy NBA action:

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Oh man, not a fun night for Mark Cuban unless he’s also invested in the Dallas area sports medicine clinics.  The way the NBA has gone this year, it’d be a smart investment!

First into the Shark Tank was Tyson Chandler, who sprained his ankle a minute and half in and couldn’t return.  He had an earlier ankle sprain and it didn’t cost him any time, so even though it looked bad, ol’ Tyson is no Chicken.  Then a mere couple minutes later, Monta Ellis hurt his hip and only played 3 and a half minutes.  As Kevin tells us in The Office – “That’s Dallas!”  Man, good thing the All-Star Break is right around the corner!  Even if both guys say they’re 100%, I see no reason why the Mavs would push em for their game tomorrow night hosting the Jazz.  While they’re out, we’re a bunch of preying sharks circling the bloody waters like Mr. Wonderful and Herjavec!  And last night it was the hairless ghost (wait, ghosts usually don’t have hair right?) of Charlie Villanueva who piled up some junky stats hitting 9-13 from the field for 26/5/1 with 5 treys.  Was awful other than points and treys with 3-6 FT and 4 TO.  Big man ThrAGNOF!  But for me, the big winner for tomorrow night is Mark Cuban’s own (seriously, kinda seems like he’s his dadShawn Marion comp?) Al-Farouq Aminu.  Only 19 minutes last night, but hit all the cats for 5/6/1/1/1.  Mark Cuban Jr. is only owned in 10% of Yahoo leagues, and in a shortened week where every steal and block will count, he should be one of your first calls on the wire in what should be a spot-start.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

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