The Civil War in the REL goes to JB this year! In the biggest regular season matchup for Slim and I in any fantasy league (probably not a hyperbole!), I shocked the #1 team with a 5-3-1 upset. It was really the only big change towards the top of the REL standings, with the playoff picture starting to form with the top-6 4 games separated from the field. Scheduling note – Slim will be helming the REL update next week, so I imagine he’ll take some pop shots back at me. Love ya Slim! Here’s how week 8 went down in the REL:
1. Kap’s Team (50-20-2)
FAAB Remaining: $100 FAAB Moves this week: n/a
2. Slim – Razzball (49-22-1)
FAAB Remaining: $41 FAAB Moves this week: Anthony Brown ($4)
I’m pretty sure I played someone good this week. My guys shot the ball, passed the ball, some better than others *cough* Alec Burks *cough*, I heard someone even dunked it once, but I could care less what the outcome turns out to be, and since I’m writing this on Friday I have no idea anyway. What I do care about is the homecoming of my teams most beleaguered lost soul – Reggie Jackson.
It all began two and a half years ago, long before I wrote a single word for razzball outside of the comments section, when I got a chance to show off my skills in a young startup dynasty league known simply as the R.E.L. In that first draft I grabbed the two-PG tandem of Damian Lillard and Reggie Jackson for a combined $50. With each at 23 years old and a stomach full of champagne from the inaugural season’s Gold Trophy, the world seemed theirs for the taking. But then, at around this time last year, disaster struck. Reggie was no longer getting the minutes he deserved and as a team attempting to repeat I panicked. Reggie was shipped away in a tearful blockbuster farewell and left forgotten as if he was only ever a distant memory. Or so we were left to believe…
Soon after last week’s trade that brought in Jimmy Butler I started to receive inquiries about his availability, although no one actually made an offer. I knew assists were my biggest need so I organized the player list by assists and started going down it to see which ones I could afford to keep and which ones had yet to hit there ceiling. There were a few but the gap between Reggie Jackson and the number two guy was massive and for the first time since I traded Reggie away, nearly a year ago today, there was a light. A small shimmer of brilliance off in the distance. That first time I saw it I didn’t understand what it was or why it was there, so I ignored it. But then later that night I noticed the light again, this time it was accompanied by a sound I can only describe in one way. The sound was that of redemption, and the light, the light was the blinding realization that Reggie was coming home, and in the early hours Thursday morning it was made official, he was.
If that was all that happened on Thursday then it would have been about on par with Christmas morning, but later on that day a bit of news came hot off the presses out of Boston, “Marcus Smart is cleared to practice”. The first step is complete. He’s finally healed and in a few weeks he should be ready to contribute again. It wasn’t just Christmas morning anymore, now I was lighting candles faster than you would on a Menorah. Then a few hours later it was time to light up another one after hearing more news, this time out of Denver, “Jusuf Nurkic is cleared to practice”. With that last tidbit there’s all of a sudden a glimmer of hope, the hope that one day soon my team will finally be healthy. Now I’m not expecting 30 minutes out of Nurkic or anything crazy like that but I am looking for him to be an everyday starter for my team, to root himself firmly into the other starting center spot opposite Steven Adams and stay there for the next 10 years. Seems reasonable enough. By January 4th I hope to unwrap my final holiday gift, a team fully healthy for the first time all year, coincidentally the day I open the week against the team I traded Jimmy Butler to.
I wish I could end it there but not all news this week was positive. Alec Burks had what I assume was the worst week of his career, at least since I drafted him two and a half years ago. There’s nothing I can do but wait it out and hope it gets better soon, it should. John Henson was playing well before Monroe returned but now the Bucks are shopping Miles Plumlee and giving him extended run in an attempt to showcase that he can still play. I assume this is a temporary thing but the timing couldn’t be much worse for me. Sunday Edit: Nevermind, looks like the Plumlee minutes were a fluke. I should also mention that my thoughts and prayers are with Jason Kidd while he’s away from the team. By that of course I mean the thought that Henson will actually play relevant minutes and the prayer that Kidd takes as much time away as possible.
The last two guys on my roster performed at the complete opposite ends of the spectrum this week. P.J. Hairston started the week strong with season highs of 14 points and 3 3s but alas I had a full schedule and he was on my bench, but then on Thursday Batum misses the game with Ebola and P.J. gets a career high 34 minutes and responds by tying his career high in 3s with 4, while matching the 14 points he scored the game before. On Saturday Batum returned and Hairston’s minutes dropped back down to his usual 19, but he still managed to give me 10 points and 2 3s in an attempt to be the difference maker in those categories, and in points he was. Without the add last week I lose points, it’s just that simple. If I could echo only one word from JB’s post last week to describe my feelings on Hairston’s play this week that word would be, ‘enjoyable’. Mike Muscala however couldn’t crack 10 minutes all week, finally culminating in the dreaded DNP-CD on Friday, and then again on Sunday. I hate it obviously since I think he has some keeper potential but until he becomes a bigger piece of the rotation I simply can’t afford to hold onto him. And speaking of DNPs, Kobe got one on Saturday and Anthony Brown got the start and did very little in 27 min. A little Kobe insurance plan might not be such a bad thing though, so I added Anthony Brown. Why no one else bid for the 23 year old, 34th overall pick, rookie out of Stanford was a bit of a head scratcher.
In the 2nd week of my tough stretch I’m up against Niko-Cola, aka Breaking Batum, aka the guy with Will Barton. He’s a bit down in the standings but he’s just as strong as the teams at the top. I more than likely can’t match his counting stats due to my injuries so for now all I’m hoping for is another nail-biter.
3. HateUsCauseTheyAnus (45-26-1)
FAAB Remaining: $54 FAAB Moves this week: Jodie Meeks ($11), Luc Richard Mbah a Moute ($11)
4. Yappers (44-26-2)
FAAB Remaining: $51 FAAB Moves this week: n/a
This one will be quick as there really is not all that much to say about my 6-2-1 victory except that if I had started R.J. Hunter on Friday, his two treys would have made it 7-2.
I am in a holding pattern with the FAAB musical chairs that I expect will last until at least the NBA trade deadline. I sent out a couple of trade offers on one of my projects (Hunter and Mickey) that I expected to be rejected and they were. In retrospect I am glad they were because they were premature. I realize that getting younger and seriously contending for the championship may well be mutually exclusive goals, and I want to be totally convinced I have chosen the correct priority before making any significant moves.
5. Martyball – IFBL (43-29-0)
FAAB Remaining: $83 FAAB Moves this week: n/a
6. JB Gilpin – Razzball (41-27-4)
FAAB Remaining: $1 FAAB Moves this week: n/a
Hero. Elite. Fantasy savior. God. These are the first words that come to mind when thinking of Patrick Patterson, amiright?! When he first came into the game last night, I got a nice poke-the-JB text from Slim saying “Come on PatPat. Win me FG%”. Going into Sunday, I thought I had a really good chance at winning Pts with it a risk at FG%. Then Brandon Knight scores only 9 on 3-10 shooting. I thought I needed a solid 20 on 45-50% shooting from my boy, but noooooooo, Hornacek doesn’t even play him 30 minutes against his former Bucks, and decides to run rotations WITHOUT Knight or Bledsoe on the floor. Ya know what, Hornacek, you deserve to lose that game hosting the Bucks, you flippin’ short-shorts wearing F-tard. Pts seemed lost.
I go into the final game for both of our teams this week needing 32 from PitPat and James Johnson, I had a .002 FG% lead, and I was scurrrrred. But then, eureka! Heroism. Passion. Back to the wall dominance from PitPat, putting up 18 Pts on 50% shooting with James Johnson having a ridiculous run in the 2nd half driving the ball with 4 or 5 layups. We ended up tying Pts at 661 apiece, in my biggest scoring week of the year. I even had a good chunk of Pts left on the bench, losing 18 from Oubre when he was pressed into service on a full schedule night. Huge 5-3-1 win for my team. Really every cat except my big wins in REB/AST/STL were close, and when Slim gets healthy and now with R-Jax, he’s gonna be tough. Slim notes my sloppy seconds Hairston was why we tied points – no, you tied Pts because you got a redonkulous trade right before this matchup, and 100+ Pts from Jimmy Butler! My guys picked a bad week to have one of my lowest BLK totals, that said I somehow won FT% and that was supposed to be a punt! So no complaints there. Got some nice volume from my good FT shooters.
Man, I haven’t had my squad ever be this deep (that’s what she said!). After the flack of spending all my FAAB week 1, I’ve gotten deeper through a trade and a $0 add and just hoping I can avoid the injury bug. At 41-27-4, it’s just a complete 180 from where I was last year – a good 8 or 9 under .500 playing the same tough schedule. I get #1 Kap’s Team this week as well, and get him without Bradley Beal. Getting back-to-back wins against the #1 team would be a hell of a turnaround from last season.
7. Scurry to the Left (38-32-2)
FAAB Remaining: $98 FAAB Moves this week: n/a
8. Hardenoutherr4apimp (38-34-0)
FAAB Remaining: $82 FAAB Moves this week: n/a
9. I Ain’t No Jok(ic) (37-34-1)
FAAB Remaining: $86 FAAB Moves this week: n/a
Finally back in the win column after an extended absence. The win puts my team over .500 again, which is fitting since my team is most definitely better than a .500 team.
As a prize for winning I now get to go back to facing playoff caliber teams for at least a couple more weeks. Here’s to hoping I can avoid losing double digit games to injury, which I did yet again last week. Jonas and Carroll seem to be getting closer, and hopefully it’s nothing serious with Porter.
The rest of my team is still a long way from playing playoff basketball though. There’s still minutes issues, rotation trouble, poor shooting and just general mediocre play. There better be some guys stepping up this week or we may be going back to our losing ways.
10. Heat Apologist (37-34-1)
FAAB Remaining: $51 FAAB Moves this week: Miles Plumlee ($17)
Another disappointing week, resulting in a 2-6 loss, managing a tie on 3ptm on the last day. Not much to say, other than a lot of underperforming. Don’t have a lot of time to write a Slim-like opus, so I will just focus on the trade I completed this week. The strength of this team is definitely assists. My weakness is rebounds, blocks and steals. I put out offers for lower end PF/C, offering Larkin, until he went and got himself concussed. Slim and I were negotiating, but negotiations changed when he acquired the two top wings. Jimmy Butler offers me all I need in a few more blocks, an extra 1.5 steal and an extra block, losing a few assists. Butler is a year older, and $3 more expensive, though still very affordable for keeper. The other move I made I’m sure raised at least a few eyebrows, spending $17 on Plumlee. I still believe in his upside, which is not just theoretical. We saw him be a double-double machine, with nice block upside in Phoenix two years ago. If he is being showcased for a deal, there are several good landing spots for him. I put my bids in Sunday morning and was so focused on football, I forget to check box score. I would have seen him getting the DNP. Oh well. If he remains in Milwaukee, he’s the easy drop. I play one of the second division teams this week, so hopefully I can eek out a win.
11. Greek Freaks (34-38-0)
FAAB Remaining: $34 FAAB Moves this week: n/a
12. Foreign Affairs (34-38-0)
FAAB Remaining: $91 FAAB Moves this week: Anthony Bennett ($2)
Merry Christmas everyone, hope you all have been having and will have a good holiday and your teams are treating you well. A 2-7 loss this past week doesn’t surprise me with Mudiay hurt and how my retooled roster is for this season right now with essentially 5 dead roster spots I’m caring around with week to week. So far the early returns on my trades last week are interesting, Jordan Clarkson looks like he’ll be a win over $22 Hayward in the long run even if he can’t quite reach Hayward’s production he looks like he’ll come close and with D’angelo improving things are looking good with my Lakers backcourt. Wiggins is a tough one but I remain hopeful that he’ll round out his game as he ages and that 32-10-6 game comes closer to happening then his 21-1-1 games. But speaking of Minnesota Gorgui!!!!!!!!!!!!!! he’s been freed finally, well Sam still seems to be holding him back a little but KG seems to be getting too old for this **** and Sam seems to have figured out that Kat and Gorgui can play together….yeah took him long enough. Bojan has also been improving after a slow start with more minutes, it helps that hes one of the few young guys on a team that has no picks and has old guys on the wings that no one wants.
I decided to dip my toe into FAAB again by dropping John never gets minutes Jenkins for the chance to assemble my 3rd part of Canadian Vultron or Exodia or Megazord depending on your nerdy inclination, by picking up Anthony…pretty close to a literal piece of coal… Bennett. Now I just need Kelly Olynyk and Tristan Thompson and I’m all set for the next Olympic qualifier. But in all seriousness I still have an odd feeling like Bennett might pull it together and become useful, especially for $1, Toronto’s power forward spot is a dumpster fire and after seeing how ridiculous Draymond Green is I felt that maybe, just maybe Anthony could pull it together in time and sniff a poor man’s version of last year’s Draymond Green. So i’ll be watching him getting d-league minutes closely along with some additional tape to see if it’s just in his head instead of actual just poor at basketball and if it doesn’t look promising as the season goes then he gone. But for a $2 bid I felt like I should take the risk and finally get ride what could simply be another Anthony Randolph imaginary upside train.
13. High as Greg Kite (33-38-1)
FAAB Remaining: $83 FAAB Moves this week: n/a
14. Hoopus Alleyoopus (33-38-1)
FAAB Remaining: $71 FAAB Moves this week: n/a
15. Niko-Cola (30-40-2)
FAAB Remaining: $88 FAAB Moves this week: Omer Asik ($12)
It was an ugly week for Niko-Cola. We were able to squeak out a 5-3-1 win with our best player on the shelf for a few games. Had Batum played all week we likely would have come away with a 7-2 win which definitely would have helped. All things considered we are happy with the victory and looking toward next week.
We spent $12 on an uninspiring Omer Asik in FAAB bidding. Considering we are thinnest at C he was a must add for us. We were very happy to not drastically over spend. The next highest bidder was at $8. Last week our final two bench spots were Nogueira/Dedmon and produced a combined 3 Pts, 6 Rebs, 2 Blks, and 2 TO. Granted Asik is not much better but he is getting more consistent minutes and we have to believe he will have good games when they play “big teams”. Seems that his largest issue is that the league has moved small and passed him by.
Let’s talk about Will Barton. I owe my co-owner major props on this one. Pre draft we were debating our keepers and Barton was on the fringe for me. I thought having the additional spot would allow us to spread the money out and have less lottery tickets. After deliberation he convinced me that because of the Chandler injury and the small sample size we had from the end of last year that he was as good of a lottery ticket we could get. Great call man, we have won several categories as a result of his performance!
Now the bad news… What the hell happened to Mirotic! Count me officially worried. It has become very clear the OG Bobby Portis is the real deal and deserves minutes. The issue is Pau, Noah, Taj, and Niko all play the same position. I was not suprised that Niko lost his starting job. As Bulls fans we always thought Pau/Taj and Noah/Niko were the best combos and they split minutes and then role with the “hot duo” or as match ups require. Thing is Noah/Portis works too, reality is the Bulls are super deep and probably need to take two assets and turn them to one. Dunleavey, Niko, McBuckets, and Snell are also redundant and none fit perfectly particularly when Butler gets minutes at the 3. I don’t know where they should look, but they need to look hard.
More bad news…. We play Slim this week. Our team is capable of beating his based on past performance, but we need big weeks from Batum and a resurgence from Niko, Asik, and Lawson to win. We can’t have next to nothing from these guys or it will be a 6-3 loss. Good luck you don’t need it.
P.S. If you have not seen The Force Awakens go see it. Great movie.
16. The Nature Boy (28-43-1)
FAAB Remaining: $80 FAAB Moves this week: n/a
17. The Chosen Ones (28-44-0)
FAAB Remaining: $18 FAAB Moves this week: n/a
18. Pete Nice – Razzball (26-45-1)
FAAB Remaining: $83 FAAB Moves this week: n/a
19. Cigar Smoking Monkey (21-51-0)
FAAB Remaining: $100 FAAB Moves this week: n/a
20. No Glove No Love (21-51-0)
FAAB Remaining: $96 FAAB Moves this week: n/a