The 2018-19 Golden State Warriors have one of the greatest rosters ever assembled and are huge favorites to win their third NBA Championship in a row, which would be their fourth in five years. This offseason they added one of the best big men playing in the NBA today, DeMarcus Cousins, to a roster that already includes four returning All-Stars: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green. The bench is also incredible with the likes of Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and Jordan Bell. End of preview.

Just kidding…kind of. If this was just a preview for the regular NBA season, then my work would be done. But this is a fantasy basketball preview my friends, so I am going to go down the roster and point out which Warriors you should target for your fantasy team. Some will be obvious *cough* Curry *cough*, Durant, but there are a few guys ready to make the jump from fantasy zero to fantasy hero.

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Fantasy basketball can be very different from other fantasy sports, in that there is not one proven draft strategy. The “Running Back-Running Back” fantasy football strategy is timeless, along with the standard mantra of “Wait on Tight End, Kicker, and Defense,” to which “Wait on Quarterback” is being added more frequently. In fantasy basketball, the position is not as important as the player.

The best players in basketball play all different positions, so targeting specific positions early in drafts is not a reliable strategy. Some people plan to “punt” categories, which means they intentionally draft players who do not excel in a certain category (free-throw percentage is a popular one), but that is a strategy that presents itself out of desperation as the draft progresses. The lack of a specific, proven strategy is why you will hear a lot of experts tell you that the best fantasy basketball draft strategy is no strategy. But I disagree.

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It has become cliché to say that Americans think the world revolves around the United States and whatever is popular stateside must be popular around the globe. Now that the internet and social media have shrunk the world and, contrary to popular opinion, have brought us all closer together, we know that this is just not true. The best example of this is soccer. Yes, soccer, not football. Get over it, I’m American.

Soccer is by far the most popular sport on Earth. An estimated 4 billion people watch and/or play. A good way to illustrate how much bigger soccer is compared to football, America’s most popular sport, is to compare the viewership of the sports two biggest games: UEFA Champion League Final and NFL Super Bowl. I have excluded the World Cup Final because it only happens every four year, so it is not an apples-to-apples comparison. Just so you know, over 1 billion people watched the 2014 World Cup Final match. 

2012-13 UEFA Champions League Final: 360 million television viewers
2015 NFL Super Bowl: 114.4 million television viewers
The NFL, the most watched sport in the U.S., has been trying for years to break into the global marketplace with very little success. The world is just not interested in our modern-day-helmeted gladiators. In fact, football is now on the decline in the United States (I will save the reasons for another article), so things are not looking too good for NFL globalization. At the same time, soccer is still struggling mightily to get a foothold (no pun intended) in America, one of the world’s biggest sports marketplaces. The combination of these factors has left the door open for another sport to enter the realm of global domination: basketball.

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John Wall went from hero to zero back to hero in Washington this season. Nobody will argue that John Wall is the most talented player on the Wizards, but when he went down with a knee injury and the team started playing its best basketball of the season, people started questioning Wall’s value to the team. His selfish play was viewed as holding the team back in the day-and-age of the Hoosier method of at least three passes before a shot. The team’s hot streak wore off, however, and everyone started clamoring for Wall’s return. Now the Wizards are battling for a playoff spot and John Wall stepped up for one of his best games of the season: 4/29/7/13/3/3. I mean, wow, nice game and nice timing. Anyone still playing in fantasy who has John Wall is as excited about the timing of this as the city of Washington D.C.

Anyway, here is what else I saw last night as teams battle for the last playoff spot and just plain old last place:

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You know a team is peaking at the right time when its role players are shining. The Pacers are getting set for an epic playoff run led by their All-Star Victor Oladipo (3/27/3/5/3/0) and their breakout star Domantas Sabonis (0/30/8/3/3/0). Yes, the 30 points were a career high and, yes, both players were acquired via trade (for Paul George) in the off-season, but that is not even the most amazing thing about the Pacers’ season. The crazy thing is that the person who was supposed to be their can’t-miss stud has been an all-time dud.

Myles Turner has had an extremely disappointing season in both real-life and fantasy (funny how those are tied together) and last night he may have finally hit rock-bottom: 0/0/1/0/0/0 in just 6 minutes. No, it wasn’t injury-related. It was foul-trouble related, which should be strictly a rookie problem for big-men. The Pacers could end up being a very dangerous playoff team if somehow Turner can figure out his issues. My money is on…..drumroll…..no, no he won’t. This has been a problem the entire season, so there is no reason to believe he will suddenly be the team star again. I do think he will have some good nights, but overall he will be the same.

The good news is that the Pacers can win without him (maybe that is messing with his head and confidence), so it is not really that big a deal. The bad news is the Pacers cannot win a championship without him. But more good news, nobody expected them to even be in the playoffs, so they are playing with house money.

Anyway, here is what else I saw last night:

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There are always a few players that magically appear at fantasy playoff time and help propel some teams to victory. Championship teams know this and they read sites like Razzball and closely watch the waiver wire so they can be the team that snags the hot rookie who finally put it all together or, in the case of MarShon Brooks, the veteran that nobody even still thought was playing professional basketball in America.

Brooks popped up a few games ago and had a huge night, but he was injured and missed the next game, which is why he is still on waivers in most leagues. Last night he showed that the big game was not a fluke, however, as he finished with a line of: 5/25/4/7/2/0. He hit 9-17 from the floor, including 5-10 from deep. Wow! I thought he would be a nice THRAGNOF at the end of the year, but his all-around line makes him a must-add in every league and a must-start in nearly all formats. So stop reading this and go get him!

Here is what else I saw last night:

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Sorry Andre, but there is breaking news: Joel Embiid will have surgery to fix an orbital bone fracture and will miss at least 2 games but could be out as much as 4 weeks. I would wait to hear something more sound before dropping him, but it definitely makes Richaun Holmes a nice pick-up. Ok, back to your regularly scheduled recap:

Andre “Beast Mode” Drummond had his old school ground and pound game working last night as he led the Pistons to an 11 point win over the playoff-bound Washington Wizards. Even without Blake Griffin, who went through warm-ups but could not play and is now headed for an MRI on his injured ankle, the Pistons were able to blow the game wide-open in the 3rd quarter mostly because of Drummond’s pure dominance in the paint.

Andre put the beat down on Marcin Gortat and Ian Mahinmi to the tune of 0/24/23/4/0/1 with only 1 turnover in 37 minutes. Drummond shot 10-16 from the floor and 4-7 from the line, which is the type of efficiency spoiled fantasy owners have come to expect from Mr. Drummond this season. The free-throw shooting still isn’t Curry-esque, but it has become strong enough to elevate Drummond to the elite fantasy player level.

Besides the lesson in classic center play that Drummond gave the Wizards, here is what else I saw last night:

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First of all, Joel Embiid is ok and it is probable that he makes it back for the game in Atlanta on Friday. Now, the second most important thing out of Philadelphia is Dario Saric’s huge game. Super Dario went off for 2/26/14/5/2/0 with only 2 turnovers in 36 minutes. The 76ers are rolling right now and I would not want to play this team in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Sorry for the quick open but it is getting late here in Arizona. So here is what else I saw last night:

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There are two points of a fantasy basketball season where seasons can be won and lost: the first is at the draft and the second is when there are about twenty games left in the season. The draft is obvious. That is when you set the foundation of your team. The second point is a little more subtle.

For those owners in head-to-head leagues, this second point is important because you are setting your team up (hopefully) for the playoffs. You want players who have a lot of games and are on teams who will not be resting them during the critical time. The subtle part is directed more at owners in roto leagues. There are still enough games left to make moves in categories you can climb in or maintain your lead in categories you are ahead in.

The waiver wire is your tool to win the league at this point. Young players are finally putting it together and playing well and injuries are opening up time for bench guys who have played well when given minutes. The Golden State Warriors, and their massive amount of injuries to star players, is a team to focus on in order to find one or two players who can help you with that late season charge.

Quinn Cook is the player I want to focus on in this recap, and if you need threes, points, assists, steals, I will pause for a moment so you can go and pick him up. While we are waiting for those owners to get back can we just talk about how dumb they are for not picking up Cook yet and having him active for this game against the lowly Suns? Wait, wait, quiet, they’re coming back…

Welcome back, we were just waiting quietly for you. I hope you were able to add him. Cook is a 2-way player, no, that is not sexual. It means that he is one of two players each team can send back and forth to the G-League during the season. Cook has dominated G-League play for most of the year and now, because of injuries to Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant, Cook is getting 40 minutes per game and putting up more than decent fantasy point guard stats. Last night Quinn Cook went for: 5/28/4/4/2/0 with only 2 turnovers in 40 minutes. This was on 11-17 shooting, including 5-7 from three. Pick him up.

Here is what else I saw on a busy St. Patrick’s Day:

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For playoff bound teams, every win at this point in the season is huge. This was not only a big win for the Washington Wizards, it was avoiding a terrible loss. Yes, they are missing All-Star point guard John Wall, but the Boston Celtics were starting someone named Guerschon Yabusele.

I did some digging and discovered that Mr. Yabusele, before donning a jersey and being announced with the Celtics’ starting five, was one of those giant security guards that stand at the bottom of each staircase with their arms crossed and their backs to the court during the game. In fact, prior to playing 18 minutes in last night’s double-OT loss against the Wizards, the most exciting thing to ever happen to Guerschon on a basketball court was high-fiving Marky Mark Wahlberg after a Kyrie Irving game winner.

The Celtics may have ultimately lost the game, but to get as close as they did is a real testament to just how much the Wizards play down to an opponent’s level. I am pretty sure a Division II high school basketball team could take Washington down to the wire.

Besides the Wizards almost losing the Celtics G-League squad, here is what else I saw last night:

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